NM PURCH-sad older

Acceptance of Childlessness Isn’t the Same as Acceptance of Loss

Guest Post By Anonymous

NOTE:  Readers of this site prove time and again that among the community of women without children — more than 23 million in the US alone –no two stories are alike, even if they appear to be similar on the surface. It logically follows that a random selection of five NotMoms without kids By Choice or By Chance on any given day will reveal varying feelings about living child-free. It might be foolish, however, to assume that a single snapshot in time clearly defines their feelings.

I may have made that mistake in a recent post about how good it feels to realize that Facebook photos of a friend’s children don’t make me sad anymore. But, on the same day that post was published, I received this one from a woman who prefers to be anonymous and in a very different space. She reminds me — us — of the fluidity of grief.   –kmw

I thought I was over it. Clearly I’m not. Actually, I thought I’d never actually been in it.

For most of my life I didn’t think I wanted children. I never had any interest in being pregnant and always believed strongly in adoption. But children weren’t ever really on my radar.

Then I got older and began to think differently. I had no interest in bringing up a baby, and had even less interest in carrying one inside me. Then I got even older, and I got married, and then I began to think about it. It didn’t happen.

Now, I’m in the age bracket where my friends are becoming grandparents, and although that brings a passing melancholy of its own, I didn’t expect my reaction to the post of a Facebook friend. Eight little words: “It’s confirmed, I’m going to be a Mommy!”

Facebk

Childless Self-Help on Facebook? Try Your News Feed First.

By Karen Malone Wright

There’s been considerable chatter in this space and others about the impact of Facebook posts on Friends with kids and without. Parents jealous of child-free Friends’ travel pix. NotMom Blair Koenig spinning her STFU, Parents blog and book from frustration with Friend after Friend posting a child’s first nap, poo, or grin.

At varying levels, the unifying component on both sides generally boils down to resentment. Nasty stuff, that. I’m happy to share a related example with a positive ending. This story involves a woman who is my Friend online, but in Real Life, we were office co-workers years ago…which makes us only Acquaintances offline. Let’s call her “Tonya”.

In August, Tonya was one of many in my News Feed who proudly uploaded photos of the First Day of School. Kids in pix like that are always cute, similarly posed, and appallingly taller than I think a five-, six-, whatever-year-old kid should be. I scroll through, rarely lingering to study the faces of children I’ve never met and probably never will.

Under the category of Lessons from Facebook, it would be enough if I simply told you there was once a time that images like those would leave me in tears, and now they don’t. But for me, the Tonya connection is special.

Iranian

Iran’s Plan for Population Growth: Mandate Motherhood

By Karen Malone Wright

I vaguely remember an episode of The Oprah Show that presented how women the same age were faring around the world — how government, religion, environment and culture in each nation limited or expanded their freedoms.

The goal was to spark empathy as viewers placed themselves in each situation, from Spain to Saudi Arabia. Lately, the younger women of Iran are on my mind, and the memories of that old Oprah show came rushing back.

Iran? Yes, Iran.

Let go for a minute whatever your brain usually pops up with when you think of that country, and imagine instead that in August 2014, you’re a 28-year-old, college educated Iranian woman who’s just learned that her parliament has voted to ban permanent forms of contraception. No vasectomies. No tubal ligation. Doctors who violate the ban will be punishable by law. 

Oh, and no more advertisements for birth control, either, but the ministry of health will help pay for infertility treatment.

Reuters reports that previously, condoms were widely available and “family planning considered entirely normal,” but Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is calling for measures to increase the population. ASAP.

NM PURCH-Talk to hand

Advice to a Teen from a Childfree Woman: Respect Your Choices

By Laura LaVoie

While at a camping festival in August, I was honored to be part of a ceremony for a 13-year-old girl to welcome her into womanhood. Her mother invited all of the women who were part of this temporary community to celebrate the young woman and provide her with blessings and inspiration as she transitions from a girl to a woman.

It was a beautiful celebration and I am very happy I was involved.

I’m not close with this girl. When individuals were asked to walk up to give her blessings, I stayed back, respectfully. I was surprised when the next part of the ceremony was to have every woman there provide the girl with some advice for her life. As she began to traverse our circle to hear each woman’s wisdom, I thought hard about what I would tell her.

I’m not a mom, so I wasn’t sure what kind of advice I could provide a 13-year-old girl.

Then it occurred to me. That was exactly the advice I could provide her.

NM PURCH-woman on road

The Childless Only Child: A Niche Within A Niche

By Karen Malone Wright

It’s been almost a year since I wrote a post about childless only children, my first on the topic, and apparently, one of very few online. As older posts on this site go, it’s been a leader in continuously attracting comments and personal stories. 

It’s one thing to find another person without kids; it’s another to find one who understands the unique perspectives of child-free only children. It’s logical to think the Internet could help in the search.

It seems that many child-free adults who are their parents’ only child are hard-pressed to find another like them.  If they are aunts, or uncles, it’s by marriage, or friendship. After a certain age, their close family may be what others think of as extended, built of non-blood relationships. I’m an only, and that’s certainly true in my life.

But without sisters or brothers, your family line ends with you. Thoughts of legacy and fears of aging that we all have may be magnified. That’s what I thought of when I read this comment from William in August 2014: (What? You thought only women read this blog?)

“I too have been searching the internet for people with this same issue. I am an only child, and I have just turned sixty years old. My father died ten years ago, and my mother is nearing ninety. My wife and I could not have children, and for some years I thought that this would not be a big deal. But it really is a big deal. My wife has five siblings and that is great, but things have happened over the years that have estranged us from them all a bit. I know this is a selfish thought, but sometimes I wonder what the purpose of it all can be. I guess I am just going through something tonight, and tomorrow it will be better, but for right now, I am glad I found this website.”

Friends having fun outdoors

Girlfriend Mirrors: The Women Without Children Who Get Me

By Laura LaVoie

I just got back from an epic camping trip at a festival in Minnesota. Festivals are great experiences where a group of people builds a temporary community in a beautiful outdoor space. It is absolutely magical. We’ve attended festivals with the same friends for years and they are always a highlight of our summer.

Our 2014 summertime festival we attended was briefly home to about 200 people or so. Our little camp hosted eight, and other friends wandered in and out throughout the week. And we don’t rough it in any way. We actually camp with the author of Martinis & Marshmallows: A Field Guide to Luxury Tent Camping, so we enjoy large tents, a bar, and a full kitchen.

Every year I feel like I learn something new. This year, one of the big lessons was in the importance of NotMom friends. 

A Em

Childless in Oz: Remembering Auntie Em & Clara Blandick

By Karen Malone Wright

Have you ever seen the original Hollywood production of The Wizard of Oz? Well, of course you have. And if you haven’t, well, catch up: August 2014 marks the film’s 75th anniversary.

Back in 1939, no one, including the movie’s producers and stars, thought The Wizard of Oz would matter to much. Wrong-o. For both children and adults, it became and remains, a classic. The 1900 book by L. Frank Baum has led generations to accept that everything we need to thrive lies within us from the start. The message resonates with children, teens, adults, and elders, too.

Of the movie’s four female leads, only Clara Blandick, the actress playing Dorothy’s Auntie Em (and pictured in the crystal ball above), never had children. And according to the book, neither did Auntie Em:

“When Dorothy, who was an orphan, first came to her, Aunt Em had been so startled by the child’s laughter that she would scream and press her hand upon her heart whenever Dorothy’s merry voice reached her ears; and she still looked at the little girl with wonder that she could find anything to laugh at.”

A childless aunt (and uncle) agree to raise their orphaned niece. Today, we call that kinship care, and it’s more common than tornadoes in Kansas.

baby board

OB/GYN ‘Baby Boards’ Won’t Be Missed By Patients Without Children

By Karen Malone Wright

If you’re reading this post, and you’re sexually active — no matter your age — regular exams by a gynecologist are a must. Keep looking until you find a GYN you genuinely respect and feel comfortable with. A speculum isn’t a tool to be used by anyone you don’t like, right?

I’ve only had to do it once, when I dared show the pain I felt from a laparoscopy in the process of understanding why I wasn’t getting pregnant.  The doctor responded to my ouches and groans with, “You must stop this. How will you have a baby if you can’t stand a little pain?” For me, it was a 9 out of 10 pain level, and a no-brainer to know I’d never see her again.

In 2014, the big news for your OB/GYN involves the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. You know HIPAA — it’s the federal law that started with good intentions of safeguarding privacy and wound up being a pain in the butt. It’s basically impossible to track a hospitalized loved one or family member without Power of Attorney status, and your doctors are challenged to share information with each other about your case without your permission. 

HIPAA’s latest target is that big bulletin board of newborn photos at your doctor’s office. Presumably, every baby ever delivered by those docs is represented as an adorable testimony to their clinical skill. As a not-by-choice NotMom, I have always hated those boards. HATED THEM. There were years when I knew the timing needed to avert my eyes from the hallway display, lest I emerge into the waiting room in tears. HIPAA says those babies’ pix should be as protected as a medical chart. Sure, whatever. Thank you, HIPAA.

Woman is reading book

Good Book Grab: ‘Tapestry of Fortunes’ Weaves 4 Women, 1 House & Life

By Karen Malone Wright

When you finish a really good book, there’s a yearning to talk about it with someone else who’s read it, online or off, or pass it on to a friend so you can discuss it later. That’s where I am right now, and lucky me, I have a blog. If you’re still looking for a good porch read or a something worthy of your vacation, try Tapestry of Fortunes by Elizabeth Berg.

It won’t take you long to be hooked in the lives of four women who find themselves sharing a house: Cecelia, a motivational speaker ‘of a certain age’, as they say, who has never been married and rarely follows her own advice; Joni, a chef who hates her boss; Lisa, a divorced Mom; and advice columnist Renie, the youngest of the group. Overall, this is a book about friends, road trips, fate, memory and regret. It doesn’t take long to finish the book, either, at just 240 pages, hardback.

Before you ask, Elizabeth Berg isn’t a NotMom. But she gets women of all stripes at a visceral level, and her talent is how she puts that understanding into words. I think I’ve read her entire inventory of delicious stories, and this is her most recent (published in 2013). Ms. Berg is best known for Open House, a 2000 selection by Oprah’s Book Club. In 2013, she described her work this way:

“When I was first writing, people said I was starting a genre about female friendship. Of course there’s the unfortunate term ‘chick lit,’ which I really hate, because I think it’s derogatory and belittling, and suggests things that are not flattering. I think a lot of authors get put into that category, and I’m one of those.”

The And

‘The And’ Gets Couples to Ask the Hard Questions

By Karen Malone Wright

I’ll start this post with an apology to my single NotMom sisters who tire of reading about coupled women elsewhere and prefer not to do it here, either. I say this in response to an honest commenter a while back. My personal formula is, if one person took the time to write a comment about it, there’s others who agree but didn’t write. And to be honest, it may be that two good friends could benefit from today’s subject matter, too.

First, let me ask: Have you ever heard of interactive documentaries? I hadn’t, and I was introduced to the idea by a CBS News interview with the producers of The And. On camera, 30 couples age 16 to 62 answered a total of 412 questions more honestly and in depth than anyone, including them, expected. These aren’t actors; the producers explained they went to the New York City sidewalks and “took anybody that was willing to do it”. It’s called “The And” because in any relationship, it’s the word “and” that is the connector. It’s all about the ‘and’.

  • Which of my friends would you sleep with?
  • How do you think I can improve my attractiveness?
  • Would you prefer a soulmate or a friend with benefits?
  • What’s the correct usage of money?
  • What’s the first thing you remember about the first time we met?
  • What is more fun: binge-watching or binge-drinking?

Heavy-duty questions, right? Next, the interactive part.

Every visitor to The And website (or, an individual user repeatedly hitting the Refresh button) answers four questions of her own, alone or conversationally with a partner. Then, supposedly, the viewer is presented with a short “personalized” clip of the film’s Q&A sessions. Director Topaz Adizes says customization is done through a “unique tagging system” built on research into questionnaires and personality tests. 

I went through the process four times, and I still haven’t seen a direct correspondence to my questions and the couples on-screen. It didn’t really matter — eavesdropping on their conversations is addictively interesting. Four hundred and twelve insightful questions for couples, and I wonder if one of them is about kids. Should be.

pasta salad

Small Batch Kitchen: 5 Fixes for Summertime Cravings

By Karen Malone Wright

I had the idea for Saturdays in The NotMom Kitchen because I love to cook, and I really love to bake, but there are rarely more than two people to feed, and freezer space is limited. I’m not buying a freezer of any size just to eat food cooked months ago. The regular NM Kitchen writers, Faye and Sam, are doing a great job addressing challenges common to child-free households, but those ladies are on break enjoying their summer, and I’m struggling to meet their standard.

Why was I trying to be an exemplary NotMom chef? That’s why I hired themWhat I can do well is to confess the mistakes I’ve made summer after summer. The problem for enthusiastic cooks is that the arrival of each season brings memories of forgotten, favorite ingredients: butternut squash in autumn, or asparagus in spring.

The joy of cooking blinds us to the quantity of food we’re so joyously creating. When all you’re really focused on is how good the first bite will taste, it’s easy to rationalize that you’ll happily eat leftovers for lunch every day, or that it’s really not that much at all.

In alpha order, here are five items that can tempt and challenge any small batch kitchen when the weather’s hot. Hope my mistakes lead to your solutions.

A Marquette

The NotMom Profile: Ann Marquette

Childless and childfree women come in lots of shapes and sizes. We are all colors, all cultures, and all ages. As much as we have in common, we are also very different. Some people say it is strange to define ourselves by things that we are not, so let’s determine what we are instead. In this series, childfree blogger Laura LaVoie interviews women bloggers without children who answer the question, “If you’re not a Mom, then what are you?”

Laura says: I met Ann Marquette years ago when I was working for a temporary staffing agency near Atlanta, Georgia. She worked for me on and off for several years. We talked and got to know one another during that time and we stayed in touch even after I left that job. Ann is a kind and caring person, and I feel blessed to know her. She is a writer and keeps a blog where she posts thoughts, poems, and essays about her life. She also published a book, Little One: End of Journey Alone, and is working on more stories featuring her title character, Little One.

Are you a NotMom by choice or by chance?

I love children, but somehow knew at the young age of eleven that I would never have children. On one hand, I don’t know that I would have the 24/7 patience, and felt I would not be a good mother. There are occasions through my life when I feel sad I never had children to love; and wonder who might care for me in old age, and share my life’s history. For many years, starting in my late teens, I wanted that special man in my life, expecting we would have children and a nice home.

How do you define yourself?

My first thoughts about this question were in specific words: smart, caring, occasionally sensitive, and intuitive, a friend, faithful, passionate about some things, a writer, connector, and believer in the best yet to come. Then, one night as I eased into my hot bath, which is always calming…it came to me.

I finally saw myself: “I AM a work of art in progress. Yet, my life so far is like a beautiful quilt, even with a small hole or two, a few loose threads here and there, and a few places with fabric torn.”

WOW! Seeing myself in a whole new light is exciting.

NM Girlfriends

Madison Avenue Is Noticing Dimensions of Womanhood…And the Money Attached

By Karen Malone Wright

Relaxing on the sofa, watching a movie all snug in a fuzzy throw, do you notice when an ad pops up that is so different from the norm that your mind stops to register the newness?

The deep bass voice singing “TROJAN MAN!” on condom commercials? The interracial couple and their daughter sharing Cheerios? Dove’s Real Beauty messaging? How about Ellen DeGeneres for CoverGirl, or Chevrolet featuring a gay couple’s wedding, or Coca-Cola’s Super Bowl tribute to America sung by Americans…in different languages?

The latest effort to sell a product while celebrating women as they truly are is by UnderArmour sportswear. The I Will What I Want campaign launched in August 2014 presenting a graceful yet muscular ballerina (American Ballet Theatre’s Misty Copeland) who pirouettes while a young girl reads from rejection letters she’s received.

“You have the wrong body for ballet. And at 13, you are too old to be considered,” says the voice. Ms. Copeland’s performance negates the audio.

A month earlier, The NY Times noted that recent global business reports “have identified women without children as a new, lucrative market”.

Culture Change, anyone?

 

school bus

For Some Childless Women, Back-to-School Anxiety Isn’t Just for Kids

By Karen Malone Wright

It took a while — like, years — but I’m finally adjusted to K-12 schools that begin their new year in August.  There once was an unwritten rule that the day after Labor Day was the First Day of School, but that was another century. Literally.

Now that marketers have discovered the gold mine known as the college freshman, back-to-school advertising seems to kick off on July 5th. I’m used to it now, and not as bothered. But, I know that every year around this time, there’s a new group of women who may experience a special form of seasonal depression. It may be the first autumn, or the 10th, when there’s no young student in their home.

If you know anything of grief, you know about the concept of “triggers,” sights, smells and sounds that remind you of what you’ve lost.  Mention seasonal triggers and people think of December holidays . There are many others, even Halloween and Easter. It’s not really something NotMoms like to volunteer to talk about.

computer shock

Child-Free Voices on Mommy Sites and Vice Versa: OK or Not OK?

By Laura LaVoie

Recently, this post on the Canadian Family website was brought to my attention. While I believe the title, “Should Child-Free Women Demand a Place on Parenting Sites?” is needlessly inflammatory, it turns out I actually agree with what the writer is saying.

Blogger Tara-Michelle Ziniuk responded after a childfree writer was given an opportunity to share this post on Today’s Parents, a section of the Today Show website that is clearly targeted toward Moms and Dads. The post discusses Cameron Diaz and how her decision not to have kids has come to represent the childfree by choice crowd.

I’m with Ms. Ziniuk that this post didn’t need to be included in the Today Parents lineup. It just comes across as attention-seeking or even parent-shaming. It targeted the absolute wrong audience. Women without children often have to defend their decisions to family, friends, and complete strangers, so why seek out a forum where you have to come from a defensive position? 

When I first started freelance writing full time I was astounded by the number of mommy blogs hiring bloggers. It led me to write this post and, serendipitously, to establish a relationship with The NotMom. I asked the question. Was there was a place for me online as a NotMom?

“I have stuff to say too. There are non-mommy experiences that can be shared. I don’t want to come off like I’m entitled to anything. I don’t demand that people be interested in the experiences of someone without kids – but, is there a place for it?” 

Coston Skyros

The Story That Led to My Childless Story

Guest Post By Paula Coston

Hello from across the Atlantic. As a British woman who’s childless by circumstance, I’ve written posts for TheNotMom before, but this one is special. It marks the publication of my novel about a woman like us.

I wanted to share with you the tale of how the novel came about, because it sums up the way that we NotMoms can be so easily ambushed, day to day, by others’ parent-centric view of the world, but also how those ambushes can be learning points: for us sometimes, as much as those parent-centric others.

If you’re childless, you find other things to create and love and nurture. In my case, one outlet was writing. My first attempt, nearly 20 years ago, was a novel for young teenagers. My brother, my sister and friends had teenage children by then, so this was no coincidence. I loved, in a painful, yearning way, being around them. I took them on outings, bought them wacky presents, helped them with their homework.

So it was children like them, the children I’d never had, who were my audience for that book. Publishers loved it, but kept suggesting different kinds of changes, so – as my nephews and nieces slowly grew out of the book’s readership bracket – I gave up, moving on to other kinds of writing: poetry, the odd short story.

Four years ago, I was trying another novel for slightly older teenagers. I was struggling, I think because I now knew few children that age, but took it on a writing holiday anyway. The trip transported me to the beautiful Greek island of Skyros.

hallelu

Such a Simple Question: ‘How Are You & God These Days?’

By Karen Malone Wright

Some people are suckers for quizzes. From Cosmopolitan to HuffPo, there are readers who rarely pass a chance to answer A, B, C or D and “learn” more about themselves or their relationships. I’m generally among that group, so a quiz has been in the right margin here from the start, though they rarely get more than 50 visitors to declare a vote. 

Deep research, they’re not,  but maybe they’re a snapshot into…something. And once in a while, the results do make me wonder…

Following no particular pattern, a quiz ran for most of July 2014 that was deeper than the norm. The question: “How are you and God these days?” There were four religion-free options for responses:

  • We’re BFFs.
  • I’m a little upset with the Big Guy.
  • We broke up.
  • Who? We’ve never met. 

The BFFs immediately took the lead and held it for several days. I don’t know how much time passed before I checked the results again. A week? The number of women who believe they have no relationship with God was way higher than the BFFs, and it kept growing until the quiz closed on July 28th. 

It’s just a handful of women without children, and there’s no way to know age or choice/chance or any of that. All I have are the facts at hand, leaving me to wonder, “What’s up with that?” 

affair

The Biggest Predictor of Infidelity? New Study: It’s Parenthood.

By Karen Malone Wright

News about a new survey reporting parents are nearly twice as likely to cheat on their partner as married adults without children didn’t really surprise me. Although, truth be told, I didn’t feel one way or the other about it, and it seemed a strange thing for a researcher to study. 

But, the researcher in this case is Melissa Lavigne-Delville, Executive Trends & Culture Editor for NBCUniversal. Survey questions on modern love and marriage were produced in conjunction with USA Network, which happens to have a new show about married parents and infidelity. Satisfaction claims to answer the question, “What do you do when having it all is not enough?” Great spouse, nice house, good job, lots of friends, one or two kids, still unfulfilled.

The online study of 18- to 49-year-olds and follow-up focus groups found that 18% of parents admitted to an affair, compared to 11% of the childless marrieds. Among the 1,000 adults surveyed, Ms. Lavigne-Delville said that parenthood was the biggest predictor of infidelity.

Damn.

Maybe USA Network’s over-dramatized reality isn’t such a stretch after all.

 

guardians2

Everywoman, Every Woman, Diane Ackerman & You

By Karen Malone Wright

Back when the mail carrier filled everyone’s mailboxes were with unasked for catalogs, I fell in love with a company called Northern Sun. The tees, posters and stickers lean Left politically, but messages on environment, human equality and self-direction can win anyone over. I bought an inexpensive print, then paid three times as much to have it professionally framed in dark cherry wood. 

At the time, I had a new position with a faith-based grantmaking foundation, so the words underneath the headline, GUARDIANS, seemed apt:

“…I swear I will not dishonor my soul with hatred, but offer myself humbly as a guardian of nature, as a healer of misery, as a messenger of wonder, as an architect of peace….”

I was most attracted to the artist’s presentation of color on a rich purple background to convey four women, each holding and protecting a piece of the world: a bird, a fish, a tree, a baby. Guardians hangs in my home office these days, and I look at it often because I still love it as much as when I first found it.

Now that it’s just above signage and handouts and stickers for TheNotMom, my perspective is a little different. To me, the print’s hazy images represented Everywoman; now I see Every Woman.

Indian sad

The Most Quiet Culture Wars Are About Childlessness

By Karen Malone Wright

This week, I went to see my gynecologist for the first time in two years. I’m all about annual exams, so it felt overdue. Turns out I was a year early; my age and new recommendations now call for my Pap test every five years. I decided to get it done while I was there, and naked under my clinic gown. (Wouldn’t you?) Besides, it gave me time to talk with my longtime GYN about how this blog has grown since I last saw her.

Mind you, I’ve seen this doctor since 1993 when blond hair reached to her hips and her kids were first-graders. Now, she’s a grandmother wearing gray hair in a short bob. I’m trying to tell you that I know this woman, and she knows childless and childfree women. She encouraged me to keep going with TheNotMom in its early days, and on this visit she nodded positively as I updated her on the readers and topics.

And yes, all this discussion was during a pelvic exam.

That’s why I know you’ll understand when I say that I could feel the exact moment that I said something that really clicked with her. I’m pretty sure it pissed her off.

Bonnie Stein

A Childfree Boomer’s Story (With Reflections on Her Childless-By-Chance Sisters)

Guest Post By Bonnie Stein

I just read Nicole Ciomek’s interview on TheNotMom.com, and it’s so interesting for me to compare a NotMom at 33 years old (Nicole, who wanted to have children) with a NotMom (me) at 59 years old who never wanted to have children.  

I was Nicole’s Racewalking Coach in Atlanta, and met her when she was ten years old.  She was a great little athlete and went on to compete in the

Nicole Ciomek

Nicole Ciomek

National Junior Olympics for racewalking when she was 12.  At 14, she was part of the National Youth Racewalk summer camp in Maine, where I was one of the assistant coaches.  I eventually moved from Atlanta back to Florida, yet went back to Atlanta for Nicole’s high school graduation when she was 18.

It’s so different for me to visualize Nicole as a 33 year old woman now, married to someone that I’ve never met, living on the other side of the U.S., and all grown up with some pretty serious health challenges that she has overcome.  When I found out about her cancer, I sent her an email saying that there are some benefits (I think there are many benefits) to being child-free, yet, it’s difficult to portray that vision to someone who feels overwhelmed and saddened about her condition at the time.

At seven years old, I was quite sure that I never wanted children.  When other little girls were playing with baby dolls, I had my dolls on my bed “in school.”  They all sat propped up with a “Little Golden Book” in each of their laps.  Even Barbie had a book.  Stuffed animals, too.  My “teacher” instinct took the place of any mother instinct that a little girl might have had.  It’s not that I didn’t like children because all of my jobs from pre-teen years through college and beyond, involved children.  It’s that I didn’t want to live with them once “school” hours were over.

sperm

‘The Pursuit of Motherhood’ Reads Like An Adventure Novel…on Infertility

By Karen Malone Wright

There once was a time when I worked as a producer of three local, weekly TV talk shows; one about government and politics, one on civic concerns, and one on women’s issues. Each week, my inbox filled with at least a dozen unsolicited books covering diverse topics, sent by authors and their reps hoping for some publicity. Sometimes, the ploy succeeded. In my experience, program hosts never flipped a page in a single one. I did.

It didn’t take long to learn how to glean a Table of Contents and speed-read to pull the salient points and create questions or conversation points to be used on-air. SPOILER ALERT: Most talk show hosts are intellectually smart and well read, but never assume they’ve personally read all those pursuit coverbooks they push on camera. (I’d like to think The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart is an exception, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s his production team that could win on Jeopardy!.)

Now that book reviews are an occasional feature here, my old skills come in handy, especially if the book is overly clinical, poorly written, or structured for self-examination and note-taking. Or, to be honest, maybe the topic just doesn’t appeal to me personally, though it may appeal to you, our readers. I had a hunch that wouldn’t be the case with Jessica Hepburn‘s 2014 book The Pursuit of Motherhoodand it wasn’t. I read every page. 

There’s a You-Are-There feel to the prose that drew me in at the start, as Jessica introduces her large family that’s welcomed 18 pregnancies, none of them hers. It’s almost an understatement to dub Jessica a By Chance NotMom because it’s so very clear that childlessness is decidedly not her choice.. Her readers are with her in fertility clinic after clinic, learning about the science of IVF as she does. We join her in hope, horror and hope all over again. 

I know women who have had IVF both successfully and unsuccessfully, but I don’t know them well enough to understand all the details, neither medical nor emotional. I feel as though now, I do. Good read. Good lessons.

Honolulu2

Honolulu: The Best City for Child-Free Adults. (Who Couldn’t Guess That?)

By Karen Malone Wright

If I jumped at every “we’re the best city for childless people” headline, this would become a travel blog. There are a lot of those headlines, and the top position is rarely the same. In 2013, a Seattle Times story listing and comparing America’s “top cities” for child-free adults rated a post here, but that ranking was based purely on cities with the largest populations of adults without children.

Now that MyLife.com has proclaimed Honolulu to be the best city for child-free living, I HAD to pay attention. And, I had to say out loud: “Honolulu’s the best city for EVERY kind of living!”

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