We always thought we would have kids. We started trying when we believed we were ready. A month went by, then two months, six months, a year. Nothing happened.

Something was wrong, but nobody could tell us what - and they still can't to this day. We tried IVF three times but our results were not good. We were devastated.

Eighteen months after our last IVF cycle, we knew we would not be having our own children. And, somehow, we have moved to a life that is much different to the one we thought we'd have.

This blog is about what we do now we know we won't be having children - the thoughts, dreams, realities, sorrows, and joys that have become our new life path.

I hope you will enjoy what I will be sharing, and I hope that if you are at the point where life without children is a reality for you, that you might find some hope and inspiration here.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

What I wish for her…

There is a precious little eight year old girl in our lives who is the daughter of our friends. Her name is Jess. She is so bright, caring, and funny, and she has a keen interest in the world and everything in it.

Just recently Jess told me about the cans and bottles she was collecting from her home to take to recycling, and she asked me to guess what she would be using the money from the cans and bottles for. Before I could make a guess she said “I’m giving it to a tiger sanctuary, or was it lions? One of those.” She amazes me.

A few months ago I took Jess up to Monarto Zoo. It is an amazing place where all sorts of animals have large areas in which to roam in an environment as close to their natural habitats as possible. The zoo has cheetahs, African painted dogs, chimpanzees, meerkats, and many more animals. We met up with my parents and my nieces, and some friends of ours and their children at Monarto.

As we drove up the road leading to Monarto, Jess asked what the grass was which covered an open area alongside the road. I told her that it was native grass that goes grey when it doesn’t get enough water, but when it rains it will come all green again. Jess said excitedly, “I’ve never seen grey grass before!”

A few weeks ago Jess’s Mum and I were talking about her upcoming fortieth birthday and her plans to have a costume party where people come as what they want to be when they grow up. Jess joined in the conversation and said she would like to own an animal sanctuary. I said to her, why not? She is smart, she loves animals and other people do it, so why not her? I can see Jess doing something in conservation or in helping out humanity – something that will be really special.

On this past Saturday we had a BBQ at our home and Jess was there. We were talking about her Mum’s party again and I asked Jess what she wanted to come as, and she said a princess.

I must admit it floored me a little. I thought she was going to say a zoo keeper or veterinarian or something similar. It struck me as unlike her. But, then I remembered what childhood is really about.

Childhood is about exploring different things – interests, places, friends, identities. Children try on different selves, really, and see which ones fit and which ones don’t, and this is very important. There are so many paths for children, and one of the most common for little girls is an interest in fairies and princesses. It is quite normal.

The biggest hurdle, though, is for the child not to lose themselves in the process of exploring the options before them.

I truly believe that Jess’s heart and soul are in the realm of caring for the world – the environment, animals, people. Her face shines from the light that resides in her heart when she talks about these kinds of things.

So, what is my wish for her?

That she tries on different ways of being in the world. That she takes enough risks to find herself, with the sense to stay safe in her journey.

And, mostly, that she comes home to her true self when adulthood arrives.

I wish this for all of the children in our lives.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


There is a woman called Jo Frost who is known as the “Supernanny”. She has television shows where she assists parents in learning how to communicate and guide (or discipline) their children.

I really like the methods she presents. She advocates giving choices to children, using time out as a way to respond to unwanted behaviour, and explaining to children why they were put in time out and the impact their behaviour had on other people, and asking them to apologise. It’s amazing how well this works. Many of the children in the families Jo works with go from destructive and rude behaviour (even to the point of hitting or swearing at their parents/caregivers) to happy children who love their lives. They are not necessarily perfect, but their parents can communicate with them, whereas before they were at their wits end.

Kirby and I always planned to use Jo’s methods with our kids, and we do.

Mr Innocence
We use them with our cat, Felix. Well – a version of them anyway. Our cat, Felix, can be so kind and loving and give his feline sisters, Minerva and Frankie, kisses. But sometimes he turns into evil psycho cat and stalks his sisters, jumps on them, and goads them into battle. The girls hate it. He is a lot bigger than they are and easily pins them down. The girls meow and hiss and we know Felix is up to no good.

Well, we knew that until recently. I was watching Frankie one day, without her knowing I was there, and Felix walked past her. She hissed and meowed and carried on like he had attacked her. But, he hadn’t. Before I would have disciplined him, but I now knew he wasn’t always to blame.

I’ve realised the tell-tale sign of whether Felix has actually attacked his sisters is whether his tale is all fluffy. If it is – he’s been naughty.

That’s when I step in – and Felix runs and tries to hide, because he knows what’s coming next. Generally it is a game of corner the Felix until I can catch him. Without a word, I pick him up and carry him towards the bathroom.

He puts out his front paws to try and latch on to every door frame that we pass in a vain attempt to stop me taking him to the bathroom, but that doesn’t really work. He’s bigger than Min and Frankie, but I’m bigger than him!

I put him in the bathroom, put on the fan, close the door, and leave him in there for a few minutes. He hates it. I hear his pitiful meows, and I must admit it is quite funny.

After his “time out” has passed I open the door a fraction and ask him to apologise. He has to meow and then he is allowed out again. He has generally calmed down and is a little bit sorry for himself.

He never, ever attacks the girls again – at least not until the next day…

Who would have thought that Jo Frost’s methods of disciplining children would work for a cat as well?

Monday, September 16, 2013

First day at school…

This is how I always pictured it would go…

The first day of school is coming up fast and we are all nervous – Kirby, me, and our little boy, Jacob (I never pictured myself having girls…). We go to the school a few weeks before term starts to meet the teachers, share our nerves with other parents, and let Jacob play with his new classmates.

We listen to everything we would need to do to get Jacob ready for his big day – what he would need for his uniform, what books and stationery he would need, and what school hours would be. It is a lot to take in, but the school has given us a list with a welcome letter, so we will remember everything.

I like Jacob’s teacher.  She kind of looks like my first teacher at school, Miss Jorgensen, and I absolutely adored her.

The information session ends and we convince Jacob to come home with us, even though he would much rather stay and play with his new friends.

A few weeks pass and school is only a few days away. I bought book recently about children going to school and we read this to Jacob every night at bedtime for at least a week. He thinks school looks like fun and can’t wait to go. I, on the other hand, think the years since his birth have gone far too quickly and I would like just another few years with my “baby”.

The night before school, Jacob and I set out his clothes and make sure everything he is supposed to have is packed into his school bag. I can’t get him to stop talking about the next day – I think he would even be able to talk about school underwater. He reminds me on a few occasions that he is a big boy now – especially when I try to help him with his pyjamas. He can do the buttons on his own, thank you very much.

Jacob is up the next morning before the birds have even opened their eyes. He wakes us by jumping up and down on our bed. I could use more sleep, but really I’m happy that Jacob is looking forward to school so much.

We organise breakfast – a bit of a special breakfast with crumpets for Jacob’s first day at school. Kirby and I get dressed and then oversee Jacob putting on his shirt, shorts, socks, and, almost, his shoes. He needs a little help tying the laces, but he is getting there.

The school is only just down the road and we walk there in the sunshine, meeting other kids and their parents on the way. Jacob recognises one of the other boys – Fahad – that he met at the introduction session at the school. They became instant friends at the session, as only children seem capable of, and I could see them being friends for a very long time. Especially given their favourite football teams are the same – Port Adelaide!

Fahad’s parents walk with us into the school grounds and we walk toward the classroom. The teacher is ready to welcome the children and Jacob and Fahad are so enthralled with each other and the classroom that they only give us parents a brief backwards wave as they head in the door.

It’s then that the tears well up a little – my baby is a school kid now. Fahad’s Mum is crying a bit too, and I find a tissue in my bag to give to her. She smiles – and we share that moment in every mother’s (and father’s) life when our babies move into a wider world.

I’m glad Kirby was able to take the day off – I think I will need some TLC (tender loving care) today.


I know that the first day of school doesn’t normally go so well as this, but I figure if my son is never going to have one in reality – then the one I dream up for him is going to be close to perfect.

Our baby – this little one in the photo – would have been five years old this week.

I love you, my baby – my angel

Monday, September 9, 2013

Cars and corrections...

Hugo and Felix our cat - who also adores Hugo!
Last week I got "corrected"
by my nephew, Hugo, and I had to share this with you.

Regular readers of my blog will know that he is only just three years old, but he is so bright and so very comical.

I had picked Hugo up from child care and brought him back to our place for the evening. I asked him what he wanted to do and he said “Watch “Cars” and play cars.” Cars are pretty much the most awesome thing in Hugo’s world and I think we’ve watched the movie “Cars” together at least 345,212 times (okay – that’s an exaggeration). He’d had a big day at child care so we put on the movie and relaxed together until Kirby came home and we could have dinner.

There is a scene in the “Cars” movie which is very funny – actually there are many scenes that are funny – but this is one I particularly like. There is a scene where two of the characters (animated cars Mater and Lightening McQueen) are tractor tipping in a field (the equivalent of cow tipping!). Mater had warned McQueen to beware of Frank. McQueen had no idea who or what Frank was, until a roar and big beams of light came from behind a hill. Frank is a thresher who looks after the tractors and he was none too happy at Mater and McQueen tipping them over.

McQueen and Mater took off through the field to get to the fence before Frank could catch them.
All enthused, I yelled “Run, Lightening, run!”

Hugo threw me a look of surprise. Then he said “Aunty Kate, McQueen is a car – he has wheels, he can’t run, he has to drive really fast.”

I was definitely corrected! But, the way Hugo said it was more of the tone that he wanted me to understand, and not that he thought I was silly. Although I admit I felt a bit silly!

I love that kid so much. He is kind, intelligent, and basically a good soul. I will always love him no matter what, but he is one of those children that I know I will like when he is an adult regardless of whether he was related to me or not.

When I look at Hugo, I wonder what our children would have been like and what they would have been interested in. I’m sure cars would have been high on their list if they were anything like their Dad, and they would have loved animals and nature if they were anything like me. I wish we could have given Hugo cousins here in Australia – he does have cousins, but they live in another country.

When I see Hugo I could be sad at the reminder that Kirby and I have no children – but I don’t. I just see a little boy who I adore, and I couldn’t imagine life without him.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Kirby got chocolates...

And I ate half of them!

Last Sunday was Father’s Day here in Australia. It is a day that does remind Kirby and I that we don’t have our own children – there are no children (human at least) that give him a card and a present and make breakfast in bed for him.

Before Hugo was born Father’s Day was about us kids (Kirby, Zoe and me) celebrating our two Dads. We were the children – the next generation. When Hugo came along Father’s Day changed. We had a gorgeous little boy who celebrated his Papa (his Dad) and his Pop (Kirby and Zoe’s Dad). Our little nephew is of the next generation – the generation to which Kirby and my children would have belonged, and it became a little difficult to face Father’s Day.

Three Father’s Days on and it’s not nearly so emotionally difficult, and here’s why:

Father’s Day 2013

When I woke up after a little bit of a sleep in, Kirby was relaxing in the lounge watching a car race that he had taped the week before. He was the picture of relaxation in his pyjamas with Felix, one of our cats, sitting on his lap. Felix barely opened his eyes to look at me and in his state of bliss at being on Kirby’s lap I’m not sure he even registered that I was standing there!

I went and made a yummy breakfast of fruit muffins and coffee and brought it into the lounge. Frankie and Minerva (our other cats) came in and tried to convince us that they needed muffins for breakfast too! It didn’t happen…

After we had eaten I went and got an envelope and gave it to Kirby. This is what was written in the card:

Dear Daddy,

We meant to go and get you a present, but Ari and Odi chased the cats,
 the cats chased the fish, and the fish hid. So nobody went to the shops.
Okay – lame excuse, but we are animals! So go and buy a move or some music.

Lots of love,

Minerva, Frankie, Felix, Ari, Odi, Ursula, Dylan, Calypso, George, Sydney,
Harriet, Holly and the seven fish yet to be named.

Yep – our fur and scale kids had given a card to their Daddy. Although, because they are slackers and wouldn’t go to the shop, I had to organise the card. Kirby was delighted with his card and put it up on the wall unit.

The next few hours were spent changing cat litter, doing dishes, vacuuming and mopping the floor and setting the table for our guests. Kirby tried to use the card the kids gave him to get out of house work, as it said he should relax and take it easy. Nice try, but wasn’t going to happen!

My Mum and Dad arrived first, bearing caramel slice and a potato bake. Then Kirby’s folks, Zoe and Hugo turned up with sunshine salad (look up the recipe with jelly and pineapple in it – yum!) and a cake. We sat around the table and grazed on the dips and biscuits Zoe had brought.  Hugo was determined to play cars straight away, and feed the fish, but we told him we would do so after lunch.

Then it was present time. We gave my Dad his card and present first and then Kirby and Zoe’s Dad was given his. Both Dads loved their presents and their cards. Hugo’s Papa is currently overseas so Hugo didn’t get to give him his present on Sunday.

Next, Hugo brought over a present for Kirby. A lovely carton of chocolates! The card that accompanied it had a photo of Hugo with his toy elephant, tiger and zebra on it. Inside the card read:

Uncle Kirby’s Day

Dear Uncle Kirby

Best wishes for Uncle Kirby day.
 I love you and your cars.


Hugo's photo on Uncle Kirby's card
After the present giving we organised a BBQ lunch and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the day with our families and with our darling nephew, Hugo.

You see – on the first Father’s Day after Hugo was born, my mother-in-law organised a present from Hugo to Kirby and named Father’s Day as Uncle Kirby’s Day as well. It was a true gift from her. It makes Kirby feel special (and me on Mother’s Day, or Aunty Kate’s Day, too!). We are celebrated by Hugo as very important and much loved people in his life.

Father’s Day has become easier with each passing year, but more importantly, it has become a day for Kirby to be celebrated. His fur and scale kids celebrate him as their Daddy and Hugo celebrates him as his Uncle Kirby.

How could you not enjoy a day like that?

Especially given there were chocolates! 


Our fur kids...the fish refused to be photographed...



Frankie (Francesca)