Category: Childless Community

LISTEN UP! This movie script bites!

Published / by sandymichelet / 2 Comments on LISTEN UP! This movie script bites!

We went to the movies over the weekend and one of the main characters died. What the heck!? I was 100% convinced that she’d pop up at the end in a dramatic “taaa daaaaaa” fashion. In fact, the lump in my throat kept growing because I just knew that she’d miraculously reappear. Nope. Didn’t happen. The credits started rolling, the over-the-top-sad-music played and I kept staring back at the screen, a little surprised. I mean, there are always happy endings.

The next time you are in an office or crowd…do a slow pirouette (or, like me, turn in a clumsy circle and try not to hurt anyone) and take a minute to absorb this fact about the people you are seeing.

One in 8 couples struggle to build a family. Think about that magnitude. One in EIGHT of the people you just saw could be a warrior at the office…kicking butt and taking names…and then spend their nights curled up in ball of tears on the living room floor.

Happy National Infertility Awareness Week, April 23-29th

 

Well…..not happy….but….you get my point.  The NIAW campaign was started to help those in the infertile community feel more empowered by providing tools and resources to help them build a family.

LISTEN UP! Infertility impacts millions. MILLIONS. OF. PEOPLE. And like cancer, diabetes and sarcasm, it does not discriminate.

There is a lot to be said about feeling empowered. I remember years ago the innocence of it all. “When we have a child” rolled off the tongue so easily that I never imagined it wouldn’t happen. But as time, procedures and hope passed I realized that I had ZERO control of any of it. It is difficult to feel empowered when something as “easy” as conceiving wouldn’t happen.

Some of the strongest people I know have been unable to conceive or adopt for one reason or another. They would give up everything (and sometimes have) for the chance to have a child. 

In our every day life we are all expected and conditioned to solve every problem in our lives. The miracle stories, the support groups and even the doctors can sometimes cause us to continue. To continue the treatment. To continue the hope. To continue the pain. And because the prize is so great we rightfully continue to grasp at any hope that exists.

But sometimes it just doesn’t work. And attempting but failing again and again is why many of us in this situation feel like losers everyday. Because we always hear that someone’s cousin’s mail lady’s hairdresser was able to conceive a child when all of medical science said it wasn’t possible. Well, wahoo.

So….like a project manager on cortisone, we mapped out our life’s plan so we could control our own destiny. We decided what types of fertility treatments to try…..when to start (and then end) the adoption process… and when to begin sharing our struggles (and then heartbreak) publicly.

In the quest for feeling 100% empowered over controlling our destiny, I found another piece to this….acceptance. After years and years and years, I didn’t give up but I DID make the decision to stop. My body couldn’t handle anything else and my heart was in pieces. It was time for another plan.

We are each in a different fork in the road. Some are just beginning this journey. Some have walked the path and have the battered feet, hearts and bank accounts to prove it. It is up to each of us to decide next steps. NO ONE can make the decision for us. And it is one of the hardest I’ve ever had to make. But one step that I never considered until recently was just….acceptance.

Every baby story doesn’t end with a baby.

Every adoption story doesn’t end with a child.

Every infertility story doesn’t end with a happy ending.

But just because the movie ended differently than I expected doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a good movie. I will never know what would have been. THIS is my new normal. Being childless is a whole new world. It is nothing that I ever planned. But, LISTEN UP! I plan to rock it.

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Visit www.infertilityawareness.org

 

 

 

Aliens, Meghan Trainor and Finding Common Ground

Published / by sandymichelet / 1 Comment on Aliens, Meghan Trainor and Finding Common Ground

Years ago I saw a documentary about people who believed they had come into contact with an alien life form. They were convinced that they had either seen an actual alien or had been abducted. The documentary followed an interviewer over the span of several years with one intent; to show that aliens existed and that we are not alone. He took the viewers on a journey from the most metropolitan areas to small villages that had little communication with the outside world.

During each segment, the interviewer allowed the person to talk freely and encouraged them to provide details about their experiences – what happened, what they saw, why they felt it was an alien, did they feel peace, did they feel danger, etc. These were people from every corner of the globe with no possible chance of ever having come into contact with each other. And every interview ended with one simple request “could you draw me a picture of what you saw”? Before the final credits rolled, the interviewer showed us the drawings…..one after another after another. And without fail, the pictures were almost identical.

How is that possible? Do aliens exist? I don’t know. But I do know that something incredible happened during that two hour documentary. While the interviewer was all about the aliens, bout the aliens (sorry Meghan Trainor), I couldn’t help but think there was something bigger than us drawing us together. How could people halfway across the world with nothing in common find, well, something in common?

Imagine them going back to their families/friends/co-workers to tell the tale of what they saw. I’d assume that they struggled to put it into words. They were probably ridiculed (publically or privately)…they were made to feel that they were crazy…that they  didn’t see what they think they saw…..that no one else around them saw an alien, etc. It took a lot of guts to stand up and say “STOP. You aren’t gonna change my mind. I know what I saw.” There is strength in numbers …..so I bet they would have found comfort in meeting others just like them…others who saw and experienced the same thing.

Fast forward. In a previous post, I talked about going to the Gateway-Women’s retreat. I met women from every corner of the US who had never come into contact with each other. We had (right or wrong) felt ridiculed, sometimes felt crazy, etc. It took a lot of guts to stand up and say “STOP. I will NEVER stop thinking about my desire to be a mom…but I do want to see what’s on the other side of this grief.”

Similar to those who saw aliens, those of us who are childless live in every corner of the globe…..from the most metropolitan areas to small villages that have little communication to the outside world. It doesn’t make it ok…..but it sure as heck means that we are not alone.

10 of the most powerful minutes of my life

Published / by sandymichelet / 4 Comments on 10 of the most powerful minutes of my life

I have a challenge. Ask a group of women how they feel about themselves. Most of us are pretty hard on ourselves….we don’t work out enough, we don’t spend enough time with <<insert name>>, we don’t spend enough time doing <<insert activity>>, we never feel that we are on top of things, we can’t balance everything, whatevah whatevah whatevah.

Ask a group of childless women how they feel about themselves as childless women?  It almost brought me to my knees. Last weekend I attended a retreat right outside of Los Angeles (the other LA). It was a long flight and I had grandiose plans of catching up on email and reading a new book. Yep. You guessed it. Slept the whole way there.

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“So six childless women walk into a bar”

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The organizer had scheduled a quick get together Friday night for those already of us who were already in town so we could introduce ourselves and get ready for the weekend. A small group of us found each other quickly. We decided to grab dinner at this awesome dumpling joint (that makes it sound cool, huh??).

As we walked from the bar to the restaurant, one of the group yelled “Let’s cross the street…and don’t worry about the crosswalk….no one is going to hit a pack of childless women”… I had never heard that before and we all started to relax a little.  We ordered and started sharing stories so effortlessly. None of us were on edge waiting for the expected conversation that eventually happens when a group of people get together. No one in this group talked about their child or children. But everyone talked about the child we always wanted.

The next morning (and after my first Uber ride) we walked into the retreat center…..an intimate cottage that would be our safe place for the next two days. Do you know that sound when you first walk into church or a funeral home….where everyone before is talking in their normal voice and then as soon as you cross the threshold everyone starts whispering? Yep. That was it.

I have promised anonymity so “Mallory” welcomed us at 9am and gave us the game plan for the weekend.

After a forced 5 minutes of complete stillness and quiet, Mallory explained about our first official exercise. “Write a word or phrase to describe yourself as a childless women”…I couldn’t get my Sharpie out quickly enough. 1, then 2, then 3, then 4, then 5, then 6, then 7….I stopped counting the number of post-its I was using. We all got up quietly and stuck them to the wall.

Worthless | Less than everyone else | Not a real woman | Failure | No legacy | Afraid of dying alone | Pissed | Sad | Disappointed | Scared | Regretful | Shameful | Embarrassed | At fault/Blame | Discounted | Others are more important | Not valued | Alone | No one will remember me | Incomplete | Wounded | Inadequate | Unfair | Regretful | Not whole | Left out | Jealous | Lost | Unworthy | Judged | Misunderstood | Defective

In a previous post I said I wanted to hear my words come out of other people’s mouths…..Well I did. And I didn’t like it. Twelve strangers from around the country. Everyone wrote the same words. I knew what I thought about myself as a childless woman….but seeing other women experience those same thoughts was anguishing. I am not much of a crier. But the lump in my throat was so large I was actually Struggling. To. Breathe. I was ready to sit down. I had had enough. Mallory asked us to get closer to the posts and to “really look at them”. This group of strangers read each other’s words over and over again, silently sobbing, moving closer and closer together, arms linked. It was ten of the most powerful minutes of my life. I was not alone. I had found my people.

After that emotional drain I knew it had to be close to lunch time. I was ready to grab some food and think about something else. Nope. It was 9:20.