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It’s just like Woodstock – but without the mud

Published / by sandymichelet / Leave a Comment

Well….and probably without the drugs and rock and roll…..but I’m not making any promises.

In early October, I and a zillion* other childless women (*numbers not confirmed yet) will descend upon Cleveland for the annual Not Mom Summit.

The 2017 Not Mom Summit….yeah, one actually exists.

For most of us who have been to a conference, we know how it works. Keynote speaker, concurrent sessions, lots of networking, probably a lil drinking. The website promises to connect, inform and empower the growing community of women without children by chance or by choice. Sounds like a laughfest, right?

Why am I going?

Because misery loves company? No. Because I want to cry in front of bunch of strangers? No. Because we are all a bunch of lonely, desperate women? Wrong again.

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I talked to one of my closest friends (she is also a childless). She contrasted the difference in how she and I are both handling this life. She doesn’t like to talk about anything related to childlessness because she finds the whole thing devastating. And, as you know….people are morons…. so the conversation about childlessness never ends well for the childless one. So she has created a cocoon for herself to insulate her from the pain of the outside world.

Remember, that childlessness never ends. It is more obvious when someone is in childbearing years and cannot get pregnant at that moment….but …..but not having a child means not walking someone into their first day of kindergarten, watching them learn to play a musical instrument or watching them attend their first homecoming, consoling them during their first breakup, watching them grow and be a better you than you could ever be (and…get a few of the bad qualities, of course!)….it means not watching my child have a child of her own….

It. Never. Ends.

Years ago when this first started it felt like every piece of bad news was a sharp knife and I couldn’t catch my breath. The blade on each experience/test/failed attempt got longer, sharper and was pushed in with much more force than the last.  In the past, my response to the sharp blades were still met with anger and sheer determination that I would overcome this. I would win this war. I would have a child. As time passed (along with my hope), the blade seems to have dulled a little and only cuts me once in a while. As a childless woman ages, the support system changes. The “YOU CAN DO THIS!”, “YOU CAN BEAT INFERTILITY” cheerleaders are replaced with those on the sidelines, sadly in the realization that this is it. And the cheers stop. And the pity starts.

I am 49…so I am muchhhh further along than many women who are just starting this journey. While I can’t say that I am an expert at the childless life, I am an expert at my childless life. When I started this blog I was still whispering the term “childless”….I knew that I identified with the group but was still struggling…..now, I am more of a “scream it from the rooftops to let other women know its ok” kinda gal.

So….uh…why am I going?

Remember my friend from earlier? She didn’t want to talk about it….as I grow stronger, my network of childless women grows stronger. My tribe grows stronger. Now I am bringing it up as opposed to cowering in a corner waiting for someone to ask me if I have kids. Wanna know what a loser I am!? I made freaking cards…. because I keep running into people who have been touched by childlessness and infertility….and I want them to know they are not alone.

So back to the Not Mom Summit.

I am excited to meet other women and see where they are in their journey. An event like this is one of VERY few places we can go without fear of someone asking “do you have kids, why don’t you, did you this/that to get pregnant?”. We don’t hear miracle conception stories at the lunch tables next to us. We aren’t shown pictures of other people’s kids. At this moment, we are insolated. THIS is our support system.

So, will it be fun? Heaven knows there are tears on the other side of the plane ride but I am ready for it. I am ready to meet keynote speaker Jody Day in person and tell her how she helped change my life. I am also ready to bond with women exactly like me. It could get crazy up in here! A few women…a few glasses of wine….stories about hysterosalpingograms….we will be out. of. control.

…..If my plan works, I will be making friends, sharing stories and trying to let those who couldn’t attend know what’s happening. So think Woodstock. Think Oscars. Only different.

Why I don’t want Daenerys to get pregnant

Published / by sandymichelet / Leave a Comment

Welcome to my first (and only) Game of Thrones themed post. Even if you aren’t a fan of the HBO show, don’t worry. This post will still make sense….so keep reading.

The blonde lead actress in the show is always introduced (in a super cool accent) as “Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons”. I don’t wanna brag….but my moniker is similar.

Very similar. But say it with a Louisiana drawl. “Sandy Michelet of Baton Rouge, First of Her Name, the Burnt Food Cooker, Queen of the Wedge Sandals, Devotee of the Wheat Grass Smoothie, Breaker of Rules, and Mother of Brody the Chocolate Lab.” No, it doesn’t have quite the same punch….but it can be a snazzy update for my Facebook profile name.

Early in the series, Daenerys became pregnant with her first child and I remember being silently disappointed. (Don’t judge me.) She was so powerful and kicked butt with her 5′ 2′ frame. I couldn’t imagine how she could continue to overtake cities to build her army while caring for a newborn. Because this is TV, she, in a twisted attempt to save her husband, negotiated with a witch and lost her baby. I had been disappointed when she became pregnant….so when she lost the baby I immediately felt guilty.

What surprised me was how I felt after this scene. Since she was no longer pregnant, I knew she could continue brutally demonstrating her strength and power (and her unwavering commitment to rule the Seven Kingdoms). But why did I think that?! Does that mean that women lose their ability to rule or their ability to topple cities as soon as they become pregnant? Of course not!  But it does show that I had my own expectation about what I wanted this powerful character to be.

I want a childless hero.

Flash forward to last week’s show. Daenerys told Jon Snow that she was sure couldn’t have children (the witch told her). That felt like horrible foreshadowing…I am guessing now that after the one night tryst on last week’s show (with a hottie) she will become pregnant….

I am not sure who said this quote but I love it. “We cannot be what we cannot see”….so shouldn’t the world’s role models reflect, well, the world!?. I don’t want her to have a child…I don’t want her to experience the miracle…I don’t want her to have the greatest gift that she could….aughhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! She has a freaking dragon. Three of them! Isn’t that enough!? Why would she have to have a child to become “complete”?

Daenaerys and I both worry about our legacies. As time goes on, I will begin to fall off family trees because my branches don’t go anywhere. I don’t have a child to continue this awesome blood line of migraines, anxiety and a fondness for junk food. After building an army of over 100,000, she wants to rule the Seven Kingdoms but doesn’t have a silver hair winner of the gene pool to reign once she’s dead. I agree. That is a lot to consider. And I’ve just been worried about who will want my formal china and wedding dress.

Adoption is soooooooooo easy

Published / by sandymichelet / Leave a Comment

Every person or couple struggling to have a baby has heard the same advice. In fact, the advice never ends….and it is usually horrible.

I am not against getting advice. Help me pick out the color of my couch or the flowers for my front yard. I’d love that.

However, I needed a little more space when it came to whether or not adoption was right for us and how to maneuver through the process. We didn’t publically discuss our troubles with fertility until I started this blog a few months ago. Most of our friends and family had no idea of the struggles. We (for whatever reason) kept the fertility problem close to the vest…so when it came to adoption, Craig and I were like a steel vault. We didn’t tell anyone we were considering adoption because it would provide a glimmer of hope….and so far we hadn’t been successful with any other baby-making activity.

I don’t know why….but starting the adoption process and not ending up with a baby seemed like Failure – Level Two.

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If anything can guarantee a child it is adoption.  Yep. It’s that simple.

Walk into Target, select the one you want, put it in the shopping cart, on the conveyer belt, load into your car and BAM! You’re a parent.

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There are numerous routes on the adoption journey…and many of those end with beautiful, happy families. We know several couples who have adopted and can’t imagine how they could be any happier. We aren’t adoption experts……but this is our experience and 3 options we considered.

Adopt through Catholic Charities

We started here. Just like the maze of infertility…there is a web of processes for adoption…an entire world that no one even knows exists…unless you are one of the *ah hem* lucky ones with fertility issues. One of the women at Catholic Charities realized that we were clueless and walked us through a high level of our options.

Adopt through the foster care system

We had already been warned that the emotion of adoption was going to add a whole new layer to the fertility issues…but were told that adopting through the foster care system would test our patience and strength at every turn.

In the state of Louisiana, you cannot be approved to adopt without also being approved to foster. I think it is called dual certification. I was adamant that I didn’t want to foster…I could not have a child in my home only to have it yanked from me…my emotions were still too raw at this point.

However, to get to the adoption finish line we had to attend classes on “how to adopt/foster”. Our first one was early on a Saturday morning. We were the first to arrive (ok, we were 30 minutes early). We sat with several other people in the room….the woman conducting the class silently walked past the 6 of us and stood at a podium 20 feet away and began a lecture as if we were learning verb conjugation.

I was ready to hear about expanding our family, bringing love to a child who needed, etc. I was on the edge of my seat to hear her first words that would bring us to the finish line….a child. She held up a piece of paper….I leaned forward trying to see if it was a letter from a child, a picture of a happy family, etc. Nope. “To be reimbursed for mileage for your (3 mile drive from my house), fill out this form and send it to blah blah blah.” I could hear Craig exhale next to me because he knew what I was thinking….and terrified of what bit of wisdom/feedback/sarcasm/obvious irritation I would inject into this display.

I sat quietly (no, really!!!) and listened to a few facts. We weren’t allowed to have X number of kids living in the same room, we couldn’t have a child if we didn’t have a fenced in yard, we would be required to allow “inspectors” to come to our home to make sure we weren’t running some type of seedy operation out of our kitchen, etc.

Everyone in the room was interested in foster care…so in order not to slow down the Q&A session, we stayed after class so I could get my 5 typed pages of adoption related questions answered. I wanted someone to listen to me, hear our plight….provide the teeniest glimmer of light after this tunnel of blah. But nope. After years of being poked, prodded, put on medications to make my body do things, put on medications to make my body NOT do things, etc. I was told that I “just had to be patient”.

I am not sure if I blacked out at that point, but I remember climbing back into the car covered in tears and hearing Craig ask me over and over again WHY ARE YOU YELLING AT HER WHEN SHE IS TRYING TO HELP?

Adopt through a private agency.

This was by far the best experience.  I was talking with someone I trusted (I knew her personally). I wish we had started with her….however, we didn’t know what we didn’t know. We didn’t know that every medical test, procedure, etc wouldn’t work. Had we known though, it really wouldn’t have mattered. We initially didn’t have the financial means to even consider a $30,000 adoption fee.

By the time we found this option, we were better off financially (granted, $30,000 was still an enormous amount of money). But….We. Were. Exhausted.  We had spent 15 years researching, trying option after option, etc. I didn’t have any energy left and didn’t have any more tears to cry.