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Foot in mouth….the moron’s definition of a family

Published / by sandymichelet / 4 Comments on Foot in mouth….the moron’s definition of a family

In a casual conversation a few days ago, I was talking with someone about careers and laughing about how priorities change. Ten years ago we were climbing the corporate ladder and now we just want to go home and sit in the backyard. How things change! When we were wrapping up he said “I know you’d like to get home to your family….I mean, not your family….but to your husband.” He caught himself when he said family and tried to correct it.

Why would there be a need to correct that!? Uhhhhhh…..I thought that my husband and I were a family. Aren’t we!? I was surprised. Does that mean because we don’t have children together that we aren’t a family? Does that mean every childless couple is just that? A couple?? And they can never be more?

So that got me thinking.

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Sandy’s official definition of family:

Group o’ humans joined together through emotional ties; who you can count on at any time, day or night; who care about your existence and will fight to protect you; who know the good and bad about you but still love you; who matter to you; who you want to call when you have a really good day or really bad day.

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There are no right or wrong definitions of a family, right? I think we can all agree that blood relatives are not the best indication of family. Maybe on paper, yes. But in reality!? Nope. Some people have blood relatives who aren’t even on their radar. Read the soon-to-be-famous-Sandy’s-official-definition-of-family again. Those who meet that criteria could be extended family, friends, neighbors, co-workers or covered in fur or feathers.

The point is that we shouldn’t define ourselves by what someone else calls us. We make that distinction.

So…do I have a family? Yes. And I am going meet that family at Outback for dinner. Table for two.

You want me to stop the cat lady references? Right meow?

Published / by sandymichelet / Leave a Comment
  • Single, childless man: Sexy, mysterious, worldly, available, distinguished, desirable.
  • Single, childless woman: Shrew, cat lady, barren, sad, alone.
  • Single, childless woman with a cat: “I feel sorry for her. She must be so lonely.”
  • Single, childless man with a dog: “He’s having so much fun…walking man’s best friend.”

When did the cat lady become a thing? And why is it synonymous with older woman without a child?

In a previous post I shared my experience at the Gateway-Women’s Reignite Retreat where I met with 12 other childless women from around the country. The first day of the retreat was gut wrenching but important. On the second day we each created a plan to thrive in our life as opposed to just “existing” – even though we were each living in this, the unexpected and undesired normal. We also addressed the stigma of childlessness that we all know exists…but don’t talk about. And how as someone ages it gets worse. And cruel.

Shrew | Cat lady | Barren | Sad | Lonely | The witch who lives in the shoe | Old lady with crooked fingers | Will steal children | | Spends her social security money on cat food

The older, childless female characters in Disney movies aren’t even shown in a positive light. Maleficint, the evil queen from Snow White, Ursula from the Little Mermaid, the witch in Hansel and Gretel, Cruella de vil, etc. What do they all have in common? Older, single, childless women. <Me, trying to think of an older Disney character who has kids> Oh! Cinderella’s stepmother has daughters.  AUGH!! SHE IS EVIL TOO! See what I mean!?

You’ve cat to be kitten me right meow.

I am not on a rant. I don’t even own a cat. It’s just a strange phenomenon that I could never get my arms around…..but it seems that the mere existence of Whiskers changes the game.

Forget Disney movies. Moving forward I plan to be less Cruella and more Sigourney Weaver’s character “Ripley from Aliens”. An older, childless woman who kicks ass and saves the world. And OMG. She has a cat.

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