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.
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.