Tag: Infertility support

Is infertility a 3 ringed circus?

Published / by sandymichelet / Leave a Comment

A few years ago I gave my brother some juggling bowling pins for his birthday. Yes, we are weird like that. But I knew he could instantly pick them up and juggle like he had been doing it for years. I was right. Smooth movements, kept them in the air. Me!? I almost hurt myself just trying to wrap them.

Throughout the infertility/adoption process we met with an endless number of doctors, specialists, therapists, etc. Appointments, rescheduling, testings, appointments, etc. I can’t count the number of waiting rooms I’ve sat in…waiting to hear my name called….waiting to hear test results…waiting for someone to get all up in my lady biz-ness.  Everything was in a hurry. Then we’d wait. Then hurry. Then wait. This person was supposed to talk to that insurance company, while the other person was trying to get me in to see that person. Freaking three ringed circus. In the middle of all of it, though, I felt alone.

The silence after the appointments are over is deafening. Loneliness creeps in. For whatever reason, Craig and I didn’t share a lot about our struggles with other people. Now that I finally am talking about it, it is difficult to explain why we didn’t back then. It wasn’t a conscious decision.

It didn’t matter though. I could have talked with every person on this planet and still felt alone. It’s strange how trying to build another human being can be such a lonely process.

People’s questions and comments about trying to get pregnant often cut me to the core. No one ever meant to be hurtful. But one question at dinner, another question while at a party, another while on the phone, etc…..after a while I wanted to avoid the conversations. Because I felt like there was a huge sign pointing to me. ——> STEP RIGHT UP AND SEE THE BROKEN WOMAN RIGHT HERE!

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When you are the only one in your world wearing a formal gown and flippers, you stand out.

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During that time we were trying to survive the heartbreak of infertility, the roller coaster of treatments and a lot of other overused imagery phrases. Throw adoption classes in there and we were on a never ending merry go round. (ok. that was the last circus reference).

Why didn’t we share a lot?

  • Because then I had to stop focusing on why/how my world was collapsing and take care of someone else.
  • Not sure what to say
  • Embarrassed
  • Worried about “helpful” suggestions
  • Didn’t want to
  • Sharing information gave up control
  • Once people are involved, they are always involved

What is the right answer? I clearly have no idea. I have some friends/family who think I didn’t share enough of our struggles. I have some friends/family who never wanted to hear about it.

We never planned to the treatment and adoption discussions private…but we also never discussed how we’d communicate any of that. There were only two goals. Getting a baby. And keeping the bowling pins in the air.   

12 Days of Childlessness and 12 Days of Infertility.

Published / by sandymichelet / Leave a Comment

On the 1st day of Childlessness, my inner voice said to me “This bites, you’ll have no legacy”.

On the 2nd day of Childlessness, my inner voice said to me “What did I do wrong”

On the 3rd day of Childlessness, my inner voice said to me “I have empty arms”

On the 4th day of Childlessness, my inner voice said to me  “I will die alone”

On the 5th day of Childlessness,

my inner voice reminded me 

“FIVE PREGNANT HIGH SCHOOL GIRLSSSSSSSSS”

On the 6th day of Childlessness, my inner voice said to me “People treat me different”

On the 7th day of Childlessness, my inner voice said to me “I’ll never have a baby”

On the 8th day of Childlessness, my inner voice said to me “I’m embarrassed that I’m broken”

On the 9th day of Childlessness, my inner voice said to me “My family is small, its my fault”

On the 10th day of Childlessness, my inner voice said to me “Am I a real woman?”

On the 11th day of Childlessness, my inner voice said to me “Don’t look at me with pity”

On the 12th day of Childlessness, my inner voice said to me “Will I be remembered?”, “Don’t look at me with pity”, “Am I a real woman?”, “My family is small, its my fault” “I’m embarrassed that I’m broken”, “I’ll never have a baby”, “People treat me different”, “FIVE PREGNANT HIGH SCHOOL GIRLSSSSSSSSS”,  “I will die alone”, “I have empty arms”, “What did I do wrong” and “This bites, you’ll have no legacy”.

12 days of Infertility

To me, someone who is infertile has been unable to conceive a child but is still TTC (trying to conceive) and is hopeful that it will happen. 

On the 1st day of Infertility, my family asked of me “Are you pregnant? We want to see a ba-by”

On the 2nd day of Infertility, my coworkers asked of me “Have you seen a doctor?”

On the 3rd day of Infertility, my dry cleaner said to me “Stop trying it will happen”

On the 4th day of Infertility, my neighbor said to me “Adoption is an option”

On the 5th day of Infertility, my doctor said to me

“FIVE CLOMID DAYSSSSSSSSSSSSS”

On the 6th day of Infertility, my pharm tech said to me “You need to try harder”

On the 7th day of Infertility, my lady at the drive through said to me “If its meant to be you’ll have one”

On the 8th day of Infertility, my mailman said to me “Hurry, you’re getting older”

On the 9th day of Infertility, my waitress said to me “Is it you who has the problem?”

On the 10th day of Infertility, my dentist said to me “IVF could fix this”

On the 11th day of Infertility, my nail tech said to me “Why can’t you get pregnant”?

On the 12th day of Infertility, my doctor said to me “This will never happen”, “Why can’t you get pregnant”?, “IVF could fix this”, “Is it you who has the problem?”, “Hurry, you’re getting older”, “If its meant to be you’ll have one”, “You need to try harder”, “FIVE CLOMID DAYSSSSSSSSS”, “Adoption is an option”, “Stop trying it will happen”, “Have you seen a doctor?”, “Are you pregnant? We want to see a ba-by”

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This started to be a tongue in cheek blog post…but as I wrote I started remembering the unsolicited (i.e. unwelcome/unwanted/not helpful) advice I had received over the years. Add that advice to me already beating myself up and it was a constant barrage of negativity….like a partridge jumping out of the pear tree to peck the childless to death.

Others dream of visions of sugar plums dancing in their head. We dream of a child. 

Others think a Silent Night is a good thing. We think its another night without hearing a cooing baby.

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth. Nope…………………………

We heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

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.