Saturday, August 14, 2010

Spotlight Blogger: Meet Michelle M.

This week we are featuring Michelle of Not Quite Juno.  First of all, please tell us a little bit about yourself. (Name, age, where you are from, what led to you making an adoption plan, and anything else you feel comfy sharing!)
My name is Michelle Masterson, and I am a birthmother. Easy to say but not always easy to live as many of you know. I am 32 years old and the proud Mommy of 4 children in addition to the little one I placed in April of 2009.

When I first found out I was pregnant, it was in early October of 2008. I remember sitting in the bathroom in tears for an hour, thinking there was NO WAY I was pregnant. I had been on birth control since my son was born in 2007 and was convinced that the test was wrong. But after taking three more tests, I had to start thinking in reality...what now?

I would love to say that adoption was my first option, but in all honesty, I called the clinics to see what an abortion cost. $483 and I was too many weeks into the pregnancy. I was no hero. When abortion became a non option, I went into a bit of a funk, trying to figure out what I could do. To say we were struggling financially as a family at that time would be an understatement, and I knew that there was going to be no way to raise another child. I remember sitting on my couch, staring off into space, and when things came back into focus, I was staring at the bright orange copy of the movie "Juno", sitting happily on the shelf with about 50 other movies. why hadn't we thought of that??? I called some agencies and it all felt like a huge "supply and demand" type of thing and I wasn't comfortable with any of it. I looked at private adoptions too.

One night, in early November, out of crazed desperation, I typed the words "Baby Adopt" into the search box on Craigslist, and 8 families popped up. I emailed each one a short paragraph describing my situation and waited for responses. Out of those, I emailed back and forth with several couples before finding one I liked enough to meet. Within five minutes, I felt comfortable with them, and chose them a few days later to be parents of my soon to be child. They went to every doctor’s appointment with me, were at the birth, and the Daddy even cut the cord. They took her home directly from the hospital, and the rest is history...right? Wrong!

When and why did you begin blogging? I began blogging in January of 2010, 9 months after she was born. I had run across a few blogs of other birthmothers that really inspired me in the fact that these women had been through what I had, and had survived anyways. (Thanks Kelsey and Desha)  I had settled into a deep, deep depression and found that I had zero support staff in place to talk to. My husband was avoiding the topic altogether, my friends thought I had the plague, and because I was worried "about any more expenses" to my adoptive couple, I had elected to NOT receive any type of counseling. It was just me, and a bottomless well of sorrow, anger, and guilt. I have always liked to write, and a blog seemed the perfect place to just throw it all out there and then let it go. I felt that just because no one wanted to listen, didn't mean that I didn't have things to say. So I started my blog as my own inexpensive version of therapy.

The title of your blog, Not Quite Juno, is unique and cute. How (and why) did you come up with your title? 
I had only seen "Juno" once, about a year before adoption entered into my life. I remembered it as being a cute movie, with a girl who went through a hard situation with a great sense of humor, and came out on the other end of it just fine. In no way did I think that it was an accurate portrayal of adoption, but I could relate to her in some ways. I spent the whole pregnancy in a daze, convinced that I was simply carrying this child for these two wonderful people who really wanted to be parents; who “deserved” it. I was super calm during the pregnancy and spent more time trying to convince them this was really going to happen, that I couldn't change my mind, and trying to help them prepare to be parents than I did worrying or wondering what was really going to happen to me. When I signed the relinquishment papers, all of my delusion slipped away, and that's when the gravity of the situation hit me. What had I done? Why wasn't I happy and moving on? I named the blog "Not Quite Juno" to remind myself, and others, who had seen it, that not everything works out in life quickly. Adoption and especially the road of a birthmother is long, it is hard, and it is constant. But it doesn't have to be a bad thing.

Has the response to your blog posts been mostly positive or negative or a mix of both? My blog sat quietly for months, as I wrote and wrote, and tried to work through my issues. Then one day, out of the blue, I wrote a post called, "Always on Our Best Behavior" about  adoptive couple profiles, and the forced "plastic-ness" of them. That's when the blog took off. All of a sudden, people were emailing me, and commenting, and following, and instantly, I had a support network that I never thought I would. The response has been SO overwhelmingly positive, and I am still in awe of that. Once in awhile, someone will say something negative, but I welcome that as much as anything. I know how far from perfect I am, and I have no issues with other people pointing it out to me. I also added a formspring link, where people can ask anonymous questions, and for some reason that seems to be where most of the negativity pops up. I get people who ask me stuff like, "Why weren't you smart enough to use birth control?" or "Why do you think that you should have any contact with that baby....You gave her away?" Somedays, the questions sting, and somedays I answer them.  It just depends.

Do you have any advice for anyone else thinking of starting a blog? I would tell anyone writing a blog to stay true to their emotions when writing their story. I usually add disclaimers reminding people that these are my thoughts, my views, my opinions...of MY journey. Writing what you think people want to read doesn't provide any real therapy or clarity. You have to be you. Even when "you" are wrong.

Thanks Michelle for sharing your heart with all of us who read your blog.


  1. awesome spotlight! love you lady!

  2. I am so happy I found Michelle's blog! She's awseome and real and I love reading what she has to say. I also made a new friend!! Love u girl!

  3. Bravo! Love your voice, love your thoughts and love your honesty. SO proud to call you friend.

  4. Michelle has been the most influential to me in teaching me how to be myself. I love her with all my heart.

  5. Hey Michelle- this is Michele S. another birth mother too!!! I had my daughter is 1985 so yes I am old. lol
    I am amazed by your strength and the ability to speak so openly about it all and you still be new to this considering your child was placed in 2009. I am in awe of what you have accomplished in such a short period and yet it has taken me 25 years to process. I am also in reunification with my daughter. It is a roller coaster for sure but one I would never change for anything.

    Hang strong my friend, please keep speaking your mind, you are an inspiration to all birth moms, including an oldie like myself!!!