I Get It, My Story Makes You Really Uncomfortable

HuffPost Parents ran an original piece yesterday and I wanted to make sure everyone here saw it too. Also, a piece from a friend! Have a great weekend! Justine ~~~

When Your Truth Makes Others Uncomfortable

The first defining part of my life story is one that makes people curious and sometimes left in awe.

I had two back surgeries in high school and was in a body cast for a year of my life.

I survived and overcame.

This makes people feel good and they want to know more; they want to know me.

Skip to 20 years later, and to the most defining part of my life, and it is one that makes people sad and scares the hell out of them.

Infertility treatments did not work for us and we are choosing a childfree not by choice life.

I survived and actively work to overcome and thrive each day.

This makes people sad and uncomfortable.

Click here to keep reading over at HuffPost Parents.

~~~

In Other News

My friend and a huge supporter of Ever Upward, Jessica over at A Hummingbird Paused has been selected as one of the Best Blogs for Resolve's Hope Awards.  I am so excited for her and asked her to write a blurb to share here:

You are not alone. As the theme for this year's Bloggers Unite challenge, it was easy to write about the infertility community and how to find support. There are so many ways to make connections and reach out to the community. But the loneliness? The isolation? That's not something that will just disappear. Because it all starts within your mind. That sense that you're different. Your path to parenthood may be unconventional or non-traditional. You may be forced to make hard choices that few can comprehend. You compare yourself to others and suddenly you start to feel isolated, lonely, and misunderstood. But let me tell you, just because your journey is different doesn't mean that you're alone. You are part of a welcoming and open community, and your story matters.

Being part of any community requires conversation and interaction. It's truly amazing how supportive the infertility and loss community is. And Resolve is a big part of that. They are a huge supporter of the blogging community, as well as providing invaluable resources and a voice on Capitol Hill. I'm so grateful for all they have accomplished and for what they continue to work towards.
Your voice in this community matters. And I would greatly appreciate your vote. But please check out the other bloggers who were nominated as well. Each one of them deserves this nomination for adding their voice to this challenge and for their vulnerability in sharing their stories. We are all in this together, and your participation in this vote is greatly appreciated!

 

More Difficult Than I Thought

National Infertility Awareness Week 2015 is coming to a close. I've felt sad, frustrated, angry, invisible and hopeful.

I have advocated, screamed, cried and sighed a breath of relief.

I have truly felt it all.

Thankfully, I do feel the tide turning ever so slightly.

And, I will not stop until it has.

The messages portrayed in mainstream media, by celebrities and even our fertility clinics must change. But, we as a community, together, must also stop reinforcing and perpetuating these same messages.

We must be more than our numbers.

We must stop comparing our journeys.

We must be more than our quest to become parents.

We must never give up on ourselves.

We must practice hope balanced with active acceptance.

We must accept that there are many versions of the happy ending.

And, we must be in this together.

This week I wrote a piece for Resolve's Bloggers Unite project, you can read the post here. To be honest I struggled immensely with writing this piece, it was a labor that I had to eventually walk away from not knowing that it was really my brave heart beginning to rear for my HuffPost piece.

My piece for HuffPost Parents is my soul's song, it is my mission, it is my ever upward baby. I simply needed to write it after feeling so invisible myself this week, you can read the post here.

And finally, CNN ran our story and featured Ever Upward, you can read the piece here. There are no words for how grateful I am for this piece, how well Kelly wrote it and the feedback we are receiving on it. I only wish it reaches far and wide so others may find their permissions.

Please share, we have so much work to do in infertility education and compassion.

We also have so much work to do ourselves, and together my fellow warriors it can change.

You Are Not Alone, Please Speak Your Way Out of the Darkness

To feel alone when surrounded by many is quite possibly the worst kind of lonely. There are millions of us who struggle to make our families. The statistics are enough to take our breath away:

  • 1 in 8 couples will struggle to conceive.
  • 1 in 4 pregnancies will end in loss.
  • 1 in 160 babies will be born still.

We are never alone in this journey, the numbers simply prove otherwise.

And, yet most of us fight all by ourselves, with our voices silenced and shame stealing our light.

This can be the darkness of infertility.

I entered into the infertility world never trying to get pregnant myself due to medical issues of my own. I entered into the infertility world as a mental health therapist who was already pretty open about my own struggles in life. And it is with these two differences, that I entered the infertility world as someone kind of on the outside or at least that is what it felt like a lot of the time.

After the infertility part of my journey I am a woman proven wrong. I am the furthest from alone in this journey as I am surrounded by my fellow warriors. Technically my infertility journey has ended without the desired result of children (I know those words are scary to read), and yet my journey is far from over. As us survivors know, this journey truly lasts a lifetime.

It is only through really using my voice and sharing my story that my chosen family has grown full of my fellow warriors. Through my work in Ever Upward (the book and the blog) I have met some of the most amazing people. People that, even though I may never meet in person, I can truly call my friends, and even family.

It has been this family who sees me, knows me and loves me even though my story scares them because it didn't turn out how we all hope ours will. It has been this family who has been one of the most helpful pieces of my forever healing journey.  It has been this family that supports my voice, my mission and my ever upward.

It is this family, along with my loved ones and His grace, that make up the monarch that graces the cover of Ever Upward.

A journey never alone. A journey not broken but coming together whole. A journey rising ever upward.

 
 

Speaking is our way out of the darkness.

Your voice does not have to be publishing the book or the huge public blog, it just has to be your voice, especially to your loved ones and to some of the people in your daily life. This is how you will thrive and not just survive the heart breaking and soul crushing journey that infertility can be.

Infertility can make us doubt the very core of who we are. It can make us doubt and question our faith, our bodies and our relationships.

This is the darkness of infertility, the darkest of dark.

It literally has the potential to destroy us.

But only if we allow it. And, I promise if you walk into this work you may actually find your light in this incredibly, damn near impossible, journey. I also promise it is worth it, no matter how you define your happy ending.

But I beg, please don't stand in the dark all alone and silent.

The more we speak the more we heal.

The more we speak the more our light shines again.

And, the more we speak the more compassion and understanding we will receive.

When we speak we are never alone.

When we speak we have one another.

When we speak we walk alongside one another leading each other out of the darkness always rising ever upward.

~~~

For more information on what infertility exactly is click here.

Learn more about National Infertility Awareness Week here.