Choosing in Alignment With Who I Want To Be

I have been blogging for over a year and half now. A lot of learning, growth, healing and connection has happened in that year and a half. 204 posts of learning, growing and healing to be exact. As I am continuing to work on growing the platform of Ever Upward, I am growing my Justine Froelker’s YouTube channel. You can find Self-Care Tip Tuesdays, funny videos of the dogs, tapping scripts, my appearances on Great Day St. Louis and videos of me speaking to old blog posts, so please subscribe!

I originally wrote Being the Happiest and Healthiest Version of Ourselves in April of 2015. This is a slightly reworked and updated version of it, along with a NEW video explanation.

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Working my recovery is never easy.

It is always simple though.

Some days I love it, some days I do it even though I can think of a thousand other things to do instead.

And, some days life simply gets in the way.

The frustration of falling off track with the choices of recovery. The sense of it never getting easier. The inaccurate inner critic telling us that we are a failure and that we will never _____________ (get better, lose the weight, be happy, achieve success...).

When this happens it can feel easier to just stay down, to wallow and sit in the shit.

How long does this have to feel like such a struggle? Will it always be this hard? Will I ever feel motivated to choose better?

Some of my clients look at me and think this recovery I fight for every day is easy and that I have it all figured out, which really only means they must not be keeping up on the blog ;). They think that the only way I practice my self-care daily is because I feel like it and I am super jazzed and awesomely motivated to (sarcasm).

And, sure, there are days this can feel true, but not every day, in fact probably not most days.

There are days that I must simply choose it.

Just do it.

And no, it is not easy. But it is simple. However, I know choosing recovery is definitely not easy, and maybe not even simple, in the depths of severe depression and anxiety. But, I do believe that we still always have the ability to choose again.

Practicing recovery daily means that I make the choices that are aligned with who I want to be.

I choose to meditate, color, journal, exercise, tap, take my supplements, drink water, write, get enough sleep, etc. because I want to be the happiest and healthiest version of myself.

I choose in alignment with who I want to be and I want to be happy, healthy, present and engaged in my life.

There are days that I am not motivated to do my morning routine. My thoughts and my feelings aren't pushing me towards choosing self-care. But I choose it anyway because it is in alignment with who I want to be and I make sure to at least do something that moves me toward that person.

We can choose this person. We can choose who we want to be. And better yet, we must choose daily the steps that move us closer to that person. What if you took that next best step toward the happy, healthy, engaged and present person you want to be?

 
 

Permissions for Mother's and Father's Day

If I have learned anything throughout my own infertility journey and recovery I have learned that we are all parents. But most likely, we will be the men and women who feel invisible these months as Mother’s and Father’s Day are upon us again. This will be my third Mother’s Day since ending our infertility journey without the desired result of children. This Mother's Day, I will not be woken up at the crack of dawn by my little ones surprising me with handmade cards and pancakes in bed. I will not get a bouquet of dandelions picked from the yard. I will not be acknowledged by the majority of people in my life as today being any different than any other day.

My previous Mother’s Day mornings were not that much unlike every other day. I was woken early by Gertie's growling tummy, Gracie's cold nose and Bosco's gentle snoring. I spent the day with my furry children and my husband, not unlike any other regular Sunday but all the while knowing that Mother's Day will be bittersweet for me the rest of my life.

This Mother’s Day my husband, Chad, and I are skipping town for a long weekend trip to spend time together in the beauty of nature (and also a spa of course). My goal is to stay off social media and I will definitely be staying away from children friendly activities because this year I want to really take care of myself; honoring all the complicated gray of the infertility and loss journey.

I will spend the day allowing myself to feel the anger at how unfair it can feel that I won't ever get the joy of my children making this day all about me. I will spend my day allowing myself to feel the sadness at the lifelong costs and losses of infertility. I will spend the day at peace with my recovery and my work in accepting a childfull life. I will spend the day happy with my enough moments, my struggles and my light.

I will spend the day thinking of those three tiny souls in heaven never meant to bloom here.

 
 

And, I will honor myself this day because I am a mother to many.

I will remind myself, as I want to remind all the mothers and fathers out there, to take care of ourselves, especially this Mother’s and Father’s Day. Make sure you receive care, from your loved ones and from yourself, because it is only through filling ourselves up that we can truly give and care for others.

Never to forget the fathers of course, I would like to pass along a message you simply cannot escape from when it comes to me, no matter what version of a father you are.

Talk about it.

Ask for help.

Break your silence.

And, if it counts for anything, I give you all permission to not have to be the ever strong husband.

I wish I had been able to communicate this more clearly to Chad as we were going through our own infertility journey. To be able to assure him that he didn't always have to be the ever strong man, never showing too much emotion and being stoically strong while I lost my sanity.

Even though it may be scary at first for us to see this authentic vulnerability from men, to actually see behind the armor of a man's strength, is truly what we want and need from our partners. And, even though this is counter intuitive to how you have been raised and what our culture says, I believe this authentic vulnerability from men is what will make marriages and each of us happier and healthier versions of ourselves.

Especially as you are fighting through infertility and loss and even more so after, no matter your ending.

I hope you get through these days together, turning towards one another and honoring the feelings of all the feels. I am assuming time helps this day get easier eventually, in the meantime do the work, speak your story and rise ever upward.

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This post is a combination of two older posts submitted to the incredible Share Newsletter this month. Don't forget when you purchase Ever Upward through our online store, $5 of the purchase price goes to support Share Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support.

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.

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For more information on what infertility exactly is click here.

Learn more about National Infertility Awareness Week here.

Guest Post: Life Is Messy

In celebration of and to help build momentum for the April 7th bookstore launch of Ever Upward, I will be posting a guest post each week. These guest posts are written by my dear friends and biggest supporters of my work. I am so excited to introduce you all to their stories, their voices and their work in the coming weeks.

This week we have a post from Elisha over at Waiting for Baby Bird. Elisha has been a huge support of Ever Upward and a great friend and honestly faith mentor to me (even if she doesn't know that until now). I appreciate and love her vulnerability as she writes about her struggles and triumphs through infertility, fostering and standing stronger than ever in her faith.

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Life Is Messy

 
 

I scroll through Facebook and I look at everyone's beautiful pictures on Instagram and as much as I try not to, comparison sneaks in and starts to fatigue my soul. Thoughts of...she is prettier...her cooking is better...their clothes are nicer...their life is easier...her house is perfect...their marriage is flawless...and so on roll through my mind. And before I know it, I feel like I have been in a mugging.  Comparison comes, punches me in the gut, and steals my joy.  It makes me feel as if I am not enough and what I have accomplished isn’t enough. Especially since this is the view of my bedroom this morning. Oh how I wished it didn't look like this. Instead I wish the clothes were folded and neatly put away. The drawers were closed. My bed was made with the pillows perfectly arranged on top and everything else was in its proper place and therefore worthy of a picture to post for the world to see and click “like.” And then turn around and pridefully give myself a pat on the back for how many "likes" I got.

But it's not.  And the one thing I have learned about comparing my life with hers or his or theirs, is that no matter what I am comparing it to, it is an ugly thing.  It has the ability to instantly and without warning replace my happiness and joy with bitterness, jealously, envy, and hopelessness as I only begin to start seeing what other people have that I want. It creates a type of tunnel vision to where everything around me starts to look dark and gloomy.  And it creates the false belief that God is sitting up there picking favorites.  Which I know is wrong according to Romans 2:11 which states, "God does not show favoritism." But still, I can't shake the thought.  Can you relate? If so, you are not alone. I am not alone.

In Justine Froelker's book, Ever Upward: Overcoming the Lifelong Losses of Infertility to Define Your Own Happy Ending, she says that comparison definitely got the better of her more times than not.

But the truth that we need to have resonate in our souls is that we can't judge our insides by someone's outsides. We can't compare ourselves to what we think we know about someone just by reading their status updates, looking at their perfectly filtered Instagram photos, or seeing them stroll through Target.

Because that woman I became jealous of the minute I saw her with a shopping cart full of kiddos or holding a precious newborn baby, might just be fostering. Or perhaps she once struggled too. And that husband and wife who I always see smiling together, might actually be struggling behind closed doors. And the momma who looks like she has it all together, might be hanging on by a thread. Or that family who has the fancy cars, trendy outfits, and extravagant vacations might be drowning in debt.  And that meal my friend posted and bragged about cooking could actually taste like...well, crap. And those Pinterest projects they always do with their kiddos probably cost them too much money and added unneeded stress to their day. (Side note: It is okay to stick with Play-Doh.  It is cheap and not as stressful.)

So friend, let me be the first to say, it’s time you and I start taking it easy on ourselves.  Because just like my room is messy, so is life. Life is messy. It's scattered and unorganized. It's dirty and more often than not, it never looks the way we want it to.  But despite the messy, scattered and unorganized parts, there is something I have learned over the course of time and through reading Justine’s book; and that is the prettiest filter through which we can view our lives, is the one that recognizes the beauty even through all the mess.

It is the laundry that needs to be folded because we are blessed to have clothes to wear.

It is our husbands dirty socks thrown on the floor next to the clothes hamper that remind us of how hard working he is to provide for the family.

It is the unmade bed that reminds us we had a soft and warm place to lay our heads down at night.

It is the blankets not folded and put back that remind us of when they were used for snuggling.

It is the dirty dishes in the sink that serve as a reminder of the stories exchanged over dinner. And it's the contents of your fridge that look more like a science experiment that remind us that the reason it wasn't eaten, was because we have more than enough...

It is easy to want life to look a certain way and get frustrated when it doesn't. But friend, despite it not always looking like what we imagine, it is still okay. It is okay because while life can be messy, scattered and unorganized, it can also be beautiful when we choose to look through the filter of gratitude and love and joy.

So my sweet friend, if today you are struggling with the way your life looks, just change the filter. Try to look past the mess and see the beauty. It's there. I promise.

 
 

I love to connect with new readers and friends!  Stop by my blog at waitingforbabybird.com or let's get connected on instagram at @waitingforbabybird or through my facebook page by clicking here.  I can't wait to "meet" you!

Busting My Coconut

A whim of a trip, a chance on myself and the Universe calling. Ever Upward launches in bookstores in one month and I will admit I am feeling a wash between frustrated, trying to let it be and, honestly, out of ideas. It seems like every PR and marketing thing we think of does not really pan out. It kind of feels like I just have to sit back and wait for the big break or I somehow figure out who and how much to pay for it.

One night after dinner Chad and I were having an impromptu EU business meeting, which really meant we were discussing what kind of money to spend next, where to spend it and why. In other words he was doing his usual tell me why and how it will help business jaunt and I was doing my I just feel like I am supposed to be there and I am just so frustrated with this whole process.

So really we were just being ourselves, the always working on it, complimentary married couple who also does business together.

We were specifically talking about a training for speakers in Boulder with my friend Erin Weed. Something was just telling me to be there, even though the schedule did not work at all, it was an investment and I was not able to give Chad the PowerPoint presentation as to why exactly I need to be there (read why we needed to spend the money).

Then two hours later Erin emailed me, offering a discount if I came that next week to a small group, especially because she didn't have any females. I showed Chad the email and with that spark in his eye he said, "Book the flight."

Literally right there in my inbox was magic.

 
 

I spent the better part of last week in snowy Boulder training with Erin. I trained with the most random group of people ever, and yet the exact people I was meant to meet right now. And with the help of Erin's magic, for the first time along this journey, I realized two really important things:

First, I have to get out of my own damn way. As I was sharing my story with Erin and the group and working my storyboard I was forced to look at what the real problem was. I learned that my content is good, my message important and the world actually more ready than it thinks. The only thing in the way? Myself. Actually, the fear of my own power.

Erin looked at me and said something to the effect of, "The message is ready, the world is ready and you are more ready than you are willing to admit. What are you scared of?"

 
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I spent three days in Boulder working on what I hope is a TEDx talk. I spent three days in Boulder getting to know the most diverse group of people that I can honestly say are my true friends. I spent three days in Boulder getting out of my own damn way.

And, on that last day I wrote the words, fear of my own power on a coconut. I then said goodbye to that fear, threw it against a wall, completely busting it and sent it down the river. Because, Erin and the group are right; my content is good, my message important and the world is ready. And, best yet, I am the right person to deliver it.

 
 

The second thing I learned is simply gaining a clearer picture of the love and the light I am meant to share with this world. It has already been a guiding light to this journey but what I learned last week was that it is actually the light to my journey. And simply put, but so much more than what one will read, it is the word parent.

 
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Parent.

I am a parent. Not in your traditional definition of the word. Not in how you may accept. But nevertheless, I parent. There will be much, much more to come on that front, I promise.

Because, trust me I've only just begun this parenting business.

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Guest Post: The Gift of Infertility

In celebration of and to help build momentum for the April 7th bookstore launch of Ever Upward, I will be posting a guest post each week. These guest posts are written by my dear friends and biggest supporters of my work. I am so excited to introduce you all to their stories, their voices and their work in the coming weeks. This week I am beyond grateful to share a piece by Sophia's Story. In the truest sense of the words, I have found a true fellow warrior in Sophia's Story. Her courage to share her love and loss of Sophia and to keep the love and spirit alive is a message at the heart of Ever Upward. We must talk about our children, our losses; our loves. And, we ask you, our loved ones, to also talk and speak of our angels. Through our spoken words we can continue to heal and choose how we are forever changed by them. We not only educate but we can heal together and rise ever upward.

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The Gift of Infertility

Holding my tiny baby, born at twenty weeks, my heart melted with love for her despite her imminent death lurking from the depths of my worst nightmares. Her red skin fragile under the cotton blanket, I was too afraid to move her, to hurt her, to let her go. Gingerly passing her back and forth with my husband, careful to support her apple-sized head and to keep her warmly swaddled in the blue and pink polka-dots, we spent nearly ninety beautiful minutes with Sophia before she was gone. Despite being left with nothing but a silver heart full of ashes, her presence lingers each day in my thoughts, my actions, my words. She dances in my mind, reminding me of who I am and where I have been.

We were assured by doctors that Sophia’s genetic condition, while largely unknown, was a fluke. Others encouraged us to try again. We did—twice. We lost babies—twice. After the second loss, I thought oh no, not again! After the third, I wanted to kill the Universe, however one goes about doing that.

We were begrudgingly catapulted into the “recurrent pregnancy loss” club. Unbeknownst to me in a previously carefree life, this also meant we joined the ranks of infertility. We were like other couples wanting children who struggled; nonetheless, we were different. We could get pregnant. It was sustaining a pregnancy that felt momentous, impossible, unattainable.

With each loss, waves of grief ebbed and flowed. Some days I felt “normal”. Most days I felt alone. Many days I sobbed. Rare days I laughed as though sadness were nothing but a despondent affliction. Through the pain, tears, and desperate clinging to my husband--who was the only one who understood me now--I wrote. I shared. I connected with men and women whose lives, completely unknown to me, had inexplicably bumped into mine through our shared loss experiences. Having no fear, other than the world losing Sophia’s memory, I relayed her entire life, putting in details that I should have found too private to impart.

The bonds I have made with strangers are as tight as connections with people I have known for years. The power of empathy, heightened by the abysmal depth of my grief, opened my senses to feeling what others feel, sensing what others sense, and connecting to the community in unfathomable ways. People, in their own time and their own way, feel safe to share their stories with me. People trust me. And, hopefully, people find a sense of comfort from me.

Recently, on my last day of a volunteer job, I sat back-to-back with a coworker. We worked silently at our computers, until she made a fleeting comment about my blog. She and I had rarely spoken over the course of nine months, sharing pleasant greetings and cordial smiles. On this day we sat together, alone, in a small furniture-stuffed office. Word passed throughout the staff of my story; others who knew of her strife shared my writings in an earnest effort to ease her grief. Behind her occasional hellos, soft smiles, and fleeting eyes, her life’s journey was a mystery to me.

 
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Somewhere in her soul, she sensed a rare chance to reach out and expose what she had so carefully hidden away, revealing a miscarriage after going through infertility treatments. My cheeks released their tension, the friendly grin fading into a grimace of concern.  My condolences ended with: “it is a lonely journey, but you are never alone.” She replied, “You’re right, I do feel so lonely.” A pause allowed for her face to soften. “But I never thought how I am not actually alone.” For my words she shed a tear, wiped it quickly away, and hugged me.

Four years ago, holding our little baby wrapped so tenderly in polka-dots, I never dreamed of what Sophia’s short life would afford me. I never dreamed I would break out of my introverted shell and reveal profoundly personal parts of my journey with whoever will listen. I never dreamed I would find an inconceivable pride for helping humanity in a way that only survivors can. Sophia is our loss, but more importantly she is my inspiration to live compassionately, to empathize, and to reach out to as many people as possible. Sophia is the greatest gift of my life.

Guest Blog: Surviving & Living After Infertility by My Perfect Breakdown

The friendships I have found and nourished over the last year and a half of blogging have literally changed my life and also been a huge part of my recovery. I have reached out to several friends in hopes they would be willing to write guest posts for me these next three months while I build momentum up for the bookstore release of Ever Upward on April 7th. Here is the first from my dear friend over at My Perfect Breakdown. Our stories nothing alike and yet very much the same. I feel lucky and so grateful to have her in my life as she challenges me, helps me grow and learn and frankly just loves and supports me. As I hope I do for her also. The universe was on our side back in October when we both happened to be in NYC at the same time and I was able to meet her and Mr. MPB for a drink. Thirty minutes of my life that I will forever cherish. Please enjoy and make sure to check out her incredible journey that she shares on her blog.

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One thing I’ve learned from the infertility blogging community is that regardless of your specific infertility journey, it is all consuming and willcompletely and utterly suck!

Once part of this exclusive and horrible club, our lives completely change and everything we do is impacted.  And, I assume always will be.  Our lives become consumed by:

our attempts,

our scheduled procreation sex,

our two weeks waits,

our new language spoken almost entirely in acronyms (TWW, FRER, AF, CD, PIO, etc.),

our failures,

our hopes,

our breakdowns,

our dreams,

our soul crushing losses,

our medical appointments and procedures that take over our calendars.

Very quickly our lives shift from that of our relatively carefree lives we had innocently grown accustomed to, and become that a of stranger walking around in our bodies while we are held captive and forced to watch and experience the trauma of never seeing two pink lines, or waiting for miscarriages to occur, or watching our babies slowly die.

Slowly we start to become estranged to our friends, our family and most importantly ourselves.  Usually we still resemble ourselves from the outside (even when the infertility treatments cause us to gain very much unwanted weight).  Yet, if you peel back the layers, we and some of our closest friends, know that we are no longer the same person.  We walk around faking it.  We spend countless hours hiding our hurt.  We avoid potential triggers to the very best of our ability.  We cringe at the sight of a pregnancy announcement. We find ourselves crying in the bathroom at family events or while driving to a meeting.  Simply, we hurt.  We make decisions which will forever alter our lives and those of our children.  The hurt runs deep and it touches into the deepest part of our soul.

We all dream of the elusive take-home baby.  We all know the happy ending stories, where after years of struggles, losses, and financial hardships, the stars align and it finally works.  We dream and we hope that one day our stars will align.

But, not all of us will get that miracle rainbow baby.  For some of us, one day, we realize that we are reaching our tipping point.  Suddenly we want to stand up and scream:

ENOUGH!  Emotionally, physically and/or financially, a person can only take so much.  And I have reached my enough!  I have reached the end of my rope.  I either step off the crazy train and start focusing on my physical and mental health recovery, or I risk losing myself completely on a ride that has spun completely out of control.

So, what happens when we step off the train?  What do we do when we reach our enough?  How do we move from the assumed family to something completely different and unknown and often scary?  How do we start to reclaim our lives and begin to live again?  How do we hold onto our lost dreams and our lost children?  How do we let go of the hurt that is seared into our souls?  How do we move on to lead a meaningful life when our little ones are forever missing?

Some of us decide that our family will be childfree, yet childfull (i.e. Justine and Chad).  Some of us decide to pursue our family through adoption (i.e. Mr. MPB and I).  Yet, as strange as it may sound, I don’t believe the actual route we choose to create our chosen family is the important part of moving on and learning to live again after the hurt of infertility and the scars of lost babies.

The important pieces of moving on in a healthy way comes from our work to recover and reclaim our lives.  This means, we choose to focus on our recovery and to put in the effort required to learn to live in a very different way than our preconceived ideas ever imagined. We have to choose to work daily to survive and even triumph with what life has offered us.

So, how do I do it?

I work to heal the gaping holes left seared into my soul from saying good bye to our babies.  I grieve, I cry, I mourn, I remember, and sometimes I even laugh.

I nurture my marriage through open communication, love, honesty, and even simple things like dating and laughing together.

I am putting effort back into my physical health, as soon as I was medically able.  I am running and cycling again after being forced to the sidelines for over 2 years.

I started socializing again.  Once we began openly sharing our experience and losses, we were no longer afraid to see our friends who have been supportive.

I live freely now – I no longer worry about what cycle day I am on, or what potential damage I could do to myself or my potential children by having a sip of alcohol or drinking non-FDA approved tea or having medium rare steak because I like it.

I remove negativity from my life whenever I need to.  I try to recognize negativity early and eradicate it from my life.  This has meant the end of “friendships” that were more toxic to us then good.  This has also resulted in me resigning from my full time professional employment.

I work very hard to focus my energy on the things I can change, and to let go of the things I cannot.  (And this one takes a lot of effort for my classic type-a personality).

I work to recognize, accept and move beyond the extreme emotions that I have experienced in the last few years.  Anger that I never knew existed within me.  Deep and intense frustrations.  Sorrow that touched me deeper than I ever thought possible.

I search for happiness.  Every single day I am determined to acknowledge at least one happy moment, regardless of how bad my day is.

I hope that tomorrow will be a good day.  There have been times where I wanted to break up with hope, but instead, I keep returning to it.  I need hope to guide my way.

I’m not saying it’s easy.  Rather, quite the opposite, at times it is very hard!  I have bad days.  Sometimes I take 1 step forward and follow it up with 2 steps backwards.  But by continually making an effort to live happily, I am confident that I will survive and I will thrive.

 
 

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The Most Ironic Story of Ever Upward

A full circle

It was a full circle weekend for me returning to the Emerging Women conference, this year in New York City.

Last year I attended EW as a woman shrouded in self doubt and cloaked in the darkness of shame.

A woman who had lost. A woman who had fought for recovery. A woman on the edge of figuring out what to do with that tiny spark inside that she knew meant something.

I left EW last year with the spark I needed to finish writing Ever Upward the book, start this very blog and continue to walk into and fight for my continuing recovery.

This year I walked into EW as a woman more motivated than ever (sometimes to the detriment of my recovery), shining bright with the spark of recovery, ownership and true ever upward light.

I mustered up the most bravery I have ever practiced and handed, maybe even forced fed, my book to the women I admire and who have inspired my work. I practiced valuing my work both through confidently selling it and through allowing everyone to see how much it means to me and how much I believe it can help.

Yet always a work in progress

I left the conference with a plan, with motivation and with more connections than I ever dreamed. And yet, I left the conference knowing that I will always be this very messy work in progress, practicing recovery daily and working to own all the parts of the my story.

And, as usual life made sure to remind me of the irony of moving ever upward; this dichotomy of life.

Irony?

Chad joined me in the city for a few days following the conference as we had never been to NYC. Late Monday night we decided to attend the Today Show on the Plaza. Which meant the alarm went off at 5 am to get in line.

What did we have to lose? We could in the least get the beautiful cover of Ever Upward on national television. And maybe, just maybe, Matt or Natalie would notice it and take a few copies (especially to give to Bobbie Thomas).

We go there early enough for the perfect spot, right on camera when the hosts come out to shoot.

Where's the irony?

To our left is an adorable couple from Florida with a sign, a bright pink and blue sign...

We're on our babymoon!!!

My heart skips a beat, I hold my breath and feel the thorn of shame.

To our right is a group of ladies celebrating their 70th birthdays. One notices my book cover and asks about it. I give her my sales pitch about what Ever Upward is, to which she replies that all three of her daughters went through IVF and one of them is actually adopting at the end of the month. She says how impossible it all is (even the adoption part) and how sorry she is.

Okay, this is my little miracle. I was totally meant to give this woman a book, she gets it.

And, then she blurts it out, "Well, why don't you guys just adopt?"

Shame doesn't overtake me completely this time and I take the chance to educate her on fertility compassion and also remind her of how difficult she just said it is. She mumbles something and proceeds to literally turn her back to me for the next hour. I hear her whisper to her friend parts of our story, including the words, "Well they should just adopt if they really want kids that badly."

I literally feel the shame oozing from her into me.

My heart skips a beat, I hold my breath and feel what  now feels like the sword of shame.

Here to promote my book and I am between the couple who is on their babymoon and the grandmother who gets it but is still judging me harshly.

Miracle.

And, then they all come out to say hi, Matt, Natalie, and Al. I'll admit I am a little starstruck as I have been watching Today since I was a kid. They are all very kind and genuine as they shake your hand and say hello.

Then you see all their eyes notice the beautiful monarch butterfly on my book cover; all three hesitate to take in the beauty. Then the magic happens, Natalie asks about it and even takes a few copies and promises she will make sure Bobbie gets one.

I can't believe it. We are so excited, so too are the couple and the grandmother for us. You see, even though my dementor of shame tried to make me think these were the hardest three people for me to stand next to, they were actually my miracles for the day. As I gave them books the couple admits that they started trying because so many of their friends have struggled with getting pregnant and their doctor recommended starting immediately due to age. I looked at them with just the tiniest bit of jealousy but mostly I just felt love and excitement for them. The grandmother said she was excited to read the book and share with her daughters. I replied that I hope they enjoy it while in my head saying to myself that I hope she really enjoys and learns from Chapter 3-Owning Adoption.

Ironic miracle

Life is ironic. And it is no mistake.

Sometimes it knocks me on my ass at first but I will always choose to move ever upward and see the love, the connection, the miracle that is meant to be.

As incredible as my trip to NYC was through the learning and self-growth, the friendships, the vacation, the acts of courage I never thought I was capable of it could have never prepared me for the most ironic part of this ever upward journey.

Thursday I was visited by what I choose to believe is one of my never to be babies.

 
 

She came to deliver the magic.

She came to remind me of myself.

She came to love me, as she stuck around for several minutes and let me get super close to her.

She came as a sign of ever upward.

Because just over an hour after her visit, one week after I left for EW and my NYC vacation, I had my first piece picked up and published by HuffPost. I have worked, tried and submitted for almost a year to be picked up by HuffPost. It took these failures, these lessons, along with the spark of magic, connections and courageous motivation from NYC for it to actually happen.

The ever upward irony

My post was run by HuffPost Parents.

This childfree, yet childfull, mother is officially a HuffPost blogger.

A HuffPost Parents blogger with two pieces published in two days.

Full circle moment?

Nope, she told me it is just the beginning.

 
 

~~~~~

Ever Upward available now!

30 Day Toolkit to Living Ever Upward here!

Fertility Compassion Survey is collecting all responses.

If you found this post enjoyable, inspiring, helpful, hopeful, interesting or even infuriating ;), please take the time and the chance to share it through your social media! More shares means more eyes, means more people helped and the message heard on a wider scale. Thank you! Justine

Settling the Panic of Failure

I started the week off with the lingering panic of failure that had crept in last week.

My, oh shit people could actually read this book and hate it and judge it; hate and judge me, feeling from several weeks ago shifted last week.

This fear of judgment morphed into the panic of failure. The panic of, oh shit my numbers aren't high enough to sell a book. The panic of not catching the break I've been fighting for incessantly.

The panic of failing

Does that mean I am a failure? That Ever Upward is a failure?

My failure in Ever Upward is not wrapped up in fame or money. I could care less about both.

It is wrapped up in not enough people finding this message, which could mean the people who need it most never find it.

And, I'm a helper.

I help

I can't not help.

Ever Upward is not only my light to this world to shine onto the darkness of the shamed silence of infertility and recovery. It is also my light of help. It's my soul. It is what I can't help from coming out of me everywhere I go, no matter who I meet.

My constant mantra has been, everything is unfolding just as it is supposed to be because God's timing is perfect and I am enough. I know this statement to be true with every cell of my being. But my anxious, type A, doer part of my brain has to be constantly reminded to let go.

Glimmers of hope

And, then Wednesday a glimmer of hope.

Finally some concrete proof of all of the work, all of the social media, all of the platform building.

The editors at WordPress featured Ever Upward, completely unbeknownst to me, and one of the best surprises ever! As if that wasn't enough, they called my writing, "at once unflinching and moving". I am so thankful for this amazing compliment and this exposure, to think that I am finally on the radar of the editors at WordPress is something I have only hoped for and dreamed of throughout the last year.

Also, on Wednesday I got the email subscriber list up and running which I've been so excited about. Make sure to subscribe to receive the 30 Day Toolkit to Living Ever Upward.

On top of that the Ever Upward Book Launch Party is almost sold out. Also, the Fertility Compassion Survey received more responses than I could have imagined (I'll be posting about these soon, I promise). And, the Kickstarter campaign for the Ever Upward Book Trailer is more than half funded (only 4 days to go). This support means more than words can ever convey and more than anyone will ever be able to truly realize. I am endlessly grateful.

 
 

Do the glimmers take away the fear of judgment?

A little. But, the fact is some will absolutely hate the book. And, many will judge me. However, I will respectfully choose to look to the people who live their lives from a place of love, the people who try to get it and the people who also live their lives wholeheartedly brave.

Do the glimmers erase the panic?

Not completely but they definitely help. Ever Upward may never be a bestseller. But, I will choose to trust that the lives who need the message will find the book in their hands and find their lives changed for the better.

Do the glimmers settle down the doer part of my brain?

I wish they did more but it is also just who I am. So I will continue to tweet, I will keep begging people to read and review and share, I will keep trying, I will keep doing because that's what I do.

Do the glimmers give me more hope?

Absolutely, which means my hope is stronger and the light brighter than ever on giving me more courage.

The courage to fly. The courage to try. The courage to be the magic of ever upward.

If you found this post enjoyable, inspiring, helpful, hopeful, interesting or even infuriating ;), please take the time and the chance to share it through your social media! More shares means more eyes, means more people helped and the message heard on a wider scale. Thank you! Justine

The Hard Work (and Art) of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a common theme in my office. Forgiveness of ourselves.

And, forgiveness of our loved ones.

Much like the art of letting go, forgiveness can be one of life's trickiest bitches.

We must learn to forgive

I believe the people hurting the most on this earth are the ones who are holding onto to things that simply cannot be changed; past hurts, betrayals and disappointments. Especially the ones committed by our loved ones against us. The ones we really don't have control over.

When we hold onto these past hurts they very easily eat us from the inside out and don't move us to being who we are truly meant to be.

When we hold onto these past hurts we live our lives from fear and not love.

When we hold onto these past hurts we are the only ones holding ourselves back from moving forward.

The art of forgiveness

As Desmond Tutu writes, "Forgiveness opens the door to peace between people and opens the space for peace within each person. The victim cannot have peace without forgiving..."

As Matthew B. James writes, "Flow love to the other person. Release the hurt, retain the learning."

The hard work of forgiveness

And, as I wrote to one of my friends in a text message,

"You work on forgiving her for yourself, for your own well being and sanity. Not because she deserves it or because she will change.

And, you work on loving the parts of her that you do appreciate and continually work on accepting her limitations (practicing loving compassion).

It's sucks, it's hard and feels impossible.

But, that's what I'm continuously working on with the forgiveness of my past hurts.

For myself.

And you attempt to move forward with an open heart but with a nice privacy fence of boundaries not a brick wall. Because that isn't who we are or who we want to be.

Move forward with a protected heart with boundaries and not a guarded heart with brick walls. It may look the same from the outside but your intentions on the inside are very different."

 
 

We forgive to find peace.

We forgive to live from a place of love and not fear.

We forgive for ourselves.

We forgive now because there may never be anything that can be done to make up for the hurt. And, it definitely cannot be taken back or erased. But, holding onto it and withholding forgiveness only keeps us stuck in the hurt, reliving it every single day.

As with just about everything I work with my clients on, write about and practice myself, it is much easier said than done.

Simple but not easy.

I am figuring out this life is more of an art.

An art of faith. An art of practice. An art of forgiveness. An art of hard work. An art of letting go. An art of love. An art of acceptance. An art of redefining. An art of courage.

An art of ever upward.

Housekeeping:

Ever Upward presale live now.

Ever Upward Launch Party is October 4th.

Fertility Compassion Survey is collecting all responses.

Kickstarter for Ever Upward Book Trailer has only 7 days to go, every dollar helps!

If you found this post enjoyable, inspiring, helpful, hopeful, interesting or even infuriating ;), please take the time and the chance to share it through your social media! More shares means more eyes, means more people helped and the message heard on a wider scale. Thank you! Justine

Ever Upward Reader Survey

I've always been a seeker of knowledge and it seems it has grown my love of surveys ;)! I am looking to get to know my readers better. If you could take just a few minutes to complete this quick demographic and psychographic survey it would mean so much to me. I will be collecting data for this survey for only a week in hopes of putting it all to work very soon.

Thank you so much for reading and support me and Ever Upward!

<3, Justine

A Letter to the 14 Year Old Girl Trapped in the Darkness of a Body Cast

August 25th, 1994 I had my first of two back surgeries, both of which left me in a body cast for 6 months following each surgery.

Twenty years later these are the words I need to say to that part of who I am still to this today.

The words to that scared 14 year old girl because in these words I choose to heal her.

Justine,

I know you are scared, but relieved that you finally have an answer to your pain. This is not the only time you will feel this gut wrenching and breath stealing bittersweet feeling. You will again feel this painful clarity on the day you receive the phone call that your last round of IVF did not work and you learn that your journey to have children is over.

But I can promise you, it is all worth it and you will be okay.

You have many years in front of you of struggle. Mostly with the struggle to find and believe in your light again. Because today, unfortunately, you will lose a major part of your spirit, only to fight for and find it again in twenty years.

In twenty years time, you will find this light again when you have survived failed IVF, lost three babies and fought for your recovery back to yourself.

This event of your first back surgery, yes honey, I am sorry but you will have to survive another one of these, puts in motion everything that will make you an amazing being.

You will have incredible stories of inspiration and laughter to share with the world of your back surgeries. You will have incredible stories of struggle and hope to share with the world of your fight to become a mother. You will have incredible stories of loss and purpose to share with the world of your ever upward journey to find yourself and recovery.

You will come to understand, accept, embrace and own every part of yourself and your story. You will own your shame surrounding infertility by understanding how alone you are about to feel throughout these surgeries. You will have endless help throughout these surgeries; people who love you, even those who barely know you, will step forward to help in some way. Twenty years later you will have the language to understand that your light was lost even within this amazing help because it was given through sympathy and not empathy. Because, really how else does anyone feel but sorry for the 14 year old having to have back surgery, live in a body cast and miss half of her freshman year of high school? Let alone to then have to do it all over again in a few years.

Twenty years later you will have the clarity to no longer dim your light around your story of surviving IVF and accepting a childfree life because of pity. And, instead choose to shine the light to break the silence of struggle and hard.

Because sad is sad and hard is just hard.

Some things just really can't be fixed that easily; like a 14 and 17 year old in a body cast and a 34 year old woman who really wanted to be a mother but can't.

Find the joy and the love in the help from everyone around you throughout this time, even it if is only in sympathy. Because it is still born out of the intention of great love.

Trust that you will thrive through this and that this isn't the end of your story; because, I promise, it is not even close.

 
Recovery Ever Upward Back Surgeries
Recovery Ever Upward Back Surgeries
 

And try, to hold onto that light just a little, knowing and believing that someday it will flicker again.

I promise this tiny belief and flicker is enough to get you through.

Because, your light will never be fully suffocated as you have an unending, ever growing and truly ever upward resilience.

In ever upward light and love,

Me

*To read more about my experiences through two back surgeries and a year of my life spent in a body cast make sure preorder your copy of Ever Upward: Overcoming the Lifelong Losses of Infertility to Own a Childfree Life.*

If you found this post enjoyable, inspiring, helpful, hopeful, interesting or even infuriating ;), please take the time and the chance to share it through your social media! More shares means more eyes, means more people helped and the message heard on a wider scale. Thank you! Justine

The Latest in Ever Upward

Ever Upward book
Ever Upward book

The presale is live!

Help us get an idea of demand by preordering your copy of Ever Upward: Overcoming the Lifelong Losses of Infertility to Own a Childfree Life. This will help us to order at the lowest price point from the printer and help in shipping costs (much needed in this self/entrepreneurial publishing deal).

Ever Upward launches on October 1st and will be available on Amazon in February and in bookstores in March 2015.

If you are in the Saint Louis area (or want to make a trip in) I would love to see you at the book signing and launch party on October 4th!

I have several more reviews going up in the next several weeks but, for now make sure to check out the reviews so far.

Thank you so much for all the support, the shares, the feedback, the love and friendship!

In ever upward light and love,

Justine

It's here!!!!

A year in a body cast. Twenty years of my dimmed light.

A year of infertility treatments and losses.

A year of writing and editing.

A year of submitting to publishers and agents.

Over two years of practicing my recovery.

Ever Upward is here!

 
Ever Upward book
Ever Upward book
 

And, I am feeling all the feels.

I am feeling scared to death. I am feeling excited. I am feeling hopeful. I am feeling scared to death. I am feeling accomplished. I am feeling at peace.

I feel amazing awe; to hold it in my hands, to see the brilliant colors of the artwork that means so much to me, to flip through it to see my words and pictures and to feel the light that I hope this holds for others.

I hope it helps and I hope you like it.

We hope to have presale information up within a week.

Book launches October 1st on www.everupward.org, Amazon in March and bookstores in April. We will be celebrating with a book reading and signing on October 4th here in St. Louis click here for invite/registration.

If you found this post enjoyable, inspiring, helpful, hopeful, interesting or even infuriating ;), please take the time and the chance to share it through your social media! More shares means more eyes, means more people helped and the message heard on a wider scale. Thank you! Justine

An Apology and Thank You to Bobbie Thomas

Dear Bobbie,

An apology.

First an apology.

I was fully prepared to walk away from your interview yesterday with Kathie Lee and Hoda feeling shamed and frustrated.

Let me explain.

As someone who has struggled through infertility and IVF, survived and is thriving thereafter, I feel not so alone when a celebrity comes forward with their own struggles. But, despite the broken silence as a survivor and an advocate for breaking the shamed silence surrounding infertility the message that is often times portrayed by celebrities struggling with infertility leaves me wanting, even sometimes leaves me angry.

More often than not the words are spoken much like these messages:

Never give up.

Just keep trying and it will work.

Don't stop.

This message is unrealistic for many of us. Unrealistic because we don't have insurance that covers treatments and procedures. Unrealistic because we are not in the same tax bracket. Unrealistic because our resources are just not comparable. And, unrealistic because sometimes it just won't work.

This message is also shaming for many of us. Shaming because it comes from a place of comparison and scarcity. Shaming because our stories and circumstances are sometimes not that comparable. Shaming because each family must determine what their enough and everything is and when it is okay to stop. Shaming because our paths don't have to and probably won't look the same for each of us to reach our happy ending.

And, so it is with a very grateful heart, that I apologize for assuming you would deliver these same messages.

A thank you

And instead, I want to say a wholehearted thank you.

As an advocate building a platform for breaking the shamed silence surrounding infertility, miscarriage, pregnancy loss and recovery and for my first book, I often times feel very alone. Sometimes, it even feels like the world isn't ready for my message.

 
 

But, in that short five minute interview I found a fellow warrior in you.

Thank you for your bravery in filming the ultrasounds, the blood draws, procedures and weight gain; showing how physically and emotionally exhausting it all is.

Thank you for your courage is sharing the pain that comes with a negative result.

Thank you for your openness in sharing your story with the world and saying how much it helps. Thank you also to your doctor for validating this.

Thank you for your acknowledgement that you are lucky that insurance covers most of your treatments.

Thank you for your realism that this doesn't always work.

Without even knowing it, you had my back yesterday in that interview.

Thank you for supporting what needs to be the message:

Permission to speak our truth.

Permission to embrace our whole story.

Permission to practice our recovery.

Permission to own it all.

Through these permissions, I think, we can change the way we talk about and move through the experience of infertility. And that if we do, not only could it maybe work more often but we can hopefully all be okay thereafter, maybe even better, and not feel so damn broken.

Thank you for your courage, for your message and for your light.

In ever upward light and love

Your fellow warrior,

Justine

*To read more about my story and my recovery make sure to pick up a copy of the very soon to be published Ever Upward: Overcoming the Lifelong Losses of Infertility to Own a Childfree Life.*

If you found this post enjoyable, inspiring, helpful, hopeful, interesting or even infuriating ;), please take the time and the chance to share it through your social media! More shares means more eyes, means more people helped and the message heard on a wider scale. Thank you! Justine

This post linked to Amateur Nester's Link Up.

Isaiah: My Joyful Shout To Fill the World

My friend and fellow warrior over at Rejoice, Beloved reblogged one of my posts and in a comment she wrote she led me to more clarity.

She pointed me in the direction of Isaiah 54, and in those words of scripture I found another piece of my soul.

Isaiah

 
 

Sing, childless woman, you who have never given birth.Raise a joyful shout, you who have never gone through labor...

Enlarge your house. You are going to need a bigger place; don’t underestimate the amount of room that you’ll need. So build, build, build.

You will increase in every direction to fill the world...

Don’t be afraid, for there is no one to shame you.Don’t fear humiliation, for there is no one to disgrace you...

She wrote that my ever upward is my joyful shout to the world. And, in reading her words I felt myself give myself the permission I need to really fill the world with my singing.

To build, to fill the world.

To walk straight through my fears.

This light inside of me to speak, to educate, to help and to give myself and others permission.

Permission to speak our truth.

Permission to embrace our whole story.

Permission to practice our recovery.

Permission to own it all.

Ever upward is my joyful shout.

Ever upward is my mark on the world; my legacy, just not left in the legacy of my own children.

Ever upward is my continued seeking and fighting to reveal our shame and rise above it.

Ever upward is my connection to my story and to our story.

Because our stories, our shout or whisper to the world, is the light and the love of ever upward.

*To read more about my story and my recovery make sure to pick up a copy of the very soon to be published Ever Upward: Overcoming the Lifelong Losses of Infertility to Own a Childfree Life.*

If you found this post enjoyable, inspiring, helpful, hopeful, interesting or even infuriating ;), please take the time and the chance to share it through your social media! More shares means more eyes, means more people helped and the message heard on a wider scale. Thank you! Justine

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

I have been recognized for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award by my fellow warriors Elisha at Waiting for Baby Bird and My Perfect Breakdown. I am filled with gratitude, love and light with this recognition, especially as I have so much admiration for both of these women. Gratitude for their courage in sharing their stories and for how much they both have taught me. 9 months ago when I started Ever Upward I never could have imagined the amazing people I would meet through this blogging world or how much I would learn from them. Thank you is simply not sufficient enough. To accept this award, here are the things I need to do:

1. Thank and link the amazing person(s) who nominated you.

2. List the rules and display the award.

3. Share seven facts about yourself.

4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated. (I am going to list them and leave their participation optional, as I know things can be really crazy for people, but I just couldn't not list you all).

5.  Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

Seven Fun Facts About Me:

  1. I love the show New Girl. I literally have most of season 1 memorized, it just makes me laugh out loud from the belly with pure joy.
  2. If the therapy and the writing thing doesn't work out my backup career is to become a makeup artist, I am a master at eye makeup...I think ;).
  3. I have two tattoos and totally have the itch for two more. But I also have a weird tattoo rule for myself: if I want the same thing on the same part of my body for six months then I can really get it.
  4. I am a book whore, I literally have at least 5 books I am reading at a time. I am drowning in the stack of books on my nightstand, and I love it.
  5. I try really hard, all of the the time, sometimes too hard and too much and too fast, which is therefore why I tend to break a lot of things, trip and hurt myself a lot and spill everything.
  6. I love to laugh, I love to learn and I love to connect and I think that is done best with people who love us, get us and are also willing to do the same.
  7. My parents have temporarily moved in with us due to my dad's accident back in March. And, I am probably enjoying it way too much! But, their help with the dogs, the house and the yard is immensely appreciated and so needed right now with work and the book.

I had to participate in this when I saw both of my friends nominated me but also because I love finding new blogs and friends though this big, amazing blogging world. So here is my top 15 list, I think ;), and in no particular order.

Waiting for Baby Bird

My Perfect Breakdown

A Few Pieces Missing From Normalcy

Blooming Spiders

Considerings

Everything Reminds Me of You

In Case I'm Gone

Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

Momsicle

Oh For the Love of...Me

Postcards from Heaven

Red Thread Broken

Someday Starts Today

Searching and Fearless

The Frozen Moon

Start Again, Not Over: Ever Upward Book Cover Reveal

Stop starting over, start again. I've said these words to clients many times over.

I've reminded myself of these words many times over.

These words have also been at the core of the creation of the book cover of Ever Upward.

At the heart of it all, they are the true spirit and essence of ever upward.

But, this week they have seemed to be significantly powerful. Especially in giving a few of my clients the permission to move forward.

Starting Again Instead

Every time we start over we also attempt to erase us or at least parts of us. I know many of us are struggling to forgive ourselves of our past mistakes or struggles or regrets. Or we wish we had been or done differently in the past. But when we look to erase these parts of our story or completely start over, we don't honor who we are today.

I would not be this happier, healthier, healing person without my past.

I would not be this happier, healthier, healing person without my mistakes.

I would not be this happier, healthier, healing person without the previous unhappy, unhealthy, suffering person I was before.

Therefore, I would not be this happier, healthier, healing person if I had started over.

My work in my ever upward recovery has been in the spirit of starting again.

Putting one foot in front of the other and choosing the best next step.

Not the right step or the perfect step or the reset start over step.

The best start again step.

Ever Upward Book Cover

And true to my life, this was also the case for the cover of my first book. My cover designer, Kristen Ashley designed an initial concept. It was stunning. We fell in love with that first cover. The story behind it was amazingly parallel to my ever upward journey.

It was perfect.

Until, it wasn't.

We couldn't get the rights to the image.

We started again with the amazing help and teamwork of several people who care a lot about me and believe in Ever Upward.

We started again, not over.

Within this starting again, we've developed the best version possible of the cover.

Not right.

Not even perfect.

But, the best version.

Much like my continually healing self.

Because, it is only in owning all the parts of our story; mistakes, struggles and all and practicing our recovery that we become the always growing, the always healing, the ever upward best version of ourselves.

~~~~

So without any further ado...

 
froelker-everupward-cvr-lg.jpg
 

Here is the cover of my first book (yes, there are plans for others, three more actually...for now ;) ).

I hope you love it as much as I do.

I hope you find hope, healing and power within it. I hope you see the struggle and the recovery within it. I hope you sense the brokenness and healing within it. I hope you breathe in the light and love from it.

And, of course don't forget the chance to win a giveaway of a free signed copy of Ever Upward (expected late fall/early winter) and the chance of artwork by the amazing Jen of Daring Happiness!

Blog giveaways

FB giveaways

  • 400th like on Ever Upward's FB – free signed copy of the book

*To read more about my story make sure to pick up a copy of the soon to be published Ever Upward: Overcoming the Lifelong Losses of Infertility to Own a Childfree Life.*

If you found this post enjoyable, inspiring, helpful, hopeful, interesting or even infuriating ;), please take the time and the chance to share it through your social media! More shares means more eyes, means more people helped and the message heard on a wider scale. Thank you! Justine