I am no less of a person or woman because I cannot be a mother’ says Justine in today’s inspirational story. That’s so powerful and demonstrates how far she has come.
Following back surgery Justine was unable to become pregnant so she underwent surrogacy. And her book ‘Ever Upward: Overcoming the Lifelong Losses of Infertility to Define Your Own Happy Ending’ tells her story.
What I love about Justine is her openness and positivity. She is a great model for the power of healing by owning and telling her story. I’m absolutely with her 100% when she says that ‘our connection to our stories is the only way back to the truth of who we are, to own ourselves again‘ and ‘doing this will help in attaining the fulfilled childfree life that we all want’
Justine and I have so far met only on Skype and I hope we meet in person someday. If you find Justine’s story inspirational I recommend ‘Ever Upward..’ my review is below.
Let’s hear Justine’s words.
1. Where are you on your journey now?
I practice my daily recovery in the acceptance of my childfree, yet childfull, life (childfree not by choice). I am no less of a person or woman because I cannot be a mother. But, there is a level of acceptance in my journey that I have had to work on that has moved me closer to childfree. So I have settled on the term childfull for my life. I wanted children, I can’t have children but I have many children in my life. And I mother in many, many ways every day.
2. What’s your story?
In February 2011, my husband and I began our journey in the world of IVF. Gestational surrogacy was the safest way for us to have our children since I had two back surgeries in high school (including a year of my life spent in a body cast). IVF and 3 babies never to be born later, Ever Upward is conceived. After much mourning, confusion, anger and sadness, I got back up and started doing the work; the work to redefine; my life, myself, everything.
A big part of this journey has been telling my story, and ultimately educating people on how difficult, expensive and painful IVF can be and that sometimes you just don’t get the joy of motherhood from it. And telling my story to model, because we need to talk about it! And that yes, sometimes it is okay to say no more. And even more, it is okay to say adoption isn’t for you.
And that after the work, you can take the step forward into a fulfilled childfree life and stop being stuck in the childless life, even in this, our child obsessed world. But, mostly we must talk about it in order to embrace it all and practice our recoveries. Because only then will we own it all and find our ever upward.
Ever Upward is not the typical infertility blog filled with follicle counts, Clomid crazy train side effects and recounts of painful procedures. It is filled with struggle, hope and recovery, it is a blog about life.
Ever Upward is my story, and yet every couple’s story; parent or not, because behind the wall of silence, shame, the smile, and the ‘I can do everything’ attitude lies millions of people suffering in silence with the pain of infertility and recovery. And yet our connection to our stories is the only way back to the truth of who we are, to own ourselves again.
3. What helped you to heal/how did you deal with your grief?
Writing, therapy, owning my story and talking about it, choosing, fighting and practicing my recovery every single day.
4. What are the positives (gifts) for you of not having children?
I find the ever upward in all of my unexpected parenting roles (actually the title to the sequel to Ever Upward). Because I am not able to be a mother in the traditional sense of the word, I have found my version which is many ways is more amazing for me. I would never be the advocate or the therapist that I am if it weren’t for this journey and the lifelong losses I have incurred in the infertility journey. I also wouldn’t be the aunt, the godmother and friend to all of our chosen children and family.
5. What advice would you give to women who are not as far down the road as you are?
We must talk our way through this journey. It doesn’t have to be a public blog but at least to a couple of trusted loved ones. I also think that seeing a professionally trained therapist can help so much! We are losing ourselves in the pursuit of making our families and we are doing it all by ourselves much of the time, often times filled with guilt and shame about things we really have no control over. To seek help, to reach out and talk our way through helps. We deserve so much more than this journey is often times leaving us with.
6. What’s your 6 word memoir?
Owning it, and not just proving it. (technically 7)
Justine is the Author of Ever Upward: Overcoming the Lifelong Losses of Infertility to Define Your Own Happy Ending and you can find out more about her here
Here’s my review of Ever Upward.
[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”700px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]This is different from any other infertility book because, from an early age Justine knew that she could never get pregnant. It chronicles her heartbreak and her struggles to really own her story.
Her words will resonate with all of us who have been through infertility and what really stood out for me was how she realised that the choice was hers, and that choosing to own her story would give her the power to be happy.
She particularly talks about owning the decision not to adopt and the techniques she uses are something we can all learn from. Saying that all her relationships have changed will resonate deeply with her readers and I particularly found her friendship categories helpful, how it can be surprising who will be in each category and that sometimes it is best for us if we let people go.
She talks about how what they had been through could have broken her marriage and she chronicles how they came closer together. Justine talks openly about the importance of courage in owning her story and I applaud her for doing so and telling it in such a moving and open way.
There is much to learn from reading Justine’s story and from one warrior to another I thank her for demonstrating the benefits of really owning it.[/dropshadowbox]
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Taking control of my story and really owning it changed my life. If you’d like to do that but it’s too much of a challenge right now, check out the Let Go and Move On Programme and see how it can help you.