Surviving loss, trauma and tragedy means we are forever changed. Thriving thereafter means we figure out how to be okay. Finding and moving ever upward means we figure out how to be better than okay.
Things can and will get better, but I am not sure we are ever fixed.
Just because the subtitle of my book, Ever Upward, includes the words "to own a childfree life" and just because I often write the words "acceptance of a childfree life" does not mean that I am fixed.
Better doesn't mean fixed
Just because a woman gets pregnant after struggling to do so, whether or not through successful treatments or unexpectedly, does not mean she's fixed or all better.
Just because the adoption has gone through doesn't mean that the family is fixed.
Just because we have survived...
Just because we are putting one foot in front of the other...
Just because we seem or are better...
Just because we reached the goal...
Just because we are done...
Does not mean that it is like it never happened or that we are all better.
We are doing the work.
We are forever healing.
We are forever changed.
But never fixed.
Forever changed through our choices
When we have suffered through the difficulties of family planning, whether we faced infertility or not, it comes with figuring out how to be okay with the lifelong losses; the scars. Even, when we determine what our happy ending is, it doesn't undo the painful journey we've traveled before.
Working with women through the infertility process has meant that I help them to give themselves permission to feel the complicated gray of it all. Because, after suffering through any level of infertility a woman just doesn't get to be excited about finally being pregnant. Infertility steals this excitement and joy from us. And, what makes it even worse is when the people around us feel like we should just be okay or better or, worse yet, fixed.
Embracing the gray
Survivors of infertility know the millions of things that could go wrong, because they have.
Survivors of infertility know how quickly your joyful high can be crushed by the breath-stealing loss of heartbreak.
Survivors of infertility no longer have the luxury of living in the black and white world many of us think, and even sometimes demand, exists.
We've lived through it, felt it all and literally embodied the complicated grey that life really is. Nothing is all good or all bad. As a therapist I work a lot with clients on challenging the unhealthy thinking pattern of black and white thinking.
Life just isn't that simple.
Infertility or not, whatever we have had to survive in this life -- and we will all have something -- it is never I think, all good or all bad. And, I just don't think we have a choice but to be forever changed by it all somehow. This is the work we must do. The work to be okay; to be better than okay. Because, that is where our choice lies, to choose how to be okay after we've survived it.
To choose how we are forever changed.
Accepting and owning a childfree, yet childfull life, does not mean that I am fixed. Losing my three babies forever changed me, but it is within my power to choose how they changed me. For today, it is in finding my purpose to use the gifts He has given me. It is in giving myself and others the permissions we need to truly embrace all of ourselves. The permissions to make choices not through desperation or fear, but through wholeheartedness and love. The permissions to determine when our enough and everything is.
To stop proving it. To truly own it. To break the silence. To embrace it all. Living wholeheartedly brave.
This is my story.
This is our story.
This is Ever Upward.