Ever Upward is growing. My world is expanding. My recovery is strengthening.
Which also means my shamed silence is triggered more often. Even though my shame resilience has grown as a result of my practicing recovery.
As I meet more and more people in the infertility world, blogging or otherwise, I am finding myself comparing my story to theirs. I have always been uncomfortable with the TTC (trying to conceive) timelines. I am especially uncomfortable when our About pages and Twitter bio's are our TTC timelines full of numbers and acronyms.
What I have come to realize is that my discomfort is simply a result of my own shame being triggered.
The numbers we share to describe ourselves; how many miscarriages, cycles, IUIs, IVFs, BFNs, etc.* Hell, I have my numbers in my bio (two rounds of IVF and three never-to-be babies). I thought I included these because they are part of my whole story. But what I think I am figuring out through working my recovery is that I have left them in for proof and as a way to cope with my shame.
Proof that I too have suffered and lost; my comparing my story to others', my way of shouting out, "I tried too."
But, this really comes from my sense of not being enough, of trying to prove myself rather than owning myself. The scarcity culture, as Brené Brown describes in The Daring Way work. The never ______________ enough. Never pretty enough. Never thin enough. Never rich enough. Never happy enough.
This scarcity culture has turned these numbers into one of my biggest shame triggers.
My fear that I will be judged that I didn't try enough. That I didn't lose enough.
Because I don't have a long rap sheet of years of trying to conceive or IUIs, IVFs and BFNs.
And, I have no doubt that I have been and will continue to be judged for not trying more, just as much as I am judged for not choosing adoption.
And so, at least from Ever Upward, the blog, I have removed my part of my counts, my proof, because I am more than just my two rounds and three lost babies. How many times I tried is not important, even comparing my losses to others is not important. My three never-to-be babies... forever important. I am actually even more because of my lost babies. But, these numbers could never come close to describing what I have been through or what is left as a result.
Because within this I truly it own it, and myself.
Apart from surviving infertility and thriving thereafter, I also have the mental health therapist part of my head and heart at work with these TTC timelines and rap sheet descriptions. I cannot help but be scared and saddened by it. That as men and women suffering through infertility treatments we are identifying ourselves, sometimes completely, through how many treatments we have endured.
We are so much more than this.
We have to be so much more than this.
We have to be because, I think, that is the only way we will survive infertility and thrive thereafter, no matter what our ending looks like. Especially, in order to find and make our happy ending.
I am not sure what your motivations are for making our infertility rap sheets part of your bios or even your whole story. But for me, it was about comparison and scarcity. Comparison in making sure the world knew I tried too and therefore have suffered. Scarcity in proving that it was enough.
Comparison and scarcity; two things I am practicing shame resilience and recovery from.
Because, I did try and I have suffered.
Because, only I define my enough and my "did we do everything?"
For me, I need to be more.
And, I am enough.
Because, this is the work of ever upward.
I will talk about it, I will embrace it, I will practice and model recovery from it and I will own it. Because maybe within my ownership, one person will be brave enough to demand to be more than their infertility rap sheet.
Because we all are.
So much more.
And, we all deserve to be.
*For a full list of infertility acronyms click here.
To read more about Justine's story purchase your copy of Ever Upward today!