It is with a heart full of awe and gratitude that I am kicking off my blog tour in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week and the launch of my latest book The Mother of Second Chances: The Struggle Bus of Rewriting My Story of Infertility and Loss, based off my blog. The Mother of Second Chances releases April 17th and is available for pre-orders now!

For this blog tour I have 24 incredible voices joining me. Over the next five weeks each blogger will post on their blog or social media outlet their post on their assigned day to help us raise awareness of the lifelong journey of infertility. Read my fellow warriors stories of loss, courage, hope, healing and honor. Let us come together to educate the world on infertility and rising Ever Upward, and therefore build compassion for our continued healing.

We would love for you to participate by sharing these posts far and wide. We’d especially love to see your own broken silence by sharing your own infertility story using the hastags: #NIAW, #infertility and #EverUpward. And, please feel free to tag me.

Together we will #shatterthestigma.

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To kick us off, I start with my 6 Motherly Lessons Learned From the Losses of Infertility. Tomorrow my friend Jenna shares her story.

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Post links will be published once blogs are posted.

Justine Brooks Froelker: 3/27 – 6 Motherly Lessons Learned From the Losses of Infertility

Jenna Marinelli: 3/28 – My Journey to Motherhood

Laura Gaddis: 3/29 – 

Cathy Broadwell: 3/30 – 

Sarah Chamberlin: 3/31 – 

Stephanie Risinger: 4/3 – 

Jody Day: 4/4 – 

Elizabeth Walker: 4/5 – 

Heather Huhman: 4/6 – 

Erica Stepteau: 4/7 – 

Catherine-Emmanuelle Delisle: 4/8

Kristy Taxson: 4/10 – 

Candace Wohl: 4/11 – 

Susan Fuller: 4/12 – 

Kelly DaSilva: 4/13 – 

Lisa Manterfield: 4/14 – 

Sarah Roberts: 4/17 – 

Jessica Hepburn: 4/18 – 

Kim Antisdel: 4/19 – 

Meaghan Shaffer: 4/20 – 

Sarah Bartels: 4/21

Elena Ridley: 4/24 – 

Jen Noonan: 4/25 – 

Lindsay Fischer: 4/26 – 

Julie Maleski: 4/27 – 

Justine Brooks Froelker: 4/28 –

Because infertility knows no bounds of ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, etc.

Because the silence is destroying us.

Because it is important to circle back.

Because we desperately need to have these conversations.

Honestly, it is best explained here…

The Ever Upward Blog Tour starts March 27th right here!

So thankful for my friend Marie, her support, her work and mostly her friendship.

Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

facebook_22f78424ec.jpgTime for this week’s round-up of the best of the blog posts which I’ve read over the past week. These are the posts that have moved me, taught me something, inspired me, and which I’ve wanted to share with you. Don’t forget if you have written a post which you would like readers to see, just leave a comment below.

As Nancyshares some truly staggering stats on metastatic breast cancer death rates, Katherinewrites on our evolving journey of MBC advocacy.

Some very exciting changes are about to happen in Eileen‘s life.

Loved learning more about Julia‘s creative process in her latest blog.

A superb post by Carolynon respecting the intelligence and wisdom of patients.

A reminder from Stephanie on the importance of processing loss.

A powerful reflection on living with lymphedema written by Carrie.

I struggle every day knowing that I have to live with lymphedema…

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“Is the speaking, writing and advocacy just bringing up the grief too much?”

I have been asked this by more than one close loved one lately.

All you have to do is follow me on social media and see some of my recent videos to know that I’ve been on the struggle bus lately.

Ah, the struggle bus. But why?

Never a therapist to turn away from learning and growing in my own insight, I know it is a runaway bus for a few reasons.

We got to spend an amazing and fun weekend with three of our favorite boys while their mom and dad, some of our closest friends, were on a business vacation. It was a weekend of sports, the new Lego movie, a preschool Valentine’s Day party (the one and only I will ever attend), sharing the worst part and best parts of our day over dinner together and me yelling the words, “No touching another human being for the next ten minutes!” a thousand times.

For three days Chad and I got to experience the tiniest bit of the anxiety, worry, frustration and exhaustion of parenting three boys.

For three days we got the tiniest glimpse into what life would have been like with our three.

It was incredible, and I am so grateful.

It was also super hard and had the major undercurrent of grief for me.

The weekend after, I spoke at an infertility conference. I spent the day surrounded by men and women still in the journey, my fellow warriors, while I hocked my book and presented with my good friend and fellow warrior Lindsay. Our presentation kicked ass, we got so much positive feedback.

It was amazing, and I knew I did good work that day.

It was also hard and had a major undercurrent of my grief.

So the question posed above by several of my loved ones is not out of the question. I have noticeably been in a season of struggle… again; more tearful, arguing with God, then frustrated with myself and utterly exhausted and overwhelmed.

Fucking struggle bus.

However, I know the answer to their question immediately.

My grief is always there, it will always fucking be here, my children aren’t walking this earth with me! My writing, speaking and advocating honor them and help it feel like it was all worth something.

And yet, lately it feels like it is an exhausting, pointless hustle. Like all the work, sacrifice, money and time are never going to pay off. To which Chad then does his job, well I might add, of witnessing my life with his complimentary to me husband duty and asks, “What is your definition of success when it comes to this?”

“I guess I have no idea, which is even more frustrating,” is my only reply, which only pisses me off more, brings tears down my cheeks and makes me pick up my wine glass.

It is clear my story will never be the first picked for the magazine or mainstream media outlet. Hell, it is proven that I usually have to literally force my way onto the local stages. The definition of success where this goes viral and my story is able to reach millions feels impossible.

To be honest, it has crossed my mind more than once these last few weeks to quit it all. To stop writing, speaking and advocating.

And then, par the course, God not so gently nudges me with a few Facebook messages and emails:

“I can’t get your story out of my head.”

“Thank you for being the only one to say that sometimes this doesn’t work and that we can still be okay.”

“Thank you for telling your story.”

“Thank you for all you do for our community.”

How come it is so hard for me to count this as success?

Because it is not over 22,000 Facebook likes, a million views and it is for sure not any amount of a paycheck. We live in a world that we are told we don’t matter and that we are never enough. You haven’t sold enough books, made enough money, gotten enough followers…you aren’t pretty enough, rich enough, thin enough, happy enough…

YOU. ARE. NOT. ENOUGH.

We all have this shame and scarcity in our lives, the world we live in alone makes you feel like a prisoner to it. I don’t get dibs on it as a small published author painstakingly building her platform with a sad story on a topic no one wants to talk about.

But as my life would have it, this very normal feeling of never enough majorly triggers my grief trauma.

I live in a world full of children. Everything is child-centered and child-obsessed, even the Hallmark holidays I learned this past Valentine’s Day when grief reared it’s ugly head and bit me in the ass.

Almost everywhere I go, I am the only woman my age without children. I will never fit in. The grief and the shame trauma that lives inside of me turns this into another way for me to tell myself that I am not enough.to-bravely-work

This is the story I must bravely work to rewrite every day. This is the story all of us must rewrite.

I rewrite it through practicing self-care, loving hard, mothering everything and everyone that comes into contact with me and through writing and speaking the story the world isn’t ready to hear.

I know, I can’t quit. This is in my bones and I am not done changing the world yet, especially the infertility and loss community. I do however have to shift my energy before this hustle kills my spirit.

So, I will write when I am moved. I will publish the next two books because, hell, they are already written and they are needed. And, I will let this go, laying it down, let’s be honest, laying it back down at His feet where it always belonged anyway. He’s got it. My success, my identity, are not in book sales, followers or a paycheck. My identity doesn’t even lie in my motherhood.

It is my job to get off the damn struggle bus, even if it is to squeeze into a struggle Fiat for now. So, with the help of my community, a new coach, my self-care and His mercy and grace the struggle is now in a tiny car that will zoom in and out of the traffic of living this wholehearted life with lifelong grief.

And, I will pull over once in a while and remember, I am a daughter of the King. He made me a mother. And, through Him, in Him and because of Him, I am enough.

I shared this video on my Facebook wall yesterday, and it seems to really be working something, so I wanted to share here too. 

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Because grief is like the ocean…and bailing on the wave or bashing it with the surfboard doesn’t honor our sacred truth.

Click here to view, and make sure to like my page for the latest updates on my next two projects! 

I am not sure I have ever been so scared for a piece to be published… Here we go! I am practicing my badass bravery even though I feel like I may vomit. Thank you also to my amazing friend over at Bent Not Broken for her editing help on this one!

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Is She Brave?

We hear it growing up and even more as adults: never give up, good things come to those who wait and work hard for your dreams.

Then one day you walk out of a florescent lit doctor’s office as a shell of your former self after receiving life changing news because now you must pick up the pieces of what you thought your life would be.

She received the diagnosis several years ago.

Click here to continue reading over at HuffPost.

Gracie is plastered against my leg, our usual morning position on the bright orange couch in the sun soaked living room

My steaming coffee beside me alongside my stack of morning books and journals.

She’s up against my leg providing the warm reminder of just one of the ways I am a mother.

Her sister stretched out to the warmth of her as close to me as possible while also still touching her sister; a requirement of sorts.

A reminder of the possible, yet never to be twins of ours. They would have been four this year, that ever present due date just two weeks away.

Four years.

I still can’t believe how much time has passed; how much has changed and yet how much remains the same.

The grief has morphed so much, yet the longing as strong as ever.

The darkness lit up by what has become the happy and healthy version of myself; my redefined, thriving life.

The darkness there, always, as my children aren’t here. Yet, the light that is me – in Him, through Him the-light-is-therein-within-and-all-aroundand because of Him, makes the darkness bearable.

The light is there; in, within and around.

I only must stretch to reach the warmth.

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It has been weeks since I wrote this, yet all the feels in it are still all too familiar and haunting my heart.

I know it has been awhile since I last posted my friends. I am asking for and hoping for some grace as I work to finish my second book, The Complicated Gray. I am writing away to get it into my editor’s hands no later than March 1st with a publication goal of August or September.

Until then, I will try my best to share here once in a while. Thank you for your support, prayers and love. I very much appreciate you all.

***Background image from http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2012/02/break-out-of-prison/.

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