My last few posts have been some of the most difficult to write but also the most freeing and helpful. I have learned this last week that these last few posts have not only been helpful to me, but to hundreds of others as well, as Ever Upward was featured on a weekly round-up post on Marie’s wonderful blog (http://journeyingbeyondbreastcancer.com/2013/12/29/weekly-round-up-72/). It was also shared by people other than my close family and friends (thank you, thank you, thank you!).

Which means my views went up.

The message heard on a bigger scale.

And most importantly, shame died a little bit more.

I, along with others who have shared the blog posts, have received private messages thanking us for sharing the links, for speaking the truth about infertility and sending their support. However, I can’t help but notice how few people actually share the blog or publicly comment on it. I do not feel anger and sadness because I need the blog to gain fame or because I’m seeking validation, but because it shows just how strong the shame of infertility is.

Why are we not talking about this more?!

Statistics currently show 1 in 8 couples suffers with infertility, with some studies saying it is more like 1 in 6.

1 in 8.

Possibly, 1 in 6!

And yet most of us suffer in silence, alone with only our partner by our side (and our IVF docs pushing another round), thus, putting more pressure on our relationship. Aren’t the hormone treatments, painful procedures, waiting games and the vast amounts of money we spend doing enough damage to our relationship?

I am speaking my story out loud because otherwise it is invisible to the world, which means it feels riddled with shame, disgrace and indignity. But the thing is, many of the most difficult struggles we all suffer with are invisible; depression, autoimmune disorders, infertility, etc., etc.

I don’t think we all need to be the poster child for our stories, pains and losses. And this isn’t what I am trying to do through the blog. I’m writing, sharing and speaking loudly, my authentic truth, because it heals me, makes shame impossible to live inside of me and because it helps. It helps me, and I am learning it is helping others.

And ultimately, this is my true authentic light. colorful sunset

I help.

I can’t not help others, as this would be like asking me to not breathe.

Speaking, and owning, our truth is the only place any of us will find peace, understanding and wholeness.

The blog writing and the authentic truth telling is not for attention or pity or ‘fame’ but for understanding, empathy, not feeling so alone and helping. If my truth telling, my light, is too much for you and makes you uncomfortable, cringe or point the finger of judgment, well, that speaks more about you than me. And my only hope for you is that one day you find, fight for and own your own authentic truth and light.

As this is the biggest and strongest weapon any of us have against shame.

Brené Brown often compares shame to gremlins. Gremlins when exposed to the light die. Shame when spoken and owned can no longer exist.

raysSo I will shine the light on my invisible sufferings.

I will never be a mother.

I will never fulfill what society, and what some say God put me on earth to do.

I am a survivor and thriver of anxiety and depression.

I am a fighter and a helper.

I am figuring out how to accept, like and even be proud of my childfree life.

I will live my life, sometimes minute by minute, seeking, fighting for and living out loud my ever upward.

And, I hope my story helps you to do the same in your own way; find, fight for and own your truth, your ever upward.

18 thoughts on “Shame Died a Little Bit More: Truth Telling My Authentic Light

  1. Marie says:

    Such a powerful statement “shame died a little bit ;more” I still find it very difficult to talk openly about how crushingly awful the shame of infertility is in my life – how much of a failure it makes me feel in my own eyes Those who are lucky enough to be able to get pregnant and bring that pregnancy to full term have no idea how deep the pain goes in those of us who can’t do what appears to be so easy to others. And it is just not talked about “in polite society”. Blogs like yours are the only place we can come to find someone else who understands the depths of frustration and despair. we feel.

    Like

    1. jlbf4 says:

      You are being brave and authentic, owning your story right here in this comment! Sending you my love and hand to hold and walk along beside you.

      Like

  2. Michelle says:

    This is, in my opinion, your most powerful post yet. You are helping so many people Justine! I can’t imagine how hard it must be to put it all out there like you’re doing but I can tell it is so freeing. You are amazing ❤

    Like

    1. jlbf4 says:

      Thank you love! I literally emailed myself 6 times before I just gave in and got to the computer to write it this morning!

      Like

  3. Catherine says:

    Deep breathe here . . . thanks for sharing this on Marie’s reposting post. Infertility is something I’m new to wrapping my head around, but it’s a reality many women treated for cancer need to face. So, even if we might have different experiences with infertility, nevertheless, THANK YOU for talking about it.

    Like

    1. jlbf4 says:

      Catherine, Thank you for your comment and support. The losses that come with infertility, no how matter what brought you to it or what your outcome is, are great. Actually have a blog inside me turning about just this… Happy New Year!

      Like

  4. galfromaway says:

    Just saw this post shared in an IVF discussion group. Fantastic. I wrote about my experiences with infertility too, a few years ago. Friends who also struggled quietly revealed themselves to me, commending me on being brave enough to share my story in public. Tough to do, but so important!

    “I am a survivor and thriver of anxiety and depression.”

    I’m curious – what does it mean to be a thriver of anxiety and depression?

    Like

    1. Thank you so much for reading and for this amazing comment! I cannot choose whether or not I suffer from anxiety and depression. But I can choose whether or not I treat them and make them just part of my story and not my whole identity. Thriving with anxiety and depression means I choose to practice my recovery daily. Thanks again, Justine

      Like

      1. galfromaway says:

        What a great way to look at that. I’m putting that on my office wall now. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This post speaks so much to me as I was struggling to let my light shine bright too. Awareness – that is where it all boils down for me. And you may never be a biological mother to a child, but you are most definitely an amazing fur-baby Mama! (that counts ya know!) ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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