“The more specific, the more general.” The words spoken by Nancy Levin at the Emerging Women 2013 Conference. Her words have never spoken more loudly to me than in the last couple of months of writing this blog. Through Ever Upward I have had the honor of being able to connect with so many different people, from literally all around the world, and I have felt just how true these words really are.

I conceived Ever Upward as a place to continue my healing from IVF.

I birthed Ever Upward to continue to work on the acceptance of my childfree life.

I write Ever Upward to help others.

I publish it to connect.

Even within the world of infertility, our stories are so very different and yet the very same.

No matter what brought you to IVF; cancer, back surgeries, endometriosis, unexplained infertility, recurrent pregnancy loss, etc.

And no matter what your outcome; biological children, adopted embryos you carried, gestational or traditional surrogacy, adoption or never to be born children.

So very different, and yet the very same.White poppy and red peony

All the scenarios have losses and pains and hurts. All the scenarios were not what we had planned or hoped for or envisioned for ourselves. All the scenarios are invisible to the outside world and hardly ever spoken about. All the scenarios therefore create prisons around us with only shame as our cell mate. But really, all the scenarios are not really all that different than just everyday life, everyday loss.

To have technology to make babies is nothing short of a miracle, but it comes at very high costs; more money than most of us really have, lots of pain and side effects and the emotional turmoil. No matter the reason for using any type of assisted fertility treatments, there are huge losses incurred. Couples who must use infertility treatments will never get to say, “We just had too much wine one night and weren’t as careful as we should have been.” Or “We tried for months, and we conceived on this date through love.” Those of us who have survived infertility treatments, conceived (or tried to conceive) using injections, sterile rooms, plastic cups and a team of doctors all around us.

To not be able to conceive naturally cuts deeply and to not be able to carry a pregnancy feels gut wrenchingly unnatural.

And no matter the outcome of infertility treatments, there too, are always losses. To be blessed with children through the process is a dream come true, and makes all of it worth it (so I’m told). And yet, I wonder, can it possibly erase the left over trauma suffered throughout the process, both financial and emotional? Getting to experience pregnancy but with adopted embryos means grieving the loss of never getting to see what your biological children would have looked like or been like. Surrogacy means missing out on the experience of pregnancy. Adopting, perhaps always wondering what your biological children would have been like and maybe always worrying about the future. And finally, the never to be born children…

If we aren’t careful all of these scenarios could leave gaping holes inside our souls.

Frankly, it is all loss. And life can be full of loss.

All our stories and our losses, infertility survivor or not, are not so different.

Losing loved ones, losing dreams, losing relationships, losing health, losing faith, losing

It may be something that cannot be seen from the outside and yet is such a significant part of who we are. No matter the loss, it changes us forever.

But that change is up to us.

So, Ever Upward may be a blog about infertility and about figuring out my childfree life.

But really, it is just about life.

For life.

And finding the ever upward.

8 thoughts on “So Very Different, and Yet the Very Same

  1. busynothing says:

    Speechless. You are a gifted writer with a clear heart. I don’t know you but I’m proud of you for where you are right now. ❤


    1. jlbf4 says:

      Thank you, I think we do really know each other, at least our hearts and souls ❤


  2. I’m still trying to figure out what your shame is … it hasn’t exactly been spelled out to me, but I can make some guesses. I’m imagining your shame is the idea that people think you haven’t tried enough in regard to IVF, somehow that you believe you aren’t “good enough” to produce a child thinking something is inherently wrong with you, of not meeting society’s expectations to include your own that you don’t have children like we’re all “supposed to have” and perhaps some other reasons too. These are only my guesses; please correct me if I’m wrong.

    Your post talks about the emotional, physical and financial toll that IVF, let alone unsuccessful IVF can take. After having worked with a coworker experiencing numerous rounds of unsuccessful IVF and working as a nurse with women who are understandably emotional during the entire IVF process, I decided IVF was not something I wanted to go through. I couldn’t bear the triad of emotional instability, physical toll and financial loss by engaging on the IVF journey … some could definitely say I didn’t try hard enough if I truly wanted a child and wasn’t willing to go through IVF or adoption … adoption being a whole topic unto itself.

    Your story and struggle with IVF remind me of this childfree and childfull mother who details her story with infertility treatments, pregnancy losses, physical challenges and financial costs. Her struggles are what I most feared would happen to me if I tried IVF.

    Here’s Ayliea’s story: https://1in10blog.wordpress.com/full-stories/ayliea-nevada/

    Any woman who goes through IVF is brave in my opinion and I can only look on with compassion.

    Hugs ❤


    1. Exactly! I am certified in The Daring Way™ based on the research of Brené Brown (keep reading ever upward and more of my shame and Brené’s work will definitely be discussed ;)). For me, and I think for a lot of people, there is a lot of shame in not having children or even enough children or children that are too far apart in age or hell, even having to many children. There is so much judgment and shame built into family planning. For me, my shame comes from a lot of what society says, I should be a mom, I should adopt, I should have tried more, etc. etc. I am in a much better place now after lots of work on myself and recovery. Thank you so much for reading and your thoughtful and insightful comments! J


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