I am not a mother.
I wanted to be a mother.
I fought very hard to be a mother.
I paid a lot of money and put my body (and my surrogate’s body) through synthetic hormonal hell to be a mother.
But, I am not a mother.
At least in the common definition of mother.
Talk about messy and scared to death.
But I choose beautiful and courage instead.
Messy, Beautiful Warrior
My story could be considered epically sad and tremendously messy. But, I like to think of it as beautifully flawed and filled with ever upward light and love, and every piece of my life puzzle in this Messy, Beautiful life is proof that I am a Warrior. Because, it is messy and beautiful to live our lives authentically brave, and so, everyday I choose to live as a Messy, Beautiful Warrior.
Being a warrior means living all the parts of my story fully, wholeheartedly and brazenly authentically courageous.
It means never shying away from the most asked question of every woman my age, “How many children do you have?”, and answering it in my own honest way.
“We tried, we tried really hard, but we can’t have kids.”
It means never allowing shame to steal my story when I am asked the inevitable second most asked question, “Well, why don’t you just adopt?”
“We know adoption is not our path. We’ve been through a lot, financially and emotionally, with In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), surrogacy and losing three babies already. We have decided to accept a childfree life.”
Owning My Story
I will not apologize if my answer makes you uncomfortable. I will not allow your need to fix or take away my pain to silence my story. I will not let shame, self- or societal-induced, steal my light.
So I will educate. I will write and speak my story, owning my shame, every day of my life. I will live it because it is the only way to honor myself. I will live it because it is the only way the landscape of infertility will change. I will live it because we all have our epically Messy, Beautiful journeys. Because hard is hard and maybe, just maybe, openly owning my story will make you just uncomfortable enough to open your eyes and heart to someone else’s story and therefore lead you to some compassion and understanding.
In short, my life and the stories I write in Ever Upward are the epitome of Messy, Beautiful. They are about what happens when we don’t get what we so desperately wanted and hoped for. What happens when we don’t get what we thought we deserved?
Ever Upward is about letting go of what isn’t and embracing a new purpose.
Every day I live and write about my Messy, Beautiful.
Every day I live and write about the epic stumbles followed by every purposeful rise.
The following may look like a mess of words to some, but to me they are my Messy, Beautiful story told through some of the titles of my writings…
Where Do I Belong?
Searching through Our Soul’s Way Through Invisible Sufferings, where I must speak my Fear In Owning My Truth where I am Taking Off the Armor of My “Choice”. Because, only then will Shame Die a Little Bit More.
Learning the hard lessons of seeing the limitations of others as they become Our Fellow Warriors, True Friends, Limited Supporters and Incapables. And then, continually asking the question, Can Our Incapables in the Stands Become Our Warriors in the Arena? As I am constantly figuring out The Frankenstein Walk of Feeling Left Behind.
To make sure Shamed Silence is Broken, I must work on Embracing It to Truly Let It Go and fighting for and finding my Resilient Dreams. Where I must learn The Paradox of Letting Go. Maintaining the balance between my need to Wallow, But Just For a Bit, Then Stop Sitting in the Shit to learn the lesson that it is Worth Every Raindrop and Thunder Strike.
Pushing back My Dementors of Shame and Self Doubt to Reach Through the Keyhole of Your Closet. Because only then will I be able to help others learn to Tread or Float. As I have done in Conceiving Our Chosen Family, which is Never a Consolation Prize and always leaves me Filled with Awe.
Pushing Through Fear to Accept Joy, Hell, to Fight For It has meant loving my Chosen Children. It has meant taking My First Step Out of Rock Bottom to Start My Walk on the Moon and looking for the Lights in the Tunnel to Thrive and Not Just Survive.
And trusting that through this battle I will find my Faith in Something. And that this faith will help me fight The Gravity of Relapse especially in Making Room for the Light.
Because I know, I am a Mother, a Mother to My Magic.
My messy is the random anger and bitterness that can over take me at times. My messy is the underlying sadness that comes and goes because I didn’t get what I wanted or hoped for. My messy is that in every traditional sense of a woman my age, I won’t ever really fit in because I am not a mother. My messy is owning my struggle in my recovery. My messy is the risk I am taking in asking to be considered part of this project and, better yet, my courage to own my shame in my childless status.
But, I choose beautiful in my ever upward mess.
My beautiful is surviving failed IVF and surrogacy. My beautiful is accepting and redefining my childfree life. My beautiful is finding my chosen family within the love of our surrogate family especially with their unexpected pregnancy after our failed IVF tries. My beautiful is finding my role in the lives of all our chosen children. My beautiful is having the patience to find my faith again. My beautiful is owning my story, for the world to see, in order to break the silence of infertility but more importantly in claiming my ongoing recovery. My beautiful is knowing that I am a mother in more ways than most are open to considering. My beautiful is in trusting my gut wrenching ironic path to my ever upward light in being a childfree mother.
As, my beautiful is living my light, authentically brave, mess and all, no matter what. Because life in recovery is always a Messy, Beautiful ever upward journey.
This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!