“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.

11 thoughts on “The Struggle Bus of I Quit

  1. Courtney says:

    Your words help so much- infertility and loosing a baby is the lonliest place at times and your words make me feel like I am not alone. Thank you!

    Like

    1. Thank you so much Courtney for your words. We are not alone, ever. ❤

      Like

  2. YES. We have to break through the idea that we are not enough. That each hurdle we clear only puts a taller one in its place. We need to be here, in the moment and bask in everything it offers us. We also need to acknowledge and tell the story of our lifelong grief, no matter how our stories end. It won’t be pretty or easy, but it is needed. Never forget you have a bunch of us out here cheering you on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Angela, seriously, thank you! Thank you for seeing me, all of me, even the parts of me that sometimes I don’t want to be seen but know they must. I am so thankful for our community.

      Like

  3. italy1769 says:

    I am so thankful for all you do …and even now as you seem to have made a life for yourself , you still have to deal with the loss. Most ppl think get over it, move on, it help us to see that we are doing the best we can and even you have to live and deal with life time of loss. If you never spoke of the hurt, wanting to make it seem like you had moved on, it would make us seem less validated. I so know how hard somedays can be, mothers day…I no longer go to church …did that once…ripped my heart out… I say all this to say you have success, you make it okay for us to think about it, to have times where it breaks us. God has some explaining to do about this… I no longer work as my medical issues are to great and there are days when I judge my success on making someone smile…some days thats all I am capable of doing. To most ppl this is stupid…but ask the person whom I made smile…they dont think its nothing. Its hard to find self worth some days…but I am learning that helping others to feel loved, is no small thing. I say all this to say , I so understand how draining this must be….and that I also understand not wanting to stop writing and talking. I know the balance between personal and professional is difficult, but I do wonder if you dont need to work more at taking care of you ? This is a long task you have chosen, and taking care of you is as important. You will burn out , if. you dont spend more time on you, your husband, family and friends. Finding what makes you smile and feel loved in your personal life is a must. Even if that means slowing down a little on the professional side of things. Please take care of you…even little things can help..such as for me a bubble bath helps me to relax….knowing what helps me even a little gives me a list of things I can do that helps to make me smile. This is one of my favorite videos that make me smile( and others I have shared it with) HUGS.( I hope this makes sense I am on day three of a migraine) https://www.youtube.com/shared?ci=rQwa61D-Vgo

    Like

    1. Thank you so much for sending this amazing comment! You are oh so right. I am feeling much better this week, trusting and doing the work I need to do for myself. I am grateful for my community, for the support and the accountability. And, I LOVE this video!!!! ❤

      Like

  4. Amie says:

    I was searching for help after deciding that fertility treatment needed to end without a baby happy ending. I found your article on Huffington. I bought your book and then found your blog. Thank you for all you share with us. I really thank God I found your writings, I was feeling all alone after 5 years of infertility and losing a pregnancy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Amie. This means so much. I working daily on trusting that my story will reach people when they need it and help. Thank you for letting me know I can trust this! We are never alone in this!!!! Justine

      Like

  5. gsmwc02 says:

    I am always in awe of your strength, persistence and overall passion. You are an amazing person that is an inspiration for us all.

    Like

    1. Thank you Greg! So grateful to you, your support and your friendship through this journey! J

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is so powerful. I identify so much with everything you have written here. I am grateful to you that you continue to ride this damn bus xxxx

    Like

Be Brave, ask a question, leave a comment or provide feedback!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: