JustineJustine’s story is the story that has not gone viral yet. Her story is frightening. Tragic they say. Two back surgeries in high school, a year in a body cast, a failed infertility journey, and life without children. By all accounts, Justine has every reason to be a sad, bitter, and angry shell of who she once was, no chance of ever going back to who she used to be or knowing how to even move forward.

Instead, she has chosen to work hard to live a courageous and wholehearted life. She has defined her own happy ending and with the help of her mighty faith wrestle, she has become completely resurrected. Throughout her and her partner’s surrogacy journey to make their family, they were open with their friends and family. They wanted to seek support and educate their loved ones on everything, including the emotional pitfalls of the journey. She figured that the more people praying and sending them “rainbow and unicorn thoughts,” the better.

However, what she knows now is that she wishes that she had been more open and sought more help for herself with a therapist and from her own infertility community. It has only been in the last three years of working with clients in her private practice as a mental health therapist that Justine has found the clarity and the passion she has for healthier message in the infertility community, such as breaking the silence, staying out of comparison, giving one self’s permission to stop and redefine one’s life no matter what ending we get in this journey.

I believe we all can Rise Ever Upward. No matter what you believe in, God, the Universe, Jesus or nature, you are never given more than you can handle and everything, and I mean everything, is for your good somehow.

If Justine lost you here completely with a groan and an eye roll, she wants to put the message out there that your life is better, even if you only tell yourself these “lies.” This is not, however, without work on our part. Choosing to find, fight for and create the gift within and from the tragedy. Justine choose her relationship with her traumas, losses and tragedies. And, five years out of their journey, she realized that holding onto the bitter and anger only threatened to destroy her even more than the failed infertility journey itself.

And so, Justine is releasing the weight of her burdens. She is changing her relationship with the pain of infertility. It will always be hard. It will always be sad, as this is a lifelong grief (even if you were part of the 30% who infertility treatments work for). Because at the end of the day, life hasn’t turned out how most people had hoped, dreamed and planned. Justine will forever wonder who her three would have been. And, she will forever honor them and her motherhood by choosing to rise.

Justine F., MO