“When are you having kids?” “Why don’t you just adopt?”
Ever Upward: Overcoming the Lifelong Losses of Infertility to Define Your Own Happy Ending
I’ve done a lot of book reviews over the years, but none have come as close to telling my story as this one did. Described as “a voice to those silenced by infertility,” Justine Brooks Froelker’s Ever Upward does just that. Sharing personal stories from her life, Justine uses her voice to explain the stigma that comes with infertility; that if your story ends with a childless life, you have somehow failed to have your happy ever after.
“Being completely understood by others has nothing to do with who we are or our stories. We must honor ourselves, no matter what our loved ones’ capabilities of understanding us are.” pg 77
Reflecting on the book:
Millions of couples are currently battling the silent pain of infertility. These same couples are subject to well-meaning, but often times embarrassing or humiliating questions, such as “Why don’t you have children?” or “Why aren’t you adopting?” I’ve questioned myself many times over whether or not I should write about infertility, when I hadn’t taken every step necessary to obtain a child. Reading this book helped me realize that there are many other women out there like me, and just because we didn’t do what society says we should have, doesn’t mean our story is invalidated. We suffered the pain, heartbreak, and loss that comes with infertility, but our story ended differently.
“It is beyond terrifying to openly admit that adoption isn’t for us. I am fearful of being judged and misunderstood. I’m scared people will think I never really wanted children since I’m not willing to go the length and adopt. I’m scared people will think I’m a bad person…” pg 37
If ever there was a book written just for me, this would be it. Ever Upward is more than just a story. It is a challenge to us all. It gives us permission to own our stories, and stop making excuses to appease others. Everyone has an idea of what a “normal family” should consist of, but not everyone gets to make that choice for you. Justine says “I choose beautiful in my ever upward mess.” Me too. Like Justine, I choose to own my happiness by knowing that I can be childfree, but still remain childfull.
April 19-25 is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) and I can’t think of a better time than now to promote this book. I highly recommend it for anyone who has ever struggled, not just with infertility, but with feeling any kind of guilt over the choices you have made in life.
“Every Upward is the epitome of messy, beautiful. It is 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.“ pg 156
Justine Brooks Froelker
Hardcover: 165 pages
Publisher: Morgan James, April 2015