A couple of weeks ago I discovered Ever Upward, a blog written by Justine Brooks Froelker. Justine also wrote a book by the same title. It can be purchased on Amazon (Kindle or paperback) or directly from her website. I was initially going to buy the Kindle edition but when ended up purchasing directly since part of the proceeds are donated to charity, and charity is always something I can get behind. Plus, it's signed, and it's always cool to see someone else's handwriting! The book arrived on Monday, which was pretty perfect timing because I finished reading the Ever Upward blog on Sunday evening. The plan was to save the book for later in the week, but I ended up reading the entire book on Monday night (thank you, insomnia!).
With the exception of a whole lot of heartbreak along the way and the end result being the same, my story and Justine's story aren't that similar. But that's ok! Heartbreak is heartbreak. Hard is hard. It's not healthy or worthwhile to compare, but it is important to own our stories without shame. I think that stories of other survivors are so important. Justine puts her story out there almost as if to say "I did this and you can too!"
She devotes a good portion of the book to talking about shame. Specifically that we don't have any reason to be ashamed. That we aren't "less than" because we don't have kids. She also spoke candidly about grief and how it impacted all areas of her life in a raw and honest way that I found to be relatable. I also loved how she emphasized how we don't need to explain anything to anyone, that we never need to share more than we are comfortable with or justify any of our choices.
The whole book was infused with changes that Justine made in her life resulting in a healthier and happier her. Some of those things I can really get behind and think I'll try to implement in my own life, such as a nighttime routine (because I think we can all agree that I need more sleep!) and monthly dates with my husband to cultivate a strong relationship. Other things made my inner skeptic wary, but she is also quick to point out that the things she writes about are things that benefited her and that they weren't recommendations. And they work for her, so I shouldn't discount things that I haven't tried. :)
Justine talks openly about viewing herself as a parent and about her chosen children. I absolutely love that she has children that mean so much to her in her life and has found ways to fulfill her parental desires. Whenever I read a book like this, I always try to find some take aways for my own life, and this was one part of Ever Upward that I really struggled with. I don't view myself as a parent. I view myself as someone who wanted to be a parent really bad and who it didn't work out for. And honestly, at least right now, being around the children of others ranges from uncomfortable to downright painful reminders of what I'll never have. Maybe this will come with time and healing? I hope! But her story does give me hope for this area of my life.
Ever Upward is a book about thriving after infertility. It's a memoir, Justine telling her story, and was written from the heart. It's one of the more authentic and brave books that I've read in quite a while. It's an account of lessons learned urges the reader to become healthier, happier, and rediscover themselves. It's an important and needed book. All in all, I loved Ever Upward. I can honestly see myself re-reading it a couple of times.
Hubs and I are very different and excel at different things. As a result we both have different household responsibilities that play into our strengths. For example, he's not allowed anywhere near the washing machine (expensive story that I can laugh about...now), and anything that requires meticulous attention to detail is something that he handles. He deals with all of our household finances, all I have to do is give him all receipts and tell him about any online purchases. He's really good at this particular task to the extent that he checks all of our accounts on a near daily basis for accuracy. He says it's being diligent, I say it's being OCD, but whatever. It's a huge stress removed from my life so he can do it however he wishes. So anyway, I ordered Ever Upward last Wednesday night after he went to bed and forgot to leave him a note telling him about the charge. He left for work before I got out of bed on Thursday morning and he got home from work before I did. When I got home I heard him on the phone so I tried to be quiet. Then I overhear: "I'm calling to report a suspicious charge on my credit card in the amount of $17.99." I nearly broke my ankle as I sprinted (and tripped) up the stairs to let him know that I bought a book and it was me that made the charge. Then he had to explain to the fraud guy that it wasn't fraud that his wife just made a purchase and didn't bother to tell him (to which the fraud guy assured him that he's taken many similar phone calls of this nature). Oops. I think it's funny.....hubs, not so much. Never a dull moment...