10/22/2014 11:30 am ET Updated Dec 22, 2014

Taking Off the Armor of My 'Choice'

Justine Brooks Froelker

Publishing a book and blog for the entire world to read means one must be ready for the critics, even the really unforgiving, judgmental and unsympathetic ones.

Sometimes they are strangers on the other side of the world and other times they are your very own loved ones.

I've experienced a few super harsh critics. And, of course their words cut the deepest because they are my greatest shame fears said out loud.

You CHOSE to not have kids.

You were never really pregnant. They were only embryos, not babies!

The scariest part of my work in recovery after infertility has been in owning my story.

  • Publicly starting the conversation that it is OK to stop IVF treatments before getting the intended result of becoming a mother.
  • Publicly owning our decision to not adopt.
  • Grieving the lifelong losses of infertility and the losses of our three never-to-be babies.

Scary because I have ultimately feared these exact judgments.

What if people think I did not want kids badly enough because I didn't do 5, 8, 10 years of treatments? What if people think I did not want kids badly enough because I'm willing to admit that adoption isn't right for our family? What if people don't consider my losses a true loss?

What if people think I didn't want to be a mom bad enough?

Maybe to some, I have chosen to not be a mother.

But I know my truth.

I fought really hard to be a mother. I paid lots of money to be a mother. I endured painful tests and procedures to be a mother. I put my body and my surrogate's through synthetic hormonal hell to be a mother. I put my faith and trust in many doctors and other humans to be a mother.

Does accepting that the battle would never have my desired outcome mean I chose to not be a mom? Does redefining my life and figuring out childfree mean I chose to not be a mom? Does accepting what is mean I chose to not be a mom?

Maybe to some, this is my choice to not have children. But, I know I tried to be a mom. Better yet, I know I am mom in many ways. And, though, I respect your opinion, I will not be defined by it.

I am working every day to accept graciously that I will never be a mom in the traditional sense.

And I know, accepting this as my truth and defining my enough and everything does not mean I didn't want it.

And I know, redefining everything doesn't mean I chose not to have kids.

I have chosen what I can.

I have accepted what is.

And I write about it, to help and heal myself and hopefully others, because we must talk about it, embrace it, practice recovery from it and own all the parts of our story.

And, the only thing scarier than publicly owning all of this as my truth ould be not owning it.

Sometimes, we don't get what we want or what we dreamed of or what we fought really hard for, or even what we feel is meant as ours.

Sometimes, we lose our way, our truth, our dreams and faith along the way.

But, it is through these very never-meant-to-be's that we will find ourselves, our journey and our truth.

No matter the judgments and shaming and misunderstanding, this is my story of owning it, and not just proving it.

So be clear as I clarify for my critics, I will not armor up, I will not shy away and I will not stop living my authentic truth.

Because this is my ever upward.

Purchase your copy of Ever Upward here.