Emerging to Own Myself Again


Some time ago, fellow blogger and sister-in-loss, Justine Froelker, reached out and asked me to review a chapter of her upcoming book, Ever Upward: Overcoming the Lifelong Losses of Infertility to Own a Childfree Life. I’ll admit I was hesitant, since reading and somehow “grading” a person’s heart notes can be scary, especially if the relationship isn’t the stuff of marrow and soul. But I wanted to do it for her, in honor of the heart shards we share.

The chapter title which spoke to me most was Chapter 8: Emerging to Own Myself Again. The visual representation I had was of a wounded butterfly recocooning itself to heal, yet reemerging, after a Season of grief and recovery, better and stronger because of its traumas or, as Justine calls them, “soul scars”. It is precisely that image that Justine puts into words:

It was with these words, “own and not just prove”, that I felt my calling, my purpose. I needed to own every single part of my story and not just prove it. I needed to stop trying to prove that my path is okay. That not doing another round of IVF is okay. That not being a mother is okay. That not adopting is okay. Stop trying to prove it and just own it. Own my struggles in the IVF world. Own that I stopped treatments. Own that I don’t want to adopt. Own that I am more than childless. Own that I will practice and fight for my recovery and my own childfree life.

Despite the fact that our stories are similar, I don’t pretend to understand all that Justine has suffered. I am, now more than ever, keenly aware of the breadth and depth of the loss spectrum. And surely, if I have learned anything about grief and recovery, it is that each is uniquely personal. Truly, a pebble thrown in the well of the heart will never make exactly the same ripple twice. And I believe it is designed that way. As my husband says, “God is not a god of repetition”: no two trees are alike, no two flowers and yes, no two traumas are either.

Justine’s chapter reminds me of this and what waits for us on the other side:

We are only capable of understanding so much in this life, and maybe we’re only allowed to understand so much. Maybe I will always have to create this constant balance between finding my purpose through the story of my struggle, making sure it means more, at least to me, and trusting that it will still mean just as much without the soul-completing clarity I so desire.

Perhaps the anger will hang on; perhaps the question of whether or not to try again will be a daily, if not an hourly, one; perhaps our sacred light will be snuffed out, at least for awhile; but Justine reminds us that there is more after loss. There is joy, and purpose, and yes…

There. Is. Life.

If you need that reminder, or if you’d like to share that reminder with someone else, you can pre-order now or purchase the book on October 1, 2014 here .

Until I spin my next web,

  One thought on “Emerging to Own Myself Again

  1. September 13, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    I love your review – and I love the reminder that “there is joy, and purpose, and yes there. is. life” after all of our losses. I almost feel like I need to write that and pin it up on my mirror so I see it every single day to remind myself that I don’t have to be consumed with our loss and that I need to continue to see joy and to live, even while we keep trying and beyond.

    Your review has made me even more excited to read this chapter!! 🙂

    • September 24, 2014 at 7:50 pm

      It’s hard to remember sometimes, I know. But it is a profound truth, if I’ve ever known one.

      Thanks for reading, sweetie.

      With heart,

      P.S. I think we should post it to our mirrors…and to the walls of our hearts.

  2. September 13, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    Dani, thank you for the commitment you show in writing this. I am sure it is appreciated by Justine, and I admire the determination you model to truly be a blooming spider.

    Oh, and about that sacred light? You can borrow some of mine anytime you need.


    • September 24, 2014 at 7:51 pm

      You know that I do, love.
      Quite often, in fact.

      ❤ Me

  3. September 13, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Beautiful review. I just can’t wait to get my hands on my book. Unfortunately, I wont be able to make it to the launch party. My in-laws will be in town and it’s my 20th reunion, but I sure am looking forward to getting my copy in the mail!

    • September 24, 2014 at 7:52 pm

      I’d love to hear your thoughts once you read through it.

      Thank you kindly for stopping by ❤

  4. September 13, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    Dani, Thank you so much for reviewing and sharing Ever Upward with your readers, thank you simply not enough. It is beautiful to see my words sharing the page with your beautiful words. Thank you so much! Justine

    • September 24, 2014 at 7:53 pm

      You are very welcome!

  5. September 13, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Reblogged this on Ever Upward and commented:
    It takes my breath away to see my words sharing space with the beautiful words of Dani from Blooming Spiders. Thank you so much Dani for your review, support and friendship!

    • September 24, 2014 at 7:54 pm


  6. September 14, 2014 at 1:54 am

    This was beyond a book review. It is a declaration of sisterhood, that all who grieve, whatever the cause, at some point hang by a single strand, but, “Truly, a pebble thrown in the well of the heart will never make exactly the same ripple twice.” Whether we grieve losses or what might have been, together we call each other to the light. And in that, our hearts are bound together. Thank you.

    • September 14, 2014 at 9:50 am

      Oh Jane, that was so tenderly and deftly put. How skillful your soft graceful heart! And to recognize those of us who grieve what “might have been”, or even deeper for me “should have been and wasn’t”…well it just made things a little more bearable, a little easier…

      • September 14, 2014 at 12:31 pm

        I exhale with a tender joy when I read your words, Charissagrace. Making the grief life, “a little more bearable, a little easier” is why we share, isn’t it? Instead of dwelling in isolation, we journey on together. Consider yourself hugged, sister.

        • September 14, 2014 at 1:29 pm

          *charissa shivers with delight, eyes closed and sighing deeply*

      • September 24, 2014 at 8:00 pm

        A cobbler of heart and soul.

    • September 24, 2014 at 7:56 pm

      Thank you for this piece of loveliness, Jane. I am truly blessed to call you friend. Truly.

      With heart,

  7. September 14, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    I love you review. I love that Justine says “own and not just prove”. Regardless of our struggles, we don’t have to defend our truths or fight for them, we already own them. Another thing that really resonates with me is what you say about a pebble thrown in a well will never make the same ripple twice. I have often compared my struggles to others to somehow make sure I’m struggling right. It sounds crazy saying it out loud but it’s what I’ve been doing. I’m glad I read this today.

    • September 24, 2014 at 8:38 pm

      I know what you mean, Karen. Struggling the “right” way?.?. It does seem silly, but I think the majority of us compare ourselves…even in our suffering.

      Much heart to you in yours,

  8. September 15, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Thank you for this reminder: “if I have learned anything about grief and recovery, it is that each is uniquely personal.” Forgive me for my comment on your subsequent post. We live both universal truths and unique specifics. We as humans both feel compassion for one another and cannot possibly fully understand each other’s experience as unique individuals.

    • September 24, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      Just loved this, Kitt:

      “We live both universal truths and unique specifics.”

      It’s so good to know that, although it may feel like it, we’re not alone in either.

      With heart,

  9. WhitneyCarter
    September 15, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    I feel like “own and not just prove” can be applied both inward and outward. There’s a whole, ever-changing landscape you have to figure out how to navigate after a loss and it takes a long time to get to a point where you can transition into truly being at peace with things that have happened and the choices you’ve made. In terms of owning and not just proving to those around us, it’s just sad to think how defensive grieving parents have to be, how much they feel like they have to prove. There’s a lot of pressure on people to pick up and function normally again and we want to live up to that, but proving it and actually being are two very different things.

    • September 15, 2014 at 8:44 pm

      Beautiful and poignant! Take note all, and then walk gentle.

      • September 24, 2014 at 9:10 pm


    • September 24, 2014 at 9:09 pm

      Whitney, I completely agree with this:

      “There’s a lot of pressure on people to pick up and function normally again and we want to live up to that, but proving it and actually being are two very different things.”

      I’ve literally had people ask when I’m going to be “over it”. It is a question they ask for themselves, not for me. I know that now. People who allow themselves to feel the heart lashes of loss oftentimes make others uncomfortable. Perhaps it’s because they didn’t allow themselves the same or because they shoved themselves into a cube of acceptance before they’d actually “accepted”.

      It is brave to be where you are, without apology. Because here’s the thing: forgiving and moving on for others means nothing. Their thoughts are not what you hear in your head and their souls do not bear your scars.

      We move forward for ourselves.
      And for those tiny souls who reside in our Beyond.

      With heart,

  10. September 17, 2014 at 1:39 am

    Hi Dani. I love your blog so much. I have nominated you for the Liebster award. Please see the post : http://poetlyndabullerwell.wordpress.com/2014/09/16/liebster-award/

    • September 24, 2014 at 9:11 pm

      That’s so sweet of you, Lynda.
      Thank you ❤

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