Q&A WITH JUSTINE FROELKER
Author of Ever Upward: Overcoming the Lifelong Losses of Infertility to Own a Childfree Life
Question: What inspired you to start the blog, Ever Upward?
Answer: I was honest within my very first post in November 2013. I started Ever Upward, the blog, to build credibility and the platform for the book. Never could I have imagined the life it would grow all on it’s own. The people I have met, the relationships and connections that have grown, the support and love I have felt are simply immeasurable!
Question: Please tell us more about your upcoming book, Ever Upward: Owning My Childfree Life in Our Child Obsessed World.
Answer: Ever Upward is my hopeful story of what I did to change my life for the better after the heartbreaking, devastating and life-long losses of infertility. Ever Upward begins with my incredible story of surviving life through two back surgeries, a year in a body cast and two rounds of IVF with a gestational surrogate. I guide the reader through the strategies I used to overcome the loss of my dream of motherhood and chose to thrive through the ownership and acceptance of my childfree life.
Question: What do you hope readers take away from your story?
Answer: I hope they will be entertained by my life story and, better yet, changed to know that we are all capable of changing and redefining our lives. I hope to start and continue the conversation around breaking the silence of infertility of any kind.
Most of all, I hope to give readers the permission to own all the parts of their story; to accept and even love every version of the happy endings, no matter the loss, trauma or tragedy suffered, especially in infertility treatments.
Question: Do you think your experience as a therapist made the infertility journey easier or harder on you?
Answer: Honestly, both. Easier in that I read, research and know many resources for life improvement, even just beyond the therapeutic theory. But also more difficult in that there were times through my recovery from infertility that I felt like a fraud in fighting my own struggles and in searching for my own recovery. What I know now is that my struggles, my ownership of my fight and my recovery are what make me a great therapist. As I have done my own work I have seen how much more I can give to my clients in helping them through whatever they are facing right now. I also know my struggles and my story of infertility, especially my ending in which many would say can’t be a happy ending, helps me tremendously with understanding others going through the journey, no matter where they are in it or what their result.
Question: What is your favorite piece of advice to give couples dealing with infertility?
Answer: Talk about it and maybe even seek outside professional help. I think to only rely on each other and your medical team is way too much for any relationship to handle. You don’t have to tell everyone in your life and you don’t have to write a public blog or publish a book like I have. But, I think, if we actually break the shamed silence of infertility and own all the parts of our stories, our treatments could have higher success rates, we could get the understanding we so want and need and we will be happier and healthier versions of ourselves, no matter what our happy ending looks like.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Justine Brooks Froelker, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator-Candidate (based on the research of Brené Brown) with a private practice in St. Louis, Missouri. For the last 14 years she has helped her clients achieve success in improving their quality of life as it relates to anxiety, depression, relationships, infertility, addictions, perfectionism, eating and weight issues and common discontent, using a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Solution Focused Therapy.
In addition to her private practice, Ms. Froelker is an adjunct faculty member at Saint Louis Community College, where she teaches General Psychology. She can be seen regularly on the St. Louis KMOV live midday show, Great Day St. Louis. Ms. Froelker contributes to the monthly publication, St. Louis Health & Wellness Magazine, as an expert therapist. She is also currently updating her blog, Ever Upward, about her personal experience with infertility, which can be found at www.everupward.org. Her book will be available late 2014 or early 2015.