Sara Bareilles is one of my favorite artists. So many of her songs lyrics speak to me on a very personal level. They inspire me, comfort me, and make me think. One of her most recent hits is “Brave”.

Every time I hear this song I wonder what have I always wanted to do but have been too scared to try? What places would I see, which people would I meet, experiences would I have if I didn’t let fear get in my way? Belting this song out at the top of my lungs, it’s easier to feel a little bit more courageous.

This year, I want to conquer a fear of mine. I want to let the words fall out and say what I want to say. I want to talk about our Infertility.

Infertility can be a lonely, draining experience. It’s scary and utterly personal. It makes you feel ashamed and terrified to tell anyone. Talking about it would mean being vulnerable. For three years I’ve kept our secret and felt the shadow winning, bearing down on me each step of the way. The constant negative pregnancy tests, then test after test with no results. Procedures, specialists, and diagnoses on both sides finally resulting in the news that our only option to conceiving a child is IVF. I did some disappearing and let part of my identity be swallowed up by my crisis, obsessing over my fear that our infertility will win.

But then something changed.

I started connecting with others going through infertility. In my own cautious way. First through blogs and other social media. Observing, soaking in others’ stories. I learned more about infertility. I discovered that a shocking 1 in 8 couples are battling infertility, more people out there sharing my feelings than I would have ever guessed. Others around me would mention their own struggles with infertility and I would approach them privately about my own troubles, bonding with them and fortifying myself.

Each story showed me all sorts of forms of bravery.

Brave is making that first decision that you’re ready to become a parent. Brave is finding the courage to see a doctor and seeking help. Brave is accepting that infertility is a challenge in your life. Brave is having the courage to share with others. Brave is persisting through the ups and downs. Brave is holding that tiny, beautiful baby. And the bravest to me–brave is moving on and letting go.

I am forever grateful to those who were willing to take their guard down and share their story with me, whether via posts or in person. They have been my strength and my inspiration.Throughout this, I’ve learned something about myself. I work better through my trials when I talk about them. I need support from those who love me. I need knowledge from those who have gone through this themselves, a mentor who can help guide us. And I know I’m not the only one who needs that. That is why we have chosen to document our infertility journey. Where we’ve gone over the last 3 years and each step of our (hopefully soon) upcoming IVF. We want our knowledge and our pain to hopefully help at least one other person going through their own struggle with infertility.

I am far from brave. But I want to be brave. I want to turn our infertility from a weapon slowly tearing me down into a ray of light leading me to hope and peace. This is our journey to being Brave.