Words can be powerful. Coming from a book publishing background, I truly believe in the power of words to heal and inspire. Whether you see yourself for the first time in a character in a book, or read someone else’s blog and finally feel a little bit less alone, words have the ability to get us through even the toughest of times. 

When I was going through infertility, if I was having a particularly rough day I would look up quotes from my favorite authors for words to help remind me that I was strong enough to get to the other side--if I could just take it one day, and one step, at a time. I’ve been a bit nostalgic for my own journey recently, so I thought I would revisit some of the authors, words, and books that got me through some of my darkest moments. 

wild by cheryl strayed

For me, books have always been an escape from reality. Because of that, I mostly read fiction. I love visiting a new world with every new book I pick up, but every once in a while an author will come along with a memoir that makes my breath catch in my throat and stay up way past my bedtime reading. Cheryl Strayed was the first author to do that for me, and I will forever be grateful for her sharing her story and the important lessons her books have taught me about life, courage, and healing. 

On accepting what you can’t control—

“You don’t have a right to the cards you believe you should have been dealt with. You have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you’re holding.”
—Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things

“Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you'll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you'll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.”
—Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things

On fear—

"I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me."
—Cheryl Strayed, Wild

On healing—

“Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can't cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It's just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.”
—Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things

tiny beautiful things advice on love and life from dear sugar by cheryl strayed

"When you recognize that you will thrive not in spite of your losses and sorrows, but because of them, that you would not have chosen the things that happened in your life, but you are grateful for them, that you will hold the empty bowls eternally in your hands, but you also have the capacity to fill them?
Cheryl Strayed, Brave Enough

Needless to say, if you haven’t read Cheryl Strayed’s books, Wild and Tiny Beautiful Things, what are you waiting for?! WILD is her unforgettable memoir about the grief of losing her mother, her decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail alone, and her physical and emotional journey to healing (it’s also a movie starring Reese Witherspoon). Tiny Beautiful Things is a compilation of pieces from Cheryl Strayed’s advice column in The Rumpus called Dear Sugar. It will make you cry big, chunky tears, but it will also leave you feeling endlessly hopeful. I can’t recommend either of them enough; they truly changed my life when I read them.

Then there’s Glennon Doyle. I recently read her latest book Untamed, and regardless of all the hype, it did not disappoint. In fact, after I finished it, I wanted to give it to every single solitary woman in my life. In Untamed, Glennon gives women permission to be unapologetically themselves, and she does it so eloquently and with poignant examples from her own life. It’s a message we all need, especially now, and no matter how in tune with ourselves we may think we already are. 

On being human—

"Being human is not hard because you're doing it wrong, it's hard because you're doing it right. You will never change the fact that being human is hard, so you must change your idea that it was ever supposed to be easy."
—Glennon Doyle, Untamed

On letting yourself feel all of the feelings—

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"It’s okay to feel all of the stuff you’re feeling. You’re just becoming human again. You’re not doing life wrong; you’re doing it right. If there’s any secret you’re missing, it’s that doing it right is just really hard. Feeling all your feelings is hard, but that’s what they’re for. Feelings are for feeling. All of them. Even the hard ones. The secret is that you’re doing it right and that doing it right hurts sometimes.”
—Glennon Doyle, Untamed

On grief—

"Grief shatters. If you let yourself shatter and then you put yourself back together, piece by piece, you wake up one day and realize that you have been completely reassembled."
—Glennon Doyle, Untamed

untamed by glennon doyle

On strength—

"What I thought would kill me, didn’t. Every time I said to myself: I can’t take this anymore—I was wrong. The truth was that I could and did take it all—and I kept surviving. Surviving, again and again, made me less afraid of myself, of other people, of life."
—Glennon Doyle, Untamed

Infertility is hard. It’s scary and full of what-ifs. But what these authors and their words have taught me is that life isn’t supposed to be easy. The strongest people aren’t that way because their life has always been perfect; often, the complete opposite is true. The important thing is how you deal with the cards you are dealt. That doesn’t mean you can’t have bad days. In fact, you should feel ALL of the feelings; that’s how you know you’re doing it right. Remember, the only way out is through. You’ve survived 100% of your worst days; you can survive this, too.

Kristyn Hodgdon is the Co-Founder & Chief Community Officer at Rescripted.