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 my first super harsh critic. And one who said the words I have feared the greatest.

You CHOSE to not have kids.

Publicly starting the conversation that it is okay to stop IVF treatments before getting the intended result of becoming a mother and publicly owning our decision to not adopt have been some of the scariest things I have ever done.

Scary because I have ultimately feared this exact judgment.

What if people think I did not want kids bad enough because I didn’t do 5, 10 years of treatments? What if people think I did not want kids bad enough because I’m willing to admit that adoption isn’t right for me?

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 through synthetic hormonal hell to be a mother. I put my faith and trust into 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. 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 doesn’t mean I didn’t want it.Rural landscape

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.

And I will not apologize for that, as I choose to be my own witness in search of others; my warriors and friends.

And the only thing scarier than publicly owning all of this as my truth?

Would 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.

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

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

56 thoughts on “Taking Off the Armor of My “Choice”

  1. Jenn says:


    I really hate when our decisions are judged by people who don’t know what it feels like to be in our shoes. The terror we feel as we face treatment, procedures and the unknown are enough to make us insane. When/if a woman dealing with repeat loss and/or infertility decides that she’s traveled the journey long enough and needs to stop – then we need to respect that. Sure, we can all try to have babies for as long as we can biologically but there is a ton to say about the emotional and psychological pressure that comes with being on this journey for so long.

    We haven’t chosen to be this way. We didn’t ask for low AMH numbers or a deformed uterus. These are the cards that have been handed to us and we make due the best way we know how.

    Don’t beat yourself up about this okay love? Your decision is your decision alone.


    1. jlbf4 says:

      Thank you! It is unbelievably amazing how healing writing this last night was and your words just seared it permanently. Love you!


    2. jlbf4 says:

      Thank you for your light and love! Seriously, you make my soul light up!


  2. Lisa klaus says:

    You go girl! Your awesome.


    1. jlbf4 says:

      Thank you! ❤


  3. busynothing says:

    I truly, truly don’t understand that judgement. It’s not scientifically, socially or morally sound. It’s incredibly ignorant and you are right not to feel defined by it. Standing tall with you.


    1. jlbf4 says:

      I like how you put this! Thank you, feeling you beside me ❤


  4. Mali says:

    You know your truth. Perfect! When I finally accepted that, and stopped telling myself the ugly things that have been said to you, then I realised I didn’t care what others think. Great post!

    I wrote about this a year or so ago – here. So you know you’re not alone.


    1. jlbf4 says:

      Thank you! And thank you for the link!


    2. jlbf4 says:

      I loved your post, thank you for sharing it!


  5. bigolgoofygirl says:

    Thank you for this thoughtful post. It captured so much of what I’m going through and it is helpful to know that others understand the struggle.


    1. jlbf4 says:

      So glad you found it helpful, always nice to hear of a fellow warrior!


  6. cusickfarms says:

    This is a beautiful post – at the ripe old age of 29 & my husband 31 we made this same decision, you are not alone. I love love this line – “I have chosen what I can. I have accepted what is.” Thanks! Megan


    1. jlbf4 says:

      Thank you! Writing has been so healing, especially because I have found my fellow warriors through it.


  7. Thank you for posting this. For what it is worth, in my view you chose to be and are a mother even though you have suffered the injustice of not being able to raise any of the babies that ought to have come from your transferred embryos. I am sorry for your losses but inspired by your choices and candour. Thank you for sharing and all the best with your Ever Upward.


    1. jlbf4 says:

      Oh my god, thank you! I have never had anyone put it like that to me, brought tears. Thank you so much for sharing and reading!


  8. loribeth says:

    Found your blog via Mali’s… glad you started writing! This made me want to shout “hear, hear!” 🙂


    1. jlbf4 says:

      Thank you so much!


  9. Beloved says:

    Thank you Justine for sharing this important response to critics. I had a similar experience, however regarding a completely different topic altogether.
    I moved my blog to its (own self-hosted) URL after a disastrous attempt on the censorship of my writing by a couple of relatives… O well, the writing must go on, and as I continue to write my thoughts and chronicle the moments of my life, it serves as a deep consolation to me nevertheless. As someone once said: “When writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen.”
    Thank you for reaffirming this for me!


    1. Thank you so much and you are so right!!! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!


  10. So you are criticized for not trying hard or long enough … interesting. How would that critic respond to me — a woman who didn’t even try IVF? I don’t think someone should have to go through the emotional and physical turmoil of IVF (let alone the financial aspect) to PROVE they love and want children. IVF doesn’t work all the time. IVF isn’t for every woman. And this same discussion can be said for adoption too.

    Sometimes life doesn’t work the way we want it to or had we had planned it out … it just works the way it does; we can either work with it or battle against it.

    ~ Elizabetcetera


    1. Oh yes, a lot of the time. I work with clients a lot who are making the decision to not pursue IVF and I think the critic and the judgments they may receives does make people go further in treatments than they would otherwise. But it is not the critic who counts, as Brené Brown says. Thank you so much for reading today and for all of your thoughtful comments! Justine

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Love Brene Brown — just discovered her a couple months ago.

        It’s easy to read your blog — so much there … so much! 🙂


      2. Brené’s work has changed my life, personally and professionally! I’m certified in The Daring Way™ which has been amazing!


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