Several days after one of the most difficult days of the year for me, Mother’s Day, I am reminded at how complicated this whole thing actually is…infertility, childfree living, loss, trauma, tragedy, faith…life.

I’ve written it many times before; life is hard and people are complicated. It never seems to be very black or white, which sometimes would be nice and so much simpler.

But most all of life is in the complicated gray; always between the simplicity of black or while.

Albeit, beautiful complicated gray.

Dark clouds with blue sky

This weekend I felt everything. Mother’s Day was a good day but it was still super difficult and felt very sad, at least inside my own head and heart. All the talk of mothers and mothering at church wasn’t easy to hear. Feeling torn and like a bad daughter and daughter in law because just acknowledging the day is difficult and I really needed to honor my own pain and myself. But, also spending the afternoon swimming and playing with three of my favorite little boys filled every cell of my body with pure joy, love and laughter. I am also so thankful for all the messages and cards I received and for the blogs I read about how wonderful and difficult Mother’s Day can be for so many of us.

The complicated gray.

Our losses, traumas and tragedies are never uncomplicated; infertility, IVF and accepting a childfree life are definitely not an exception to this complication.

For me, especially as a therapist who has survived infertility and has fought to thrive thereafter, the complicated gray is always there.

The complicated gray I feel between the lifelong costs and losses of infertility and childfree living with the peace, freedom and happiness I have achieved through my recovery.

The complicated gray of making my almost enough moments my enough moments.

The complicated gray of honoring my losses but never allowing my heart and soul to scar over and close.

The complicated gray of the anger and bitterness at the unfairness with the trust and faith in the ‘I’m okay and it’s okay’.

The complicated gray of owning my shame and sadness while also educating and fighting for my story and the importance of my message and voice.

And for the many women out there struggling with any difficulty in the department of mothering and infertility, the complicated gray is never ending.

The complicated gray of living in shamed silence of infertility and desperately wanting and needing to be seen and heard.

The complicated gray of self sabotaging ourselves because we feel so damaged and shamed in our infertility battles; betrayed by our bodies, by science and, sometimes even ourselves or our loved ones.

The complicated gray of every impossible decision that must be made in the journey of infertility whether emotional, financial, moral or ethical.

The complicated gray of every parenting decision.

The complicated gray of the cautious hopefulness and the reality of the statistical un-success of infertility treatments.

The complicated gray of our real stories not being seen, heard or understood by many.


I always work with my clients on finding the middle, seeing the gray and not thinking in such black or white terms. For the most part, our health and happiness lie in the middle; in the gray.

Through my infertility journey, my recovery and my ongoing acceptance of a childfree life I am learning that maybe we really must also truly embrace this complicated gray.

Because, I think, it is within this complicated gray we will find our permission for it all.

Permission for our stories.

Permission for our recoveries.

Permission for our light.

Permission for finding our ever upward.

33 thoughts on “The Complicated Gray

  1. Jenn says:

    Beautiful post. For me, I find myself wanting to feel firmly planted in the black and white. I guess I assume that being in either sphere will set me free so to speak. But, the harder I fight to be there the more I realize that the only place for me is in the grey where I can take it day by day and deal with the emotions that come from being where we are. So many hugs friend. ❤


  2. Catherine says:

    Beautifully put.


    1. Thank you Catherine! Justine


  3. Eric Ogden says:

    Beautifully written.
    Life clearly is not black and white with clear boundries. They shades of grey you speak of though do in fact intersperse with the other colors and eventually weave a tapestry of many colors in our lives. Sometimes the grey seems overwhelming and we have to search for the brillant colors. Your ongoing story inspires because you arent settling just for they grey. You are accepting and embracing it, but you are also searching for the brightness and taking us along with in our own journies.
    Thnk you for sharing


    1. Thank you so much Eric! This is beautiful and you are so right!


  4. salina19 says:

    Beautiful words. Even though I’ve accepted the fact of infertility, this past Mother’s Day was one of the hardest I’ve ever faced. I attended my Sunday school class that morning, but when I saw “baby dedication” listed on the church bulletin as a morning event, I skipped out and went home.
    It has gotten easier over the years, but some days the pain comes roaring back and I feel like that young girl who spent so many years staring at a stick willing it to turn positive.
    Thank you for your honesty. I look forward to reading more of your posts.


    1. That day will probably always be a bit hard for me too. Thank you so much for the read and comment! Justine


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