They turned up the lights after one song.

We usually sing four amazing rock band like songs which is one of the many reasons I love our church.

Then I remembered seeing the reserved seats walking in, “Reserved for families of children dedication”.

Shit. Oh, shit.

Today is the children’s dedication at church.

Okay, I can do this. I can hold it together.

I can celebrate through my jealousy and focus on the love of these families. I can focus on how adorable these kids are and how much their families love them.

I can do this. I can do this.


Pastor Greg asked all the supporting family to come and join the families getting dedicated up front and we bowed our heads in prayer.

I have no idea what was said, at this point I was trying to focus on keeping my breathing steady in an attempt to not break down in heaving sobs.


Lights dim, the singing surges back up and I sit my ass down to sob.

Grieving and healing

It’s been a while since it has hit me like that; like a two ton boulder sitting on my chest, like the rug of life being swept out from under me, like a swift and stinging smack across the face.

And like everything else in my life, especially my life as a recovering therapist, it is nothing short of extremely complicated.

Ever Upward launches in just a couple of days. A book that includes to Own a Childfree Life in the subtitle. A book where I write about my struggle through infertility to accept a childfree life and thrive thereafter.

And yet, there I sat sobbing in the dark after the children’s dedication at church this morning.

Am I an imposter?

Do I still have a ton of work to do?

Should I be able to handle this better by now?

Should I not be even more saddened as I hear my parents sniffling beside me knowing that I will never be able to give them grandchildren from Chad and I? Or are they sniffling just because they can see how much I am hurting?

Should I not be angry that families like us are not mentioned at all? And, that we aren’t even the tiniest glimmers in anyone’s heads or hearts?

And yet, can I still be so thankful that many won’t even have to think about living life without children or won’t ever have to pursue infertility treatments or lose babies?

Should I not be even a tiny bit cynical that infertility has changed how I see the world forever? As I looked at that line of families and asked myself in my head which ones suffered losses before, which ones had to use fertility assistance, which ones are still hurting just like me.

Am I a fraud?

Memorial Art Print by PostOnWednesdays - Etsy

Memorial Art Print by PostOnWednesdays – Etsy

Or am I just human.

An always grieving, yet healing, mother with a scarred heart.

A mother with empty arms on this side of eternity.

Can I be sure of my messages and advocacy in Ever Upward, can I own my acceptance of a childfree life, and still be healing and hurting all at once?

The release of this book doesn’t mean I have this all figured out, I have never once claimed that. But what I am coming to understand is that it does come with this fear that people will think I am okay, I am healed, that it doesn’t hurt anymore.

The Lifelong Losses

Overcoming the Lifelong Losses of Infertility is the first part of Ever Upward’s subtitle and those words were chosen for very specific reasons.

This will always be hard. This will never go away. It lasts a lifetime.

There will always be those days that it hits me out of nowhere, like today. There will also always be those days that I know will be hard, like the due dates, every single year. There will always be times of the year that it feels impossible to be a part of social media. There will always be the reminders that I just don’t quite fit in.

The struggles and the losses of family planning are never forgotten and I think, maybe never even healed.

But, I must choose to be forever healing.

I also must trust that this isn’t for nothing. That I have not suffered these losses for naught.

It is through this work I can make sure that I am healing, that I am recovering, that I am scarred but never closed.

Ever upward isn’t always easy but it will always be worth it. And this means giving myself permission to sometimes feel the world in my losses but to feel it in my enough.

And, so I choose; I choose to move and to be ever upward.

You Make Me Gleam - child loss remembrance by TheMidnight Orange - Etsy

You Make Me Gleam – child loss remembrance by TheMidnight Orange – Etsy


Ever Upward presale live now.

Ever Upward Launch Party is October 4th.

30 Day Toolkit to Living Ever Upward here!

Fertility Compassion Survey is collecting all responses.

If you found this post enjoyable, inspiring, helpful, hopeful, interesting or even infuriating 😉, please take the time and the chance to share it through your social media! More shares means more eyes, means more people helped and the message heard on a wider scale. Thank you! Justine


23 thoughts on “An Imposter and Fraud or a Forever Grieving and Healing Mother?

  1. mombie says:

    Thank you for your honesty. You are a brave and wonderful human, blessedly imperfect and full of the contradiction betwixt head and heart, just like all great women and leaders!! The often unreported truth is that the sting of infertility and loss remain long after accepting a child free life or moving on to having children through other means. Thank you for embracing the pain and not hiding from it. You are an inspiration BECAUSE you don’t have it all “figured out”. Lots of love to you as you carry on and move ever upward.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for these amazing and kind words of love! I needed them today. And you are so right, this is the unreported sting no matter what our happy ending is. I guess this is why fertility compassion and ever upward are my babies… Thanks again my friend. Much love, Justine

      Liked by 1 person

  2. gsmwc02 says:

    You are human. This is a lifelong process for all of us. It’s not going to be easy even when things are going well there can be triggering moments that get to us. Your strength and recognition of how you are feeling is incredible. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you friend! It is hard for a second I was pissed and disappointed in myself that it hit me so hard and unexpectedly. But, I know this is just a part of the journey. This long, arduous and amazing journey. Thank you! Justine


  3. Oh goodness I hate when they spring baby dedications at church! Thank you for your openness always its comforting to know we at not alone!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, we are never alone in this are we?! Thank you so much! Justine

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lisa says:

    Oh man, this is why churches need to give people advance notice of Children / Baby Dedication. I love that you’re honest about how you still struggle occasionally with this despite your book and the hard work you’ve done. I don’t think we’ll ever have it all figured out, all the time. As you said, We are human.


    1. You are so right Lisa! Thank you so much! J


  5. So sorry you had a sad day, but I know and have seen your resilience. I trust you are smiling today and I had to stop and tell you…I GOT THE BOOK IN THE MAIL TODAY!!!! I’m so excited and can’t wait to read the whole thing! Give me a few days and I plan to write all about it!!! Big Hugs! Wish I could meet you at the launch, but am otherwise engaged. I trust we will meet in person someday. Blessings & Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I can’t wait to hear what you think!!! I hope you enjoy it! I will miss meeting you tomorrow, but complete understand. Thank you so much for the support and love! Justine


  6. busynothing says:

    This made me cry. I just feel you so much. *big hugs* You’re beautiful.


    1. Thank you friend! It was brutal, ugh. And, of course writing it and pouring it out helped. Much love, Justine


  7. raphaela99 says:

    Such reactions are perfectly normal, honey, and I think it is fantastic that you were able to acknowledge it. I recall after almost dying during an infertility procedure, I was set into premature menopause. Feeling fragile, I went to church and five new pregnancies were announced at the Christmas Eve service and the speaker said “God has made the women here so fertile. Isn’t it wonderful to blessed with such bountiful wombs?” You can bet I fell apart. They don’t give you a guidebook as to handle such occasions. xxx


    1. Ugh, that sounds awful too! It just totally caught me off guard which made it even more complicated I think. Thank you so much for getting it! Justine


  8. sarahchamb says:

    These are my least favorite moments as an infertile, where I almost feel attacked out of nowhere by my own heart. I have to work hard to remind myself these moments are also some of my most human. I venture to say that it’s not WHAT we are feeling in any given situation, but our recognition of it, connection to it, and compassion for it that truly matters. Thanks for your candid account of a scenario that is typical of those we all get unexpectedly hit with.


    1. Sarah,
      Thank you so much for reading and for this comment. I love how you put it, it is about our recognition and connection to the feeling. It was a hard day but of course writing helped, and speaking my truth that I also know is so many others’ truth too. Thank you again! Justine


  9. Jenna says:

    It’s so important to understand that being diagnosed with infertility is a lifelong struggle, even if “resolved” it’s still there, all the pain and all the heartache… it doesn’t go away. Sending a million hugs your way Justine.
    <3, Jenna

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Jenna! This is part of my work and mission in ever upward. Because through this understanding hopefully more compassion can be born. Much love you! Justine


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