My name is Justine Brooks Froelker. In February 2011, my husband and I began our journey in the world of IVF. Gestational surrogacy was the safest way for us to have our children since I had two back surgeries in high school (including a year of my life spent in a body cast). IVF and 3 babies never to be born later, Ever Upward was conceived. After much mourning, confusion, anger and sadness, I got back up and started doing the work. The work to redefine; my life, myself, everything.
I live in Saint Louis, Missouri with my husband Chad and our three dogs Bosco, Gertie and Gracie. I enjoy spending my time with friends and family, practicing creative self-care, laughing my ass off (sometimes at myself) and building butterfly gardens on our acre of land, which has made me an accidental monarch butterfly farmer.
A big part of this journey has been telling my story, and ultimately educating people on how difficult, expensive and painful IVF can be and that sometimes you just don’t get the joy of motherhood from it, or at least the version you had hoped for. And telling my story to model, because we need to talk about it! And that yes, sometimes it is okay to say no more. And even more, it is okay to say adoption isn’t for you. And that after the work, you can take the step forward into a fulfilled childfull life and stop being stuck in the childless life, even in this, our child obsessed world. We must talk about infertility and pregnancy loss it in order to embrace it all and practice our recoveries. Because only then will we own it all and find our ever upward and our own happy ending.
Ever Upward is not the typical infertility book and blog filled with follicle counts, Clomid crazy train side effects and recounts of painful procedures. It is filled with struggle, hope and recovery, it is a book and blog about life. Ever Upward is my story, and yet every couple’s story; parent or not, because behind the wall of silence, shame, the smile, and the ‘I can do everything’ attitude lies millions of people suffering in silence with the pain of infertility, pregnancy loss and recovery. And yet our connection to our stories, is the only way back to the truth of who we are, to own ourselves again.
My Professional Credentials
I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator (based on the research of Brené Brown) with a private practice in St. Louis, Missouri. For the last 15 years I’ve worked with clients using a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Solution Focused Therapy in a straight-forward and non-shaming approach to create a safe space for clients to address concerns. I have extensive experience working with all ages on such concerns as infertility, anxiety, depression, relationships, infertility, addictions, perfectionism, eating and weight issues and common discontent.
Additionally, I write as an expert therapist for the monthly publication St. Louis Health & Wellness Magazine and am regularly published by The Huffington Post. I also can be seen regularly on the St. Louis KMOV live midday show, Great Day St. Louis.
Thank you for visiting Ever Upward and make sure to get acquainted over at my Top Post page!
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** This blog is part of my healing process. However, I also hope to help others, even if it is just by knowing you are not alone in the journey of life. This blog is not meant to be a how-to or even a sure fire answer to others on what steps they need to take to change their own lives. Rather, this is simply an explanation of how I continue the work. Take what applies to you, or what you think you’d like to try, and leave the rest. We all have to simply find the strategies that work for us, because only then will we choose the change and do the work to continue it. Ever Upward is about finding your path, accepting your story…life.**
*Most photos are my own, although some photos are purchased through http://www.istockphoto.com/*