My Story

Hi! 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 butterfly farmer.

My Message

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.

Our Story

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 over 16 years I’ve worked with clients using 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, infertility 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. My story and advocacy work will soon be featured in the feature length documentary Don’t Talk About the Baby

Thank you for visiting Ever Upward and make sure to get acquainted over at my Top Post page!

Have questions, comments or feedback?

** 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*

42 thoughts on “About

  1. What a touching story you have – and a great blog to come from it…inspiring yourself and others to stay positive. I wish you all the best


  2. lkgaddis says:

    Thank you for finding my blog! It seems we have some similarities (back surgeries as teens, being licensed professional counselors, pregnancy loss and childless living, and the willingness to share it all via writing in hopes of helping others). I look forward to reading future posts of yours!


    1. Oh my gosh, I had no idea! So thankful I just stumbled upon your blog! What were you back surgeries?


      1. lkgaddis says:

        I had congenital scoliosis, so after years of trying to control it, it just progressed to the point I needed a spinal fusion. I got checked my back checked out prior to trying for a baby, and was cleared to carry to term; however, it always makes me nervous!


      2. Would be nerve racking! I had a bone graft fusion of L5-S1 and was in a body cast for a year of my life. Brutal… So glad we found one another!!


  3. I have been invited by a friend of mine to participate in a blog hop for women in writing. She is a fellow RPL/infertility blogger, but not everyone involved is related to infertility (I actually think most are not). This is just a way to connect female bloggers across all communities, and spread the word about infertility. Anyway, I am wondering if you would like to participate? Below are links to my friend’s blog hop post and the post preceding hers. If you’re interested in participating, can you send me your a photo of you and a short bio? My email address is You can see my bio in my friend’s post for reference. I would like to put my post up by the end of next week, and then I think you have a week or so to put your post up after mine.

    If you are interested, after I post my post with your bio, then you just have to write a brief description about why you write and answer the questions in bold. Be sure to include pics and bios for 2-3 people who you invite to participate.

    What do you think? Is this something you would want to do? If you have more questions, just let me know.

    Here are the links:

    My friend’s post indicating that I’m posting nextt:

    The post preceding hers:

    And the one before that:


    1. Thank you for thinking of me for this, I have family in town this week and don’t have a lot of time. Thank you thought! J


      1. No worries. I totally understand! 🙂
        However, just so you know, you can take a few weeks to post if you want. You are not required to do it exactly a week after my post so you can take your time.


  4. Hey Friend!!!
    I am a fellow blogger who just happens to have autism. I just started following you. God bless!!!



    1. Thank you so much for the follow and for the reblog! Justine


  5. I read the following article today (see link below). I thought of you and one other blogger. I know that some people in your life have been unsympathetic to your journey and they actually *should* have shown much more care in their expression of their thoughts. Although this article may not teach them how to respond to people who are undergoing personal crisis it’s out here for you to read:

    I found the concept very fascinating and recall when I’ve been less than sympathetic / empathetic at times, but mostly recall those who have been unsympathetic to me making my grief / sadness / loss all about them.

    Hugs to you brave woman!❤ Elizabetcetera

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amazing piece, thank you so much for sharing this!!!!! Much love to you on this night before a new year friend!!! Justine

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m really glad you appreciated this article. I thought you would be a therapist. It’s sooooooo helpful on many levels … not just baby loss or IVF challenges. These concepts can apply to so many things in life.

        I was just talking about my sister-in-law who is a physician today about this concept. I’m forwarding this article to her in just a bit. I also think this is an article worth posting on Facebook so others can read and learn and share.

        Happy New Year to you Justine!🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Absolutely! Happy New Year to you!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Caroline says:

    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. momof4girls1 says:

    Do you ever do any speaking engagements? We are starting a new ministry in our area for women of infant loss and miscarriage, “Hope Mommies.” Your story and recovery to a new normal, fits right in with how we hope to help other struggling women. And how we hope to change society into understanding that it’s not just being able to “have another baby” or “there’s always adoption.” We need to be able to talk about our children/grandchildren. They matter, they are ours.


    1. Hi! What a much needed resource you are putting together! I just did a speaking engagement last night! I love them! Where are you? Justine


      1. momof4girls1 says:

        We are afiliated with Hope Mommies out of Texas. But are located in northern Indiana almost at the Michigan boarder.

        Like I said we’re just launching this ministry. So it maybe a while before we would be able to pay you for your time but at some point would love to have you.

        When that time comes what would be the best way to get in touch with you?


        Liked by 1 person

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