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Four Days Before Christmas 

December 21st for most people marks just four days before Christmas. The mad rush to the grocery store to get all the ingredients for Christmas dinner and the sweet treats we all love. The last minute shopping, braving the stores filled with people, for those gifts that just came to mind. And, the finalizing of the schedule of when and where we must be and who we all need to see. December 21st  for me is all of the above plus the yearly reminder of our final due date. The last embryo of our IVF journey, should our baby had taken solid footing in Michelle’s womb, would have been due today.


It is a day I remember all three of them the most, probably because of the holiday season.

A day forever scarred on my soul with the wonderings of who they would have been and who I might have been.

A day filled with longing acceptance.

A day I honor them and myself.

More than ever before in this lifelong journey I feel myself embracing what can only be described as the complicated gray of planting my feet firmly and yet spreading my arms to soar and to receive.

I am finally letting go of the hustle to be seen and instead am truly embodying my work to know I am not invisible; standing my sacred ground in all of who I am and knowing He sees, knows and loves me most. It has only been with this work in letting go that my voice has begun to roar again, allowing continuing healing and advocating in a way that does not leave me abandoned.

Our babies would have been three this year, and I don’t think it is at all a coincidence that my grief and my ever upward journey is much like a lovable and very opinionated threenager; oscillating between stubborn temper tantrums and funny, loving cuddles.

And so this day, my three babies, I speak about you, breathing your life into this world. And I love you always with the longing yet full heart of a mother with empty arms. Thank you for changing me, thank you for making me a mother.


Justine is a Licensed Professional Counselor with more than 25 years of experience in traditional mental health and personal and professional development. Justine has been certified in the work of Dr. Brené Brown for ten years. Justine is the author of eleven books, including five Amazon bestsellers covering subjects such as infertility, faith, and grief. She has been honored to do two TEDx Talks, The Permission of the And and The Donut Effect. She travels nationally and presents virtually to global audiences delivering keynotes, workshops, retreats, and trainings on topics such as leadership, courage, resilience, mental health, preventing and coping with burnout, and courageous and curious conversation, especially in creating cultures of belonging and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Justine lives in St. Louis with her husband Chad, their three dogs, and for four months of the year hundreds of monarch and swallowtail butterflies.

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