|  Blog Post   |  Making Room for the Light

Making Room for the Light

We loathe discomfort. We can’t stand to feel sad. Depression and anxiety make us want to escape our bodies. We all struggle to feel the unpleasantness of life. We struggle so much we often times go to any length to self medicate and numb. Whether we drink or use. Or shop or gamble. Or watch hours of mind numbing television. Or pull our hair. Or binge and purge. We would so much rather hurt ourselves in the long term because all of these things provides us some sense of very temporary relief. But they work. My clients are shocked when I say their “vices” (or in some cases addictions) are doing something positive for them. We, as human beings, don’t do things that don’t feel good or work. It’s just many times these very things that work to numb us out to our pains and hurts often times stop working at some point, and they begin to create even more problems, especially shame and darkness.

I think, at times, emotions can become one of these vices, especially anger. Anger tends to be an emotion that many of us are comfortable feeling. Many of us would rather feel angry than sad. What I am learning about myself, after spending the last year of my life changing everything after the losses endured with IVF, is that this anger is definitely my go-to emotion. The bitter, and thank God very fleeting anger, the anger I’ve worked so hard on coping with and letting go of, but still seems to swoop in to save me. I hate this anger, especially because I want to let go of the biggest trigger for it.

I love children, I love when my loved ones get to have children; I even love when strangers, hell, people I don’t even like get to have children. But where I am still struggling are the people who “don’t deserve” them. The super fertile 16 year olds. The couple who have already lost custody of their other 3 children. The people who don’t even want them. I’m sure this list could go on and on, just watch the news.

And as usual, no emotion is uncomplicated for a therapist. This brief, but very strong, bitter angry emotion momentarily knocks me down. And as I continue to do the work to redefine myself, I’m learning to rebound more quickly. I’m also understanding more about myself and how I feel about it. Yes feeling about a feeling, oh the professional hazards of being a therapist!

– I am NO ONE to judge who gets the joy of children. I am neither judge nor jury, nor do I want to be.

– I do have faith that there are no mistakes, at least in the long run.

– Even though it feels really, really f*cking unfair, it really is neither fair nor unfair. Sure maybe it’s unlucky, but it just is, and it is not mine to necessarily understand right now.

– And most importantly, I am coming to understand that this anger is coming in to save me from feeling what I really feel… which is simply really sad.

And that is okay. Sometimes things are just sad. It’s sad IVF didn’t work for us. It’s sad we lost our 3 babies. It’s sad we lost those 3 dreams. Giving myself permission to continue to feel that sadness, as needed, will help to stave off that anger that seems to set me back so much every time. I have to embrace it in order to let it go. When I allow myself to feel it, I don’t become it. And only when I do this, is there enough space to truly find the ever upward. The ever upward that is this work of learning to be happy and healthy, and even okay and fulfilled, without children.

We all must work to accept that we are not wired to escape ourselves, no matter how hard we try. We have to feel, we have to feel it all, even the darkness, because when we allow ourselves to do that, it will pass and make room for the light.


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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