|  Blog Post   |  The Frankenstein Walk of Feeling Behind: But I’m Still Here

The Frankenstein Walk of Feeling Behind: But I’m Still Here

Making the impossible decision to stop IVF treatments, not adopt and figure out life childfree has been, at times, a daily Frankenstein walk. That ‘I have no idea how this works’ walk.

That ‘hold your arms out in front of you to break your fall’ walk.

That ‘really stiff legged how do these things work’ walk.

That really, really ugly walk.

The ‘I’m just figuring out how to do this’ walk.

This walk includes fighting that feeling of never fitting in because I’m not a mother, and rather finding my sense of belonging from within.

This walk includes owning my story and speaking it out loud for the world to educate, but more importantly, to honor myself and the work I have done.

This walk includes understanding my anger to really feel the most difficult emotion of sadness in order to truly embrace and accept my childfree life.


This walk also still includes the ugly steps of figuring out what to do with the sense of feeling left behind.

My friends who are moms are some of my best and most supportive friends, especially on this journey. They are super women (even though, a lot of the time, they need to remind themselves that they don’t necessarily need to be). They are the best women I know. All working full time, whether in or outside the home, and are the hardest working people I know. I admire their patience, their unconditional love and their unending strength. And there are simply no words for how amazing their love, support and understanding has been for me throughout this continued journey.

They are also, naturally, the busiest people on earth; raising children, nurturing a marriage and trying to find the time to sleep and do some basic self-care. They have practices 2 nights a week, games and birthday parties on the weekends and can book up their weekends with other families who have children pretty quickly.

And, sometimes there just isn’t time for me, for us, the couple without kids.

And that’s okay. And I do get it.

But, there are times I feel like I want to jump up and down, frantically waving my arms, screaming to them, “But I’m still here!”

I do still have a life I’d like to share with you.

I do still want to hear all about yours.

I do still need you to maintain our friendship.

Ending IVF and living a childfree life can very easily mean I lose my peer group. The crushing blow of not being able to fulfill my dream of motherhood means I have more time; more time for self-care, more time for my marriage, more time for my friendships. I suppose this can be an ‘ever upward’ of failed IVF and accepting a childfree life. However, it also can definitely feel pretty isolating, as most of my friends, especially my mom friends, don’t necessarily have this ‘luxury’.

So I am finding my Frankenstein walk, and figuring this all out along the way.

Working hard to maintain my friendships, even if at times it can feel like it is one sided. Because although some friendships may not survive the family with children versus childfree dynamic, most of mine do have the true grit (and importance to me) to make sure they do survive.

Building other friendships, perhaps finding other couples without children.

Making sure my mom friends know I’m here and that I treasure their friendships more than they will ever know.

But most importantly, learning to acknowledge and work on this sense of feeling left behind, because ultimately, I probably need to check myself.

Am I trying to fit in, when I need to trust that I belong?

Am I holding on to anger, when I need to embrace sadness?

Am I honoring myself?

Am I putting enough effort into my friendships?

Am I being a friend to myself?

And, am I asking for what I want and need?

Because only when I am doing this work, will my friends be walking alongside me, Frankenstein walk and all.


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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