|  Blog Post   |  The Semantics 

The Semantics 

The shamed ignorance is becoming more and more fragile. Our shamed stories are gaining more and more attention.

The shamed silence is breaking.

Infertility continues to see more and more media coverage:

As the discussion and the education (thank goodness) continue to grow surrounding infertility, the claim over certain semantics has also grown.

In particular, the semantics surrounding the terms childfree versus childless.

I have read many articles and blog posts and also been confronted myself on why my use of the term childfree is incorrect.

To some people, maybe even most, the term childfree describes those who have chosen to not have children or the childfree by choice group. Whereas, childless describes those of use who have tried but cannot have children.

However, I describe myself as childfree, and will continue to do so.

The subtitle of my upcoming book Ever Upward is Overcoming the Lifelong Losses of Infertility to Own a Childfree Life.

And yet, I desperately wanted children. I paid a lot of money to have children. And, I suffer lifelong losses from the journey I endured to have children.

I choose the term childfree over childless because I am not less of anything. I am not missing anything. I am not less of a woman because I cannot be a mother of the traditional sense. My life does not mean less than anyone else’s. I am not not whole because I cannot be a mother.


My heart, my soul, my life are not missing pieces. They are simply scarred by three tiny souls. These soul scars have not left me lacking anything but rather have left me more whole. For I am a more loving, more compassionate, continually healing person because I so loved those three tiny souls and even more so because I lost them.

I choose the term childfree because I refuse to be identified as less than.

I choose the term childfree, yet childfull, because this is where I have found my continuing recovery.

And yet, there are days it doesn’t feel like a choice at all.

But I will continue to practice my recovery and choose my whole self and my whole story.

And, that is nothing less but really the true definition ever upward.

**I want to thank Adrie for taking the time to read and comment so thoughtfully on this post. She has made me completely rethink the term childfree and yet I am still not willing to use the term childless. So, I’m not sure where that leaves me but I can assure you I will find it. Maybe it is my term childfull or maybe I will just make up a new word. And, I’d love to hear your ideas! Thank you for joining me on this continually healing and messy journey!**

*To read more about my story and my recovery make sure to pick up a copy of the soon to be published Ever Upward: Overcoming the Lifelong Losses of Infertility to Own a Childfree Life.*

If you found this post enjoyable, inspiring, helpful, hopeful, interesting or even infuriating ;), please take the time and the chance to share it through your social media! More shares means more eyes, means more people helped and the message heard on a wider scale. Thank you! Justine

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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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