From the moment I launched this podcast, I knew I had to have this week’s guest on. You’ve heard me rave about her numerous times before on previous episodes because I love her so much, and she’s finally here!
Amanda Sanchez is a lifestyle blogger and self-proclaimed recovering perfectionist. We initially connected six or seven years ago over Instagram and ended up supporting each other through our infertility journeys. We’ve been friends ever since, and she’s someone who has completely transformed my health. Thanks to her, I feel like a brand new person, so stay tuned to hear how she can help you do the same.
Join us this week as we discuss how Amanda helped me when my health was taking a nosedive earlier this year, and Amanda’s own experience of untangling diet mentality. She’s talking us through the spiritual transformation she’s gone through, of accepting her imperfections and reframing her mindset, and I think you’re going to pick up some gems from our conversation.
Hi, friends. Welcome to Fearless Infertility a podcast for women struggling with the mental anguish that comes with infertility. My name is Jenica and after suffering in silence for too long I was able to pull myself out of the dark, take control over my mind, and create joy during my infertility experience. I’m here to help you do the same, sister. Let’s dive into today’s show.
Since the moment I launched Fearless Infertility podcast I knew I would want to have this week’s guest on, my friend Amanda Sanchez of Little Miss Fearless. Her and I met a few years ago and she has completely helped transform the way that I view my body and my mindset. Stay tuned for her to help you do the same.
This month in Fearless infertility Coaching the workshop and topic that we are focusing on is buffering which is what we do to avoid feeling an emotion. And that can be anything like overeating, over drinking, over watching Netflix. And none of these things are bad to do in and of themselves, but when you’re doing those things to avoid feeling an emotion and thinking the emotion will just go away, but instead it’s compounding negative parts of your life, it can be a real problem.
Which is why I’m so excited that my friend Amanda is on the podcast this week. She is the person who helped me specifically overcome beating my body up all the time. I was overeating to compensate for not allowing myself to feel negative emotions surrounding being a mother. I was guilty because I had gone through infertility and I was supposed to enjoy every part of it, right?
And in reality, being a mother is hard no matter what it took to get the kids there. And being a human is full of normal emotions including the “negatives and positives.” And we’re supposed to feel it all, but I didn’t really realize that until I discovered life coaching.
And Amanda helped me specifically overcome beating myself up over those last five pounds I thought I needed to lose. And really reframing my mindset and helping me remember who I am, which is a daughter of God. She is so incredible, I cannot wait for you to learn from her.
Before we get into today’s podcast episode with Amanda, I wanted to share a podcast review with you. The winner of this week’s pajama and socks set from The Slice of Sun is Tianna_b11. Her review on Apple Podcasts says “So helpful. I'm incredibly happy I found this podcast. When I tell people about my fertility journey, I'm always bringing this podcast up now.
Learning about positive thinking, knowing that I'm not alone in this journey, being introduced to all sorts of resources, and the fact that Jenica brings in God to her show is literally everything I need. Free therapy, people. Love this so, so, so much. Thank you, Jenica.” Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your address and the size that you want and I will get your PJ’s sent out to you.
The reason why I love to treat you guys with PJ's and socks is because, A, I feel like you deserve all the best in the world, and these are the best. So you're welcome, world. But also, it's really important for me for all of the women that are experiencing infertility alone and who have no idea about these resources or how common infertility is, and are carrying the weight alone on their shoulders. When there are more reviews on this podcast it helps it become more visible to these women who are searching for these tools.
So if you go to Apple Podcasts, please subscribe and leave a review and I will choose one of you every single Monday to send out a pair of PJs and socks to. And we get to bring more incredible women into our community so they know they're not alone. All right y'all, here is Amanda.
Jenica: All right, my friends. Welcome back to Fearless Infertility. I have my friend Amanda Sanchez here from Little Miss Fearless. And that was her Instagram handle before, but she's moving in a new direction. So I'm so excited for her to share that with you today.
Amanda and I initially met probably, I don't know, like six or seven years ago. And we met on Instagram when we were experiencing our infertility journey together and we just connected. We have so many of the same values and we've been friends ever since. And when I was struggling with my health earlier, was it this year? It seems like a long time ago.
Amanda: It's been a long year.
Jenica: Oh my gosh, that was this year. I feel like I'm a new person now, thanks to you.
Amanda: Yeah, it was, it was the beginning of this year.
Jenica: Holy cow, I feel like I've come light years from then. Go me. Thanks to you in a lot of ways.
Amanda: It was all you.
Jenica: Oh my gosh, you’re the best. So I reached out to Amanda because I had seen on Instagram that she had gotten off of flour and sugar. And I was intrigued by that because my health was taking a nosedive a little bit because I was honestly addicted to sugar because I wasn't allowing myself to feel my feelings. And I would run from them and use sugar to, what we in the coaching community call buffer.
And essentially buffering is anything that you do to run from your emotions and not address them and hide from them. So I reached out to Amanda. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, because I didn't realize how much of a mindset shift it was. And so I reached out to her and I basically just asked like, “Okay, how do you feel not eating flour and sugar?” And Amanda was like, “Well, it's not really all about that.”
Jenica: Yeah, so we'll share all of our details and our story with you. But essentially, that's how Amanda and I know each other. And I've been looking forward to this podcast interview since the second I started my podcast, because I knew that you guys would love Amanda and benefit so much from what she has to share and her life experience. And so hi, Amanda, thanks for being here.
Amanda: Thank you. I'm so happy to be here. Thank you, Jenica.
Jenica: She is like, I can't even describe to you how much I love this person. So, Amanda, if you could start off, first of all, give us a background on your infertility experience briefly and your experience with growing your family.
Amanda: Sure, yeah. So my husband I got married back in 2008. Oh, man, it's like been long enough that I can't keep it straight anymore.
Jenica: Getting old, man.
Amanda: Yeah, we were in college, we were both finishing school and getting our careers started and everything. And at that time we weren't really eager to just jump right in and become parents right away. Like a lot of people, it was just something we knew we would eventually do when the timing felt right.
And during that time I kind of had been struggling with the different birth control options that I was trying. My stomach, for whatever reason, could not handle oral birth control. And so I had a hard time finding something that was going to help me through this.
So during the first like four years of our marriage we weren't trying to get pregnant, but because I was having such a hard time finding a birth control that I could stomach, there were several times where I wasn't on any birth control at all. So, I mean, you can imagine, right? We're getting through school, finally I'm graduating, and then he's graduating and we're kind of like our careers are getting going.
And we're starting to think like, “Okay, what's next for us?” And I started to think like, “Isn't it kind of weird that we haven't accidentally gotten pregnant? I haven't really been preventing for like four years.” And I remember in 2012 was probably the first time we were pretty serious about like, “Hey, we're going to do this, we're going to try.”
And I got all into the charts, and the temperatures, and the ovulation prediction kits, and all the things that I could find myself to try to figure out how to even do this. I had no idea. And about a year after that, I remember going to see my doctor and I kind of had mentioned we had been trying. I didn't know anything about infertility at that point. I didn't know that you're clinically infertile if you've been trying for a year or whatever those milestones are.
Jenica: Yeah, we didn't really learn any of this growing up.
Amanda: Yeah, and we had been trying long enough that we were definitely in that realm. And so I remember my doctor being like, “You know, this might be something that we want to look into further, either with an infertility specialist or let's take a look at a couple of the things that you haven't tried yet and get more specific on the timing and all these things.”
Around 2014, gosh, yeah, trying to keep all these dates right. No, I think it was 2013, I can't remember. But one of those years.
Jenica: It was a while ago.
Amanda: It's been long enough. I was struggling with some health issues myself and it was almost always around my period. I would miss work for a day at least every single time I had my period. And I'd always had uncomfortable periods. I remember in high school staying home from school sometimes because they were so painful, the cramps. But around this time it was interfering enough with my life that I started asking questions about that with my doctor as well.
And decided to do a laparoscopy, like a surgery to diagnose what was going on where they basically were able to identify endometriosis. So I'll give like a layman's description of this. But it's basically when we have a period the lining of our uterus, the endometrium, is what sloughs off. And for people who have endometriosis, that lining and that endometrium, those cells find their way inside our bodies and attach to other things.
And so it's very much like an inflammation. And when you're on your period it's much worse, but some people don't have symptoms at all. I mean, I even have a sister who had a worse condition of endometriosis than I did and she didn't have the symptoms that I had. She didn't have debilitating periods and things like that. So super weird, right?
But they know enough to know that it can interfere with fertility. And so even though I had this surgery and we diagnosed what stage I was, I think I was like a stage two or three. Stage five is the worst, meaning that it's like everywhere. And for me, it's like it was on my bladder, it was in my intestines. It was in these places where it's not supposed to be and causing so much pain.
Anyway, after I had the surgery they said, “Okay, you kind of have this little window here where if you're wanting to get pregnant, you either want to hurry and try over the next two or three months now that we've cleared all of this out of you. Or you'll want to go on birth control, because that's what keeps it at bay, keeps it from inflaming.”
Jenica: Okay, and you're like, “I don't like to do that.”
Amanda: Right, I know, I’m like, counterproductive if you are trying to start a family. So that must have been the fall of 2014 when I had that surgery, because I remember in January was when we had our first appointment in 2015 with our infertility doctor. And like most doctors do, they kind of recommend starting with IUIs.
So we did four rounds of IUIs between January and April and kind of exhausted that resource. I had high hopes, they didn't work. It was like you're always just wondering like, “Why? Why? What do I not know? What’s causing this?”
Jenica: Yeah. And just as a side note, what I recently learned from Dr. Foulk, I didn't know this. Well, I probably did, I just forgot. But Dr. Foulk told me recently on our podcast interview that essentially an IUI helps you get like a normal percent chance as anyone who doesn't have any issues, like with endometriosis or anything like that.
And so he told me that it's about a 20% chance each month that an IUI will work. And so that's why they like to do at least three or four. I didn’t realize that, so it's good to know.
Amanda: Yeah, yeah, that is good to know. If they told me that I had forgotten it. But that makes total sense. So we knew the next step for us was IVF. And thankfully I worked at a tech company that had incredible insurance benefits. So we weren't walking into this with what a lot of people face, I think, of knowing like, “How in the world are we going to pay for this?” Great to know that that's an option for us, but what are we supposed to do now?
Jenica: Right, yeah, and for those of you who don't know, so for me, I actually had really great insurance benefits as well. I worked for a company called Mozy, which was owned by a global company called EMC. And Amanda worked for Adobe. And so I actually am surprised that more people don't ask when I tell them that we had really good insurance, what companies we worked for. And so just FYI, those were the companies in case you were looking for a good job.
Amanda: Yeah, seriously go work for Adobe, they’re the best. So we started and I just remember– It's funny because this very first attempt, I just remember being like, “What in the world is happening?” I knew there were no other options than this so it was like the decision to move forward was made.
But I just also was terrified when they send you home with this overwhelming calendar of different medications, mostly, that you're taking as shots, like you're poking yourself with a needle. And I'm like, “Don't I need like a nurse to come home and help me with this? You trust me to do this right?” I remember that part being like, “What?”
Jenica: That was my exact same thought after we had the little clinic or whatever that tells you what to do, I'm like, “I am not qualified for this.”
Amanda: Yes. To lift us up a little bit, I have a sister who's an OB/GYN. And she just went through infertility with IVF in the past year or two. Even she, when she started those shots texted me and she was like, “I don't know if I'm going to do this right.” And I'm like, “You're a doctor.” And she's like, “No, the nurses are the ones that deal with all the shots.”
Jenica: Yeah, see we’re all in the same boat people, if you're absolutely terrified, you're doing it right.
Amanda: You're in good company, yeah, totally. So we went through that first round. And I remember just feeling totally afraid for people to know. Like you've mentioned before, you and I met over social media, we were both blogging and I had been blogging since 2012.
So this is 2015 and I was just very much like, “I don't want anyone to know about this.” I just felt ashamed of it. Like it was something that I did, or something that was wrong with me, and I just wasn't one of the lucky people. And I very much kept it under wraps.
And I remember, I mean, around the time that I found your blog was when I was like, you just gave this voice, like this permission through your experience for me to be like, “Wow, I can experience this and be okay. I can experience this and not be this broken person who needs to be hid away, you know, like no one wants to see you.” Because that's how it felt, it was so overwhelming.
And especially because I was sharing parts of my life online and on social media. I think that made it even more like I didn't know how to handle that, I didn’t know how to cope with that.
And so we did that first round of IVF and, thankfully, it worked for us. And I feel like you came into my life at the perfect time. I still remember and think often about when, I mean, it must have been the day before I was taking work off to go do my transfer. And you stopped by real quick with some goodies, and a movie, and just like a note of encouragement reminding me that I totally can do this and it's going to be amazing.
And it was almost like you were that voice of belief that I couldn't produce for myself at the time. I just was so terrified that this wasn't going to work, and so I was going through the motions but I was like painfully going through the motions.
I just didn't have that faith that it was going to work and I needed someone like you who was going through it as well and had been through like your own ups and downs with it already to come in and be like, “You totally got this. It's going to be okay.” And just your belief was contagious enough that I remember so many little inklings of like, “This could work. This could work.”
Jenica: Yeah, I love that. Well, I love that because I've had that experience as well with other situations where it's so hard to believe yourself. And so it's so comforting to just maybe even borrow someone else's belief for a minute just to think like, “Okay,” like you said, “maybe it is possible.”
Amanda: Yeah, totally. And so that first round worked for us and we got our little boy, Benji, who's now five and a half, and a handful.
Jenica: He hid her computer at the time of this recording.
Amanda: He hid my computer this morning.
Jenica: She's recording this on her phone because he hid her computer somewhere. So, good luck finding it.
Amanda: Yes, thank you. Can't wait.
And so that was kind of like that first chapter of like, “Okay, wow, this can work.” And it's amazing. I feel like you and I, Jenica, have talked about this before, where once you get over one of those first hurdles you're kind of like, “Okay, I'm all better, everything's fixed.” And I sort of had that going into the next.
So with Benji, I wasn't one of those people, and I think it's because of the endometriosis because it affects egg quality. I wasn't one of those people that got a lot of eggs, and a lot of embryos. So we were literally kind of like, I think after stimulating and fertilizing we ended up with three eggs, but then only two of them made it to day five.
So we did some genetic testing because I was a carrier of something that we wanted to screen for. And Benji was the embryo that was completely clear, nothing going on. We had another embryo though that did have this gene that I carry. And it's not something that would be an immediate issue if we had a child with this thing.
But I guess I should just, I'm not trying to hide it or anything, I just don't want to go into the details of it. It's called Fragile X, Fragile X Syndrome. And there's not a lot that's known about it either. But it's just one of these like you can be a carrier of it but if that mutation progresses over time, it can develop or manifest itself in different issues for boys and for girls. So we were just watching out for that.
And this other embryo was a carrier of that, but we were like, “Well, we don't know what we want to do yet. So we're just going to freeze it and wait until we're ready to have children again.” So Benji was born in 2016, in March, on your birthday.
Jenica: March 19th.
Amanda: I get chills every time his birthday comes because I'm like, I just know that's like a little reminder from heaven that you were meant to come into my life. What are the odds that you came in to be that little angel for me and then my baby, my first baby was born on your birthday? Like I
can't get over that.
Jenica: I love it so much. I love God’s little nods, like little hints. I’m happy.
Amanda: Totally, yeah, like you can't deny that. So he was born in 2016. And then in 2018, so like two and a half years later is when we were ready to transfer that other embryo. And I had timed it all perfectly, like I had a sabbatical with Adobe, if you want a sabbatical go work for Adobe.
Jenica: You get insurance benefits and if you need a sabbatical, Adobe is your company.
Amanda: Completely paid, yeah. I took a month off, it was amazing. So we had planned this, I knew I would have time off to be very still and just enjoy this journey and try to enjoy it better than the last time. And we transferred that frozen embryo and it didn't work.
And I was shocked because there were just things in my past where I'd felt like I was meant to have like two kids or just things that you hold on to, to try to keep propelling yourself forward. And when it didn't work, I remember being devastated. We had our moment to grieve that, what we thought was going to happen because it took so hold on just to get that little embryo.
Jenica: Yeah, it's exhausting.
Amanda: But then at the same time, once we had kind of coped with the fact that that didn't happen, there's nothing we can do about it. My husband and I, I remember standing in our kitchen and being like, “I guess we just try again.”
So we did, and I wasn't excited to start all over again and do all the shots again. But we started pretty much right away and had our transfer. So that embryo failed, the beginning of August is when I found out. And we did our next transfer by October, the beginning of October.
And this time around we didn't do any genetic testing, we were just kind of like, we only got three eggs. So it was just like the chances were getting smaller and smaller. We fertilized them. My doctor had us transfer the two embryos that were viable at the time on the third day instead of the fifth day.
Usually they grow to day five and then you transfer. And she just thought, you know what? Let's increase our chances, we'll transfer two, we'll do it on the third day, and hope that if one or both are meant to stick, they'll stick. And one of them did.
And I just remember with that experience, I think because I had experienced pregnancy so I knew it was possible. More than the first time I knew it was possible for my body to carry a baby. And the failed embryo transfer right after the first one was giving me a little bit of doubt.
The thing that was different, both of those experiences gave me experience that helped me to see what I was doing the third time a little differently. And I just remember feeling like I faced it with so much more faith and gratitude, just to be trying at all. Because I kind of had realized through those few years leading up to that third attempt that it just feels good to be trying.
What really sucks is when you get to that point where you don't have any more options, or you're just trying to figure out now what. But as long as we're trying– And I think even at that point you can find, you're finding that next path. So I'm not trying to make it sound like it's ever completely hopeless. But we just feel better when we know we're doing something about it, or we're doing all that we can.
And so that was kind of the mentality I went into it with the third one. And I remember the day before that transfer, talking to a friend at work, and she was like you, Jenica. She was just like one of those people that walked around with this light and this ability to just like contagiously help other people lift up and believe in what they're going through, that there's purpose in it.
And I remember her saying like, “What have you got to lose?” Because I was so scared, “What if it works? What if it doesn't work?” And she's like, “What have you got to lose by just believing that it's going to work?” And so I was just like, “You're right. I'm just going to choose to think it's going to work.”
And I remember being a little more intentional about recording the process in my journal and what I would think and on the hard days I would record it. And on the good days I would d be like, “This happened today and that makes me think that this is going to work.” You know, like holding on to those little things.
And it did, and we got our number two, little Scottie, another boy. And he was born in June of 2019. And anyway, just like two very different experiences, but I feel like I realized after coming out of all of them, I guess technically three experiences with IVF, how much power I held that I didn't realize I had.
Jenica: Yeah, I love that. And I love that you said, essentially what you meant, I think, by saying what your friend had told you, what have you got to lose? I love that, because it really helps you reframe your mind, which you helped me do a lot with my health.
And so specifically, the experience I'm talking about was when I had told Amanda for like two months straight, “I need to lose five pounds. I need to lose five pounds.” And one day I remember where I was because it was so significant for me, she messaged me and said, “Is that true?”
She's like, “I'm not going to answer that for you.” But she's like, “Is it true?” And I was like, “Oh.” like I had thought it so often that it had turned into a belief for me. And at that moment I was like, “Oh my goodness, it doesn't have to be true. I can choose for it to be true or not.” And that's where I feel like I got my power back in my health experience.
And in life coaching, I mean, that's like one of the basics that I teach in the model that I coach on is that we get to choose what our thoughts are. But it's so fascinating for me, because that moment was so significant, where I was like, “Oh, we actually can create the reality for ourselves. And there are these thoughts that we've thought so many times, that don't have to be true for us, but they are because we believe them so often.”
And so I feel like from that moment forward, for me, I've been very curious about what thoughts I choose to hold onto because that's what creates my reality. And I feel like I knew that conceptually until that point. But when you asked me that, like, “Is it true?” And I really thought about it, I just like snapped out of it. Like, “Oh my gosh, no. I'm choosing for that to be true and it's causing me so much heartache, so much pain, so much anger at my body.”
And then as soon as I chose for that not to be true, which again, emphasize the word chose because it always is our choice what we choose to be our reality, then it changed that for me. That was like just my aha moment that I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is completely my choice what thoughts I choose to keep in my brain.”
Amanda: Yeah, totally. I remember hearing once that the definition of a belief is just a thought you keep thinking. And so that does kind of put it in perspective. You're like, “Wow, all of my beliefs are things that I've just decided to think over and over again. And so I believe they're true because of the repetition of thinking them and kind of looking for outside validation for them.”
Jenica: Yeah, which you’ll always find.
Amanda: Totally, yeah, one way or the other. I'm full of quotes too.
Jenica: I’m full of quotes.
Amanda: There’s another one I came across recently that said, “Both faith and fear require you to believe in something you can't see. You choose.”
Amanda: You choose, you can't see either one of those.
Amanda: But I've also learned too, because I think sometimes when you're in that dark place and you're hearing this type of a conversation of like, “You totally have the power to choose,” and you're feeling powerless. You're kind of like, “Whatever, you guys are crazy. You don't know what I'm going through.”
And I think what I've learned because I used to think that way, especially with the first round of IVF, was it's practice. It's not just I think it one time and then all those old beliefs are gone. And I've just replaced it because I chose a different thought. You have to keep choosing it and choose it more than you're choosing the fears and the shame and whatever other emotions that come up as we go through hard things like this. And that's kind of where my food journey came in and really transformed a lot of the way that I show up in my life.
Jenica: Yeah, tell us about that.
Amanda: I mean, going right along, I had Benji, I had Scottie, and right after Scottie was born in June of 2019, I started recognizing this consistent struggle with body image that had been going on a lot in my life, especially around my pregnancies, the lack of control of how my body was changing. Feeling ashamed that I should be grateful that I even got pregnant, so then why am I judging my body for getting bigger and not feeling cute anymore. And all these things, these like millions of emotions that happen around fertility and pregnancy.
And like a few weeks after he was born, I just had noticed I keep waking up, I'm so happy and grateful I have this amazing newborn. His birth experience was incredible too. So it wasn't like I had a ton of damage to recover from, like I did with the first baby. I was feeling really good.
But I would wake up and just something would trigger me and I would just lack the motivation to take care of myself. I knew I should and I knew I needed to and I was doing my best. But especially around food, I kind of had this diet mentality just creeping back in like it always had.
Like you need to be eating differently and you need to stop doing this. And if you don’t, you're never going to lose the weight. And if you don't, you're never going to want to show up on Instagram again. And that means your blog is going to be like a total failure. And like all of these lies and fearful thoughts that would come in around what I was choosing to eat.
And it's almost like every time I let those fearful thoughts in, I would just keep eating the things that I was telling myself I shouldn't be eating. That's how it works, right? We shame ourselves and it doesn't motivate us, we just push ourselves further into that dark place.
Jenica: Yeah, because you don't want to feel that emotion so you just try to cover it up temporarily.
Amanda: Just keep numbing it. Yeah, you just keep numbing it and trying to escape it and finding something else and do it more frequently. And whatever you have to do to get out of that thing that you don't really even know what it is at the time, right? You're just running from it. That's totally what I was experiencing.
And I was about 30 pounds over my typical weight. Like my right-sized body, my healthy weight. And I remember I just reached out to a friend because week after week of this happening, like day after day. And we eat so frequently, we have to to survive.
So when you struggle with a food problem it's not just like you struggle one day and then you have a month where you don't struggle. You're faced with it frequently all throughout the day.
Jenica: Yeah, you can't just quit eating. Like people can quit alcohol, I mean, which is also difficult, but quitting alcohol or quitting smoking. You have to eat to survive, that's a whole different beast.
Amanda: Yeah, yeah, totally. So a friend came to mind and I knew that she had struggled with a similar thing and I reached out to her. And she's definitely one of those people that was put on my path for a reason too. Also met her through Instagram.
And she had been in this 12 step program for food addiction recovery. And I just started to get curious about that. Because I had seen her lose weight, I had seen her kind of experienced this freedom. And maybe not entirely freedom, but just feeling like this, like I could see this weight was lifted from her.
And so I wanted to know more about that. I reached out, she told me about this program, and I went and checked it out. She was still in it so I asked her to sponsor me in it. And I basically went through this 12 step program for five months. And was able to lose the weight, but also learned some very foundational principles that had been missing my entire life around food that taught me how to turn to the Lord.
How to rely on God's power, instead of my own willpower around something that I hadn't just struggled with around pregnancy. It definitely got worse around pregnancy. There were some aspects of it that I felt out of control with because of cravings and things that you don't even know what's going on in your body. But I had struggled with this mentality around food and my body image and feeling like I needed– I mean, so many of us do, feeling like I needed to hide, or I needed to be smaller, I needed to shrink and not own my space.
And I realized that that was the thing that was missing. It was like the spiritual side of it. And it really just unearthed, like I had this spiritual transformation. All of these things that I thought I had been doing but really wasn't doing very intentionally kind of came back to mind through that journey and I started being way more intentional about what I was thinking, what I was doing, how I was choosing to see things.
And it wasn't like I just came up with that on my own. I really feel like that came from divine intervention. I was led to books, and I turned to scripture frequently, and prayer. When I would wake up and not really want to follow the meal plan I was supposed to follow, I would pray for the strength to do it.
And I think a lot of people don't think about praying, you know, like we bless our food, but we don't usually pray to have help in following these choices. But the thing that was so powerful with that is, again, because of the frequency of how often we have to eat to survive, you're faced with that decision that frequently of like, “Which choice am I going to make? Am I going to choose the thing that I know is best for me? My life experiences have taught me that this food is best for me. Mentally, physically, everything about it, it nourishes me. Versus these foods that are quick, and easy, and convenient, and numb, and kind of take me out of my true self.”
And being able to work through that process made real for me just how much power I have and the access to power that I have to work through thoughts. Because thoughts are just as frequent, if not more, right? It's all thoughts, it's all around that same thing. And that was transformational for me.
And really, I felt like for the first time ever I started to own my story or own my weaknesses. Like be okay with my imperfections and the things that I lack because I felt like God was giving me this perspective of truth that I could measure as I went through life and had these different experiences and challenges. I could measure it up against that and be like, “That's true. That's not true.” Right? Kind of like we were talking about before. And I think that's so powerful. Anyway, it was for me.
Jenica: Yeah. Okay, so my question is, I think that, for example, even in like my morning habits, I have my Morning Mindset Magic Checklist that anybody can download for free on my website. And for me, over the last couple of years I've really curated that. And it's still hard.
Even though I know it's the best thing for me, every single day I wake up, I don't want to get out of bed. I don't want to go in my office and read my scriptures, even though I know what I'll find when I get there. And I'm always glad that I did. And I always feel peaceful, I always connect with God. But it doesn't mean that it's easy. And I don't think that it's ever supposed to be easy.
And so what do you do in those moments where you're like, I know? Because I think that that's a misconception is that, even when you’ve created really great habits, that it's easy. And so in those moments that it's not easy, which is probably most of the time, what would you say you did in those moments to help you honor your word to yourself?
Amanda: Yeah, I think the first thing I want to say is none of us are ever perfect at owning those moments and doing the thing that we know is best for us. No matter how good we get at practicing something, just like any sport.
I played basketball in high school and college. I could practice making all these different shots a million times. But that doesn't mean that when it comes down to the specific scenario in a specific game against a specific opponent that I'm going to be able to hit that shot that I've hit a million times in practice, right?
So I think just recognizing that you won't ever get it perfect all of the time. But what happened for me was, especially with the food, I started to recognize the difference between choices that were driven by my spirit and choices that were driven by my appetite. And God's given us appetites for a reason.
And I feel like so much of life is figuring out what we do with those and how do we keep them in their proper place. But I started to recognize, especially as I was indulging myself instead of in sugar, I was indulging myself in the word of God and in scripture, that I would recognize these patterns or these commonalities with the things that reminded me of how I felt around the sugar and the flour.
So it was like even if it was mindlessly scrolling on Instagram, doesn't mean that Instagram is bad. But the way I was using it was very similar to the way that I was using food. I was using it to numb. I was using it to escape. I was using it to look at something that was better, the grass is greener instead of facing what I needed to in my own life.
And I started to recognize that in those moments when I'm like, “I should do this, but I don't want to.” Then I'm like, “That's exactly why I have to do it.” Because the second that my mind tells me, “I don't want to.” I'm like, that's my answer, then that's the thing I need to do.
And I think just because, again, I was practicing it so frequently with my food, every time I would eat that's what I was faced with that eventually I just felt like I got really good at that. And then I was able to recognize after I left that 12 step program, that's when I really started my journey, I feel like.
Because I didn't have this outside group or a sponsor to keep me accountable anymore. It was kind of up to me. Do I want to keep living these principles I've learned or do I want to just like be like, “That was nice, thanks,” and go on back to my old life?
And I just knew I couldn't. I had reached that point many times on that journey in those first five months of like, “I don't want to move forward anymore. I don't like this, it's uncomfortable, I don't like it. But I know I can't go back to where I came from. So I have to go forward.”
And anyways, so much of that growth happened afterwards where I was relying on just the Lord and these things that I had started to do that I knew made me happy. And sometimes just simplifying it too.
Sometimes what happens, I think, when we're trying to choose the thing that we know is best for us but we don't really want to do it, we get into this debate in our minds, right? It's like literally the angel and the devil fighting against each other.
And so in some ways it's like if that choice is already made, you wake up in the morning and set an intention, and you've kind of learned from your experiences, like, “I know I need to do these things.” You kind of naturally start to do them because you're doing them for how they make you feel, not for how you hope they will fix or change something. Or that you think that they're going to make you look like you've got it all figured out, or so that you can go tell everybody on Instagram that you do this thing now.
And honestly, I'm just quoting those things from experience, because those are a lot of the reasons why I used to do things before. And now it's like, I just know from my experience that when I'm faced with a decision, this thing that's usually requiring more effort of me is the path I have to go down. It just is, I always know it's going to make me happy and so I just don't waste time in that battle anymore.
Sometimes I do. And then I wake up the next morning and I'm like, “Oh, yeah, that happens sometimes.” And that contrast of that experience, of not choosing the right thing helps me see again why I continue to practice it this way.
Jenica: Yeah, I love that. And I think that the discomfort of growth is a better option than the discomfort of staying where you are. But either way is not comfortable. So I think that oftentimes we trick ourselves into thinking like, oh, we're so uncomfortable because we are changing and pushing ourselves past our comfort limits and what we know. But I think it's important to remind ourselves that staying complacent is also incredibly uncomfortable.
So it's not like you're choosing this happiness or discomfort, you're choosing between two uncomfortable things. So we might as well be uncomfortable to getting our dreams and getting our life that we love.
Amanda: Totally. Yeah, I love that.
Jenica: Okay, so talk to us about some of the thoughts that you choose when you're feeling stuck in your life. And you can apply it specifically to infertility. I know, for you, you had mentioned earlier that what is there to lose by believing that it will work. So I think that probably helped you at that point.
Is there anything that you want to add in terms of what thoughts help you to progress in your life when you're feeling stuck and scared, and maybe not good enough?
Amanda: It's funny, I think a lot of the thoughts that support me are things that have come from other people. And it's probably that way for all of us. None of us really come up with these all the sudden. And, I mean, if we do I feel like it's from the spirit, it's from the Lord. But also sometimes he speaks to us through other people. And so a lot of the times the things that I'm repeating to myself, or that have continued to propel me forward are things that other people have said to me along the way.
So I remember another friend telling me, I had a discussion with her one time I think in between my two babies, so like around the fertility stuff. And she was like, “I just think God wants us to have what we want.” And I kind of hadn't really thought that abundantly before. It was kind of like He wants me to do what's right. He doesn't want me to do what's wrong. So if I'm not doing the things that I know I should be doing, then God's mad at me, Like He doesn't love me or whatever.
And we can go to that place of scarcity, of feeling like we're trying to earn God's love by choosing the right thing instead of just doing it because actually that helps us to be a better version of ourselves. And so that has helped me countless times just because I've come to realize through my experiences and the truths that I've sought out that He wants us to have what we want. But He wants us to do it in his way because it's going to help us become the best version of ourselves.
So we can do things however we want to do things, we can take as long as we need to take. He's never not going to love us because of that, but it's about what kind of experience do I want to create? And when I look back at my infertility experiences, especially because they were so different that first and third time, I can see how I kind of created that experience.
The first time I went through it very hidden and alone, and I didn’t want anyone's help, I didn't want anyone to know about this because I'm embarrassed or I'm ashamed of it. And that's the experience that I created because I chose to go through it that way.
And with the third one I was much more open. I told my co-workers what was going on in my life. Not to the extent that I was like, “Now you all need to come be a part of it with me,” because I didn't necessarily need that from them. But I felt like I had this healthy balance of it's totally okay for me to be going through this. And that in large part had to do with because I was choosing faith and I was choosing to let the Lord be a little bit more a part of it. And so that's one thing that helps.
I have this app that I think is the best app on the planet, called I Am. And it is an affirmation app. So that's another thing that I do. Before I went through this kind of spiritual change with my food, I sometimes would hear affirmations and then just be like, “Whatever.” I just didn't believe them. They felt uncomfortable.
Sometimes when we're telling ourselves things that we want to believe, but they just don't really feel true at the time because we don't think we measure up to them, we can just sort of like shut them out and not internalize them. Or it's almost like it's awkward to believe something good about yourself when you're not feeling good about yourself.
And so that's something that I currently do on a regular basis is just like, I mean, you can set this app up to send you little notifications. And you can even write your own affirmations. So I've pulled something that will stand out to me when I'm reading my scriptures, and then I'll turn it into an affirmation. And it'll pop up and remind me like all throughout the day, as many times as I want it to.
Jenica: So were these like I am statements? Or like give us an example of one.
Amanda: If I were you on my computer, I would totally pull it up on my phone right now and read you some really good ones.
Jenica: If your computer wasn’t hidden.
Amanda: No, but they might be as simple as I am enough. Like there's abundance ones like I am attracting every good thing in my life that I need. I am loved. I mean, there are some that are so beautifully written that I'm just not even able to give you good examples of them right now. But I promise you it is amazing.
And I feel like when I was going through my food journey, and I tried to do this when I'm– So I'm kind of going down this coaching route myself that I'm hoping to help people with the food struggles that I struggled with.
And one of the things when I was going through my journey, I remember how much what happened that day, like even if I made a bad choice and it didn't turn out to be the way I'd intended it to from the beginning. I started to recognize so much of which path I go down has to do with what I believe about those two different paths.
And so I just think finding the things that support the beliefs you want, that's where you focus. There's always going to be the things that are distracting us and pulling us away from that. And it really is just a matter of where we're looking. Like which direction is your face pointed? Which thing are you choosing to look at?
And the more that you look for things that kind of help you to keep focusing on that, whether it's spirituality or just something positive that someone said. Or belief that this fertility journey will end positively for you. Choosing to focus there and start recognizing that anything that feels the opposite of that good feeling, of that belief is just a distraction.
So the better that we can get at focusing and tuning out distraction, then the better that path we're on, the better we can create it with the Lord, like what it's intended to be.
Jenica: I love that. Can you repeat that first thing you said, I don't know if you–
Amanda: If it will come out the same way?
Jenica: Yes, I love that. I feel like that’s so significant about the distraction. So anything that makes you feel differently, I can't remember exactly what you said. But will you repeat that?
Amanda: I feel like we all want to feel good, right? We all want to feel positive. We want to be full of belief. We want to choose the thing that is the positive perspective in whatever challenges we're facing in our lives.
And the more that we can just choose to focus on those and recognize that when we're triggered, or when something negative comes up, or something that just feels like the opposite of that good feeling. Instead of turning and then indulging and focusing on that, you just practice dismissing it.
And I'm not saying not feel your feelings, because that's obviously what led me into food. I'm saying feel your feelings, but feel them, don't numb them. Don't become them, just feel them and continue to stay focused on what you want to create for yourself, the kind of experience you want to have as you go through something hard.
Because I think most of us don't want our heart experiences to be harder. We want them to be as easy as possible. Even though they're hard and we can't change that they're hard. But I think that is the part that is in our power. We have the ability to choose where we're focused and what we're saying yes to as far as the thoughts like we were talking about that we're letting in.
And so much of the symbolism of this for me with food is we all can choose what food we put into our mouths. And I started associating those good foods with the good thoughts. So it was like a literal manifestation of like, “I'm putting this good food in my body and I'm putting good thoughts in my mind.”
And if I choose those bad foods, I know those bad thoughts are going to come because I've experienced that so many times where I would let my guard down or I would kind of think like, “Oh, it's fine. I don't really have a problem. I'm not addicted.” And then I would go down that route. And it would always produce the same result, I ended up not feeling good or I would regret.
And I feel like anytime we choose the good and create the positive, we never regret it. So why don't we just keep doing that? And it's the practice and building that skill of dismissing anything that's not that good thing.
Jenica: Yeah, and it is a skill that we have to practice. And I love that you don't add a lot of weight or drama to it. That's the thing, I feel like we can create whatever we want. And I think that sometimes when we are wanting to change, we make the mistake of telling ourselves that it has to be extremely difficult.
And sometimes, yeah, it is, but I don't think it has to be. And I think that giving ourselves grace and not internalizing our decisions that we probably aren't proud of making and making those mean horrible things about us is so important.
And then also I just love that perspective of those thoughts just being a distraction. It's not a big deal, it's just like you're seeing them for what they are. And they're not good or bad, necessarily, they're just distractions from what you want.
And so I think that's so cool to look at it like that, like, “Hey, brain, I appreciate you for offering these range of thoughts to choose from, but I'm going to go ahead and choose the ones that give me those feelings that I am desiring versus these other thoughts that are coming up that are just simply distractions.” I love that.
Amanda: Yeah, totally. I feel like what that comes down to is, of course, we can choose any thoughts we want. And like you're saying, it's not necessarily bad that we sometimes choose these bad thoughts. I still do, we all do. But what I've noticed is when we're trying to choose the good ones, in order to do that very intentionally and get the most from it, we have to let go of something.
Because if our minds are a stage, they only have place to occupy one at a time. Either something positive or something negative, you're not usually feeling both at the same time, unless you're bouncing back and forth between the two, which can be its own feeling of noise and kind of like unsettledness.
But I think usually what's happening is we're trying to hold on to both. And so, like you were saying, it doesn't have to be hard. Because I think it's just a matter of allowing ourselves to let go, like release those thoughts. Don't necessarily force yourself to like, “I got to figure out how to choose positive because I'm not supposed to choose negative.”
Recognize the options that you have, but just release those negative ones. Maybe you'll pick them up later. Maybe they will serve you some way. A lot of good things have come from negative things that have happened in my life.
But sometimes I think what happens is we're trying to hold on to everything, we're trying to choose the good and feel the negative. Allow ourselves to feel it or choose it and it kind of comes down to we can't hold both, we’ve got to pick.
Jenica: Yeah, just set down one.
Amanda: Yeah. So releasing it or just allowing yourself to like, you don't have to do it all, you don't have to hold everything. Allow yourself to choose the thing that's going to make you feel good and just kind of gently let that other stuff go.
Jenica: I love that. Okay, last question for you is what are the routine things that you do in your day that allow you the best mindset?
Amanda: So I think I can answer this best by describing what I used to do so you can see the contrast. Because part of this change for me, I was led down a path of letting go of some other things. I let go of parts of my blog that I'd been doing for a while. And then I let go of more of that. And then I let go of social media completely most of this year, or entirely this year.
And so there have been a lot of learnings that have come from those big changes as well. And what I used to do was, especially when I was working full-time, and being a mom, and trying to run this blog, I would wake up and kind of already be in scarcity. Not enough sleep, not enough time to finish projects at work, not enough time to get to work, not enough time to eat breakfast, not enough time. It was just the theme.
And certainly as I let go of my job and embraced full-time motherhood, that changed naturally. But also as that had changed for me, I was still choosing to wake up and be on my phone and to check Instagram the second I would wake up. Especially if I woke up and I had seen notifications of little messages. And I wanted to know what people had to say to me and that was kind of where I would go first thing in the morning.
And when I kind of got to this place of needing to let something go of my own through this food process. I couldn't force this change, I had to let go stuff for it to happen and to feel like I was being led by the Spirit. And so that sort of dialed me into like, “What am I doing when I wake up? What does that say when I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is this? And what do I want that to look like?”
And so now what I do is instead of waking up and tuning into the world the first thing, I wake up and I try to connect myself with the Lord because that has so much to do with my beliefs, who I believe I am, where I came from. And more than anything, to get through all the challenges in my life, I need the person who created me to remind me of who I am because I forget constantly.
And so now it's waking up and whatever I have to do to put the Lord first, that's what I do. So sometimes I'm waking up earlier than my family, the majority of the time I am. I have a morning routine where I've created this little spot in my closet that I call my sacred grove and it's got twinkle lights. I've made the ambiance exactly what I want it to be so it feels like heaven. And it doesn't feel like the opposite of heaven, waking up and having to be awake. There's no scarcity mentality around it.
So I get up, I usually read my scriptures and pray. And they're very basic things. Sometimes I will listen to songs that remind me of– I have multiple playlists of songs that either remind me of hard things that I went through. I have this whole playlist from when I was going through infertility of songs that helped me get through it.
And so now whenever I listen to those songs, those remind me I've done some really hard things in my life. And I can continue to do really hard things. But I feel like I'm so much more intentional about what I do because I've learned from my own struggles that the way I used to do it just doesn't work for me anymore, it's not helping me.
And I'll leave you with one more quote on this because it helps me. Stephen R. Covey said, “If you put the Lord first, he'll tell you what to put second.” And that has just been so true in my life because I always knew he was there. I used to think about him when I needed him, but I didn't usually put him, like really put him first. It was just kind of like I'll call him up when I needed help.
And this whole change has allowed me to go through life a lot more confidently and just knowing he's got my back. And he always had it, but me doing these things differently gives me even more of that. It feeds that faith that he's there and I just know that by experience now because the way I did it before it just it didn't feed that belief. So that's why I do those things.
Jenica: I love that, thank you so much. So I know everyone will ask where to find you because you're a spectacular human. So where would you direct them to connect with you in the future?
Amanda: Yeah, so my website is still up and I'm in this transition period of I sort of put my blog to rest and I'm rebranding, I guess. I don't even know what to call it yet because it’s so early.
Jenica: Yeah, she’s completely changed tracks into helping women with their health journey bust also spiritually as well.
Amanda: Yeah, totally. So it will probably still be under the umbrella of Little Miss Fearless because there's so much of a connection with fearlessness and courage in these hard things that we go through. But I would just say my website, littlemissfearless.com. And if you want to contact me, littlemissfearless.com/contact and I would love to connect with anybody.
Jenica: Amazing. Thank you so much for being here with us today, Amanda. Like I said earlier, I was so excited to share Amanda with you because she has helped me so much in my own life. And so I'll make sure to update you guys if she launches, whatever she ends up doing with her coaching I will make sure to update everybody.
Amanda: Thank you.
Jenica: We will see you next week here on Fearless Infertility.
I know how tough it is to struggle through infertility. If you’re ready to get ahead of the pain and frustration, the best way is to give yourself an ironclad mindset. I have a free download for you, it’s my Morning Mindset Magic checklist where you’ll get the seven tips I use to conquer my mindset each morning.
I spent a couple years of trial and error before I finally came up with this list of things to do or not do each morning that help my mindset every single time. And I do these things especially when I don’t want to because I need them the most during the hard times.
Throughout my own battle with infertility these seven simple morning habits have helped me regain control over my thoughts. They will also help you, like they have helped me, take back the power over your feelings and emotions, prevent anxiety, and accomplish all you want to achieve each day. They clear out shame and guilt from my mind and prepare me to win each day no matter how tough things get. Download for free in the show notes or at fearlessinfertilitycoaching.com.
Thank you for listening to Fearless Infertility. If you want more tools and resources to help you during your infertility experience visit thesliceofsun.com. See you next week.