My guest on the show this week is my friend Kelly Jensen. She is a mother of five, but given the obstacles she faced while trying to grow her family, her perspective on what it means to honor the hard moments of life is so refreshing that I had to introduce her to you.
Kelly went through 12 pregnancies, 7 miscarriages, and a whole lot of heartache. She lost babies ranging from the 8-week to 23-week mark, and she has an incredible way of explaining the challenging feelings we can all relate to in infertility. After working to make sure everything in her life was headed towards motherhood and experiencing a reality that was far from ideal, she discovered the importance of connection and holding space for others, and she’s here to share her wisdom with us.
Join Kelly and me this week as we dive into what it means to surrender to the life we’re given and why this is the path to our freedom in hard moments. Kelly is such a pillar of support for anyone who comes her way, and I know this episode is going to be a complete game-changer for you on your journey.
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.
Hello my friends, and welcome back to Fearless Infertility. I am so excited that I get to introduce to you today my friend Kelly Jensen. Kelly is a mom to five and she experienced multiple miscarriages while growing her family. She found a solution that works for her that may work for some of you who are also going through the same thing.
And she also shares her beautiful wisdom learned about how she sees a life that could only have been gained through the trials and growing her family. We have a really incredible conversation about how we connect as people, how she needed support during her infertility that may be different than what you've heard, and how there isn't a right or wrong way.
Hello my friends, and welcome back to Fearless Infertility. Thank you for being here, for taking the time for yourself today. I know it will be worth your time. Before we get into today's podcast interview with my friend Kelly Jensen, which is so, so good. I'm going to relisten to this one over and over again because she shares so much beautiful truth in it about who we are and about the truth about the circumstances we find ourselves in. And I know you're going to love it.
Before we get into our interview, I wanted to share a couple of podcast reviews from Apple Podcasts. It's really important for me that you guys rate and review the podcast because there are many women who are experiencing infertility alone. Who are not aware of how common it is. Who are not aware of the support that is available to them. And you rating and reviewing helps the podcast to be seen by those people who are searching for resources for infertility.
So that's why I think it's so important and I give away a pair of pajamas and socks that I created for The Slice Of Sun every Monday to one reviewer. And I am excited for one of you to win. So if you can go review it and rate it today simply to help others in your situation, other sisters who may be really feeling alone to bring them in. And then also why not want a pair of pajamas and talk while you're at it.
The first review is by username Afishnick, and the title is Can't Get Enough. She says, This is such a wonderful podcast. I binge listened to all of the episodes over the course of a week because I fell in love with Jenica’s mindset and strategies she teaches to help navigate infertility. I love that what she teaches can be used to help deal with other difficult life issues as well. Excellent quality. Love the interviews and different perspectives and topics. Such a great resource for a healthy mindset in any point of your infertility journey.”
I love this. And I love that she reiterated the fact that these tools can be applied to literally any problem. So even when you're through infertility, or to the other side, or your family's complete, whatever you might title that, these tools that you learn here can be literally applied to anything and there's still a space for you here. So if you could email me at email@example.com with your size and address preference, and we will get that sound to you.
Another incredible review from this week that I loved was, reaching the top will be worth it. She says, “Jenica, I feel like you are a mind reader. Your podcast episodes are lining up so perfectly with my journey and you are such a guiding light. My husband and I have been trying to conceive for two and a half years and are entering into our first IVF cycle.
While we are excited for our family and friends to welcome their new additions, we oftentimes struggle with our thoughts and are emotional because we think, why not us? The spirit in your voice and passion to help the community encourages me to recognize my feelings and thoughts and truly try to understand myself more.
Your most impactful statement to date for me is if it wasn't this, it would be something else. Although it is difficult to see the summit of a mountain through the clouds on a rainy day, I know we are on the right path and reaching the top will be so worth it. So glad we are on this journey together. Thank you for everything.”
Okay, I'm actually going to give away two this week, I loved your ratings and reviews this week. So the person that left that review, if you could email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your address and your size preference, then we'll get out your PJs and socks.
And if anyone else would love to help this podcast to grow so that other women can learn and really just feel not alone and use these tools to improve their lives, please leave a rating and review. And I’ll choose a new person each week and announce it at the beginning of every new episode.
So let's go my friends. I cannot wait for you to get to hear the incredible good news, the incredible wisdom that my friend Kelly shares with us.
Jenica: Okay everyone, welcome back to Fearless Infertility. I'm so excited that you are here today and I have a very special guest on my podcast today, my friend Kelly Jensen. She is such an incredible human being all around. And when I started this podcast, she's one of the people that I immediately thought would be an incredible person to have on because she has such an incredible way of explaining feelings that we can all relate to.
And, specifically in this community, she's been through so much. She is a beautiful mother, she has a heart of gold. And she's a really, really incredible writer too. And I’ll link her Instagram here at the very end, as well as anything else she wants me to link I'll link in the show notes. But welcome to the podcast, Kelly, thank you so much for your time.
Kelly: I am so happy to be here, Jenica. You are quite amazing. And I am so grateful to be talking to this community and just really getting to know everybody.
Jenica: Well, thank you. I'm so excited that you're here. To start off, the first question I would love to ask you is, or I guess our conversation can start where can you tell us a little bit of your story and background, specifically how it relates to growing your family?
Kelly: Absolutely. So I have five children now. But when my husband and I started trying to grow our family we were just really naive, like I think most people are. You just think, “Okay, I want to get pregnant in April. And then I want to have the baby here.” And so we were kind of into that.
And my first miscarriage happened and I didn't quite understand what happened. Nobody had ever really talked to me about miscarriages and that happened and I just thought I had a really terrible period. I was probably about nine weeks along when I had that. And I wasn't super regular and so I kind of passed it off as that.
Well, then I had my first baby, Jack. He's 16 now which is crazy.
Jenica: That is crazy. She does not look like he's 16, you guys. Her face is glowing. I mean, girl you got to give us your beauty secrets too at the end. A side bonus.
Kelly: Your so sweet. But anyway, Jack was just perfect. Just everything went really naturally, a great pregnancy. And then after that I had three miscarriages in a row. And I’d go on to have seven miscarriages. 12 pregnancies and seven miscarriages, and I just could not seem to hold on to my baby.
So one before my oldest, three after him. And then I got my little boy Sam, who is 13 now and has some disabilities. And then I had three after Sam. So that's sort of my story.
For 10 years I fought infertility. And I got three little girls after, maybe we'll talk a little bit about what ended up being sort of a miracle for me. But yes, seven miscarriages and a whole lot of heartache. I lost babies anywhere from 8 weeks to 23 weeks.
Jenica: Oh wow.
Jenica: That's interesting that you say that the first one you didn't know that you were having a miscarriage. Actually, the same thing happened to me. I was on an airplane in China after our second IVF transfer. And the only reason why I knew it was a miscarriage was because I thought it was, like you said, a really, really bad period. There was a lot of blood, a lot of like –
Kelly: Mess, yeah.
Jenica: Yeah, there you go. Yeah, I don't know what else to call it other than that. And yeah, it's very surprising, very painful. And I think it's interesting too, where you say starting out trying to grow your family you didn't hear a whole lot about miscarriages. And I really hope that that is a narrative that we can change because it's a fairly common thing with women.
Kelly: It's very common. It’s very common and I think we need to talk about what it looks like. And there's a fine line between education and just like telling and being scared. Nobody needs to do scared of miscarriages.
That’s probably the worst thing that you can do, is get caught up in worrying what if. I know that because it is impossible not to when you're going through it, especially a string of miscarriages.
Having a miscarriage sort of takes your innocence away. My husband and I have talked a lot about that. Because once you are aware that you have miscarried, and it comes out of the blue it, you never expect it. But every time you go to the bathroom, every time you feel something, pregnancy is messy anyway, so every time you feel wet, or you feel a pain, you think, “Oh my gosh, I must be miscarrying.”
It's just a constant fear because you can't have imagined how it would be. And so it's like you're waiting for the other shoe to drop every time you go to the bathroom, every time you feel anything.
So I want to give my heart to everybody out there experiencing that. It’s very normal and like I just want to hug each of you through this podcast because it is a hard and lonely place to be, but you can do it. You really can.
Jenica: Yeah, absolutely. And one thing this brings to mind is that we have a mutual friend, Kaylee Wright. And Kaylee and I were speaking together, this was probably like two or three years ago, and she said that you were able to support her. And I don't even know if you guys had met in person, but you were able to support her. I think you sent her dinner or something after she had had a miscarriage.
And I think that's such a beautiful thing, to be able to take what you've experienced, and then help lift other women and hold their hand through the process. And remind them, like you said, that it's normal and that they'll be okay.
Kelly: Well, I think once you're sort of a member of this club that you have never wanted to be a member of, you sort of realize how life just moves on. Your whole world is stopping because it's one of the most tragic things.
Some people handle miscarriage or infertility differently than others. But for me, all I ever really knew I would be was a mother. And I think it gave me a lot of confidence and motivation when I was younger to be so successful at a young age in my career and to start companies. Because I knew that I wanted to be a mom. So everything was kind of like heading to that destination.
And I think once you have a miscarriage, you realize that your world stops. Everything you have going is like silent and the world is still spinning. And people are still going to play dates and people still have to make dinner and you still have to take care of kids, and soccer practice, and all these things. And I think it gives you this sort of understanding and empathy and this way to hold space for other people that are invisible.
Because it is such an invisible thing to have infertility. And you can look like you are just crushing it at life and you can be completely devastated. And the worst thing that's ever happened to you and you don't know how to fix it. You don't know how to make it better. And most things you can say, “Okay, I want to get better at X, Y, and Z. I'm going to practice, I'm going to do this.” Well this isn't one of those things, you really feel out of control.
So one of the things it did for me is give me that understanding of other people and I say, “What can I do?” I can send dinner, she won't have to make dinner tonight. What can I do? I can take board games over to their older kids so she just can have some peace.
Because sometimes that's all you need, is a minute just to cry. Or a minute just to be alone. A minute not to have to be on and just be able to take a deep breath.
Jenica: Oh, I love that. And you said that so beautifully. It kind of made me tear up a little bit. I feel like the way I respond to hearing truth is I just get kind of emotional about it, and I love that you said that.
Kelly: Me too, I’m the same.
Jenica: I'm like, “Yes, it's so true.” And I love that, I think God really put us on the earth to not do it alone. And I think that we each have our trials and we each also have our gifts. And we can help each other with both of those.
And I love the way that you see that. And you really take initiative and say, “Okay, I have this trial. I've experienced it, I've been there. Now what can I do with it?” And you've made that your gift in being able to reach out to these people.
Kelly: I appreciate you saying that so much. Because I definitely don't know if I feel that way. But this is what I do know. And I have a social media account, but I would say I'm not a typical social media person. I never meant to have an account on Instagram. I never meant to, but I think the thing that Instagram has made me realize is we are so connected. We are so much more the same than we are different.
And I think for me what I realized, whether it be infertility, or my child that has disabilities, or certain things about our life or our faith, even if we're different, even in our differences were more the same.
So for instance, for me, that destination of motherhood, what I always thought would be where I was headed, it doesn't look that way for me. The way I thought it would always look, it's like I'm headed down that path and I'm doing everything I can and I have a miscarriage. So I think, “Okay, it must be my exercise. It must be the way I'm eating. What can I do different? How is this my fault?”
And then I try to change those things up and then I have another miscarriage and I think, “Oh my goodness, is it my body? Is it my husband?” And you start to just try to change.
And I think what ultimately having miscarriages taught me is that we all come to this point where we have to surrender to the life that we are meant to live. It may look totally different than the one that we had imagined.
But in my opinion, sometimes the hardest things happen to us, things we can't even imagine will happen to us so that we can live this life that is more beautiful than we can imagine because we're broken, and all the light can get into us and we can see people differently and we can love people differently. We can love our children differently.
There's no doubt that I am a better and more grateful mom because I had to work so hard to get them here. And I think I would have always been a good mom, but there's no way that I could have ever imagined how much I wanted them. I just thought, “Oh, I'll be a mom and I'll have these kids and we’ll spend nights at baseball.”
Some people have that depth of understanding without having all the trials and I so appreciate that gift that they have. And for me, I think this destination I was headed to and this road I was on, at some point I had to say, “I surrender God. I have done everything, I have tried so much.”
I remember the exact point. I was laying on my bed, I was in fetal position. I was going through my seventh miscarriage and I just could not figure out why I couldn't keep a baby. And finally I said, “Okay, maybe this is not what you have meant for me. And I'm not going to give up hope. And I'm not going to give up. But if I'm headed down this path because I'm stubborn and because this is what I want, and you want something different for me, show me the way.”
And I remember saying like, “Okay, I'll be the best mom I can to these two boys. I'll give it everything I can, just show me what is next for me.” And I think all of us are going to go through that surrendering at some point. Whether it's infertility, whether it's faith, whether it's a marriage. Whatever the switch is, your destination changes and you align it with God or the universe, or whatever your belief is.
I don't think it's giving up on your hopes. I think it's actually even pouring more into your faith and more into your hope that God or the universe will just take you there. And so I remember that point for me. And I think that's probably the biggest lesson that I've learned connecting on Instagram is everybody has that moment. Everybody does.
Jenica: Yeah, I agree. And I love what you mentioned earlier about it being invisible. And it's so interesting when people share and let you into what they've experienced and what their trials are, it's always a little bit surprising, because it is so invisible. And then I love that we're able to support each other through that.
And so that's kind of been a consistent theme, honestly, with a lot of my podcast interviews is that we believe, or I think most of the people that I've spoken with have believed that we should– I mean nobody should do anything, right? Do whatever you want. But I think it helps when we open up our stories to at least a few people in our lives because it's so invisible. And then you can get the support that you need.
Can you talk a little bit about support? And maybe what would you say was the most helpful for you during those trying years of miscarriages?
Kelly: Okay, that is a great question. And it’ll probably surprise you. But I lived in California without any family or anything. It was just my husband and I and like our little group there. And the first time we got pregnant we told everybody. So it was actually my second pregnancy, but we told everybody. And I was great because we had this little boy.
Well, we got pregnant again and we just assumed it was all the same and we told everybody. And we had to untell everybody. And I think that truly is one of the hardest things that is a part of miscarriages, managing other people's expectations. Especially if you're a person like me and you just want everybody to be happy. You don't want to be the cause of anybody's pain. You want to make things better, not worse.
And so slowly, I'm a pretty private person as it is, but slowly I quit telling anybody at all about our pregnancies. And I have to be honest, that is the only way that I survived. Everybody is so different. And that's the thing, because somebody like me, I was kind of all alone but I had my husband.
And that's what I want to say, I did have somebody. And I did talk to my husband, and I did talk to my mom, and I did have a couple of friends. But for the most part I had to keep it quiet.
Now, I have a sister-in-law and also many, many friends who get their support from sharing, and people buoying them up, and giving them support, and talking about it, and sharing their experiences and what will work.
That didn't work for me and only because I don't think I could have heard one more person say, “I am so sorry.” Or kind of that pity like, “Have you tried this? Have you tried this?” I just needed to be able to like push through it.
Now, with that being said, since I have gotten through it I still am the same person, still private. But I have realized that talking about it, specifically on my Instagram, especially about progesterone being a miracle drug for me. I have people send me pictures of their babies like, “This is because of you, this baby. I just got my baby and it's because you told me about progesterone. This baby is because you. Thank you for being brave with your story.”
I am such a believer of talking about it if you can. Only if it strengthens you or somebody else. But I think it is a fine line and you just have to know yourself. You just have to know like, don't make it a harder part of your story because you're trying to help everybody else. This is a time when you've got to just get through this. You've got to just figure out how to honor yourself and honor this and make it through.
And I wish I were strong enough during it. I didn't have an Instagram account that entire time during my infertility. But I wish I had been strong enough, because I know there were probably women around me who needed somebody to talk to. But I just wasn't, and that's okay.
That's okay too, for anybody listening out there. Because there will come a time you find yourself in a position where you are strong enough. And there will be somebody that God puts in your way. I 100% can testify to that, that there will be people around you, you don't even know, that need your story.
They need your brokenness. They need your hope. They need your faith. They need your successes and your failures. That's what God does. That's how he orchestrates everything. He just places us any hopes that we’ll be willing to start a podcast like you did, to have people come on and share their stories. He's hoping that we'll do this for each other because that's the only way he gets his work done here.
And so I believe in sharing your story. But I also know that just like everything else, you really have to figure out your boundaries and what's going to get you through it. And I don't think there's any right way. I just think that when you're ready somebody will need your story. And if you're willing to tell it, you will help so many people.
Jenica: Yeah, I love that. That's such a good answer. And I love that perspective, too. Because, like you said, there is no right way and there is no wrong way. There's whatever way that you want to do it.
And I love that you knew yourself well enough to know that that's how you knew you would be able to best get through it. Because you were intuitive and you had your support system, like you said. But you only needed your few people. And that's what helped you. And there's people that are polar opposite. Like people who share with everybody and they don't mind sharing it.
Kelly: And it builds them up. It strengthens them to have so many people. And I'm pretty much the opposite in all ways. I will tell you anything, one on one, even on a podcast or in a small group. But when I'm going through something hard, sometimes I need to figure out how I feel about it. What my plan is before I tell anybody else.
And I'm not a big advice giver, I can just tell you like, “Hey, this is what worked for me.” I so hope that you can find something in there that strengthens you or works for you. But I think that's part of it, too. When I don't know what I'm doing or how I'm going to get through it, I sometimes have a hard time talking about it. Because I don't have anything to say yet. You know what I mean?
But there are plenty of people who already know, and already have advice. And I say do whatever you feel is right because God will use you. If you're willing, God will use you for sure.
Jenica: Yeah. And this makes me think about a podcast I was listening to the other day by Jody Moore. And she was saying basically the same thing that you're saying except for in business.
So she says she doesn't like to get a ton of advice when it comes to certain business decisions that she's made, because she knows what she wants to do. And then when she tells people and says, “Okay, what do you think about it? Do you think I should move forward with it?”
If they say something different than what she's thinking she has to do a whole lot of thought work on moving forward through that still. And so she knows herself when it comes to business. And it kind of sounds very similar with you. Where if you know how you'll react to people saying certain things, then why even put yourself in that position?
Kelly: That's a perfect way to say it. And I think I do have a strong opinion on my own stuff. How I should deal with things, and how I feel, and what I think. But I have no opinion on what other people should do and what other people are supposed to do.
I don't really even believe in supposed to. So I am like, “You do you. But if you feel it, if you can, if you have the strength.” I literally have dozens of pictures of babies saved in a file of people who have sent them and said, “This baby, I would have never known about progesterone.”
And it’s like my husband was saying, I was talking to him about being on this podcast last night. And he's not a crier, you know him. So he's telling me, and he's talking about how hard it was to for me and how hard that was for him to watch.
And he goes, “But the thing is, I think about it now and I think about all those messages that you've received of all these babies in the world. And I think you would probably do it again. You would probably volunteer for all the hard stuff that almost broke you.”
And I thought about it, that was so powerful to me because I thought about it for a second and I thought, “Oh my gosh, this has honestly been one of the hardest things I've ever been through in my life to fight for this family of mine.” But knowing that going through that could help other people not go through it, I know myself, I don't know if I would or not.
I'm not one of those people that’s like, “I'm so grateful for this trial, I wouldn't change a thing.” I am not one of those people. I would change all of that. But I am super, super grateful for the opportunity to have found something that works for me and worked for so many other people.
Jenica: Yeah, it's amazing and I love that you said that. You're like, “I don't know if I would or not.” But I love that you can see the gifts in it now.
Kelly: Yeah. Oh my goodness, it has gave me a depth that I never would have. And really knowing myself, I know I would have. And I hate to say that because it makes you sound like, “Oh, yeah, right.” But I got through it. And all of you out there that are right in the middle of it, it's so hard to believe that it's going to work out. It's just so hard.
I remember that hope, you know, that hope just kind of dwindling. And after my first miscarriage that I knew about, which was actually my second, I wrote the word brave on a little piece of paper, and I stuck it in my pillow on my bed in my pillowcase.
Jenica: Did you say the word brave?
Kelly: And I slept on it every night for 10 years. Every time I changed my pillowcase or washed my bedding it fell out and I’d put it back in. It was tattered and torn. I have it in my jewelry box, but I remember taking it out and it was like you could barely read the writing. But I always say like it got etched on my heart.
Because it's not that you're not scared. It's not that you aren't terrified every second you get that positive or you go to take a pregnancy test and it's negative again. It’s not that you're not scared, it's just that you keep moving forward. You're just willing to keep trying, to not give up on your life. Not even on the family that you once dreamed or that it will work out this way, but just on your life, on your happiness, on your hope.
And anyway, I feel like that was a huge thing for me, just to have a word like I am brave. I'm broken maybe or I'm struggling, but I am brave and I can continue. And all of you out there, you can do this. There's going to be a point where you look back on this and you think, “I survived that, I'm going to survive anything.”
Jenica: Yeah, I love that you say that. And you would be such a good life coach, Kelly, by the way. Oh my gosh, people we’ve got to peer pressure her into it.
But I love that you say that because it reminds me of something that Brooke Castillo taught, who is the person that I got my life coach training through. And basically, it's that mostly what we're afraid of is an emotion. So no matter what experience we're going into, the biggest thing is really feeling a certain way. And self-confidence comes from knowing that you're capable of feeling a certain way but moving forward anyway.
And so that's essentially what you just said, where yeah, you still feel scared, but you know you're capable of feeling scared and still moving forward. So you can have that self-confidence to know that you can keep moving forward, wake up every day, take the next step.
Kelly: I love that so much. And I think you're dead right. And whatever people believe that are listening to this, whether you believe in God or the universe, it has you. It's holding you. And I think that's where the assurance comes from ultimately. None of us are perfect, but we have something out there that is willing the goodness in our life, and willing the best thing for us and knows our gifts, and knows our strengths, and is going to use that in our life.
So I think that for me, ultimately, that's what helped me. Just knowing that this wasn't going to be the end of me. I was going to have a beautiful life. I had to hope that, regardless if that meant I had one baby, or I had two, or I adopted or whatever it looked like for me. I was going to make that a beautiful life.
And they always say you can't always choose what happens to you, but you can choose how you respond. And so I know that if you're in the depths of it, and you're like, “No, this is horrible. This is so hard.” But the truth is, just saying that you're such a fighter. Look how hard you're fighting.
Just by saying, “No, this sucks.” You're still standing there. You're still saying it. You're still showing up in the morning. You're still getting out of bed. Even if it's not what you want you're continually, continually fighting. And you have to see that in yourself to be able to keep moving in your life, whatever is coming for you.
Jenica: Yeah, I love that. And I love that you seem to really grasp the concept that there's no right or wrong feelings. And that's something that I really have had to learn the last several years. Because when I first went into my infertility experience where we did three IUIs and three rounds of IVF to start to get our twins, I would feel a negative feeling. And I felt like I always had a good grasp on staying positive so I would turn it to the thoughts that made me feel best.
But I also had thoughts that when I wasn't feeling the way that I wanted to or I was feeling uncomfortable was that there was something wrong with me and that something had gone wrong, and I needed to fix it. And I love that now I know that that's completely not true. And you can feel really bad and know that it's still the right thing for you right now.
Kelly: Absolutely. And I think I get that from my mom, because she would just say, “Give it a good cry. Just go give it a good cry, and cry as long as you need to. And then when you're done, you stand up and you dust off your knees. And you get to work on having your life that you want.”
And I think that taught me that, oh my gosh, if we are hard on ourselves, it probably also stems from people saying, “Well, at least you have the money to do your IUI or your IVF.” Or “At least you have the opportunity to do this.” You know, I think we've got to stop with some of that stuff. And we just need to say, “Wow, you are such a fighter. Wow, look at how you're showing up to this. You're so brave, I admire you so much.”
We need to start using that kind of verbiage to each other and not like, “Oh, well, at least you know you can get pregnant.” Because it makes you feel like you're supposed to be grateful when you're going through hard times. And I don't want my kids to feel that way. Whenever I think like, “How do I think about this?” I think, “How do I think about this for my daughters?”
And I want my daughters to be able to say, “This is the worst thing that has happened to me.” And I'll say, “Yes, it is.” And I'll say, “Where are we headed from here? What are you going to do? What do you choose?” And if she says, “I want to stay in bed for 24 hours.” I'm going to bring her a blanket and some ice cream. And I'm going to say, “You're going to do that.”
And then the next day we're going to get up and we're going to move forward. And we're going to do it together. And I'm not going to tell her what it should look like for her because she is not me.
And we have to kind of learn to hold that space for each other too. Because some people are like, “Oh, I had a miscarriage, no big deal. Something was probably wrong and so I'm good.” And some people don't ever get over it in their whole lifetime.
And both of those things are okay. And we just have to say, “I'm here. I'm here, I'm not leaving, I love you. You're fighting this and I am standing here for whatever you need.”
Jenica: I love that. I think that's the best freedom you can discover for yourself. I'm like crying right now because I can't even tell you how much more free I feel now that I truly believe that. Because truly for the longest time I was like, “Something's gone wrong, it should be different.” And to really just like sit in accepting where you're at is just the biggest freedom.
And I love what you said earlier about how you're a different mom because you've experienced infertility and all of those miscarriages. And this is specifically what I feel like I learned from it. Because with my kids now, when they're having a bad day I don't say, “Stop crying” or “You shouldn't cry.” I'm definitely not perfect, if it gets excessive I'm like, “All right, let's move it on.”
Kelly: Let’s get on with this, yeah.
Jenica: Right. But in general I'll let them cry. And if something sad happens I'll say, “Yeah, it's okay to be sad. Mommy gets sad sometimes too.”
Whereas before experiencing this I think I would have said, “Let's look at the positive It needs to be positive and happy all the time.” Which I don't think is a healthy way because then we're not able to learn how to process our negative emotions in a way that benefits us.
Instead, oftentimes, people do things like eat too much or drink too much or do something to hide from it versus just being like, “Hey, I'm a human being I am doing an amazing job living the full human experience, including days that are sad and really hard.”
Kelly: Yeah, I love that. I mean, what could you give your kids that would be better than honoring their feelings? And also teaching them by example that like, “Okay, we will get through this. There are phases of everything. This is not who you are right now, this is something you're going through.”
And I think that for me hard as a parent too. But I realized that in my life I was devastated. I was lonely. I was like all these little things and nobody around me would have really known that.
But I was those things and I could have decided, because it was 10 years of my life, I could have decided that that was me. I'm actually this and I know that I went through that but that it’s not me. I have other things that are my headlines, this is just a little footnote.
And I know that about my kids too. Phases, phases, phases. Anybody who has kids knows that just like you go through the Thomas The Train phase or the Paw Patrol phase or whatever, right? Then they move out of it. It feels like it will never go away, you'll always be stepping on Legos. But it goes away just like us.
So I think honoring those feelings and those moments and being hard on themselves, and then teaching them that that was a moment and we honored that, but this is actually where we're headed. This is actually what we want. We want to be happy and we're going to keep fighting for that.
Jenica: Yes, that is such a beautiful perspective because I think that's what a lot of us do. We go through something and then we internalize it and make it mean something about us and who we are. Versus kind of like viewing ourselves as this character, like in a movie, going through these certain things.
I think I did that for a lot of years, really. I think that I thought if I'm feeling sad or bad, then that means that there's something wrong with me as a human being. Versus just saying, “This is normal.”
And it's so interesting too, as I view my kids and how they process their emotions when I approach it like that. Like when I say things like, “I's okay to cry. Mommy gets so frustrated too. I understand you're frustrated and it's totally okay.” And it's so interesting how even at such a young age, they just turned five, that it brings them a sense of peace.
And it's so interesting where, I don't know, it's been very surprising to me, I think, to see physically watching them how much easier and actually more quickly they’re able process those uncomfortable or negative feelings when I just allow it and say, “Yeah, it's totally normal. You're doing great.”
Kelly: I love that so much. And you know what? I think they're just like us. It's like when you hear a truth, it's like a truth and it's like from beyond. It's like an actual real truth that came before we came here or something deep in souls. And when we hear that, just like little kids, we stop and it does give us peace. Which doesn't even make sense sometimes why.
But I was thinking that when you said that, like, “When I tell my kids it gives them...” And I was like because it's a truth. It's just a truth. And you're allowing them the space that I think Christ would, that I think God would, our Heavenly Father, whatever it is, the universe. I think that that's why. Because it's like, “Oh, I'm enough. What I'm experiencing, I'm enough.”
Jenica: Yeah, absolutely. I love that. Okay, so Kelly, you told us that progesterone really helped you when it came to growing your family. Can you tell us how that plays into your story?
Kelly: Thank you for asking that, actually. Yes, and it's a little bit of a tricky way because after seven miscarriages, you have had a lot of tests. And my levels were always normal. It was always normal. I was low in iron, but I was taking prenatals and an iron pill. And so I really didn't think there was anything wrong.
And like I said, I didn't tell a lot of people about our story or that we were going through so much. But I was sitting in my car one day coming home from work and my mom called. And she never gives me real advice on anything. She just kind of lets me figure things out. And she was like, “I was talking to–
Actually it was my girlfriend, Penny, who called me first. And she says, “Hey, Kelly, have you heard about this thing called progesterone? I've just been thinking about you.” And I said, “I have. Penny, you’re so sweet.” And you get people trying to help all the time with good intention. I said, “Yeah, I've been tested and I have normal levels.” And she's like, “Okay, I've just been thinking so much and I heard about this. And so I thought I would just check and make sure that you knew about it.” And I said, “Yeah.”
And I was pretty broken, it was after my seventh miscarriage. And she said, “Yeah.” And I was just pretty much ready to just give up at the most part. And she says, “Okay, well...” And I was like, “I got to go. I'm sitting in the car out in front of my house, I got to go into the boys.”
And just as I was getting ready to get out of the car after I hung up with her, my mom called. It was literally maybe two or three minutes apart from each other. And they don't talk, Penny and my mom. And my mom said, “Kelly, I was just with my friend Sherry last night,” who's been her friend since seventh grade. “And I was telling her about your story and she wondered if you had tried progesterone.” And she told me all about progesterone. And it was like chills my entire body.
Jenica: Oh wow.
Kelly: Because of course I have been praying like, “Please help me figure this out. Please let me hold on to these babies. I'll do anything.” And I said, “Mom, Penny just called me, have you talked to her?” And she said, “No, I haven't talked to anybody. But I just wanted to call and see. I said, “Mom, my levels are normal, that that's so nice of you. And this is so bizarre.”
And she says, “Well, one thing I know, I did a little research, is that progesterone is a natural thing in your body and it cannot hurt you to take it. So why don't you just make an appointment and go talk to your doctor?” So anyway, I said, “No, my levels are good. I appreciate it.” She said, “Just make an appointment with your doctor and talk to him about it.”
So I did, begrudgingly. And I went two days later to a new doctor. And I said, “Hey, I wanted to talk to you about progesterone.” She said, “Is there any chance you could be pregnant?” I said, “I don't think so, but we can test.” And I was three weeks pregnant.
And I got on progesterone that day. And I got my first rainbow baby Olive. And then I just thought, “Oh my gosh, I have found this miracle after seven miscarriages.”
And I got pregnant again with my Mila. And I was with a different doctor because my husband changed work. And this doctor was like, “Progesterone is like a placebo, it doesn't really work. It wasn't the thing that helped, it was just a fluke.” He's a high risk doctor in California and I was devastated.
And I came home crying from my doctor's appointment and my husband said, “Kelly, didn't you say it doesn't hurt to take?” And I said, “I did.” And he's like, “Fine, give me the number.” And he got on the phone with the doctor and he went out for five minutes. And he came back and he said, “You'll have a prescription tomorrow.” And I got on progesterone that day, and I got my Mila. And then, of course, I did the same thing with Etta.
So this is why I tell you that. I don't think progesterone is a cure all. But I also really believe that the universe, or God is really trying to help you out. And you've got to just try to be open to listening. And I did not want to go, and I had had my levels tested, and I was not short on progesterone. But what I found out is my body was flushing that hormone.
Every time I got pregnant, my body was flushing it. And so it showed that it tested normal, but it was leaving my body and I was severely deficient in it. And there was no way to test for that. Because by the time I had a baby and it just wasn't showing up low in progesterone.
Jenica: Oh wow, that's amazing.
Kelly: For those of you out there that have had multiple miscarriages, it is worth a try. I know there are literally dozens and dozens, if not hundreds of women at this point that have written to me and told me that it really helped them. There are also some that have said that it didn't. But just in case it could I wanted to throw it out there.
Jenica: Yeah, I love that. And I will say too, after my IVF cycles that's what they have me do. I think they have me inject it like in my muscle as well as do progesterone suppositories as well until you reach like a certain amount of weeks.
Kelly: Yes. And there's so many ways, I took mine by a pill. And the other thing is, I am violently like allergic to it. So I wasn't sick with my two boys, but as soon as I got on progesterone I couldn't even get out of bed. I threw up the entire 14 weeks that I took it. But, man, have I ever been so excited to throw up and be sick, because those of you that are sick, you know, because you're just like, “Hey, this might work. You'll do anything.”
Jenica: A mother’s love. I love that story too, because it's also really a testament to taking your health and your family growing, I don't even know how to properly say it, into your own hands. Because I love that Mark was like, “You know what? We know that this works for us, despite what your doctor thinks that he knows. So I love that he called and said this is what we want and really stood up for your family.” Because had he not done that, I mean, the story could have been completely different.
Kelly: It would have been, for sure. I mean, I love that you pointed that out. Because it is a highlight for sure for me because I just was sobbing. And I was so easily broken at that point because I was just holding on by a string.
And I was like, “Oh, it's a fraud.” And he was like, “No, we're not done fighting this. No, there's no reason not to try. There's no reason not to do it if it can't hurt us.” And he just did. He was like, “Nope, we're doing this.” And oh my goodness, I'm forever grateful to him.
Jenica: Yeah, I love that. And I think that that really is incredible because oftentimes, I think we maybe put a little bit too much trust in our doctors, when in reality we know what's best. And like you said, there's a reason for everything. Clearly God was telling you through the two people that you trust in your life, that this would be a really good option for you.
And your doctor is not going to get that personal revelation for you, but you will. And so you really need to hold true to those promptings I think, because again each of us know what's best for ourselves. We can't put that in anyone else's hands.
Kelly: I love that you pointed that out. And I want to like give it up for me know my mom and my girlfriend who were probably terrified after all the advice they knew I had been getting. Everyone was trying to tell me how to fix it, or what was I doing, or how could I do this, or is it my fault?
For them to be willing to quietly and discreetly and just with the best intentions open their mouth to me, I will forever be grateful for those phone calls. Because how many times have I had a feeling like, “Maybe I should say something.” And then I just don't want to offend. It’s like we just don't want to say the wrong thing.
And I'm so grateful that they were brave enough to just follow their heart. And I think when we really have a burning, we shouldn't really dole out advice all the time to people, because I don't think most people want it. But if there's a burning feeling and somebody that you feel like could possibly help them, I know I'll forever be grateful for that.
Jenica: I love that. Thank you for sharing that with us. Okay, so another question I want to ask you is, do you feel like there are certain things that you do in your daily life back then, or now, or both where you feel like it really puts you in a better headspace to be able to then move forward through anything that comes your way?
Kelly: Hmm, that's a really, really good question. I think that, you know, we've talked about a little bit. I think keeping a real grounded understanding of who I am and my worth is just very important for everything.
For me, it's my relationship with Jesus Christ. Honestly, I think it has empowered everything about my life, about my motherhood, about my marriage. And I think that's because I feel an honest understanding of an unconditional love. And that unconditional love allows me to love myself unconditionally.
I tell people all the time, like they say, “How do you not struggle with comparison or perfectionism?” And I know my mom was a big help in this and my dad. But I think I'm just not perfect, but I'm totally fine with that. Because I do see that I have certain strengths and I do know that I'm total crap at all these things.
But I don't expect anything different from anybody else. And I think that comes from first giving myself that opportunity to just not have to be great at everything. Because what good would that be? And you know everybody, we got to fill in each other's gaps.
I think it's a genuine love for myself and other people that lets me just see life in a little bit of a gray way. In the sense that, hey, everybody's just doing their best. There's no doubt that the people I'm passing by in the grocery store, or on the street, or my family members, my children are struggling with something that is real. And if they're a little short or come up a little short on something, I'm sure it's that because Heaven knows I've been there.
I think probably that would be the biggest thing that helps me in my daily life, is just having an understanding that not everything is meant to be perfect. Not everything even happens for a reason. But whatever happens, we can have a reason to just move through it because ultimately we want this life.
And I would say secondly, that I think I figured out a long time ago what I actually value in life, period. And I just stick to that when things get overwhelming. Or when things get heavy. Or when I'm struggling with something. Or I'm feeling in a funk, or I'm feeling discouraged I think about those things that I actually really value. That I would give everything else up for. And I slough everything away. And we drop this ball, and we miss this practice, and we do this and we just get back to that.
And I think a lot of us learned that in the pandemic, but simplifying everything and getting back to what you value, that's the only way we'll ever be happy, honestly. Is to live what we value. We got to figure it out for ourselves because we can't live other people's values. But those things I think guide my everyday life and I think they did back then when I was struggling with infertility.
Jenica: I love that, it's such a beautiful answer. And I love just the acceptance that comes of yourself when you do realize that sometimes you just suck.
Kelly: Yes, and it’s true.
Kelly: Yes, and that's okay because somebody else is going to suck tomorrow. And it’s okay and you're going to love them anyway. That’s okay.
Jenica: Yeah, it reminds me of this podcast episode. I actually think the title was like Sometimes I Suck. And Brooke Castillo talked about it and I absolutely loved it because it gives yourself– I think, for me, obviously, we want to be like the kindest, the best version of ourselves. But I sometimes think when you take that too far and expect yourself to be perfect that it literally cripples you.
And then you're not able to like go out because you're scared of maybe saying the wrong thing or offending someone or doing the wrong thing. I just expect myself now to do those things. Obviously, I try not to, but when I do I apologize or I forgive myself for not being perfect. And then I can move forward.
And I think that that's one of the biggest tools of the adversary, or Satan, is that he wants you to feel like you have to be perfect, and if you're not, then you're nothing. And I think that Jesus Christ and God think the exact opposite. I think they expect us to be human beings and make mistakes, which is the reason for the atonement of Jesus Christ. And I am so grateful for that.
And it's so interesting that I'm 34 years old, I feel like it's taken me till this long to really realize that. And it's a constant progression of learning in this life. And I'm so grateful that now I can take that knowledge with me moving forward because I truly know what it means for me.
And like you said, I love that because I know that about myself, I can then treat other people that same way and realize that when they're not perfect and when they don't show up exactly how I would want them to show up, or how I need them to show up, or how they would want to show up, then I'm able to forgive them and realize that they're genuinely doing their best and sometimes they suck and sometimes so do I.
Kelly: Absolutely. I think you said that so perfectly. And I agree with you wholeheartedly that that is a tool of the adversary that is used against us, and it’s fear. But I think the older you get, or the more experience you have, or the more people you meet, or the more you go through the more you realize that there is no right way. There really is no right way.
And everybody wants something different. Just like you were saying, some people need to talk about it, some people need to keep it quiet. Some people, you know, whatever it is. And all those things mesh up so if you are expecting to be perfect you can't make everybody happy ever. And all you can do is have the honest, humble intention and hope that people will take you at that.
And I think when you are putting that forward and you're like, “I'm just going to be brave and say it because I think this is the right thing to do.” Then when other people say something and it's totally offensive to you, especially talking about infertility or things that they might say about my son, I can look past it and I can say, “I can see your courage to say that to me. I can see where you're trying to head that.” In my head I'll say this, not to them. And I can just take it for face value. I can just let that roll off because I know you just don't know yet.
There are so many people, especially with infertility or disabilities or race or all sorts of things that are happening. You just don't know. You can try to learn and you can try to do your best and you can study up and you're going to get it wrong.
And if we can just hold space for each other because we're all going to be on the wrong side of some subject. We really are, we're going to have the best intentions to be kind and supportive and loving, and it's going to totally offend somebody. If you can give other people that grace, then you can give yourself and be like, “Oh, why did I say that?” But then you can apologize, like you said, and move forward. And I think that's just the best thing that we can do.
Jenica: Yeah, I agree. I also love that you mentioned another thing that really helps you is to keep your personal values close to your heart. And I love that because I think that's all that we can do. And I think when we try to do more than that we just end up feeling overwhelmed and we feel anxiety. And I love that too.
I really think that like for me, for example, my family, I'm going to disappoint a lot of people. Even just in my inbox there are honestly probably hundreds of people I haven't gotten back to. And it sometimes will keep me up at night. My husband is like, “Jenica,” he's like, “you're doing the best that you can and it is what it is.”
But I love that you mentioned that with your values. And I think that you've been given your beautiful family for a reason. And so when we can focus on that first and like help them and put our attention there, then we can really feel like we're succeeding.
Kelly: I love that. I think you said that perfectly. And if we figure out what we value, what we personally value. And there's a lot of people who want to tell you what's important to value or what is the right thing to concentrate on or to put in your world, but you're the only one that really knows that. And if we figure that out, we will never regret dropping other balls to support these ones, to catch these ones when they need to be.
And so I just feel like you can't fail. You can't fail if you do it that way. And I found, like with my Instagram and stuff all the sudden I'll be missing for three weeks. And I try not to get back on and say, “Oh, I have so much.” I will inevitably have people that write and say, “Never apologize for being with your family. We love that about you. And you just do you.”
There are so many women just like you and I and those listening here. We all want the best for each other, we really do. And I'm never going to be mad at you that you don't text me back because I trust and know that you're doing what's right for you and what's best for you.
And that's the support system that comes with going through hard things together. And recognizing that, “Man, I don't know where she is. I have no idea what she's dealing with, but I can respect it and I can support her. I can be the 80 and she can be the 20 right now. Because sometimes I know that I was the 20 and she had to be the 80.”
Jenica: I love that. Yeah, and I also love that that is one of the gifts of going through hard things, is that we're then able to show that empathy for other people. Because if we hadn't, we'd have no idea. Like we would just assume people's lives were really easy all the time if ours were. And then I feel like the depths of connection and relationships wouldn't be there.
So I do feel like going through hard things, such as infertility, really does foster that deep connection with other people. And the empathy for their shortcomings.
Kelly: I think you said that so well. And I just feel like it's that thing where you just never really know what somebody is going through, ever. And if you just treat everybody like they could be going through the worst, you'll never get it wrong. With so much grace and so much kindness, as much as you can muster. And of course, you're going to have bad days, you're going to suck. But for the most part if you can just keep that in your mind, you know what those days feel like.
I remember them. And before we started this podcast I just prayed. I prayed and I was like, “Help me remember those moments.” And I remember, that's what I remember is how my world just stopped. And it felt like all these people were still spinning, everything was still just going along. And I just remember thinking like, “Oh my gosh.”
And then it makes you realize every second of every day, there is someone whose world has stopped. And you're just moving, you're walking by them in grocery store, you're responding to them on Instagram. And their world has completely shut down.
Those of us that have been through this and have been warriors through something hard, such as infertility, we can definitely give some kindness back, because we know we wanted it, you know?
Jenica: Mm-hmm. I love that. That’s such a beautiful way to look at it. Okay, well, this has been absolutely amazing talking to you, as I know it would be. So is there anything else that you want to say to these women that are listening that are currently experiencing infertility, or anything else you'd like to add at all?
Kelly: I think I want to say first of all, thanks. Thank you too, for having the courage. It takes a lot of courage to do things like this and to put yourself out there and to build something for other people. Ultimately, I know you, we’re friends. I know your heart and I know you did this for everybody listening. I mean, it's amazing because you don't have to do it. And it's hard to do. It's not easy.
Jenica: Thank you, It really does enrich my life so much. But thank you for saying that. Because, yeah, I mean, it was definitely scary putting myself out there, I'm not going to lie. It is with new things, but it's worth it.
Kelly: And it’s a lot of work.
Kelly: Yes, and you have this amazing community of women. And I think I would say to them, thank you for tuning in and listening to people's stories, and putting yourself out there, and being brave, and being able to keep fighting through this, regardless of where you are in your journey. Because if I could, I would just reach through and give every single one of you a hug.
And it's like there's this fine line, I really don't like pity. And I think it's because I've been through so many things that I think people maybe pitied me for. Like, “Like I’m so sad for her.” I don't like that because I am strong.
And I want to say like, I know you are strong. I see you fighting. Just by listening to this podcast, I see you fighting. I see you showing up every morning. I see you keep putting one foot in front of each other. I see your loneliness. I see your heartbreak. And I promise you, you will get through this. There will be a time when you will look back and your life will be more beautiful than you could have imagined.
That's why you're going through something so hard right now. Because you couldn't have imagined the life that you're actually going to have. It looks different. It is not as easy as you thought it would be. But it will be worth it and you just keep fighting and lean into that surrender. Lean into your own understanding because you know best. You know best. You'll know when to keep going and you'll know when to not, if it ever comes to that. And you'll know the choices to make and I just want to say like I believe in you. I see you and you've got this.
Jenica: I love that. Thank you so much, Kelly. That was beautiful. Where can people find you if they want to, and they will, find you.
Kelly: You’re so cute. I have just an Instagram handle, it's kellyejensen. So K-E-L-L-Y-E, that’s for Elizabeth, Jensen. And that's it. And then I do a Studio 5 segment once a month on Brooke Walker’s show, which is awesome and I'm so grateful.
Yeah, I'm grateful to be on this podcast. I've had different podcasts but honestly, Jenica, this is the first one I have ever agreed to do about infertility. So I wanted it to be with you.
Jenica: Oh my goodness, thank you Kelly.
Kelly: And I just love you and I am really proud of you.
Jenica: Thank you, I love you too. I just can't get enough of you. So thank you so much for taking the time out of your precious day to share your beautiful words and thoughts. And I will link Kelly's information in the show notes so you guys can access her and you will definitely want to be following her.
She just always has as you can tell from the podcast today, she has such a beautiful way of connecting with people and explaining thoughts and feelings to a way that we can all relate and feel as well. So thank you so much, Kelly, I love you.
Kelly: You are so generous and kind. Thank you, Jenica.
Jenica: Okay, bye.
To celebrate the launch of the show I'm going to be giving away pajama and sock sets from The Slice of Sun that I have personally designed. They are the most buttery, soft, delightful things you'll ever put on your body. And I'm going to be giving away five bundles to five lucky listeners who subscribe, rate, and review the show on Apple Podcasts. It doesn't have to be a five star review, although I sure hope you love the show. I genuinely want your honest feedback so I can create an awesome show that provides tons of value to you who are experiencing infertility.
Visit thesliceofsun.com/podcastlaunch to learn more about the contest and how to enter and I'll be announcing the winners on the show in an upcoming episode.
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.