In the last couple of episodes, I’ve shared with you that we are currently trying to grow our family. It took three IUIs and three rounds of IVF to get our miracle twins, so it took a long time to get to this point where we wanted to try for baby number three. But I’ve learned a lot since then, and I’m sharing these lessons today in the hopes that they help you be unstoppable on your own journey.
If you often find yourself waking up with anxiety, anger, or even depression, wanting to hide in bed until you feel better, this episode is for you. The infertility experience is by no means easy, but with the tools I’ve picked up along the way, I’m approaching IVF differently this time, and I hope what I’ve discovered will help you move forward with confidence too.
Listen in this week as I share a routine that I use any time I find myself in an unhealthy mindset. Contrary to what so many of us believe, feeling negative emotions is not bad and you are not doing yourself any favors by ignoring them, so I hope my tips today guide you in pinpointing and prioritizing exactly what you need right now to be unstoppable.
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 episode 20, How to be unstoppable.
I am so excited to share with you in this episode how I'm approaching IVF differently this time based on what I've learned and how it is so much better. Stay tuned.
What's up y'all? Welcome back to another episode of Fearless Infertility. I am so incredibly grateful that you've decided to spend some time with me today. And I absolutely love this work because it has impacted me so incredibly much that I just feel like I'm like bursting at the seams to share it with you.
And so I love that you've taken the time to spend with me today and also to really spend on yourself in learning these tools that are simple to apply. They can genuinely help you understand your mind better through infertility, and honestly any trial. That's the thing that’s amazing about it, is I've used these tools to help me with genuinely any experience that I'm having in my life, and I just feel so much more at peace with myself.
And honestly, I just kind of like stutter a little bit when I'm trying to explain how excited I get about it, because I'm like, “This is it you guys! These are the secrets to life.” And so anyway, I'm so glad that you are here with me today.
First, I wanted to start off by sharing a couple of reviews from Apple podcasts. Leaving reviews is something that I request of you because it's so incredibly important when people who have no idea who I am, and who don't have these tools in their lives are searching for help. And then there's a ton of women out there with infertility, who feel completely alone, who have no idea how many people are also in this same community. And it helps them to be able to more easily find the podcast when you leave reviews.
So I like to encourage that by offering a chance to win a pair of pajamas and socks. And I'll choose a person who leaves a review every week. So make sure to listen back if you've reviewed the podcast to see if you won.
And please, if you haven't yet, I would love for you to go on Apple podcasts, scroll all the way down on your app and leave a rating and review. And I’ll choose a winner. And I appreciate you guys so much.
So the winner for this week is Whit Welch. Her title of her review was so encouraging and informative. She says, “I've been dealing with infertility after having a few miscarriages and I had started listening to a totally off subject recommended podcast and thought to look up infertility podcasts and here I am.
I read reviews and of course this one had great reviews. So I dove in and I got hooked. I made it to Episode 17, Anxiety and Pregnancy After Infertility with Emily Jackson, and I related so much with this episode. I have kept so much bottled up about my miscarriages and it's so refreshing to hear other stories. And it had me encouraged to break the stigmatism I had placed on me about miscarriages.”
So thank you so much for leaving that review that makes me so happy because something that I genuinely believe in is that we were not put here on this earth to go through it alone. I think that it's so important to reach out to others. And when we're struggling, there's nothing wrong with us.
And I think that when we think that, it puts us in isolation. And when we realize there's nothing wrong with us, and this is how it was supposed to be, and humans have really amazing days and humans have really, really crappy days too, we can reach out to each other for that support that we need.
So, Whit, if you could email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your address and size, we'll get you your PJs and socks.
The second review I wanted to read today was by username 26_sambam. The title of the review is the support family I was looking for. She says, “Timing couldn't be better at finding this podcast. My husband and I have the most wonderful group of family and friends, but they all have been blessed with “easy, successful pregnancies.” As much as they try, they don't truly understand the struggle emotionally and physically this infertility journey has been on us. It is such a blessing to find a support group like this to be able to share and learn and feel a belonging and understanding with the emotional rollercoaster we are all going through.”
I love this review because I could not agree more. I think it's so nice to have others to just help you feel normal and help you process those crazy big emotions that come with something as important as growing your family.
If you guys haven't joined our private Facebook group yet, I would suggest that, it's called Fertility Family by The Slice of Sun. And if you go there, it's private, which is amazing. So you can communicate in a safe space with one another, ask questions, get one another’s support, give your support. It's a really great place so please join that if you haven't yet.
On today's episode I wanted to share with you an update on what's been going on with our IVF for baby number three. And I'm going to be talking about what I do when I feel stuck in anxiety and also what I'm doing differently this time around based on the model that I teach in my coaching, since I hadn't yet learned it when I did this the first time, when we did three IUIs and three rounds of IVF to get our miracle twins.
And it took me a long time to get to that point where we wanted to try again and grow our family again. And honestly, for the longest time, twins is really difficult. And I didn't know if we would want to. And we just feel like it's the right step in maybe adding one more baby to our family. And it took me a long time to get to that point.
And if you listen to Episode 14, you can see how I navigated getting to this point where I feel confident in moving forward because I felt a ton of anxiety, kind of PTSD about our first experience. Because going through all the infertility treatments, and then also the twin pregnancy was really hard. I got preeclampsia and I delivered two months early. And it was just a really hard experience.
And so I would get a ton of anxiety and really kind of want to run and cry whenever I started to talk about it. And it confused me for a little while until I discovered what thoughts were causing that. And then I feel peaceful now at this point moving forward. So listen to Episode 14, if you're interested in finding out how I got to that point.
The other day I woke up feeling a ton of anxiety and feeling depressed. And to give you an update on where we're at currently with IVF, we did, or I did I guess, the polyp removal surgery a few weeks ago to get the polyps out of my uterus. And I had actually done this the first time when we were trying to conceive our twins. We didn't know it would be twins but we know that now.
And I did the surgery then and I actually remember it being pretty hard. But I kind of like went into this a little bit in denial because I'm like, “No, we'll be fine. It'll be good.” And I feel like I kind of went in a little bit naive this time because I just was a little nervous. Maybe that's how I dealt with it, probably not the best way.
But it ended up being pretty rough and I ended up taking birth control for a week and a half prior because they want to regulate your cycle. And that's the way they're able to do that, by giving you these artificial hormones to help regulate your cycle.
And I do not do well on birth control. It's like an actual nightmare. I felt like I was crawling out of my skin. And so my IVF coordinator is so kind I called her and I was like, “Yeah, this isn't working.” I was at the point where I'm like, “What have I done? I think I want to quit.” I was just like, “Oh, I’m just crawling out of my skin. My hormones were going crazy.”
I felt absolutely awful. And she was so kind and I ended up stopping the birth control a couple of days early. She was like, “Hey, can you do it for one more night?” And I was like, “No, absolutely not, I cannot.” So she’s just really lucky to get me as one of her patients. But it is what it is and she was so kind about it.
And so I stopped taking the birth control. I was supposed to start my period after stopping my birth control and I didn't. Which was fine honestly, because I just had the polyp removal surgery and we got all of the uterine lining out basically. Which is what happens when you have a period, it sheds the lining. And so Dr. Folk was able to get all of that lining out.
So we went in for our- When I say we I don't know why I keep saying we, I did. I did. I went in on the following Friday for my baseline ultrasound and they found an inch sized cyst on my right ovary. And it's not that big of a deal unless cysts produce or unless there's like an active cyst, or whatever they call it that's producing hormones.
And so I got my blood work done and my estrogen was high. And they said, “Okay, don't start your shots tonight, like you're supposed to come back in tomorrow morning for another ultrasound. We're going to check your hormone levels again and if your estrogen is high, that means that the cyst is producing hormones. Which will interfere with the shots that we’ll give you in the cycle and we'll need to wait.”
And so I went in the following morning, I actually had my kids come with me because Tyler was exercising and they got to see me get my shot, or excuse me not my shot, they got to see me get my blood drawn. And I'm like, “Look how strong mommy is. I'm incredible.”
And it’s honestly been fun involving them in this because it's good for them to see real life. And good for them to see what it takes for me to bring another baby into our family.
So I got the call that evening that my estrogen was still high and so at this point we're taking a break and waiting until my next cycle. Which actually happens to be right now while I'm recording this podcast. They told me to call on the first day of my next cycle and we could do another baseline ultrasound and see if the cyst has gone away.
Because cysts come and go by hormone changes and they're pretty common. And a cyst is essentially, and honestly you guys, this is not like a medical podcast. If I say things wrong you’ve got to forgive me because I'm not a doctor. And I am more about like coaching your mind and helping you deal with the emotional aspect of it, but I'm not a doctor. So please don't rely on any medical advice that I give you, or like terminology.
But essentially, I think what a cyst is is when a follicle, which is where the eggs come from, or you can see when they're dropping, it doesn't like go away, it just filled with fluid. And so anyway, there's an inch sized cyst in there.
And long story short, I'm supposed to call today. I don't think I'm going to do it yet, I kind of feel like I need a little bit more of a break. So I might wait till the next period or the period after that. Because I truly believe and something that I learned based on my last experience with trying to conceive was that I just went back to back to back doing three IUI, two rounds of IVF. And then we did take like a four month break and started the third round of IVF.
But for me, I think that really caused some health issues. Because I really wasn't allowing myself to rest to give myself a break between cycles and between all of those hormone changes. And so this time around I'm approaching it differently. And I truly believe in giving your body time and rest. And only you know what that looks like for you.
For me right now, I'm just not quite ready to move forward. I think that the polyp removal surgery and being on that birth control really kind of took me for a spin, if you will. And I kind of need a little bit more time to rest after that. And so I'll keep you updated. If you follow along on Instagram, thesliceofsun.infertility, I update a lot there. And then on thesliceofsun.com there is a blog for baby number three that I keep updated there as well with letters to our future child.
So the other day I woke up feeling extremely anxious. Like I didn't want to get out of bed, I just wanted to lay there, I was feeling depressed. I know it had a lot to do with the hormones that were completely imbalanced in my body. And I did what I normally do to help myself through it.
And there's a few things that I've decided when I'm in a healthy mindset that I know will help me continue to progress forward when I find myself in an unhealthy mindset. And there's a few things that I do even when I'm not feeling well, because I know that they'll make me feel at least a little bit better.
And so I want to walk you through that routine, and only you know what's best for you. But maybe this will give you an idea if there's certain things that you haven't tried yet. Or maybe just an idea of jotting down for yourself what those things are that help put you in a positive or healthy mindset to continue progressing through on those days where you feel extremely anxious and depressed.
So first of all, every Monday, I take a full hour, and I calendar everything that I need to get done or want to get done that week that's on my to-do list. And so what I'll do throughout the week when something comes up that I want to get done, I will add it to a list on my phone.
And then on Mondays, what I do is I physically look at that list. Copy the things on that note and transfer them onto specific times and days of the week when I want to accomplish those things. And then I delete them off of my to do list. And then I stick to that list.
And I'm going to tell you that you're not going to want to do that, right? Our brains want the path of least resistance. And we want to do things that are easy for us. But what I've decided is that throughout the week, when something comes up on my calendar I trust the person, which was my past self, that put that on my calendar. And there's a reason why I did that.
And I wanted to accomplish whatever that was on my calendar. And I know I'll feel good once I get that done. Because it gets me closer to my goals and accomplishing the things that I want to do in this life and be the person that I want to be. And so when something comes up on my calendar, a lot of times I won't want to do it, but I do it anyway. And I trust myself. And this is how I get a lot done. And this is how I am able to be who I want to be.
So I'll do that every Monday. Now, when I get up every day, I also do not look at my phone. Don't look at your phone. I think that when we look at our phones we check social media, we check our emails.
And what this is, to me, is literally gambling on what you're going to see. And it could be something where you think thoughts that make you feel awful. Or it could be something that helps you to feel incredible. But the problem is, is you have no idea what that's going to be and you give up that agency and you give up that choice to be able to choose what it is you see first thing in the morning.
It's a complete gamble. I don't like to gamble with my time or my day and so I don't start my day like that. I get out of my bed. I use the restroom and then I go straight to my office.
I used to read in bed in the morning, but I found that my sleepy brain wanted to stay asleep since it knows that that's where I sleep. And so I found that physically moving from my bed into my office and sitting in my chair where I get stuff done is a better mindset and it's like my brain wakes up a little bit more easily.
The next thing that I do is I read my scriptures and I pray and I connect with God, first thing. And when I do this, I get divine inspiration and direction on what he wants me to do in my life, and how to get through my problems. And sometimes it's a specific problem I want help with. And I'm asking for divine guidance in that. And sometimes I just read and pray for what he wants me to know.
And it's hard to do, because my first inclination is to just get stuff done. I feel like for me I'm a go, go, go type of person. And so for me slowing down is the challenge. And I have found, however, that when I do this, I'm able to move forward with so much more ease, and so much more peace and better direction if I take time to connect with my Heavenly Father.
And it makes sense, because I'm his daughter, he created me. And I believe that he has a divine role for each of us in this life. And so of course he would be the first person and the best person to ask for guidance in that. And I have found that he eases my burdens and makes my mission feel so much lighter when I come to him first, because he's there to help me.
He's not going to force himself to help and say, “No, no, I got this.” He's standing there waiting for me to come to him and ask for help. And he's always more than willing to give it. And I find that when I put him first, everything else flows so much more easily.
So I would recommend doing something for you that allows you to slow down and really reflect on what's important in your life. After that, I will typically talk with my assistant over Voxer, which is like this walkie talkie app where we communicate. And I'll get a little bit of work done. And then I'll have breakfast.
And I really listen to my body. And I know at this point what typically feels best for me in terms of what I'm choosing to eat. And there are certain foods that I've noticed give me brain fog. And I'm aware of which foods to fuel my body with. And everyone's a little bit different, our bodies need different things. And so I would challenge you to just be aware of what things make you feel your very best.
After I eat, I get dressed in my workout clothes, I make my bed, which kind of feels monumental sometimes. It's like a lot of effort, but you really think about just a few minutes and then your beds made. And for some reason, that just makes a big, big difference in how I feel during the day. I walk in there. And I'm like, you know what may have not gotten much else done, but my bed sure looks great. And it just feels like a more pulled together life when I make my bed.
If my kids have school, I'll take them to school and then exercise at the studio I work out at. Or Tyler and I can switch off working out if he's home and they're not in school. Then I follow my calendar.
And like I said before, I don't want to do it a lot of the time. But I trust myself when I made those commitments because I know that that is something that's important to me. And those are my priorities. And so I follow up with myself, I commit to myself, and I trust myself when I've made that commitment. And I'm always glad that I did.
And we have the capabilities to override our brains and say, “I know you want the path of least resistance, brain. I appreciate you wanting to save me energy. But I know what will help me to get closer to who I want to be and the goals I want to accomplish.”
So all this leads me to morning last week when I woke up with a ton of anxiety, I didn't want to get out of bed, I felt very depressed. And I just felt like I just want to hide under my covers, I just want to just stay here, it's safe here. And I know that doing those things in my morning routine will make my day a little easier, even if they are hard to do.
So again, I trusted myself, I know that those things always made me feel a little better. And so after that, I decided not to hide from my feelings. And when I went through IVF before when I had the twins, I thought that feeling all of the emotions were bad. I thought that feeling things like anxiety, depression, anger were “bad” And I thought that feeling happiness, joy, peace were “good.”
And I genuinely thought I was doing myself a favor by ignoring the feelings that I don't love. But instead of them just going away, they were still there. They were just shoved behind a closed door. And I wasn't processing them in a healthy way.
Instead of processing them in a healthy way, which I think is feeling them, allowing yourself to be a human without judgment and without thinking there's something wrong with you, I did things instead like overeat candy when my kids would go to bed. For example, when they were first born and it was really hard to temporarily escape.
And it worked for like five minutes. I felt great for about five minutes. But those emotions were still there and I wasn't dealing with them properly. And I genuinely thought that there was something wrong with me because I was feeling the normal human emotions of being a human being.
And since then, through this coaching, I've learned that life is 50:50. And that's normal, and you are doing it right. There's nothing that's gone wrong when you're feeling pain, when you're feeling sadness. You are simply doing exactly what you should be doing, which is being a human being.
And this, I mean, I can't even describe to you how much freedom this has given me. And all of the judgment, all of the shame, all of the guilt is washed away. Because I genuinely believe that nothing's gone wrong.
And I can sit in the sadness, and I can sit in the anxiety, and I can sit in the depression, and just live it. And say, “Yeah, this is part of being a human. Life is 50:50, good and bad. And there is genuinely evidence of this everywhere now that I see that truth.”
We can see that in opposition in all things. There is light and dark, there's joy and pain, wet and dry, hot and cold. You can literally find it everywhere surrounding us. We are human beings; we are the most sophisticated beings in existence made after our creator. So don't you think that all of these things would be patterned after He created us too?
We add a lot of pain to our lives when we don't believe this because whenever we feel an emotion that isn't desirable or comfortable for us, we add another thought on top of that, that we shouldn't be feeling that way. Those two words should and shouldn't, are really, really great indicators for me of resisting circumstance. Or resisting the reality or the facts that are in front of me.
And when we try to run from our feelings it just compounds them. And I think that we don't see that. Because if we saw that we wouldn't do it. But I think we genuinely think we're doing ourselves a favor when we find ourselves in a particular circumstance, for example, infertility, and we think to ourselves, we shouldn't be here. This shouldn't be happening to me; this wasn't how my life was supposed to go. I should be experiencing happiness and peace but I'm not, so something's gone terribly wrong.
And so we're experiencing that pain and that fear and that anxiety anyway. And then we compound it with these thoughts like, I should or I shouldn't be here. And so that's been a really, really good indicator for me that I'm trying to run from reality, are those two words.
So I would look out for those words in your brain and the internal dialogue that's going on with yourself. And I think you'll be able to see what's happening more clearly when you look out for those words.
So we compound our suffering. So instead of just feeling sad because we are experiencing infertility, or whatever is happening with us, or whatever emotion our thoughts are causing us. We also feel anxious, or sad, or angry because we think we shouldn't be experiencing that. So it in fact makes it much, much worse.
And this leads to things like overeating, over drinking, or doing any other thing to avoid emotion to hide from it. If we let ourselves feel the emotion, and sit in it, and not run from it, then we would be able to process it so much more easily.
Instead of having thoughts like, “There is something wrong with me, because I'm experiencing this.” We can think, “I'm a human. I'm experiencing the 50:50 of life as I should. And this is the 50% of life today that I don't necessarily enjoy. But I should be here because I am here. This is my experience today.”
We also need to be aware that we are capable of experiencing all of the human emotions. And that is the worst thing that you are running from when you think about it. It's just a feeling that you're running from. Whether that's anger, heartache, sadness, if you remind yourself that you are capable of experiencing all of those emotions, and you're not going to give up and you'll keep going anyway, then that is the greatest freedom of all.
Then you can move forward in experiencing them because you know that you are capable of handling them. They become so much less scary when we realize that's all they are, they’re feelings. Whether that's being scared, angry, anxious, you're just running from a feeling. And you're perfectly capable of experiencing that.
And once you realize that there is just this beautiful sense of peace and self-acceptance that comes from that. There's this feeling of wholeness that comes from this thought. You're not trying to run from yourself. You're sitting in peace with yourself and accepting that you are a human being living a full human experience.
And maybe not in the moment but oftentimes for me, later I can see the gift in feeling that way because the other side, for example, joy, happiness means so much more. And we are so much more grateful for it because we know the opposite.
So what I did the other day was I did my morning routine. I breathed deeply as I took my kids to school. I literally was like just breathing in and out deeply because it was hard. My anxiety felt crippling to me, but I went through my morning routine anyway.
After I dropped them off from school, I don't know how I found this, you guys. It's actually kind of a little creepy when you think about it, because I'm like, “Was Apple reading my mind?” But somehow, I genuinely can't remember to this point, maybe it was like in the discovery section.
But I found this heartbreak playlist from Apple Music on the subscription that I am on. And I turned it up in my car, and I let myself feel the anxiety and the sadness. I'm like, “These people are feeling heartbreak. These people are feeling sadness. And they're angry, and they're feeling depressed. So am I, I'm just going to listen to this music. Turn it up and listen to it.”
And honestly, I sat in it. I didn't push it away. I didn't say I shouldn't be feeling this way. What I told myself is that I should be feeling anxiety and feeling depressed that day, because I was. And I was experiencing a 50:50 human experience.
And I feel like I was able to move through it so much better because I wasn't hiding from it. And in reality, I was able to process it much more quickly than if I would have been like, “No, it's fine. Everything's fine. I'm happy, I should be happy all the time.” Which would have compounded the sadness because I would have done things like run from it and do things that make me temporarily feel better like a band aid, like overeat or whatever.
Instead of doing all that I just experienced it. And I just moved through and I didn't hide from it. And another example was, after my polyp removal surgery I was sad for a few days I felt awful physically. And for me, when I'm feeling awful physically it's a lot harder for me to manage my emotions when you're down, and when I'm not able to move through my normal routine that I like to.
And I'm so grateful for that experience. Because as I mentioned earlier, I think that there's a gift in each “negative” experience or uncomfortable experience. It’s that you're able to really, truly feel the depth of joy because you knew the opposite.
If we didn't know pain, then not pain, whatever the opposite of pain is for you, wouldn't feel so good. Everything would be neutral. It wouldn't even feel that amazing to feel “happy” because you wouldn't really know what happiness was if you hadn't experienced the opposite of it.
And so I went on a bike ride, I think it was four days after my surgery. And I just had to hold back the tears because I was so incredibly grateful for my body that could move. And had I not had that polyp removal surgery experience where I was in pain, I was laying down, I couldn't go on a bike ride, I wouldn't really appreciate it as much.
Yeah, I'm sure I would like it. I always like being outside and exercising. And I think the endorphins help my body and my brain so immensely. But I was just in this deep sense of pure gratitude for the fact that my incredible body could go through something like that, start to heal, and that I could move my body.
And so there's always such an incredible gift that maybe you won't see right in the moment. In the in the moment of sadness I don't think your goal should be, or at least for me my goal is not, to see the gift in it right away. But I know after the fact it's so much easier to see with clear eyes what the gift was in those trying experiences.
And in this life, I've decided that I trust that I'm doing it right, this whole human experience thing. And how have I done that? Because I decided. It's a simple decision. We add a lot of drama to our lives when we think that things need to be harder than they are, or changing needs to be harder than it is, and you have to go through all of this. You don't.
You can literally decide today, right now that you want to think about things differently. And it doesn't need to be hard. You can literally just decide. These are all just thoughts that I'm choosing that are giving me this whole different experience of loving myself through the whole infertility experience.
I am launching a coaching program on September 1st, where we will work together and apply these life changing tools. So sign up for my newsletter in the show notes or on thesliceofsun.com to be the first to know when the sign up page goes up. And I am so excited to get to work through these tools with you and apply them in your lives and completely blow your own mind with what you're capable of.
I love you guys, I will see you here next week.
To celebrate the launch of the show. I'm going to be giving away a 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.