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Fearless Infertility with Jenica Parcell | Taking Care of Your Marriage in Infertility with Rachel Nielson

Our marriages are one of, if not the most important relationship in our lives, and going through infertility treatments and carrying so much pain can take a huge toll on it. So, how do we find a broader perspective when times are hard to navigate our marriages in a healthy way?

My guest this week is a mom, podcaster, and life-long journaler, Rachel Nielson. Her podcast, 3 in 30 Takeaways for Moms, is a resource where she shares 3 takeaways in 30 minutes to help make your family life a little better each week, and I’m so excited to have her on today to share her insights and best takeaways around how to show up to your marriage with love and grace in the midst of life’s trials.

Taking care of your marriage might feel like work you don’t want to take on, especially on top of experiencing infertility, but Rachel is sharing why it’s really the only thing that will lead to long-lasting feelings of stability and joy. If you’re struggling to find peace and understanding in your marriage right now, Rachel’s 3 takeaways today are going to help you find a path back to connection and love, to have an even stronger relationship on the other side.

 

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Click here to learn more about the contest and how to enter!

 

What You Will Discover:

  • What Rachel’s infertility experience was like.

  • How Rachel made it through adoption and infertility treatments at the same time.
  • Rachel’s 3 takeaways for taking care of your marriage during infertility.
  • How to navigate your spouse not having the same experience as you.
  • What Rachel wishes she did for herself through the treatment process.
  • Why figuring out what you need is so important.
  • How to support each other in your marriage.

              

            Listen to the Full Episode:

             

            Featured on the Show:

            Full Episode Transcript:

                    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 everyone and welcome back to Fearless Infertility. I am so excited to have with us today my friend Rachel. Rachel and I met at a conference or like a branding workshop actually, in 2017 and I’ve been following her ever since because I’ve been so impressed by and helped from her incredible podcast, 3 In 30.

                    She takes every episode and in 30 minutes she provides three takeaways for moms specifically and how to improve our parenting, and our lives, and our joy. And thank you so much for being here today Rachel.

                    Rachel: Thank you for having me on. I remember that workshop well where we met and I just immediately connected with you because I’m also in infertility and when you mentioned that was part of your story I knew that we would get along and here we are.

                    Jenica: Here we are. What is it? Four years later.

                    Rachel: Yes.

                    Jenica: Okay, cool. So Rachel, like I mentioned on her podcast she provides three takeaways for every episode, which I think is very helpful because you can walk away from her podcast with very tangible ways to improve your life and your parenting. And so that’s what she has done here today on this episode, is brought here three takeaways that she’s learned through infertility to share with us that will help us specifically with our marriages.

                    And so, Rachel, I’d love for you to start with briefly telling us about your infertility experience please.

                    Rachel: Yes. So I knew from the time I was a teenager that I would probably struggle to get pregnant. I had really, really irregular periods and doctors looked into it and said that I had PCOS and endometriosis.

                    And I remember a doctor telling me back then, at 17, he said, “I’m not saying you won’t be able to have children but it’s probably going to take some help. So just mentally prepare yourself for that.” And I’m grateful that I kind of had that heads up because I from that time on just knew and thought, “Okay, well adoption might be in the cards or infertility treatments.”

                    So when my husband and I decided we were ready to start our family we started infertility treatments and the adoption process at the same time. And we were like, “You know, whatever happens first is meant to be and we’re open to either.” And I love that we were so naively like just excited to be parents that we thought we could handle both of those things at the same time.

                    Jenica: Yes, it’s huge.

                    Rachel: They’re both extremely intense, oh my gosh, like what was I thinking?

                    Jenica: Yeah.

                    Rachel: So we went through all of the paperwork, all of the home studies, everything for adoption was happening at the same time as hormones and fertility treatments and all of that. And we had lots of contacts from expectant moms who were considering adoption, so then we’d get excited. And then we had eight, I think, women choose us and then change their minds.

                    Jenica: Oh wow.

                    Rachel: And the whole time I was doing inseminations and it was so hard. That was like the hardest two years of my life.

                    Jenica: Yeah, well just doing infertility treatments is hard on its own, and just doing adoption is hard on its own, and then you have both of them. I don’t even know how you made that through. Like you can make it through anything now girl.

                    Rachel: Yeah, I know. Yeah, I don’t know how we did either but somehow we made it through. And we adopted Noah first and we have an open adoption with his birth parents. And it’s been incredible and such a blessing. And then a few years later we did IVF to get my daughter, Sally.

                    So we have done both and, you know, people ask me which is harder and it’s like they’re both just really hard but they’re both totally worth it.

                    Jenica: Right, yeah, you got two beautiful children from that. So tell us where you’re at right now, are you done having children or are you going to try for another?

                    Rachel: I am going to try for another, I know you know that.

                    Jenica: Yes.

                    Rachel: She’s kind of leading me towards it because I talked to Jenica recently and told you that I’m kind of terrified because now I know how hard this can be. But I’ve been feeling for years that I would love to have another baby.

                    My youngest would be 8 by the time that I had another baby and in some ways I’m like, “Why would I go back to the baby years and open that can of worms?” But I just know that I want to and so I’m going to. I’m going to do IVF in the fall and hopefully we’ll have another little Nielsen, we’ll see.

                    Jenica: Yes, okay. Well we’ll be following along. I’m excited for you and scared for you. Yeah, like you said, you and I talked before where it’s like it’s almost like a blessing when you go in blindsided in the beginning because you don’t know what to expect. But then you have all of this fear built up sometimes when you do it again because you know, it’s like looking into the barrel of a gun where you’re like, “Oh man, it’s coming.”

                    But luckily, we also have tools to help us and then, you know, we’re older, we’re more mature, we have wisdom gained through our first experiences. And so we’re able to apply that and just really focus on keeping like a calm mind, which is the challenge.

                    Rachel: Yeah, and that’s what I keep telling myself. I hadn’t done any counseling at all before my first experience with going through infertility treatments. And now I’ve done a lot of counseling and I have a lot more tools. And so I just keep telling myself it’s going to be so much better this time around, we’ll see.

                    Jenica: I love it. I love it, that’s good. Okay, great. So specifically today I would love to focus on taking care of your marriage during infertility. Because that is such an important relationship obviously, in all of our lives. And it can be something that takes a toll during infertility treatments that maybe some of us expect and maybe some of us don’t expect. So I would love for you to share with us your first takeaway that you would give us for taking care of your marriage during infertility.

                    Rachel: Okay, so my first takeaway is do not expect your spouse to heal you. And that difficult for me when I was going through infertility because my husband and I are super close. We’ve always been really, really good friends and I just have always felt that he gets me.

                    And so to realize that he didn’t perfectly understand what I was going through and that he wasn’t saying and doing all the right things to heal me was difficult in infertility. And a lot of pressure for him.

                    Jenica: Yeah.

                    Rachel: And so on top of all the grief that you’re feeling then you also are adding resentment and all of these other things. I think I just had always assumed that we were going through the same loss in a way and so we would feel the same way about it.

                    And to realize that even though we’re going through the same trial we have completely different experiences with it, we have completely different feelings with it. As the female I’m so much more invested physically in this experience and that I need to get comfortable with the idea that my experience isn’t the same as his experience and that he’s not going to know the perfect things to make everything better for me.

                    Jenica: Yeah. I love that, I think that’s such a great suggestion. And when we really step back and look at it, I don’t think that we really would want our spouses to feel exactly how we do through it, you know, because they have a different perspective. So when we’re seeing certain things maybe in a way that’s not helping us make it to the next step or that’s not helping us want to continue to move forward, they can maybe see it in a different way that will help us at that point. And then vice versa.

                    So I think that if we were like the exact same human being through it, we would remain stuck a lot more.

                    Rachel: Yes, absolutely. And I remember one time in particular when we were going through adoption, and there’s just so much with adoption, the fingerprints, the references, the profile, the home study, appointments with the case worker, communicating with expectant moms, you know, who are interested in adopting with us.

                    And I said to Ryan one night, “Adoption is so all consuming.” I’m like, “Can you think of anything else except for adoption? “And he looked at me, and he was not trying to be mean or anything, but he looked at me and he said, “What is there to think about?”

                    Jenica: Stop.

                    Rachel: I was so mad. I was so mad, I was like, all the sudden it just dawned on me that like we’re having a completely different experience because I’m carrying so much more of this than him. And it doesn’t seem fair that I’m carrying so much more of this burden to add children to our family and he doesn’t get it.

                    I remember like stomping off and throwing a fit and being so mad. But looking back I just realize that, like you said, it's okay that they don't have the same experience. And I should have just told him what I was thinking about instead of expecting him to read my mind, I should have just said, take a deep breath and then said, “Okay, all these things.” And had a conversation about how he could help lighten my mental load instead of expecting that he would just know and be able to do those things, if that makes sense.

                    Jenica: Yeah. Oh yeah, it totally makes sense. I think that oftentimes we set ourselves up for disappointment when we expect people to just be able to, you know, read our brains. And it's like it seems so basic that we should know that our spouses can't read our mind. And yet sometimes we still expect that. And then we're upset when they can't and you're expecting the impossible. So of course, you're going to be disappointed.

                    Whereas if you just open up the communication doors and, you know, like you said, explain what you're experiencing, then he would know and he'd have a better understanding. But just expecting them to feel the way that you do as well as understand how to help you through it. Like he's just a human being, you know? He's not like going to read your mind and he's not going to be able to like have all the answers because you're both experiencing this thing that you've never experienced before.

                    Rachel: Yeah. And I think one of the big things, like popular music and movies and things is what gives us this expectation. I remember listening to the Adele song that came out shortly after Sally was born, Remedy, it's not one of her more famous ones. But the chorus is something like when the pain cuts you deep in the night, it keeps you from sleeping, I will be your remedy, I will be your remedy.

                    And I was like, “That's not realistic. That's not real.” Like in a romantic relationship, your partner, your spouse, like they can't be your remedy and heal you from pain. And yet we expect this in marriage and then that leads to the opposite of connection. It leads to a lot of anger and resentment and loneliness if you're expecting that.

                    Jenica: Yeah. Yeah totally, I love that perspective. And also, it makes me think of this time, it's not in relation to infertility but I feel like it's something that most of us can probably relate to. This happened probably like three months ago, and when my twins were born, I think that I told you about this before, but I started to really turn to emotional eating to make myself feel better when I was feeling down or stressed or overwhelmed.

                    And it took me a while to really realize I was doing it. And so I actually ended up starting to work with a health coach back in January of this year. Because I was realizing how much energy this problem was pulling, you know, from my life. And I thought to myself, if I could really harness that energy and put it towards something that's actually helping women with infertility, it would be a complete game changer with The Slice of Sun and with, you know, everything that I'm creating.

                    And so I was like, “This is very important to me, because I want to use my energy for helping women rather than feeling bad about myself and about not really processing my emotions effectively.” And going through this coaching program has helped me immensely.

                    But I remember opening up with Tyler about it and I was telling him kind of the things that I thought when I looked in the mirror and it just blew him away. And I said like, “Every single time I look in the mirror, you know, I look at my thighs. And I'm like, okay, I just got to eat a little bit better. And then when I do, I’ll look so much better in my swimsuit in the summer.” And he just looked at me and he was like, “Oh, like I've never thought about that, looking in the mirror.”

                    And it blew me away too because I realized from his reaction, how uncommon it was to think how I was thinking or maybe uncommon for men. I mean, unfortunately, I think that a lot of women can relate to this. But it made me really think how much, I knew it was a problem but it made me really realize how big of a problem it was where he like couldn't even relate to that. When he looks in the mirror, he doesn't think those types of things about his body.

                    And it helped me to see like in a more healthy way that that wasn't healthy. You know, and I was just draining so much energy into that. And I think that we can relate that to infertility as well, when we can open up to our spouses about the way we're seeing certain things. And when they see it completely opposite, we can really maybe have a broader perspective on maybe healthier ways to think about the situation.

                    Rachel: Yeah. And we can have better connection with them when we are just seeking to know them better, to learn from them, but not for them to heal us. You know what I’m saying? But then that begs the question of okay, if you're sharing this experience with your partner, and they're one of the only people that’s sharing it with you in that intimate of a way and they can't heal you, then what can? You know?

                    And that leads to my second takeaway, which is know yourself and what you need, instead of expecting your spouse to heal you. And I think that for me that looked like seeking comfort through a lot of different methods. Like, for me, for sure prayer and faith was huge for me. But then also, I wish that I would have gone to counseling, I didn't, but I wish that I would have had counseling at that time.

                    I wish that I would have been more comfortable asking for what I needed. And one of my favorite things that a friend of mine, Sarah Dean, has taught me is she says ask for support, not permission. And I love that phrase because figuring out what you need and then going to the people in your life that can help you get that and saying, “I really need this, how can we make this happen?” Is different from saying, “Can I?”

                    And so when I look back, I'm like I wish that I would have prioritized time with my sisters. I wish that I would have said no more often to extra responsibilities at church that were really draining me, that in other times of my life might have been fine.

                    But at that time when I was going through such a difficult personal trial to really know myself and what I need instead of expecting my spouse to heal me but continuing to take on all this stuff that was draining me to say, “I'm going to take care of my needs. And I am going to ask for support, not permission to get those needs met, and do the things that make me feel better.”

                    Writing is super cathartic for me. That's another thing that I used, did a lot of journaling. I know you wrote letters, you said you wrote letters to your future baby and I did the same thing. Gratitude journaling, things like that. So just I guess getting creative, like all the different ways that you can support yourself and not expecting other people to be able to read your mind and support you, if that makes sense.

                    Jenica: Yeah, absolutely makes sense. I love it. And I think you bring across a really great point where I think oftentimes with any trial, including infertility, we look externally for ways to heal us. And you're never going to find an external thing that's going to heal you. It always comes from inside of you and your thoughts.

                    And I love realizing that because you really take your power back. Like the external circumstances don't need to change for you to feel better. And I think for me, a way to easily be able to figure out what thought is causing me a lot of pain is to first of all, you kind of realize what you're doing, like the actions you're taking in your life. Like if you are yelling at your husband, or if you're, you know, doing things that are self-sabotaging to you, that's obviously an indicator that your thoughts aren't in a helpful place.

                    And so, for me, I can kind of like step back and give myself space. And like you said, writing I think is very cathartic because you allow yourself that like quiet space where I think that we're so rushed most of the time. And so for me, when I give myself that space, I can ask myself, how am I feeling? Like why am I acting this way? And it leads me to how I'm feeling. And then I can say why? Like what's causing me to feel this way? And then I can come back to the thought that's causing me a lot of pain.

                    And I love it because, you know, we've talked about in my podcast episode with you and I talk about all the time here, where it's not like we're ever saying that feeling in an undesired way is a bad thing. I think that that's unhealthy to think that way. Because we're human beings and we are supposed to experience a 50/50 life, half sad half happy. And I think that's where the full human experience lies.

                    But I also think it's important to realize where the feelings are coming from because we're in control of those things. And so when we realize that, then when we want to change how we feel we can then change our thoughts about the circumstance of infertility specifically.

                    And then, you know, asking yourself all these questions and giving yourself the space you're able to, like you said, know what you need. Because if you don't give yourself that space to question and realize what you need at the time, no one else is going to do it for you. Like you said, you know, no one can read your mind and so we need to be doing that for ourselves.

                    Rachel: Oh, yeah. And I think honestly, a lot of times we would prefer that someone else was able to do that work for us because that work is hard. So maybe that is why we're putting it on other people. Maybe that's why we're mad at our partner for not being able to read our mind, because we don't even know our own mind.

                    And we’re I like, “I don't even know what I need. So can someone else just magically figure it out for me and heal me?” When really the harder work is sitting down and processing and journaling and going through your thoughts, like you said, and identifying, “Okay, there's some thoughts that I need to rewrite here. And then, you know, there's some support that I need to seek.”

                    It's hard work, but it's the only thing that can actually lead to long lasting, you know, feelings of stability and joy. Even in the hardest experiences like infertility.

                    Jenica: Yes, that's such a good point. I love that. And you're right, it is hard and I don't want to do it all the time. It's like no, I'm like a toddler, you know, I'm like, “No, I don't. I want someone to just fix it.” But it's just so true, what you said, it's the only way that leads to longer lasting results. Because yeah, we can get little boosts here and there, that's why I turned to emotional eating, I don't want to deal with all this, like all the overwhelm of being a twin mom to like twin babies. But, you know, so I would turn to candy.

                    And yeah, it made me feel really great for about three minute and after that the problems were still there. And I wasn't dealing with properly processing my emotions. So when we allow ourselves to really like, realize that it's important work to do and it really will benefit us, then we just got to sit down and do it.

                    Rachel: Yeah. Oh, for sure. Do you want me to go into my third takeaway?

                    Jenica: Yeah, I would love that.

                    Rachel: Okay. So I do think that there are some things that we can do within our marriage to support each other, but it's not going to be mind reading. And that's what my third takeaway is based around, consciously serve your spouse in every way possible.

                    I think that that is really important in infertility, without the expectation that you are going to heal them or you are going to take away the pain of this experience. But just like with any trial in your life, when you know that someone is going through something that is really difficult, like just doing anything to serve them is better than doing nothing, you know.

                    And this takeaway comes from another experience with Ryan. I told that one about how he said, “What is there to think about?” Which probably makes him sound insensitive. But he was a champ during all this.

                    And there was one night in particular that I think of where we had a mom who had chosen us to adopt her baby. And then we got the news that she had actually decided on a different couple. And I was just absolutely heartbroken and devastated and crying myself to sleep.

                    And I just remember that Ryan like, laid with me and stroked my hair and then after I was asleep, he got up and he cleaned the entire house. And so when I woke up in the morning everything was like spick and span. And he'd scrubbed and everything and I felt so loved and appreciated and seen. Even though that service had nothing to do with what I was going through. It was just a way of him saying like, “I really care. And I'm really sorry. And I want to make this time easier and lighter for you.”

                    And I think that we can do that both ways when we're going through infertility. And I think like I alluded to, as the woman, I do believe we are carrying a way bigger part of this trial, for sure we are. Like in every way, physically and in every way.

                    But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't be consciously serving our partner or our spouse through this because that always leads to connection when you are consciously choosing to love and serve someone. And so, you know, getting familiar with the love languages and kind of thinking, “Okay, how would my partner like to be loved?” And trying to do all that we can to strengthen our relationship during that trial.

                    I already kind of alluded to like saying no to outside things for a while. And one of the reasons why could be because you might think like, “I need to pour extra time into my marriage right now. And so I'm going to say no to other things and we're really going to prioritize date night, or we're really going to prioritize serving each other so that we can stay connected through this really difficult thing that we're going through together.” That, I think, can bring a lot of strength when you're going through infertility.

                    Jenica: Yeah, I love that. There's a few thoughts I had when you were saying this. One, I love that you said that serving them in a way that you're not trying to save them. Because I think that like, obviously, we love our spouse and we want the best for our people. But I also think there's a lot to be said about serving people and also knowing that they're extremely capable of handling whatever circumstances come their way.

                    And I think that, for me, that's how I think my husband really supported me a lot. And I wasn't really aware of it at the time. But I think that he wasn't overly worried about me, and subtly that helped me to know that I was capable of experiencing infertility. And same with my mom. Like, I think that that must be something that I need in my life, because I feel like God has given me people to support me in that way specifically.

                    I talked about, I think it was episode seven, a specific experience in high school or in middle school, the dreaded middle school that no one wants to go back to. But a horrible circumstance where I basically, it was like a movie. Like one of those movies where like the whole lunchroom standing up and staring at you. And it's just, it was not good.

                    But my mom picked me up from school and she was like kind of annoyed that she was picking me up from school. And I was telling her about this whole circumstance and she wasn't feeling bad for me. She was basically just like, “Well, like that's life.” You know, and I was bugged at the time.

                    But looking back on it I'm so grateful that I have her and that I have my husband because in subtle ways they're not overly worried so I know that I can handle it. Which gives me the, you know, the self confidence that I need that I sometimes forget that I have, that I am capable.

                    Rachel: Yeah, interesting. Yeah, and I think so often the people who love us most can see the things in us that we can't necessarily see in ourselves. They can see the strength. They can see the kind of resilience and they know we're going to be okay. Even when we're like, “I don't know if I'm going to be okay.”

                    But sometimes I think we want, like I want anyway, my husband to like acknowledge just how bad it feels. Like I am not a big crier, and I wish that I were because I feel like if I could just burst into tears, maybe he would take me more seriously. And I'm like, “I'm really having a hard time right now. But I feel like...” You know?

                    But you're right that like I think that he knows how strong I am. Not that he's not empathetic because he is, but sometimes it's like I go into victim mode because I want someone else to be like, “Oh, you poor thing.” And instead I need to pull that strength from within myself and not go into victim mode, if that makes sense.

                    Jenica: Yeah, I totally know what you're talking about. I think that being like a victim feels, well it’s the easy way out, right? Well you think it’s the easy way out, but then in reality you're not really helping yourself at all. And then it puts you in this powerless sense but it feels so gratifying momentarily because you just want someone to coddle you for a minute, because you're just like, “This is really hard. I don't know if I can handle it.” And then it's those people that really love you that remind you that you're not a victim.

                    Rachel: Yes, yeah. I think a little coddling is good. I think my favorite people are the people who say, “This is so hard. You're right.” You know, and they say, “You are doing a really hard thing and I'm so sorry. And I love you. And I know you can do this.”

                    Jenica: Yes, I love that. Yeah, in the same sentence you can kind of touch on both. I also love that you said serving others I think is so important, I think for anybody. And we've all been taught this our entire lives. But I think partially the reason why is because I think we can only think about ourselves for so long without it becoming just indulgent.

                    And I think it is so important to really sit with ourselves and realize the support that we need. But then I also think it's important to look outside of ourselves. And so when we're serving our spouse, we're not focused on ourself. And I think it just, it's so interesting, because I think we end up getting more than we give a lot of the times.

                    And I kind of think it's like one of those mysteries from God that doesn't make sense. But when we're giving, we're actually receiving and we're able to have such better perspectives on our own experience and realize, you know, maybe certain thoughts that help us like, okay, it could be worse, or, you know, I'm going to help this person or my spouse because they are hurting too. And it helps us to not be so self-centered. Which in turn helps us make it through faster and better I think.

                    Rachel: Oh, yeah, I think it feels really good. So, I feel like with service sometimes we kind of get the message that it's what we're supposed to do. And that can turn into something really draining. If we're always just doing it because it's what we're supposed to do and we're giving, giving, giving, pouring, pouring, pouring without ever like taking any time to fill up.

                    But I think when you kind of shift that a little bit to not it's what I'm supposed to do, but it's what I want to do because it feels good. It's coming from a genuine place of like, I don't know if this makes sense, but it isn't just this draining thing, it's actually a filling thing that I'm doing, this service. Then it doesn't become like a martyr thing or an overly self-sacrificial thing, it becomes something really healing.

                    And you don't have to serve everyone all the time. But when you can consciously think like, “Okay, right now the person that I want to serve the most is, first of all myself, I want to take care of myself. But then my partner because we're going through this really hard thing together. And so I really want to pour into that. And I'm not going to use all of my service energy for this church thing, or for this other thing. I can put a little there, but I'm going to devote a lot of it to this relationship that is the most important to me right now. Because I want to, not because I should or I have to to be a good person.”

                    Jenica: Yeah. I love that. So with Ryan, how did he know, like had you told him what your love languages were before he cleaned the house? Because I am with you there. I tell Tyler all the time my love language is service. If he cleans the house, that's like the best thing that he can do for me.

                    I don't need gifts, I don't need, I mean I obviously I like gifts, I like words of affirmation. But for me, how I truly feel loved is when he serves me by honestly cleaning the house most of the time. So did you tell him that before? And did you clearly communicate that? Or was that something that you figured out through this process?

                    Rachel: No, actually, my love language is not acts of service. Mine is words of affirmation, but his is acts of service. So that's the way that he easily like shows his love. I actually have an entire podcast episode on what to do if your spouse doesn't speak your love language or won't speak your love language. And it has been a little bit frustrating. Like I've told him over and over and over like I really need words, I really need words. And it just doesn't fit him.

                    And so I've had to learn how to see his love. Like to see that when he did this that's his way of showing me love because I've learned his love language. And I mean, of course I love a clean house. But I mean, I've had to learn that my husband is a man of few words, and he's not going to be like writing me this long epistle about how strong I am. Which I would love if you wrote me this long letter about how proud he is of me and the way that I'm dealing with everything.

                    He's not going to do that, but to accept and appreciate the way he shows me love and to look for it, and what you look for you'll find, you know? And so that's something that I've tried to do through my whole marriage when I realized that I married a man of very few words, even though I love words.

                    Jenica: That's so smart. And that's the thing that I love about you, is that you're really - Because if you didn’t, you'd be the one that was suffering, right? So it's like why choose to like think to yourself, “Oh, my husband doesn't love me because he's not writing me these beautiful love letters.”

                    Like no, first of all, that's not true. And second of all, if you thought that you would just be the one suffering. And so I love that you've seen the truth, and that that's just not how his brain works. And you've been able to see how he shows his love for you, which is good for your marriage.

                    Rachel: Yes, totally. And I do sometimes feel resentful. I’m like, this wouldn't be that hard for him to do, you know? But then I start to spiral and nothing good comes from that. So choosing to love the way that he shows love, I think is important.

                    Jenica: Yeah, I love that. And you're not trying to control him or control his actions, because in reality, I mean, that's not ever going to get us anywhere. I wish it did, you know? If it did I would be really good at it, I can assure you that. But it doesn't. Oh, my goodness.

                    Okay, well, is there anything else that you would like to leave with us today?

                    Rachel: I mean, I do think even with the three takeaways, like a bonus takeaway is to just survive. Because this is hard, it's hard on a marriage. You're going to have some blow ups, you're going to have some misunderstandings, but just hang in there. And one of my favorite things that I've learned from John Gottman, who's like the foremost relationship researcher in the world, is that nothing builds relationships more than repair.

                    So like coming back and just apologizing and saying, “I totally lost it. And I'm sorry.” You know, and just sticking it out and getting through this time can really, really strengthen your marriage. So the three takeaways are sort of like actions you can take. But then the fourth takeaway is just keep holding on because it's really hard.

                    But, you know, there are hopefully blessings on the other side that will be so worth it. I hesitate to say like, you know, a baby at the end of it. Because I know for some people that may not happen. But hopefully the lessons will be totally worth whatever pain you went through in your marriage. So just keep holding on. So those are my final thoughts.

                    Jenica: I love that, thank you. And then to reiterate the three takeaways, so the first one was do not expect your spouse to heal you. The second was know yourself and what you need. And then the third is consciously serve your spouse in every way possible. I love those.

                    Okay, you guys are going to be missing out if you don't go subscribe to Rachel's podcast. It's so good. I love that she keeps it very brief. They’re 30 minutes. And her podcast is called 3 In 30 Takeaways for Moms. You can find her podcast on any podcast streaming service, including Apple Podcasts, which is where I’ve subscribed to.

                    And she's just incredible. I just really love her. And thank you so much for coming on the show today, Rachel. Is there anything else that you want to share, like in terms of where they can find you? Or is that the best place?

                    Rachel: Well my podcast is for sure the best place. I did want to mention that I have a resource that I think can help people get through any difficult time called My Flecks of Gold Journal.

                    Jenica: Yes, I'm glad you're mentioning that.

                    Rachel: Yeah. And it's just a place for you to record one golden moment each day that you have, even through your hardest most difficult times. If you can find one golden moment to treasure and write it down.

                    When you look for it, the more you look for it the more you'll see it. And this has been a really powerful gratitude practice for me when I've gone through hard things. And now I created this beautiful hard bound journal to keep your moments in. And you can get 10% off with the code Jenica Parcell.

                    Jenica: Yay, I’m so excited. It’s amazing.

                    Rachel: So go check out the journal.

                    Jenica: Thank you. Yeah, so Rachel just sent me a journal. It really is truly beautiful, it's hard bound, it is very high quality. And I just leave it on my nightstand. And like she said, I think that our brains are really intelligent, right? And so I think the more you do something, the more that your brain will realize that that's how you want to live your life and that's how you want your brain to think. And so our brains automate things and so when we are constantly looking for that one fleck of gold in your day, it'll be easier to see because your brain knows that that's what you want to fill your brain with.

                    And so I love this journal, because you can leave it on your nightstand. It's very short and simple to fill out every day. And I cannot think of a better gift to give my children in the future. It like honestly makes me emotional thinking about it because I can only imagine how I would feel as a child if my mother gave me a journal that she had filled of the beautiful flecks of gold that she had seen every day in my childhood. So it's incredible.

                    Can you imagine if your mom gave you that?

                    Rachel: I mean I’m a words of affirmation person. So like that's the greatest gift anyone could ever give me.

                    Jenica: Honestly, yeah, it’s beautiful, it’s so easy.

                    Rachel: And I feel like it's the gift that keeps on giving because like you said, it gives you more perspective and joy in the moment. So it's a gift to yourself. And then it's a gift to your children because you can pass it on to them.

                    Jenica: Yeah, it's incredible. It would be the perfect gift for anyone's birthdays, for Mother's Day, I mean, honestly, anything.

                    So like she said, you can get 10% off using my name Jenica Parcell, J-E-N-I-C-A-P-A-R-C-E-L-L. And okay, Rachel, thank you so much for coming on today. I appreciate it.

                    Rachel: Thank you.

                    Jenica: Talk to you soon.

                    Rachel: Yeah, thank you so much for having me on.

                    Jenica: Thank you.

                    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/podcast launch 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.

                     

                     

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