Welcome back to the podcast this week, and today, I’m about to break your brain just a little bit. My goal today is to help you change how you’re feeling about infertility, and I know this seems far fetched, but I invite you to stay with me here and see how these concepts can guide you in shifting your experience.
Whatever your current thoughts might be about your infertility experience, I’m asking you just one question: Are these thoughts serving you today? What you may not realize right now is that the thoughts you think have an impact on the way you’re living your life. And while we don’t necessarily want to feel happy or joyful about being infertile, I want to show you how you always have a choice in how you think and feel, and that the thoughts you choose about infertility don’t have to be true.
Join me on the podcast this week to discover how your thoughts drive your feelings and actions, and how it is possible for you to change how you’re feeling about infertility. We all have the option to think about it in a way that gives us what we want in life, or we can choose to let it damage our experience and keep us stuck, and friends, I always want the latter for you.
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.
Hey y'all, welcome back to the Fearless Infertility podcast. I'm so glad that you're here. Again, this is Jenica Parcell, and you'll hear me say y'all sometimes because it just feels so right, you know? I grew up in Texas and I am disappointed in myself that I didn't work harder on really attaining and fine tuning a southern accent. But we're going to have to stick with y'all for now. It just rolls off the tongue so nicely.
I am so glad that you're here today. Today we're going to be talking about how to change how you're feeling about infertility. And at the end of the episode, you'll know how to easily do that. And I think it's going to be something that might make you think really hard. But it's easier than you think.
And stay with me here because it is a little bit different than probably a lot of things that you've heard. And I want you to know that you're exactly where you need to be right now. And whatever you're thinking, there's nothing wrong with that. And I want you to know that I think you are perfectly whole exactly how you are. What I want to do is teach you when you're feeling stuck, how to get out of that feeling of feeling stuck and getting the results that you want in your life. And we're going to start on that today.
So let's get started. In this episode I am going to start with our circumstances are always neutral. And we know that's true if at least one other person on the planet of Earth doesn't agree with what our thoughts are about it.
For example, it's a great day when it's sunny outside. I think that most people would agree with that. I think the majority of people love the sun, they love to be outside. But you know for a fact that there's at least one human being on the planet of Earth that doesn't like the sunshine. I think that that person, when it's sunny outside, would think something like, “Oh, it's too bright. I don't like being out here. I love it when it's cloudy and rainy, because I feel cozy and wrapped up in my blankets inside. And I don't love the sun.”
So that's how we know for certain that a circumstance is neutral, is if every single human being doesn't agree on it. It's not a fact, it can't be proven in court. So for example, the sentence, it's amazing when it's sunny outside, it's a great day when it's sunny outside. That is a thought that you're having about the sun being outside. So the neutral circumstance would be the sun is shining outside. That could be proven in court. We could look up videos, we could take the pictures. We could prove in court that on a specific day it was sunny outside, that is a fact.
Now how you feel about that is what thought you choose to put in your mind. And you might also have different thoughts about the same circumstance depending on the day. Like you're allowed to have different thoughts about it. But it doesn't change the fact that for example, right now it's sunny outside and can be proven in court. So the thoughts that we allow in our head are what we get to choose.
So let's talk about this in relation to infertility. Now, don't confuse this, this does not mean that I want you to think positively about everything in relation to infertility. It simply means that the circumstance is neutral. And it's true because not every single person would think the same way about infertility. And I'll explain why this is important for you because it's going to help you.
So, I know that infertility is neutral because there are people in the world that don't like children. There are people in the world that don't want to be a mother. There are people in the world that would be glad to be infertile because it would be one less stress in their mind. Because they don't like children and they don't want to get pregnant. So if these people had infertility, they would be really excited about it. They'd be like, “Cool, I don't like kids anyway. I don't want to worry about getting pregnant. This is awesome.”
So that's how we know it's neutral. However, I am fully aware that everyone, I would say in this community, does not agree with that and does not think that way about the circumstance of infertility. I know that I don't. I don't want to look at infertility like it's a good thing. I know that your brain wants to fight with me on this one and I want you to know that I'm not trying to change the way you think about it. And the way you're thinking about it is exactly how you should be thinking about it.
And like I said, I personally don't want it to be a good thing. I like children. I want to have kids in my family. I can, however, think about my infertility circumstance in a way that gives me what I want in my infertility experience and in my life. Or I can think about it in a way that is damaging to myself and keeps me stuck.
So let me give you some examples from women in my infertility community. I asked you guys on The Slice of Sun's Instagram stories, as well as the Fertility Family by The Slice of Sun private Facebook group, I asked you guys what thoughts were causing you the most pain. And there were lots of thoughts that you gave me. And I want to focus on a couple of those that I think are pretty common.
So one of those is, “I have no control.” Okay, so infertility is our circumstance, and I have no control is the thought that we're having about it. So when I think that thought I feel frustrated. And when I'm feeling frustrated, I might do things like push my emotions down. I might distract myself with eating or doing other things that I don't necessarily need to be doing or that's not the best for me. I might ignore my husband because I don't have the capacity to talk any longer or feel any more emotions. So that's one of the ways that thinking that thought will affect how I'm living my life. Okay?
Another one that you gave me is, “Heavenly Father is blessing other people and not me.” So when I'm thinking that thought I feel resentful. When I'm thinking that thought and because I'm feeling resentful, I’ll stop praying, I’ll stop seeking for ways to feel good, I might waste my time by watching too much TV, that doesn't make me feel good. And so what I'm trying to say here is that regardless if a thought that you have is true, I want you to think about how it's affecting you. Because the only person that is negatively affected by it is you, and then obviously possibly the people around you.
But regardless if a thought is true, I want you to think about how it's affecting you and how you want to feel in your life. So I'm not saying that you're going to want to feel positive 100% of the time. I just want you to be fully aware that you're in control of how the thoughts that you're choosing in your mind are making you feel. And sometimes you don't want to feel good, right? Like it's a 50/50 life in my opinion, where you're going to feel negative 50% of the time and you're going to feel positive 50% of the time, on average, right?
And I don't always want to feel good. Like sometimes I want to feel sad about my infertility. And so I’ll think those thoughts that will make me feel sad. But it's important to remember for myself that it's me that's putting that thought in my head. And so it will allow me to take back the power when I want to change how I feel.
So let's kind of turn that around. So, on the example of I have no control, I want to switch that to something that I believe that's true for me, but something that's maybe a little bit more productive. So, I can control what I do with my time today. And that makes me feel capable when I think that thought. And when I'm feeling capable, I will maybe do things that are productive for me, like read a book I've been wanting to read, calling a friend to get her feedback on the fertility clinic that she went to, and do things that are productive for me.
And again, like I said, that thought is still true, I don't necessarily think I have control over everything. That thought wouldn't be true. But a thought that rings true to me is that I can control what I do with my time today. And that gives me a better result in my life.
The opposite thought of, or a different thought that's true for me on the second example from earlier is, “I am so thankful for the blessings I see in my life.” Now, that's true for me, because I do see some blessings in my life. And so when I think that thought I feel grateful. I might go for a walk, I might read an uplifting book for me, I might bake cookies for my neighbor to thank them for something that they did for me. And so that thought provides a better experience for me in my life. And again, that's true for me.
And so switching from a thought that is giving you actions in your life that you don't like or that you see are harming you can be switched for a thought that is also true, but gives you actions that you can see give you better results in your life.
There are a lot of other thoughts that you gave me that were true for you. So for example, “My body is somehow failing to do what it is supposed to do. My body is failing me. It's my fault we can't get pregnant. I am not worthy to have children. I'm too old. I'm doing my infertility to myself because I can't seem to eat perfectly.” Okay, so now all of these thoughts can be true for you. Right? And it's fine if you want to continue to think that, but is that thought serving you today?
Now these are real thoughts if you're thinking them and there is nothing wrong with you for thinking them. You are completely welcome to continue thinking these thoughts, but I just want you to be fully aware if they're helping you, and if they aren't then ask yourself when you're thinking these thoughts, “What is the result that's occurring in your life?”
And another secret that I want to share with you is that the thoughts that you choose in infertility don't have to be true. You are the only person who has to believe them. And that's such an interesting thing that I think we do in our lives, is we fight so hard for our limitations. And for what? Why are we fighting so hard for these limiting thoughts? What is the end goal there?
Something that really, really helped me a lot that I shared in episode one, when I shared our story was the thought that helped me significantly, that I always knew was my safe thought, that would turn me to a place of peace and of acceptance to where I am. So that thought was, “Everyone has trials because we are humans, and this is part of the human experience. If it wasn't this trial it would be something else.”
And I truly do believe this is true. And I literally don't care if anyone wants to argue with me about it because it's true for me. And I accept that others can believe what's true for them. The only thing that I cared about when I thought this thought is what it did for me. And it put me in a place of acceptance and gratitude of where I was at. And it helped me so that I never felt jealous of other people who were pregnant.
And again, there's nothing wrong with you if you're feeling jealous of somebody who's pregnant. But is it serving you? Is that thought serving you? And if it is and you want to feel like that, then that's totally fine and I'm not judging that. And it doesn't really matter what other people think about it. But for me that really made my infertility experience a lot easier and helped me to not judge other people. And helped me to have like a really open space for other people's trials. And helped me be able to hold space for them and their experience in life and feel a lot of love towards them.
Where I see a lot of disconnect is when people think that their unhelpful thoughts are causing them to create positive action in their lives. So they may be taking positive action in their lives, but it's not coming from one of those negative thoughts. And that's where a lot of people I've seen when I'm doing client coaching is they have this thought like, for example, “I am failing myself and my husband.” That will be a thought and they feel anxious when they feel like that.
And then when I ask them what they're doing when they're feeling anxious, they list off things like, “Well, I do things to calm myself down, and I do breathing exercises, and I exercise.” And they may be doing those things absolutely. But those actions are not coming from the thought, “I'm failing myself and my husband.” Those actions are coming from thoughts that are helpful, like, “I am capable of feeling better.” And so they feel determined and then they do those actions, right?
And so I think it's very important to be able to step back and really observe what actions are coming from what thoughts. And thoughts will determine how you're feeling and it's important to see where those positive actions are coming from in your life. Because when you realize that, you can then have your safe thought, or one of your safe thoughts, to turn to that when you want to feel better, and when you when you want to do actions that are serving you and your life and your goals, that you know what thoughts are causing those actions.
And that's a really confusing thing for a lot of people, I think. And I think, you know, for me, for many of my clients, that has been a common occurrence, where they're just not realizing where those actions are coming from.
When we think our circumstances should be different, then that's when we struggle. And it's so interesting too, because it's like we're trying to go against physics, right? Like, “Maybe if I think really, really hard I shouldn't be here, then I'll magically not be here.” And that's a thought that I think we turn to that feels like it should be very helpful. Like, “I shouldn't be here. I shouldn't be in this circumstance. I shouldn't be experiencing infertility. This isn't my life. This is not what I wanted.”
Those thoughts feel like they should be getting us somewhere. They feel like our friends, right? Because we think that if we think those things, then we are aware of what good things could be available to us. But if we stop and analyze that, it's really just being very resistant to what actually is.
And this is a problem that I had when I was experiencing infertility and I genuinely, in my heart of hearts, thought that I was doing myself a favor. That if I just pretended that it wasn't reality and that I wasn't actually going through infertility, that I could just ignore it. I could pretend it wasn't there. And then as soon as we did have kids, then I would just share the success story at the end. And don't worry, guys, I wasn't okay, but I am now.
And like truly and sincerely in my heart, I believed that that was a really great way to handle it. And looking back on it, what I can see was actually happening was I was ignoring reality and so I wasn't taking care of myself. I was putting way too much on my plate. I was running myself into the ground, and not giving myself and my body the rest and the grace that it needed to be able to feel not sick, and not completely exhausted. And yes, exhaustion and feeling sick can be things that come with infertility, but I was basically just making it worse by ignoring the fact that it was even there.
And I think that oftentimes, we truly think we're doing ourselves a favor when we say thoughts like, “I shouldn't be here. This is a roadblock in my life. I don't think that this is part of my plans.” Because it feels true, right? Like, yeah, it wasn't part of my plans. And yeah, I shouldn't be here. But like, who's to say that obstacles that come up in your life aren't for our good and for our benefit?
And by resisting reality, there is so much pain that is caused from that, that we cause ourselves. Because no matter how many times I think the thought, “I shouldn't be here.” I'm here, I'm still here. And no matter how many times I think the thought, “This is not how my plans were that I laid out for my life.” This still is my life, I'm still here.
And so when you kind of step back and observe what these thoughts are doing for your life, then you can see that it's not helping you. And I think that's where the magic lies, is because genuinely, like, for ourselves we love ourselves. You know, most of the time. There are times when we're really hard on ourselves. But I think most of the time we think that we're doing things to make our lives better and improve our lives, and feel good in general.
And we are here. We're here, and resisting that reality is going to continue to cause us pain versus accepting where we're at and then thinking thoughts that will allow us to take positive action in our lives. There are so many thoughts that are true. But regardless of the fact if they're true or not, I think the main question we need to ask ourselves is, are they serving us?
Some of the additional thoughts that you guys gave me are, “My body is somehow failing to do what it is supposed to do.” Maybe that's true. Maybe your body should be having kids and that's what you think it should be doing. But is that thought serving you? How is that thought causing you to look at your body and view your body?
Another one is, “My body is failing me.” Same thing. Maybe it is failing you. Maybe you do think that your body should be having kids. And that's what you expected. And that's what you wanted. And you think that that's a good desire. But why would you think the thought my body is failing me if it's causing you to feel so much anger against your body? How is that serving you? How is that getting you to a place that you want to be?
Hating your body is never going to get you a baby. That thought is not going to help you be fully present in the process. Now, you may end up having a baby. You may end up getting the result that you want. But is hating your body through the whole thing going to get you there any faster? No. Now, yeah, you might get there in the same amount of time, right? But why would you hate your body the whole way through it?
Another thought is, “It's my fault we can't get pregnant.” Well so, yeah, what if it is your fault? What if it is your fault? What if your body is not doing something that you think your body should be doing? How is that thought helping you get the results that you want in your life? Now you still may be doing all of the things to get pregnant, you still may be doing the tests, going to the doctor's, but thinking that thought is not getting you the life that you want. It's not getting you a life filled with love.
Another thought is, “I am not worthy to have children.” Here's the thing you guys, all of these thoughts can be true if you want them to be true, but you get to decide if they're true or not. You get to decide. And that's the magical thing is that it doesn't matter if any other person on the planet doesn't agree with that thought. If it's a thought that serves you and makes you feel good, that's the thought that I want you to choose for yourself. And thinking a thought that isn't a good thing for you will always result in results in your life that you don't love, that doesn't feel good to you.
So your takeaway for today is to be aware of what actions you're taking when thinking about a thought. So when you find yourself doing something that doesn't feel helpful to you just sit in that for a minute. What are you feeling? And what thought caused you to feel that way? You can look for sentences in your mind like should and shouldn't. For me, those are big indicators of thoughts that aren't helpful because they add shame and our spirits don't speak that language of shame. So those two, should and shouldn't, are always big indicators for me on what thoughts that I'm thinking or if they're helpful or not.
But today's takeaway is just to sit in your actions and kind of try to trace them back to a thought and whether it's good or bad. Like you might be doing something that is feeling very helpful to you. And you can look back and say, “Okay, what thought was I thinking that led me to this?” Or vice versa, if you're feeling absolutely horrible, you can go back to that thought. And remember that you just need to choose a thought that's true for you.
I love you guys. I hope you have a great rest of your day. And I will talk with you soon.
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/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.