The first time we experienced infertility, I tried my hardest to keep it in the background of my life, not letting anyone else in, believing I could get through it by gritting my teeth and that it would just be a small chapter of my life over and done with. But I couldn’t be more wrong.
We have so many decisions to make in infertility, and it not only takes a toll on your physical body but your mental and emotional wellbeing too. It felt like I was trying to carry a whole bus on my own, and what I didn’t realize at the time was the immense power of allowing people in to be my support system.
Tune in this week as I share with you the biggest lessons I’ve learned since my first experience of infertility, and how my Fearless Infertility coaching membership can be the pillar of support you need on your journey. Having support includes letting people in, but also creating the space to support yourself in the best way possible during an extremely trying life experience, and I’m showing you how we do this work inside the program.
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.
Welcome back to Fearless Infertility Episode 27, Do I Need Support During Infertility? Now, before you move forward, I also wanted to make sure you knew about my free Morning Mindset Magic checklist.
It is a download I will send right to your inbox and it has the exact things that I do every single morning to set myself up for success, to provide my mind space to move forward in accomplishing everything that I want to in my life. And it all starts with my morning routine. Head to the show notes to get the link for the download to that.
I am so glad that you are here today with me because you are exhibiting one of my favorite life principles that I feel like is true for every single human. And that is the fact that you cannot fill other people's cups when your cup is completely empty.
I genuinely believe in putting yourself first when it comes to taking care of your mental health and your physical health, so that you can then in turn be the human being that you want to be in this world. Which I know all of us do, we want to give, we want to love, we want to serve. But if you don't think about your own, wellbeing first, that's just not going to happen because you don't have anything to give.
So I love that you're listening here today, whether that be that you're multitasking, which is what I personally like to do when I'm listening to podcasts. Doing laundry, or doing dishes, or in the car, or on a run. I don't run. I don't run, that was a total lie. I meant to say on a bike ride because I don't run. I do lots of other exercises, but I'm not a runner. I'm super happy for you if your knees can run, but mine just don't. Just not my thing, you know?
But anyway, I'm super glad that you're here today. Or if you're sitting down, I don't think that you need to multitask. Just so you know, if you are sitting with like a cup of hot cocoa listening to this, I commend you. And the rest of us are jealous. So congratulations on carving out that space for yourself.
But I truly believe that these podcast episodes will be filled to the brim with quick action items for you to take to help ease the anxiety in your life. Ease that lonely feeling to help you feel more at peace and really start creating a life that you absolutely love right now. So props to you for being here, my friend.
Today I want to start with a podcast review on Apple Podcasts. And FYI, if you're new around here, I love to give away a pair of my socks and pajamas that I sell on thesliceofsun.com to a reviewer each week on Apple Podcasts.
And the reason why this is so important to me is because the more reviews we get, the easier this podcast is for those who have absolutely no idea who I am or the tools that I'm able to share with them. It helps them to be able to more easily find this podcast. So I really appreciate those of you who have left reviews and please continue to do so.
I will choose a reviewer each week to send a pair of PJs and socks to. They're the most buttery soft, delightful things on the planet, I cannot wait to get these to you.
So the reviewer this week, the subject line was, “Exactly what God knew I needed.” She said, “I found this podcast in an extremely dark moment of my infertility journey. I was feeling hopeless, stuck, and alone, and was crying out for God to send me someone, anyone who could understand what I was going through. Later that day, I stumbled upon this podcast, which has been a beautiful ray of light during a dark journey.
Jenica and her guests are so encouraging and remind me each week that God is perfect in his timing and that while it is okay to be sad and to sit in those feelings sometimes, he has also provided me with the tools to get through the heartache and find joy in the waiting. I'm so thankful for the gift that is this podcast.”
Oh my goodness, I started getting emotional as I was reading this because I have personally experienced this in my own life as well in those moments of darkness where I'm just desperate for help. And God shows up in sometimes the most unlikely places. So thank you for sharing that. I love that.
Please send me your address and your size to [email protected] and we will get out your PJs and your socks. And for those of you who have not left a review yet on Apple Podcasts, please do so and I will choose a new winner each week.
And your review leads perfectly into today's podcast topic, which is do you need support during infertility? And first, before I kind of get started I want to share a tool that I have used over the last year and a half or so that has really helped me to remember those moments of clarity when I'm feeling doubt.
I have a note on my phone that syncs to my computer, and it's just a note on my phone that's titled when in doubt. And I think that there are those moments in life for all of us where we have clarity about a decision about moving forward.
I think a lot of us during infertility, I mean, we have a lot of decisions to make. We will we do IVF? Will we do IUI? Which doctor will we see? Where will I get support? I mean, there's a million different decisions to make.
And when we have those rare moments of clarity in knowing what we should do, that's when I really like to stop for a moment, thank God for that moment of clarity and write it down in my note entitled when in doubt. And then when I am in doubt I will go back to that note, when in doubt, and I'll read those moments of clarity and remind myself of those moments of assurance where I knew what I was doing was right.
There have been several moments in this process in creating this coaching program that I'll talk about here for you. It launches on September 1st, called Fearless Infertility. And there have been baby steps along the process for me in creating this. And there's been so many moments of doubt.
Which I feel so sure right now, so it's beautiful to look back to see where I was at. But I'll tell you about a specific instance where I was like – It was probably about a year and a half ago. This podcast recording is August of 2021 and so this was probably early 2020, maybe even late 2019.
And I had just started to do the product design for my pajamas and my socks. And I had this massive moment of doubt where I was like, “What am I doing? Who am I to do this?” And I think that the adversary, when we are doing what God wants us to do, really does a great job of finding out those weak links and just chiseling his way in there.
And I had this moment, it was kind of late at night, where I was like, “What am I doing? I'm not qualified for this. I mean, who am I to help these women with infertility?” And I remember just sobbing. I was just breaking down and I was sobbing. And I was so defeated and I just felt so unsure.
And I just cried out to God and I said, “Please help me to know that this is what I'm supposed to be doing because it feels very wrong right now. I feel horrible and I just don't know. I want it to be true, but it's really hard and I don't know if I'm qualified.”
And it was so interesting, after I calmed down and said that prayer, I never check my email at night ever, ever. But randomly, it was 11 o'clock at night, which I also don't recommend being awake at 11 o'clock at night, by the way.
One of my secrets to happiness is getting enough sleep for my brain. But I was randomly awake, I think I was going on a trip or something the next day. So I remember I was packing and my laptop was sitting next to me. And I opened up my laptop. And I never check my email at night, literally ever.
But I opened up my email and there was an email from someone I had never heard from before, I'd never met, never spoken with. And the words in her email were so encouraging and essentially told me to not give up and to continue to do what I was doing because it meant so much to her and so many women that were experiencing infertility.
And it makes me emotional, even right now as I speak, because it was such a moment of truth and clarity that was directly a message from God for me. And so that's an example. Those are the types of things that I put in my when in doubt note. And not all of them are that profound. There are times where I'm studying my scriptures or I'm listening to a book and something just really pops out for me as truth.
And I'll write those moments down in there so that when I am doubting and when those moments of certainty do come up, as they always will, I will have a place to go to look for that assurance and that clarity and that peace. And remind myself that I can continue to move forward, even though it's scary, even though I don't feel brave. But I can move forward through the uncertainty because I have my sights set on this beautiful calling that I feel God has for me in my life.
And I know that every single one of you has that as well. I know with growing your families it can be extremely challenging when it's just not happening the way that you would want it to happen. And the doubt can come up, and so I want each of you to find ways to support yourselves throughout this process.
And that's what this podcast episode will be about today and finding those ways. And I want to also explain to you where I was that the first time during my infertility experience and what I've learned since then that is helping me so immensely this time right now where I am doing IVF for the fourth time, trying for baby number three.
So to give you a picture of where I was at, I started asliceofstyle.com in 2013. And it was, and still is but kind of tapering off a little bit, good deals on clothes, lifestyle, and at the time I wasn't working with brands, but it ended up developing this really wonderful business that I loved in working with brands and sharing about our family.
And in 2013 to 2014 there was a full year where I didn't really tell anybody what we were experiencing in the background. And what we were experiencing in the background of our lives was we had been trying to conceive a baby for a year and it just wasn't happening. And so we decided to see a fertility specialist.
And I thought at the time that it would all work out. I would share the success story when I was done and through and had my baby. And we could just go ahead and move on. Kind of like a little small chapter of my life, not a whole lot of drama. Let's just get through this.
And we ended up doing three IUI, which is artificial insemination with Femara. None of those worked. My doctor at the time told me that we should probably move on to IVF. So we did two rounds of IVF and neither of those worked. I ended up having a miscarriage on an airplane in China on a vacation.
And I'd never had a miscarriage before so I didn't really know what was happening at the time, I just thought it was a really bad period. And looking back on it, it was like, okay, clearly that's what was going on. It was very painful. It was on an airplane that was broken down on the runway in China. I mean, it's like a story book, but not a good story. Let's not read that story before bed.
And I got home from that trip and I was just physically and emotionally exhausted. And looking back on it know I can see it's because I wasn't getting, or not even getting, I wasn't seeking out and giving myself the support that I needed. And a lot of it was because I just didn't know what I didn't know.
And that's why I'm here for you. Because if you're in your infertility journey and there are things that you're not seeing that could benefit you I hope that listening to this podcast and taking part in the resources that I provide with you on thesliceofsun.com and in the fertility coaching program I will be launching soon will help you to see what it is that you need to fill in those gaps to support yourself.
So I get home from that trip, I write down the whole story in the middle of the night when I had jet lag. And it felt very, very therapeutic to me. And it was a really great release for me. And it was a really great way for me to process a lot of the things that were going on in my mind.
And so a couple weeks later, after much debate, sending it to friends, talking to my husband about it, debating about whether we should share it publicly or not, I finally hit publish on that blog post. And that's really where a lot of everything, I guess, for thesliceofsun.com really began. Because I was blown away with how many people infertility affected as well.
At the time, I don't feel like it was talked about as much back in 2014. And I was completely blown away with how common it was and how people reached out and said, “Thank you so much for sharing this, I'm so glad to know that I'm not alone.”
And honestly, I don't even know how people found the blog post. I had people from literally around the world emailing me about it. And, I mean, for me, as a woman of faith I believe that God helped get that blog post into their hands when they needed it most as well. Because I really believe he has our back and he's looking out for us at all times.
And it was such an eye opening position for me to be in because after I shared, I asked for prayers for our journey. And I think even before I asked, and without asking, people started praying for us as well in our experience.
And if I didn't personally experience it myself, I don't know if I would genuinely believe it because I had felt so heavy for so long, and was so burdened by infertility for so long, that it was like my new normal. And I almost didn't realize how much it was weighing on me until people started praying for us and we got the support that we needed and I felt physically lighter.
The only way that I can describe it is that I felt like I was carrying like a big bus by myself. I was just really trying to muscle through it. I'm like, “No, I've got this guys.” You know, people are watching and I'm like, “No, no, no, I don't need help. I've got this.” And people are like, “You need help, girl.” Just kidding, nobody knew I was experiencing it besides a few close friends and family members that we had told.
But when I started share about it and people started to pray for us, then they could know to support us because of the knowledge we had shared about our infertility experience with them. And it's like they came in and they were carrying the bus with us. And so all that weight that I'd had on my own shoulders, it was then distributed across so many hands. And it was then that I really realized what a powerful support system could do for women with infertility and for women experiencing any trial.
Another thing that I experienced through the process was that I've always wanted to be a positive person. I think that that's seen as a good thing. I think we want to look for the bright side. But I also think there's a huge caveat to that, where it's like, okay, you're positive. But there's also the opposite to that, there's negative.
Or there's the opposite to cold, which is hot. Or there's the opposite to light, which is dark. And it's not bad, right? For example, we don't look at day and night and say, “Oh, night is bad. It shouldn't be here; we shouldn't be experiencing night.” No, we have the day we experienced the day. And the night comes, and we do what we do at night.
And I really feel like that's how it is with our emotions as well. And how I've learned how to see it through this coaching certification I've been through to help you as well, that we are human beings, we are put on this earth and we are going to have a 50/50 experience no matter what situation we're in.
And when that applies to infertility, we're going to have positive days where we see the bright side and we see the gifts in it. And we see the way that we're growing and the way that our empathy is growing. And the gifts that we experience in motherhood after infertility.
And I also think that there needs to be space for the opposite of that, which is whatever that may be for you. Anxiety, fear, sadness, whatever those feelings are that are the opposite of joy and happiness and contentment, and peace. There's going to be the opposite.
And for me the first time I experienced infertility to get our twins here I didn't give myself that space. So I'd let myself feel sad for a couple of minutes and then I would be like, “Oh, no, no, you're not allowed to feel sad, Jenica. You have a good husband and you have a good job. And there's lots of people who don't have that. So you're not allowed to feel sad.”
And first of all, thinking that way doesn't benefit anyone. Just because I'm not allowing myself to feel sad doesn't magically make other people feel happy. So it logically doesn't make sense.
And two, I'm especially not benefiting from it, because I'm not allowing myself to process through negative emotion to, one, remind myself how strong I am to get through it, and two, just let myself be a human, and let myself have the full experience of being a human.
And that experience doesn't include shoving those negative emotions in a closet and locking the door and pretending they're not there, because they're there. And so for me, I've learned so, so much within the coaching experience I've done in this last year in allowing for that.
And it's so incredible to move through that negative emotion when it comes up and allow myself to be a human. And I genuinely feel like I'm freer than I have ever been in my entire life. It's so incredibly beautiful. And I'm so excited to teach you how to do that as well.
Another thing I learned through my first infertility experience, and in looking back to see what I could do this next time to give myself the support I need was that the first time I didn't give myself rest or breaks. And I think this comes with just the knowledge of experience and going through it and really advocating for myself and my body.
And now, this time, I allow myself the rest and the breaks that I need to really recuperate and that I need to feel good in my own body throughout the entire process.
The first time we did back to back three IUIs and two rounds of IVF. And my body, I was literally sick. I can't even describe the feeling of all those hormones, I was like ill. And so looking back, I'm like, “I need to learn from this experience.” And I think that it's good to share this experience with other women who may just want to get through it and want to just get it over with.
I don't necessarily think that that is the best way for a lot of people, including myself. So this time I did a hysteroscopy in June and my doctor went in through my uterus, he removed all the polyps in my uterus that were growing there. And we don't know why they grow there, unfortunately, but we had to get rid of those because if they're there, it's not a great place for a baby to grow.
And so I had that surgery. It was harder to recover from than I wanted it to be, of course. And I'm a girl who doesn't like to be down, I don't think you guys do either. And I was swollen and bloated and just not feeling so great.
And I went in to do the baseline ultrasound to move forward with an IVF transfer and they found an inch sized cyst on my right ovary, which was producing hormones. And that's not good because the hormones interfere with the injections that they give you. And so they told me that we would need to wait.
And for me, I don't do well on birth control I found, it just makes me sick. It makes me mentally just very like depressed. And I don't feel like myself. And honestly, being on birth control isn't worth it for me. And so I talked with my doctor and the IVF coordinator, and I was like, “You know what? I'm not going to get back on birth control.” Because that's what they wanted me to do to get rid of the cyst.
And they were amazing about it. And I was able to advocate for myself there. And they listened to me, which I really appreciate. And so what we're doing is waiting out through my periods, to see if the cyst will go away. Which is common, when you have a cycle your hormones change and fluctuate, and this can go away.
So the following month I was supposed to call to do another baseline ultrasound to see if the cyst had gone away. And I just wasn't ready yet. And I learned that through the first time that I really need to listen to my mind and my body and say, “Okay, do you need to take a break? Do you need a rest?” And the answer to that was yes.
And I felt so relieved and so sure about my decision to just take a break for a couple of months to recover from that surgery. And to give myself that space that I needed to be well mentally and physically moving forward.
I am so beyond grateful for the model that I'm able to teach women in my upcoming Fearless Infertility coaching because the drastic change that I've seen in myself over the last year is, I mean, it's just life changing. I can't even begin to describe to you the difference, but I'll try.
Some of the things I've learned is to truly love myself for me. And in doing so I'm able to accept others for exactly how they are. Whether they do actions or live their lives in ways that I agree with or not. And I'm able to recognize that everyone is really good at being themselves.
And that I can feel however I want to feel, no matter the circumstances. Or no matter how other people treat me or no matter what's going on externally. I'm really able to see truth in the fact that I'm completely in control of my feelings at all times.
Now, does that mean that I want to be happy all of the time? No. Does that mean that I want to see all of the situations in the world as good? No. But I'm able to see it for truth and really know that I'm always in control of how I think about certain situations, and in turn, how I feel about them.
I truly, truly love myself, for me and for the human being I am that makes mistakes. And that has good days and bad days and learns and grows. And I will help you do the same.
I truly went from feeling alone and fearful to supported and courageous. And I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have now through the model that I teach that nothing has gone wrong.
I think that there are really hard situations in our lives. There are really challenging things that we would not choose. I wouldn't choose to experience infertility. I would love to get pregnant with my husband in a normal way.
That would be just amazing to me. But it's not my circumstance. That's not the hands that – Excuse me, I don't play cards that often, obviously. That's not the cards that I've been dealt in my life, it just isn't. And so I get to choose what I do with that circumstance for me.
I have had the privilege of talking to many of you over the phone over the last couple of weeks to really hone in and make sure that what I'm offering in my Fearless Infertility coaching will benefit and serve you the most. And it's so eye opening for me to see that I think we put labels on ourselves. And I think many of us are holding back from the support that we deserve because we put stipulations on when we're allowed to get that support.
So, many of you that I spoke with were so beautifully open about the fact that they kind of compare their infertility journeys to other people. Like, they would say like, “Oh, I don't know if I need that because I've only experienced infertility a year and my neighbor has experienced it for six years. So she needs it more than I do.” Or I don't know if I need that support because whatever the comparison thought is.
And what I want to offer to you is that there is no comparison in infertility that's going to benefit anyone. I don't think that you stifling your feelings and not allowing yourself the support that you deserve, emotionally and mentally, is going to help anyone.
And in the long run, if we all did the best that we could and truly allowed ourselves the support that we needed through infertility, everyone would benefit. Your spouse would benefit, your family would benefit, any of the other relationships in your life would benefit. And most importantly, you would be living a life that you absolutely love.
I think many of us on this podcast can totally relate to stress, shattered hopes, judgment, brokenness, physical trauma, pain, strained relationships, fear, guilt, debt, annoying pep talk, self-blame, tears, rage, jealousy. And that many of us are sick of being in that space.
And with the Fearless Infertility coaching program I'm launching on September 1st, I will genuinely help you to take back control of your life, your future, and your happiness. And give you that support that you need to be able to move forward with peace. To move forward knowing you're not alone. And to give you the tools to help you manage your mind so you truly feel confident in knowing that you can control your life and get any of the results that you want.
You are absolutely not alone. I've got you, I'm here for you. And my own infertility journey was very surprising. There were moments that scared me, there were moments where I didn't know where to turn. And I had a real plan for my life, right? I went to school, I worked hard, I married an awesome guy, I kept the faith.
And when it came to the next step in my life, I really came at it blindsided because I had no idea how to experience infertility. And I really didn't know where to turn to for support. Which is why I'm so passionate about helping you the route to get the support that you truly deserve through this process.
The powerful tools I will teach you are something that you can't get from doctors. For example, I was talking to my doctor the other day, and he was so excited that I was going to be starting this because he takes care of the physical aspects of getting pregnant.
He's been medically trained; he does a lot of research in medications that will work and processes that will work. And that's what he does. He's in charge of the physical part of getting pregnant.
But what about the mental and emotional aspect? That's exactly where I come in and it's the missing link to truly solving any problem. And it's the missing link to being able to understand your brain and how it's working. And specifically what is holding you back in creating a life that you love, even during infertility.
In Fearless Infertility when you log in, you'll be able to access the roadmap. And I'll help you identify what stage you're in, and how to process and get through with specific action items to take you to the next stage. I will bring you into the community of women experiencing infertility that you deserve.
It will be your safe space and there will be no doubt as to what your next step is. You'll feel like your hand is being held throughout the process.
And you'll get access to community of other women in the group to talk about various topics that pertain to wherever you're at in your infertility experience.
There will be a forum for your spouses and for the men in your life that need some support as well. And you'll be able to learn this model that I teach that will truly be able to solve any problem in your life and help you understand your brain.
And the reason why I think that coaching is such an incredible way to get support during infertility is because when you're in your own brain all the time it's really, really hard to see what thoughts are holding you back and creating results in your life that you don't want.
And it's tricky because oftentimes the thoughts that seem very innocent, very kind, are getting you results that are completely opposite from what you're intending. And so for me, I have a coach. I think it's very important to get an outsider's perspective on what's going on in your brain and being able to identify where those thoughts are coming from and changing them to give you a result that you want in your life.
We will apply all of the tools that I teach together each month. We will work together to apply the model that I teach every single month. I think that learning about it and actually applying it is two completely separate things. It's like me teaching you how to paint by explaining it to you in all the details, and then you actually creating a beautiful painting.
So I'll help you create the life that you love. And we'll do that by a new workshop every month that we’ll focus on together. And then we'll do live coaching calls each week as well, where we will coach over Zoom and we'll be able to take your specific experiences. And I will be able to help you see exactly where you're getting your results that you are not liking. And I'll help you to be able to change that so you can truly live a life that you love, even during infertility.
I'll help you see where you're getting stuck. I'll help you see what's causing your stress, your anxiety, your overwhelm, and your loneliness. And we'll be able to fix that together so that you truly can be able to move forward with confidence and know that you are in control of that.
I think it's incredibly important to get support during infertility. I think that whether you're on day one of infertility or whether you are 10 years into your infertility experience you deserve all of the support and it's not selfish.
That's the number one thing I think I want everyone to always be aware of is that filling your own cup, and really handling your mental and emotional health is the best thing that you can do for every person that you love around you.
The program I've been working so hard on, which has been so much fun and so exciting for me because I cannot wait for you to see the transformation in your own life as I've seen in mine, launches on September 1st. Fearless Infertility Coaching, I cannot wait to see you in there. I cannot wait to get to know you better. And I cannot wait to just honestly help you blow your own mind with what you are capable of achieving in your life. I will talk to you guys soon. Bye.
To celebrate the launch of the show I'm going to be giving away pajama and sock sets from The Slice of Sun that I have personally designed. They are the most buttery, soft, delightful things you'll ever put on your body. And I'm going to be giving away five bundles to five lucky listeners who subscribe, rate, and review the show on Apple Podcasts. It doesn't have to be a five star review, although I sure hope you love the show. I genuinely want your honest feedback so I can create an awesome show that provides tons of value to you who are experiencing infertility.
Visit thesliceofsun.com/podcastlaunch to learn more about the contest and how to enter and I'll be announcing the winners on the show in an upcoming episode.
Thank you for listening to Fearless Infertility. If you want more tools and resources to help you during your infertility experience visit thesliceofsun.com. See you next week.