Over the last couple of weeks, I introduced you to the concept that our circumstances are neutral and that our thoughts have a huge impact on the way we live our life. On this episode, we’re taking it a step further by diving into the five-part model I use with my coaching clients to help them process their experience of infertility.
Like I mentioned in episode 2, we don’t always want to choose positive thoughts. I’d take my chances in saying I don’t think anyone here thinks of infertility as desirable, but I’m showing you how you actually have more control over your emotional experience than you might think. We don’t have to turn every problem we face into rainbows and butterflies, but it is so empowering when you know you can solve any issue you might be facing, and this is what I want for you.
Tune in this week as I outline the five-part model I use with my clients and how this is a framework you can use to solve any problem in your life. My coaching is always directed at helping my clients solve problems in infertility, but once you learn this, you’ll be able to apply it anywhere and approach any issue with more peace and grace for yourself.
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. My throat keeps cracking. You want to know why it's cracking? Because it's 6am. And it's a Saturday. And do I want to be awake at 6am on a Saturday? Nope. If I was an Olympic athlete, and I was training to be a gold medalist, perhaps. You know, I'd be like, “Cool. This is my normal schedule.” I am not an Olympic athlete. I therefore do not want to be awake this early on a Saturday.
To give you a little background on what's going on in my life right now my husband, Tyler, is out of town. And my twins are four and a half right now at the time of this recording. And Tyler is honestly the best because he fills in all the cracks on where I lack. And one of the places that I lack is being a nice human in the middle of the night.
And so my children will wake me up and they'll receive or they'll see someone who's not like their normal mom. It's like a witch version of their normal mom. So when Tyler's home they'll wake him up if they need anything. And we've been trying everything that we can to get it so they feel comfortable in handling their own business at night. Whether that be simply tucking themselves back in, whether that be using the restroom.
You know, we're trying all of our best resources so that mommy and daddy can get a good night's sleep, because I am a huge advocate for an eight-hour night's sleep. And honestly, I will literally do an entire episode on just sleep because I think it's so important. And I think that if we can each get enough sleep, like, all of our problems are a million times easier. And our brains can function at a proper level to be able to fully be able to choose thoughts that serve us, versus the thoughts that I'm having right now.
So Goldie woke up at 3:30 and told me she needed to go to the bathroom and I'm like, “Cool. Okay, go, you can do it. You know, you got this girl, you got this.” So thankfully, I was able to fall back asleep. But then Harris woke me up at 4:30 because he had peed his pants. And like I know he's learning. And there's like a whole story about it all that no one wants to hear really, let's be honest. But I've been up since 4:30. And for sure they're going to wake up in like an hour and be like wide awake and have so much energy. And I'll be like, “Congratulations, like how? I'm happy for you, but also share the secrets of the universe when it comes to energy, because I would really appreciate that.”
So anyway, after tossing and turning in bed for like two hours I'm like, “Okay, well it’s 6am now and I'm just going to be awake so I might as well come over here.” And you know what, that's a thought that can serve me is that I can get this podcast recorded that I wanted to get recorded, you know.
So here we are, I’ll stick with that for now, because all the other thoughts are making me very angry. And honestly, this segues perfectly into today's episode, because I'm going to be talking about how to solve any problem, literally any problem. And I'm not saying we want every problem solved necessarily, or to have rainbows and butterflies with every situation. But I do know that I know how to get there. And that's a really freeing feeling, knowing that I can get myself mentally to wherever I want to be and solve any issue that I may be experiencing in my mind.
We talked about in episode two how we can change how we are feeling during infertility. And today I'm going to share with you the five-part model that I use in my coaching women with infertility to solve any problem. Now, like I said, I use this coaching model to solve our problems in infertility. And that's what my coaching is directed at always.
But the nice thing is, is that when you learn this you can take this model and apply it to any other problems that you have in your life. Because infertility is definitely not our only problem. As human beings, we will continue to have problems and continue to have issues. And so the amazing thing is, is that once you learn this, you can apply it towards all of those other issues that you will experience in your life.
This model that I'm going to teach you was created by Brooke Castillo. I heard her once say something like she discovered it but didn't actually create it, because its truth was already in the universe. And I love her for saying that because I totally think it's true. And the reason why I think it's true is because when I was trying to conceive our first baby, which ended up being twins, I knew there was a reason I was still able to be happy and appreciate my life during infertility and during that phase of my life. But it was hard for me to explain my process to other people and this is it.
So several years later I discovered this, and I'm so excited to be able to share it with you. Because this is what I was doing that I wasn't able to fully explain to you. And Brooke discovered it and put it in a really easy model to follow and explain. So now I can tell you exactly what I did when I was experiencing infertility and still loved my life in that phase of my life. And there hasn't been an issue I've heard so far that this hasn't worked for, and that I haven't understood myself more by running through this model.
And if you need additional help with specific problems you are having in relation to infertility continue to listen to this podcast, because I'm going to be tailoring what I share based on exactly what you tell me you need in reviews on the podcast, and through The Slice of Sun social media channels like Instagram, which is @thesliceofsun, and the private and free infertility Facebook group, which is called Fertility Family by The Slice of Sun. And you can let me know through email. I will be linking all of these in the show notes so you can access those and respond back to me on what you need in the future so I can tailor my coaching to specifically what you need.
And I will also be launching a coaching program this fall where I will be able to take a deeper dive into specific problems you are having so you can live a fulfilled life even while experiencing infertility and love your life now, despite any problems that you are having in your life right now. And as you continue to listen to this podcast, I will give you simple ways to feel better now each week.
So let's get into the model that is simple and difficult at the same time. Because it's oftentimes difficult when we are in our own brains to be able to see what we're doing. But I think when we have awareness, we're able to then have understanding, and then also make changes to improve our life where we want.
The first part of the model is our circumstance. And as I discussed in episode two, our circumstances are often what we blame our feelings on. However, if you listened to episode two you know that circumstances are neutral. And we know that's true if one other person on the planet of Earth has a different opinion about that circumstance. And infertility, believe it or not, is neutral.
Now, before you jump off this podcast mad like I don't understand, trust me, I understand. I know that I don't think anyone in this community thinks that infertility is a desirable circumstance to have. So you are certainly among likeminded people. I don't think it's a good thing. I don't want to think it's a good thing. But the fact is, is it’s still neutral because some other human being on the planet might have different opinions about it.
And it may be rare, yes, but you know there's at least one person on the planet that doesn't like kids. Maybe someone doesn't want babies. So if they had infertility, their thoughts about it might be that it's amazing because they don't have to worry about getting pregnant when they don't want to get pregnant. And they don't have to worry about taking birth control and that’s something that's totally off their plate.
And so that's how we know that infertility is neutral, because not every single person on the planet might think that that is an undesirable thing to have. So our circumstances need to be very factual, and they need to be something that can be proven in court that people can't argue because there's proof.
So a sentence that is factual and could be considered a circumstance is, I have been trying to conceive for over a year, which means that I have been medically diagnosed with infertility by my doctor. Now, that's neutral. That's a fact. That's something we could prove in court, by videos, you know, walking into the medical clinic, by notes from our doctor, by facts we could prove that we had showed up at the doctor and he had told us, he or she had told us, that our infertility was a fact. Okay, so that is neutral.
Now, our thoughts are what we think about our circumstances. So that's number two in the model, is our thoughts. So we have our circumstance, which is infertility. And our thoughts are what we think about that circumstance.
So this is where our pain, or pleasure, or happiness, or sadness stem from. And I'll give you a couple examples in relation to infertility on something that helped me and something that didn't help me. And, of course, this is objective to you, there's no right or wrong. But for me, I knew that a thought was helping me because it gave me what I wanted in life. And I'll explain more as we continue through the model.
So, a thought for me that helped me during infertility, that was helpful, that I explained in episode two was that everyone has trials because we are human and this is part of the human experience. If it wasn't this trial, it would be something else. That thought about my infertility always brought me peace and acceptance with what I was currently experiencing. It allowed me to accept what was, versus fighting so hard against what I wanted and what I wanted to be.
And essentially, it helped me to not fight against reality, because the fact of it was, I was experiencing infertility. And no, I didn't want to be there. And yes, I would have wished to not be in that circumstance. But it was what it was. I was doing everything that I could to grow our family, and I still hadn't conceived a baby.
So that thought always brought me peace, and helped me to feel okay with where I was at. It made me so that I didn't get jealous of other people. And I was always happy for others who were able to get pregnant because I was thinking that thought. And I wanted to be happy for other people. I didn't think that because I couldn't get pregnant, I should be mad or sad that other people could.
For me, that didn't make sense in my brain because why would I wish something that was so painful for me on to someone else? And so I really wanted to be in a space where I could be happy for my friends and family who were getting pregnant. And I could be open to giving them space to celebrating, and celebrating with them.
I also had other thoughts during infertility that I don't think served me. And I also want to add in that I don't believe that life should be happy all of the time. I genuinely believe that there is opposition in all things, and that includes our feelings. And I appreciate the negative feelings because genuinely, how would we know that joy is joy if we haven't experienced despair? Everything would feel neutral, everything would feel very bland, because we wouldn't have the opposite to compare it to.
So I'm going to share with you some thoughts that maybe were negative for me at the time, to show an example of how our thoughts can change how we feel. But I also don't want you to ever think that I'm saying we should only choose positive thoughts all of the time, because I don't want to feel positive about infertility all the time. I want to grow my family, I want to have children. But I also want to choose thoughts that serve me and get me to a place mentally where I can be in the moment and enjoying my life, and not wishing away my current circumstances. Because that doesn't give me the life that I want.
So another thought that I had during infertility, I'll share with you a story. Tyler had gone to church, and I was at home by myself. And he was in a meeting. And we had done some really small shots before in the IVF process that honestly hadn't hurt. And I thought I would be totally fine to try these new shots in the next phase of the process by myself. So I was at home by myself. And there were two new shots, one of them being Menopur. And I remember that shot because it really stood out in my mind because of this experience and how painful it was.
So I go in kind of blindsided, thinking that this shot would be similar to the ones that I had previously been doing. Not a big deal, not very painful. And the shot was distributed at the time in a pen. And when you injected the pen it was hard not to like twist it into your stomach, which is where I was injecting the shock. So not only was it twisting, kind of awkward with the needle, but when the medicine went into my body it burned. It was like you could feel it burning its way into my body. And I hadn't expected this, I hadn't prepared myself mentally for this. And at this point, I was honestly exhausted. And I was sick of feeling horrible.
And I found myself literally screaming and crying out loud, “I cannot handle this anymore. I'm sick of doing this to myself. I cannot handle this.” I was sobbing and I was literally saying those words out loud. And that thought, “I cannot handle this anymore. I'm so sick of doing this to myself.” Those thoughts put me in a mindset where I felt very sorry for myself. I was really sad about my circumstance of infertility, and specifically about injecting this shot that burned. And it put me in a space where I was really angry.
And there's absolutely space for that as well. And like I said before, I don't think that we should be happy all the time. And I didn't want to be happy all the time about my infertility. But this is an example to you of how my thoughts completely put me in a different mindset and feeling about my circumstance of infertility. And I was angry, and I was upset, versus thinking the thought, everyone has trials because we are humans and this is part of the human experience. That thought made me feel very peaceful. So they were two completely contrasting thoughts about the same circumstance.
The third part of the model is feelings. And I asked you guys on The Slice of Sun’s Instagram stories, and in Fertility Family by The Slice of Sun private Facebook group, which anyone can join for free to connect with each other. I asked you guys there, what thoughts were causing you the most pain and your thoughts came flooding in. And I can see why you were feeling emotions like fear, overwhelm, and anxiety when you think those thoughts. Your feelings are always caused from the thought you were thinking and not your circumstances.
In the example, before, I was feeling at peace when I thought the thought that we are all human and we all have trials. I felt the feeling of anger, when I thought the thought I can no longer do this. And I think that it's important to remember where our feelings come from because what I see often is that people blame their feelings on their circumstances. And that's not where our feelings come from. Because there has to be a thought in between about those circumstances that bring you to that feeling.
Another way to look at this is that if I didn't know about my infertility, I wouldn't have a thought about it. And so I wouldn't feel any way about it. But when I knew about my infertility, I had thoughts about it, which caused me to feel that feeling. There's no way that you can feel a feeling unless you have a thought. And that's where the feelings stem from.
And like I said, you're not always going to want to feel happy. I don't think that feeling happy about something that you genuinely don't want to feel happy about is healthy. I personally think it's very healthy to process negative emotions. And I don't always want to feel happy about my infertility, I don't think it's a good thing. I want to have babies. I think that it's difficult for me to have babies and that thought makes me sad. And I want to be sad about that.
But the important thing is to know is that when I want to get out of that sadness, I am in control of that based on the thoughts that I choose to put in my brain about it. I do think that there is opposition in all things as well. And we can see that that's true just by nature. There's light there's dark, there's flat there's bumpy, there's cold there's hot. And in our feelings, there's a myriad of feelings.
I mean, there's I think 1,000s of different feelings we can feel. But there are many opposites in our feelings. And because of that, again, we can feel the depth of joy once we know the depth of despair. So I don't think that feeling negative feelings are necessarily a bad thing in all situations because they give us that lesson in the opposition.
I love knowing this in the model, because I know that I can change how I'm feeling when I go back to my thoughts. And I think being aware is the first step because I think as human beings, we so often are not aware of what's going on in our brains and so we automatically blame the circumstances for how we're feeling. And when we do that we are completely out of control of our position and our role in our lives. If we want to feel a certain way about something, there's nothing wrong with feeling however you want to feel about it. But I just want you to always know that you are absolutely in control of that. And yes, that can be difficult, but it's also a very freeing thing to know that you are completely in control of how your life feels.
The next line in the model, which is the fourth line out of five, is our actions. And our actions are what we do or don't do in life based on how you are feeling because of what you're thinking about your circumstance. So in order to determine your actions I often ask my clients, “If I was a fly on the wall and I saw you in your life while you were feeling a certain feeling, when you were thinking a certain thought, what would I see you doing? When you were thinking this thought how do you show up in your relationships? Is there anything you're not doing that you normally would be doing?” These actions can also be in your brain.
So a lot of times clients will ruminate on something and think about something over and over again obsessively when they are feeling a certain thought. Or they'll be doing things like buffering, which I'll talk about in another episode, which is essentially trying to hide from whatever feeling that they are feeling that they don't like and they don't want to be in. And buffering can come in the form of many different things that don't necessarily look negative. But basically, they just don't give you the life that you want.
So for example, for me during the first few years of my twins life, I don't think that I really allowed myself to feel how hard raising newborn twins was. And I almost thought that it was a bad thing to admit that, I think, to myself. And so instead of giving myself the grace, and saying, “Girl, you're doing an amazing job, like this is difficult. You're keeping two humans alive and thriving. And you're doing it on little sleep.” Which you guys know how I feel about my sleep now, right? It's very important to me.
So instead of allowing myself to feel those emotions of maybe exhaustion and tiredness when I thought the thought that this is hard, I would buffer so I would pretend that it wasn't. And I would do things that would give me an immediate boost in what I thought was positivity.
So for example, I would put the kids to bed and then immediately I would go grab a bag of candy and eat it because it temporarily gave me that feeling of everything's okay. And this turned out to be a net negative. And that's how you know you're buffering is when it's a net negative in your life, because eating a ton of sugar had a negative effect on my health, and a myriad of other problems because I wasn't addressing reality.
So that's something else that can go in the action line as an example of what you're doing based on the thought that you are having, and based on the feeling that that thought is giving you.
So for example, in the example that I was sharing with you earlier, when I was in fertility, and I thought the thought that if it wasn't this trial of infertility for me it would be something else, and this is just part of the human experience. I felt very peaceful about my current circumstance. And feeling that sense of peace allowed me this space to take actions on how I wanted to live my life.
And something I'm so proud of myself for, even with my limited knowledge of this model at that point in my life, was that I genuinely still enjoyed most of my life. Now, of course, there were those parts of infertility that were very difficult for me. And I know that there are times where I didn't handle it perfectly. But in general, I'm really proud of myself in the way that I was able to see the silver lining and take actions on the things that I knew I wouldn't be able to easily do while I had kids.
So for an example, an action that I took when I was thinking that thought that gave me peace is my husband and I bought dirt bikes and we had a lot of fun with each other. We would go to movies on the weekend because we knew when our kids came it wouldn't be quite as easy to go to movies. And the result of that was that I just had a life that I loved right then.
As an opposite example, in the actions when I thought that thought, “I can't do this anymore. I'm so sick of this. I don't want to do this to myself anymore.” In that shot example from earlier when I started using Menopur I felt hopeless. And actions that I took when I was feeling hopeless were to sit around, maybe numb out watching TV, and essentially do things in my life that didn't contribute to an overall fulfilled life that I wanted.
So the last line of the model is our results. And the results in our life always, always stem from our thoughts. That is the basis of the model, is our thoughts. You can kind of think of it as like the root of the tree. And your thoughts, like we mentioned earlier, make you feel a certain way, which then create your actions in your life. And then the result is what your life is because of that.
And the result that I had in my life when I thought that thought that this is just part of the human experience, and if it wasn't this trial for me it would be something else is, like I said, I felt very peaceful. I took actions that improved my life, that made me feel happy, that continued to foster that belief.
And our results will always be a reflection of our thoughts. Because when we have a thought we will search for ways and do actions to make that thought true for us in our lives. So that thought for me, that this is part of the human experience and if it wasn't this trial it'd be something else led me to feel peace, led me to take those actions like buying a dirt bike, going to movies with my husband, doing fun things. And it gave me the result of genuinely living a fulfilled life that I loved in that time of my life.
And that was one of the things even then during infertility that was really important to me is that I didn't want to look back on my 20s and say, “Dang, I wish I wouldn't have wasted that.” Because that's one resource we can never get back, is our time. And so the result of me thinking those thoughts that helped me was that it gave me the life that I wanted then. And living your life to its full potential right now doesn't mean that you have everything that you want. It just means that you're in acceptance of what currently is, and you're not fighting against reality.
This model has helped me tremendously in so many aspects of my life. And you can literally take it to apply it to any problem and understand yourselves better.
So, my action item for you this week is to think of something that you're doing in your life and trace it back to how you felt when you were doing it. And what that thought stemmed from. I see in a lot of my clients that sometimes they are taking proactive positive action, and they think it's coming from a thought that it's not coming from.
So what I want you to do is genuinely be aware of what actions are caused from a feeling. And if it's something that is productive, it's probably coming from a feeling that is bringing you peace, contentment, happiness, hope. If it's something that is destructive, it's probably coming from a place that is hopeless, despair, unhappiness, discontentment, things like that. And there's nothing wrong with you either way.
What I want for you to do however, is to see the truth in where your actions are actually coming from. And I want to leave you with a quick example so you kind of know what I'm talking about. I was talking with a client the other day, and she said that when she is feeling anxious, she will sometimes stop and do a breathing technique. And I do think that she does certain things, like she was explaining to me how being anxious made her feel. Made her feel like her shoulders were brought up, she felt a hotness in her chest, and she would throw herself into work to try to avoid feeling that feeling of anxious.
And then she had mentioned that she started doing breathing techniques. And I pointed out to her that the breathing techniques weren't from the feeling of anxious, the breathing techniques were from a feeling of hope. And she was feeling hope because she thought, “I can control a part of my experience right now.” And so when she was thinking that thought, “I can control and do something about this.” Then she felt hope and then she turned to the breathing techniques.
And so it's really important to determine what actions you're taking, based on what feeling, and to just assign them from where they're actually coming from. So when you're doing something this week, whether it be good or bad in your view, right? That's very objective. But for you, whether that be something you are wanting to do or not wanting to do, I want you to trace it back to how you were feeling when you started taking that action and what thought that that is coming from.
I have absolutely loved talking with you guys this week, I will continue to bring you really helpful, easy tips on how to love the life you have right now. And I'm very, very proud of you for showing up for yourself and for taking action in your life to live your best life right now despite any circumstances you may be in, like infertility. I love you and I will talk with you next week.
To celebrate the launch of the show, I'm going to be giving away pajama and sock sets from The Spice 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.