34. Anxiety, Depression, and Panic: The Sun Will Rise with Courtney Rich of Cake by Courtney

Oct 18, 2021

My guest on the podcast today is one of my absolute favorite people in the world. Courtney Rich of Cake by Courtney is just one of those people that are solid gold; I look up to her so much, and I’m so excited that I get to share her with you on this episode. 

Infertility or otherwise, we all go through dark spells in our lives. Every human can relate to feeling so low that we want to give up. Courtney is no exception, and she’s sharing the trials she’s faced in her life with us. Panic attacks and bouts of depression are no stranger to her, but I’m in awe of the way she channels hope and clarity in her life, which I think will be super useful to you on your own journey. 

Join us this week as Courtney gives us insight into her belief that “The sun always rises.” She exemplifies the power of intentionally choosing thoughts that propel us forward in the midst of life’s challenges, and you’re going to pick up some amazing nuggets about how to create awareness and curiosity when you’re struggling. 

 

If you want support on your infertility journey, you have to come join me in Fearless Infertility Coaching! The October class is open, and this month, we’ll be diving deep into buffering. It’s where I can help you identify how you might be buffering in your life and help you stop, so click here to join us! 

 

Have you heard about my Morning Mindset Magic Checklist? It’s a free download I will send right to your inbox, filled with the exact things I do every single morning to set myself up for success. If you want in on it, simply click here to get it! 

 

To celebrate the launch of the show, I’m giving away pajama and sock sets from The Slice of Sun that I have personally designed! ! They’re the most delightfully soft things you’ll ever put on your body and I’m giving away five bundles to five lucky listeners who subscribe, rate, and review the show on Apple Podcasts.


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

 

What You Will Discover:

  • Courtney’s journey of starting her cake business. 
  • The everyday routines Courtney incorporates that help her navigate her obstacles. 
  • How Courtney finds personal clarity in her life. 
  • Courtney’s experience of growing her family. 
  • How Courtney’s infertility journey led to feelings of depression and panic. 
  • Why Courtney always channels hope and trust during hard times. 

 

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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.

Jenica: Welcome back to Fearless Infertility. I am here with my friend Courtney Rich. Courtney is one of my favorite, favorite people. I'm not sure if you knew that. I'm so grateful that she's on today. She's just honestly a fantastic person all around. And I feel like she's one of those people who is just solid gold and somebody that I look up to in so many ways. So thank you so much for being here, Courtney.

Courtney: That's so nice, thank you, Jenica, I feel the same about you. If we can just gush over each other for a minute, it's true.

Jenica: Oh, you're just the best. Okay, so Courtney and I met essentially through social media, I believe. And we've worked out in the same gym before, we're just kind of in the same circles here in Utah.

And Courtney has such an incredible story in creating her business where she found an outlet in creating cakes for her family initially, I think is where it started. And then she just essentially grew this love for helping other people have an outlet for creativity in cake creation. And she has the most fun Instagram account. It's called @cakebycourtney, so you guys have to follow her.

And I also love the purpose behind her business as well. It's not just about cakes, she really cares about people. And it's just a cool thing because I feel like you can really uplift people through any avenue. And so, Courtney, can you start off by just kind of telling us a little bit about your business and how you got started there and then we'll go into your infertility experience as well.

Courtney: Yeah, I think you really hit the nail on the head. This is more than just the recipes for me, it's really about encouraging other people. I mean, most of my following is women and that's kind of who I speak to. I speak to the younger Courtney. If I could go back in time, this is definitely for her and people like me when I was just kind of starting out in motherhood and feeling a little bit lost in a lot of ways and working through depression and anxiety.

That's where cake found me. I was in the midst of all of that when this passion, or this little hobby kind of turned into a passion. And so that's one of the reasons I wanted to share it so much after spending years in the kitchen just having fun and enjoying it as a hobby, because it was filling my life in just this other way. Motherhood was so wonderful, and I was working and that was really great, and be married, and friends.

There was a lot of really good things. But the way that I felt in the kitchen, creating and having this little hobby at the time really just filled me with so much joy in a way that I needed outside of all those other areas.

And having this little addition, this little hobby in my life really felt like helped me be better in all these other aspects because I was filling my cup in many different ways and this was a much needed one. And so I made that first cake for Weston when he turned one. My first homemade cake. I grew up doing box mixes and baking in the kitchen with my mom and having so much fun.

The kitchen was so many good memories for me growing up. Whether it was at the dinner table or baking or just hanging out having snacks after school. It's just my favorite place in the house. But that first cake for Weston was like such a doozy because I had never made a cake from scratch.

And I just kind of went for it. I wanted to do something special for him, but I was also trying to impress my in-laws who were total foodies. And so it didn't look anything like the cakes I have on my Instagram today.

And I often share this first cake because it is a great reminder that we all start somewhere. And it doesn't matter what it looks like, it matters how it tastes. It matters what's on the inside, not the outside. And I loved how it turned out.

When everyone was eating it and we were sharing it with everyone I was so proud of it and people were enjoying it. And I thought, "Okay, I want to do that again." That just felt good and it made me happy and I love that whole experience so I'm going to do it again.

And I literally just kept following that good feeling back into the kitchen. And then six years after that first cake I kind of was encouraged by some friends and family to start a blog and share my recipes that I had started creating. And so I just went for it and started Cake by Courtney on Instagram, not really knowing that space super well. And the blogging world was already well on its way, so I was kind of a late comer in that.

But I felt like I had a couple things to share. And one were really delicious recipes and two was just the passion that this had become for me. And the way that it had created new confidence in my life and just filled my life with a lot of joy. I wanted other people to feel that too.

So that's kind of how the cakes came about. And a couple years ago I started products. I guess you can say I retired from my other consulting job that I was doing up until 2019. And went all in on and Cake by Courtney.

Jenica: Oh, so exciting. And Courtney is one of, honestly, like I mentioned earlier, she's one of my favorite people that I look up to because her and I are very similar in the fact that we– We were actually talking about this before the podcast started recording, that we're kind of perfectionists.

And we both see that that's a two-edged sword because it can really prevent you from maybe like moving forward sometimes, unless you're aware. And for me, at least, I really strive for B minus work, because if I don't, then I get really caught up in just like the craziness of my own expectations.

But what I love about Courtney is she has obstacles, just like the rest of us, we all have trials, we all have challenges that we deal with. But one of the things that I really look up to with Courtney is that she creates really structured habits in her life that allow her to be able to live a life that she loves.

And so I'd actually like to start off there. And then we'll get into your infertility experience. But, Courtney, what are some of the things that you do every day, even when you don't want to, because you know they'll make you feel a lot better and be able to have a good mindset in order to move forward? 

Courtney: Yeah, I love that question because I think routine is important. I think a little bit of routine, it doesn't have to be the entire day.

Jenica: Yeah.

Courtney: But I think a little bit of routine is really good because it just gives us something to expect, to know. And those of us who struggle with anxiety and depression like that, just to have some kind of constant like that I think helps us navigate some of the uncertainty and be more flexible in other areas of our life.

And so I found for me at least that's super true. And I have discovered over the years, I'm a morning person. My brain shuts down. After I've made dinner and cleaned up, I do not want to get back on my computer. I don't want to do more work; my brain is not there.

But I'm good in the morning and I can be productive in the morning. And I love how quiet and peaceful it is in the morning. And so I get up every day and between 4:15 and 4:30. Which I know sounds crazy early, it didn't just flip a switch from 7 am to 4:15, I worked my way up to that.

But just knew that if I could do that and get up early, then I could just start kind of the routine and get everything in that I wanted to. And so I always work out. I mean, I shouldn't say always, but four to six days a week. I do that because it makes my body feel good. It makes my mind feel really, really good.

A lot of people are like, "Well, how many miles did you have to run to eat that cake?" It's like, no, no, no, those are not associated in my mind. Cake is its own thing and exercise is its own thing. And they actually fuel me in different ways. So I don't associate it that way. So it's just truly getting up to move my body, to feel good, and to start my mind working.

And there are times where I'm out on a run, if I'm outside in nature I don't listen to music, and I really try to just be in tune with what's around me and what's going on. And just let the spirit speak to me and nature speak to me in my mind speak to me.

Jenica: Yeah, let's pause for a second.

Courtney: Yeah.

Jenica: I'd love to dive into this more because I feel the same way and I feel like for me, my natural inclination is to get up and hit the ground running. And not necessarily literally all the time. But as far as productivity goes, my natural inclination is to get on my computer, check my emails, start being "productive."

And I have found such peace and clarity in the last year in intentionally slowing down when I wake up and listening to God trying to talk back to me. Because I've always been talking to him and I haven't given him that space to talk back to me.

And so it's interesting you say this because I find so many times where I feel like he is speaking directly to me, giving me impressions about my family, about my business, about ideas to do to help women with infertility. And it's so interesting, I would say it happens sometimes when I'm in my office when I'm praying or reading my scriptures. But I would say nine times out of 10, it's when I'm exercising.

And it can be in the middle of a bike ride. It can be in the middle of literally working out in a studio with rap music playing. But for some reason, I don't know what it is about exercise, but I completely agree where it's like– I don't know. Do you have any explanation for that and what your thoughts are and why?

Courtney: I don't know, maybe there's sort of a chemical explanation. Your serotonin levels are increasing and it just makes you more awake and more aware. And like Reese Witherspoon said in Legally Blonde, you're just happier. So maybe there's something to that.

But I think we are intended to be active. We're intended to move our body. We're intended to create. And that's all part of our purpose here on earth. And so I think as we do those things and we lean into the creation process, whatever that may be in our lives, and we lean into taking care of ourselves and really respecting our bodies and our mind, we're going to receive some of that personal revelation.

And we're going to just be more open to the inspiration around us. Whether you believe in God or other higher powers. I think a lot of us, and probably a lot of people listening can really relate to just at least feeling like some personal clarity about things in our life as we're more open to them.

And I should say too, I mean, I wake up and I get to my knees first. Before I rush off to the bathroom I get on my knees and try to develop that habit where the first thing I do in the day is talk to God and the last thing I do in the day is talk to God. And I talk to him throughout the day, like constantly. Because he plays such a huge role in my life in every single aspect.

So there's prayer. Like you said, exercise. It can be meditation, it often is for me, it's why I love running so much, there's some meditation there. But also scripture study. Kind of those personal things that I want to do when it's quiet in the morning and I don't want to be distracted, I try to get done. And shower every day, whether I put sweats back on or not, there's a shower involved.

Jenica: Yes, I love it.

Courtney:  And making my bed, simple things like that. Straightening up my kitchen. The rest of my house could be a disaster, but I start my day with a very clean kitchen. Whether I'm baking in it or not, once the kids are gone, that's like another thing. And it just kind of triggers my brain, "Okay, let's go."

The other thing, and this may be crazy, but I put my shoes on every morning. Whether I get totally ready or not, I put shoes on. And for some reason my head triggers, "Okay, now it's time to get to work." And I'm ready to do things.

So I've got hardwood floors in my whole downstairs because I like to wear my shoes during the day. And for some reason, my mind, that just kind of helps me, no pun intended, kick things off a little bit.

Jenica: Yeah, that's so cool. And I think the important thing too, to note is that you were very aware what helps you. So I don't think that what your neighbor is doing is necessarily what we need to be doing. I think that you are just very self-aware and you know what works for you. And I think that just being very curious about how you're feeling after you do certain actions will help get you to that place.

Courtney: Absolutely. I'm like a big believer in writing things down, whether it's a journal or just a notebook. Like taking notes of things that you try. And I don't mean one time trying it, but I mean developing the habit takes a little bit. So does it work for you to work out in the morning? Do you feel better? Take notes of how you feel and how that works.

I mean, I go to bed early to make sure that that works. And it's become a habit. I have no problem waking up at that time. So take notes, decide what works for you because like you said, not everything is going to cross over super easy. But we can find our own way through a little trial and error.

Jenica: Yeah, yeah, I love that. And I shared, actually I think I have a whole podcast episode on my daily routine that I do. And that was developed over like two years of just being very curious. Like, "Okay, how do I feel after I do this certain thing? What are certain things that make me feel awful when I do? Or what should I leave out of my morning routine that I currently have is a habit that's not serving me?"

And so I just think that being very curious with yourself in a non-judgmental way is so important.

Courtney: Yeah, agreed.

Jenica: Okay, so tell us about your experience in growing your family.

Courtney: Okay, so I've got two kids. Weston is almost 13 and Avery just turned eight. So my seventh grader and my third grader. And I always knew that I wanted a family but I always knew I wanted to work. I was very young with the dream of doing something in business.

Both my parents, my mom was an entrepreneur, she's a Jane of all trades, truly. But my dad ran television stations and I just was like enamored with both of them and the work that they did from an early age. And that's one of my very early memories. And even talking to friends in middle school and elementary school, "I'm going to do this business and I'm going to do that." And just kind of the dreams of that.

And I knew I wanted a family but I didn't know how it was going to work in. And so I started on my career as soon as I graduated college in broadcast journalism and went into media consulting. And like everyone did, birth control and just kind of had that routine down.

And so I was probably like four years into being married, working full-time, really loving my trajectory at work. And where I did feel like, "Okay, it's time to start a family." And round one went super smooth. I went off birth control and things worked the way we were told they were supposed to work.

And I will say, I'm not someone who loves being pregnant. And deliveries, I've had C-sections, my body does not want to go into labor and Weston was positioned weird.

And anyway, so Weston came along and that was great. And so I thought, "Oh great, I'm like fertile Myrtle like my mom. I'm going to just talk about it and get pregnant. This is great." So a couple years later as I'm feeling that feeling of, "Okay, we should try for number two," I was still working a ton and we were living– No, we were still in Santa Monica at the time.

Anyway, round two did not go the same way. And Miss Avery, we kind of joke, I say she just stayed up there in heaven just waiting for us to prove how fun we were as a family.

Jenica: Oh my gosh, I love that because it describes her cute little exciting personality so well.

Courtney: And I'm like or she was just waiting for her best friend that she's best friends with here to go down at the same time. She knew, she's like, "Well I can't go down until Gwen goes down. So we're just going to wait a second."

Jenica: I love that.

Courtney: So that took me by a little bit of surprise. I, at the time, didn't really know anyone that really struggled with fertility. So it wasn't just top of mind. I wasn't real aware of the things that you have to do. And so as I started looking into it after the first year of not being able to get pregnant, we kind of started going down the route of just the different drugs you need to take and how to go through that.

But it was, you know and your listeners know, it is a super sad and depressing time because you're like, "This is a good thing. I want this good thing. I know Heavenly Father wants me to have this good thing."

And we don't know why he withholds some of those blessings that we expect to come just because we are mortals and we're here and we're choosing the right, we're doing all the right things. It's going to be interesting on the other side, and sorry to get super religious, but to have a greater understanding.

Jenica: No, I love that.

Courtney: But it's hard to trust his path for us when it doesn't line up with the path that we expect for ourselves. And so that was definitely almost two years of really struggling with, "Wait, what?" I want to be so grateful for my son. And I have already had a baby, and I should be so grateful that I have one. But I really want one more. I really, really feel like there's one more spirit that needs to be in our family at least. Why isn't this happening?"

And so it did not lend itself well to the depression I was already experiencing and anxiety. And over the course of that almost two years, just the panic attacks went up, the depression went up. It was a tricky time.

But I kept thinking, I started having depression when I was 18 years old. And I think there was a part of me that just– Luckily, there was always this little ounce of hope somewhere inside of me that I know was a blessing from Heavenly Father during this whole time in the last 18 years.

Jenica: Can you pinpoint where that hope came from? Is there a certain thought that allowed you to keep that hope when circumstances just weren't looking the best?

Courtney: That's a good question because it's like, where does that hope come from? And I was actually just speaking to a women's group the other day about brightness of hope. And I did a podcast episode where I just shared that topic because it just was sitting with me and I just felt impressed to share it on the podcast.

But I remember, I was probably 15 years old and I had a friend– I was living in Southern California at the time. And so my area was a melting pot of religion and cultures. But there was a predominantly Jewish and Presbyterian and Catholic. I mean it was just kind of everything, and then I was one of the very few members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in that area. So religion actually came up quite a bit.

But I remember one time, my friend Becky, we were sitting– I can remember it like it was yesterday, that's how much of a, my dad would call it a red-letter day, it was. But we were sitting at lunch and somehow we were talking about religion. I cannot remember the rest of the conversation, but she just looked at me and said, "Well, Courtney, what if you find out your religion is wrong?"

And everyone got quiet all of a sudden. And she looked at me like she was very curious, genuinely curious about what my answer would be. And I remember just saying, "At least I had something to hope in and to hope for." The gospel of Jesus Christ gives you hope. And I don't know why that's what I said, but it was something that stuck with me. Just kind of that treasure that hope is in my life.

And as I look back, there was all these moments and building blocks that we have that kind of prove that hope exists, that the sun comes up the next day. The first time my dad used that expression with me, I just crashed the car at our junior class fundraiser car wash.

Jenica: Oh no.

Courtney: And backed it up into another car and everyone was looking and I was just mortified. Obviously, I could never go back to school, we were going to have to transfer.

Jenica:  You got to move.

Courtney: You know, of course. And so we're going home and I just like sink into the back of the car. And he takes me home and is trying to console me. He's like, "Hey, it's fine. It's really not a big deal, people are going to forget about it." And I, of course, in my mind, I'm like, "That's not true. People are going to remember; they're going to say things tomorrow at school."

And one of the things he said though, at the end he's like, "Look, the sun always rises. It always sets. It always rises, there's always a new opportunity to start over. There's an opportunity to try again." He's like, "This is not the first mistake you're going to make in public, it's not the first you're going to make in private. You just have to have hope that tomorrow's a new day and things will be better."

And that was that conversation at 16 years old. Next day, I went to school and he was right. No one talked about it. No one even brought it up. I didn't have to transfer schools after all.

Jenica: What a relief.

Courtney: Right? So there was almost like this proof of hope. And those little moments over the course of the years leading up to my struggles with depression and my struggles getting pregnant with Avery, that proved to me that there is hope, even in the really, really hard times. Like let's figure out how to get through this moment. Tomorrow's a new day, I can get through this.

So I guess that's kind of when it started and how it started. At least, as far back as I can remember.

Jenica: Yeah, I love that. And I think that it's so helpful to have a thought that we know is like our safe thought that can help us get from that really dark place and just not give up. Because we've all been there, whether it's through infertility, or whether it's any other trial that we experience.

Every single human being can relate to that feeling of just being so low and just honestly not wanting to continue on. Just like kind of giving up. It would be easier to just like–

That's what I told my mom, even just like three weeks ago. I was like, "You know what?" I'm like, "It would literally just be easier to hide underneath the covers so no one knew who I was and play it small. And it would be safer there."

And yeah, it's kind of true. But also there is discomfort in everything, and do I want to choose the discomfort of growth? Or do I want to choose the discomfort of stagnation? And either way, it's discomfort.

And so, yeah, it's not the most comfortable feeling in moving forward, whether that's in infertility or whatever else those listeners here are experiencing. But I just think holding onto something and being aware of what brings you the hope to continue moving on is so important.

And for me, that thought in infertility specifically, was that I am a human being. All human beings come to this earth and we all have trials to help refine us and refine our spirits, and give us characteristics that we wouldn't have otherwise. And so for me, infertility is one of those things.

I've had other trials in my life, I'm guaranteeing I'll have more. But for me that helped bring me peace in knowing like if it wasn't this, it'd be something else. And so just to deal with this because it's not like escaping infertility means that you're escaping any hard trials.

Courtney: Right.

Jenica: And it's okay to say that it's hard, it's okay to say I wouldn't wish this on myself. But also knowing that if it wasn't this, truly it probably would be something else. For me, that thought was very peaceful.

And I also think another thing to note is that Courtney's thought or my thought doesn't have to be your thought. And for me, it's what brings me peace and I don't need to prove it to anyone because that's just what brings me peace. And same with Courtney, you don't need to prove that to anyone because that's what brings you peace.

And so I think just being curious in your own life about what thoughts propel you forward and realizing that you can hold on to those regardless of what anyone else thinks, I think is just really valuable in just making it through this crazy life.

Courtney: Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, it's important to remember and talk about that the good thoughts, the routine, having those power statements, whatever they may be, they're not making the trial go away. They're not going to make the pain any less. We're still going to hurt, we're still going to feel the challenges. Things can still feel hard, they'll still be there.

But these are like these little building blocks and tools that we can just put in our tool belt to help us get through them and feel a little bit stronger or maybe just more capable of being able to get through that single day. That single moment that feels really, really hard. And, getting religious again, sorry.

Jenica: No, I love it. How can you not, honestly? I feel like that's what propels me through my life as the foundation of my life. So I love that you're bringing it up.

Courtney: I just love Jesus and God so much. But I trust that their promises to us will come true. I trust that they will follow up on that. So that's where a lot of the hope comes. Hope and trust are together, I'm going to hope in these things and hope that things will get better because I trust the Heavenly Father that they will at some point.

I don't know what point that will be, I just know that they will be. And so I think that helps a ton in being able to rely on that faith and being able to turn some of my will over to them.

Jenica: Yeah, I love that. And it brings me a lot of peace in knowing that I don't have to do it alone. Because I feel like for me, as a perfectionist, it's not the prettiest situation sometimes because I put a lot of pressure on myself to handle it all by myself.

And I feel like this is why I'm so grateful for life coaching and the work that I do now, is because I didn't have that knowledge when I was going through my initial infertility experience. And so I was just like– And I genuinely thought that it was like an innocent thought, where I'm like, "I'm good, I can handle it on my own. I don't need support really." Obviously, I had my husband and my close family members, but I'm like, "I'm good, I can handle it on my own."

And that's a lot my pressure to put on yourself, regardless of whatever circumstance you're in. And so for me in knowing that Jesus and Heavenly Father can take that burden from me and help me carry it is like, oh my gosh, the biggest weight lifted off my shoulders that I was just truly putting on myself.

And I also think like, what do we have to lose? It's like, what's the alternative in thinking that there's no hope? It's like, okay, well, who benefits from that? Not me. So I'm not going to choose that.

Courtney: Yeah, and I'll tell you, I mean, I've been in those very hopeless places before, very dark and scary. The adversary wants us to feel alone in any trial or any experience that is a negative one. He wants us to feel alone, he wants us to just go down those dark holes. And it is just so much better when you surround yourself with people who understand you're not here on this earth alone, you're here with other people for a reason. We're here to share our experiences.

And it took me a little while into kind of my journey with depression to understand that I think I am going through it and still struggling with it so that I can share it with other people. And hopefully help lift them a little bit through it just so they don't feel alone.

The same for you. I mean, you're doing the same thing. You're taking this trial and sharing it with others so that you're not carrying it on your own and that they're not carrying it on their own. Because that's the worst feeling. Just feeling alone in things is just, it's awful and it's dark, and it leads to just the worst things.

Jenica: Yeah, 100%. Okay, so tell us what happened with Avery. When did she enter your family? When did she decide to enter your family from heaven?

Courtney: She took about two years. And we had, gosh, trying to get pregnant with her started in Santa Monica and then we went to Switzerland for a summer for work. And then we were in the Bay Area and I got up to San Francisco and I thought, "Okay, I need to start looking for fertility doctors up here and kind of switch the routine." And she just came.

She's like, "All right, I'm ready." So that was a huge blessing because we didn't have to go down a really long road with a lot of fertility. But she took her sweet time, but she made it. She and Weston are almost five years apart. Man, we're glad she joined though.

Jenica: She's so cute. She's got a spunky personality.

Courtney: She is, she is. And she is just like a go-getter. She is determined. She is just a sweetheart. She has such a good spirit and heart. She wants to make people happy and include everyone. She has a special spirit. I can say that about both my kids. I know I'm their mom, I could brag forever about them. But, man, I don't know how I got so lucky, truly.

Jenica: Well, they're lucky too, to have you as their mother. I love that.

Okay, so is there anything in your life, specifically, that you have experienced that's been really difficult for you. Obviously, infertility was a challenge. Your depression and anxiety, I know you've been really open about, which I appreciate because I know how common it is. And I know you mentioned earlier how isolating it can feel.

And so was there ever a moment where you were really, really struggling and you chose specific thoughts to help propel you forward?

Courtney: Yeah, I mean, gosh, the bouts of depression have been on and off since I was 18. And the panic attacks started, not right away, but probably after I was married. Well, no, right when I was married, it was like one of my first ones.

I mean, there was kind of this– Just to go back to where we were with hope, there was just this little voice in the back of my head oftentimes that just said, "It will get better. It like has to get better." And there was the other voice that said, "It won't get better. It won't, good luck, but it's not going to."

But through it all I've had really supportive parents. Their testimonies and the way I've seen them take on the responsibility of growth and change in their own lives after their divorce and making their own personal changes has given me hope and an example and something to look towards.

They're people that I've always wanted to be just like. And I'm very close with my parents and so as I've seen them really turn to Heavenly Father, do the work that they need to do to make changes in their life has given me a lot of hope and something to pattern my life after.

I want to be active in healing. I want to be active in this journey of depression whether it's going away or not, I don't know that it is. How can I actively be a part of it and take it on and make the routines?

And it was a few years ago, when I kind of had my first opportunity to share my experience with someone. And when I noticed that it helped that other person and what they were going through, that's kind of when a light bulb clicked in some ways for me where I was like, "I don't have to hide this. And I don't have to feel the shame and the guilt that is so often associated with it that people understand who have experienced. Maybe talking about it is a good thing."

Jenica: Yeah.

Courtney:  And so as I was still experiencing it, and still in the depths of depression, and getting panic attacks, and feeling anxiety, I really truly turned to Heavenly Father to help me manage it in a way that I could live my life and be able to share it and be a tool and a mouthpiece for him and a light for him in just helping other children, my brothers and sisters, get through their dark spells and their hard times and knowing that they're not alone.

So I think that thought, you know, there's one that there's the hope, the sun rises, tomorrow will be a new day, maybe I won't feel so bad. Because it’s hard to choose, like people say, "Well, you get to choose if you're happy." And it's like, "Well, yes, except when your brain is wired and you're conditioned and it's an illness that you don't really have a choice sometimes.” Sometimes you wake up, and it is just dark.

Sometimes something just hits you and you are just dark, and you're like, "I'm really trying, I'm really trying to be happy. I'm trying to make the best of it but I just truly don't feel it." But just being able to say tomorrow's going to be a new day so maybe that will be a little bit better. It's got to be a little bit better, right?

But being able to pattern just some of my life after my parents of, "Okay, there's room for growth, there's room for change. And there's a hope for all that trusting that it can happen.

Jenica: Yeah, I love that. And I think that the adversary, kind of going off of what we talked about earlier as well, I think that he wants us to feel alone in our trials and in our pain. And I think it's a way for us to not connect with one another.

And I think we've all been given different experiences in this life to be able to help the next person through them. And if we don't reach out in that vulnerability, and say, "I have problems," which we all do. I just feel like it's the strangest thing that we all build up in our head that we need to be perfect, but everyone else isn't.

Or sometimes we trick ourselves into thinking, "Well, everyone else is and so I have to be too." And I'm like, "Where did that come from?" I just feel like that's one of the biggest lies of the adversary, that he just really, I think, separates us with that thought.

And it's so strange to me because I'm like, "How are all of us believing this?" And we all do at times. And so I think it's this really important thing to consistently be reminding ourselves that we're just human, life is 50/50, we're supposed to experience pain. Is it comfortable? No, but there's always lessons to be learned from it and connections from it as well. Thank you for sharing that.

Courtney: Absolutely.

Jenica: Okay, Courtney, where can people find you when they want to connect with you?

Courtney: I'm on Instagram, @cakebycourtney, and then my website is cakebycourtney.com, and I have products and stuff over at shop.cakebycourtney.com. But you'll see a lot of it over on Instagram and my blog.

Jenica: Amazing. I've linked all of that in the show notes, thank you so much for joining us today, Courtney. I appreciate you and your light and your message that you share. Thank you.

Courtney: Thank you, Jenica. I appreciate being here.

I know how tough it is to struggle through infertility. If you’re ready to get ahead of the pain and frustration, the best way is to give yourself an ironclad mindset. I have a free download for you, it’s my Morning Mindset Magic checklist where you’ll get the seven tips I use to conquer my mindset each morning.

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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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