57. How to Love Your Body Even Though it's Imperfect with Ashley Reeves

Mar 28, 2022

In today's society, we are bombarded by the media that our bodies are meant to look a certain way, feel a certain way, work a certain way, when really, that isn't how they were designed at all! Our bodies are living miracles, and what a blessing that is! God never intended for them to be perfect. However, it can still feel frustrating when it feels like our bodies are holding us back in our life journey.

This week, I'm joined by a special friend, Ashley Reeves, who has walked the same path many women have with body image. Ashley has walked through illness and heartbreak along her journey and has been able to find the beauty and gratitude surrounding her own body image. She is passionate about help women of all ages do the same through her platform.

Join me and Ashley this week as we discuss loving your imperfect body. Ashley is sharing her intimate experiences with her health and explains how she was able to find gratitude in her body from those events. We are also discussing our body and health frustrations and how to see God's perfect timing when it feels like an interruption on our day to day. This is a conversation you won't want to miss.



 ✨ 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!


Leaving a rating and review on Apple Podcasts (and make sure hit the "+" sign at the top to subscribe), and listen in each week as I announce a new winner of my PJ's and socks! This is the only way you can get these products now! This helps other women that are seeking support to more easily find Fearless Infertility. You're the best!


✨Exciting things are coming to my Fearless Infertility Program! Starting April 1st - less than 1 week!! - I'm launching a new self-paced course where I will teach and walk you through the model that you can apply to not only infertility, but even to other areas of your life. Make sure you are signed up for my newsletters to be the first to know when doors open!  


What You'll Learn on This Episode:

  • How to love your body the way that it is for how it functions and not for what it looks like
  • How to find peace around your body image through experiences
  • How some scary experiences in Ashley's health changed her perspective on her body and how it can help you too
  • Tuning into your body for what is working and being grateful for those functioning parts
  • How it can be frustrating when it feels like our body is holding us back and interrupting our journey, when really God has set everything in perfect timing
  • Understanding that our bodies are miracles, regardless of body image


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Full Episode Transcript:


[00:00:00] Jenica Parcell: 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 .

[00:00:26] Jenica Parcell: Welcome to episode 57 of Fearless Infertility. How to love your body, even though it's imperfect with Ashley Reeves. At the end of today's episode, you will have a new perspective on your body and how you are capable of viewing it. This episode is absolutely incredible. I'm so excited for you to listen.

[00:00:46] Jenica Parcell: I am so excited to have you here with me today my friends. I hope you are doing well today and if you're not, I hope that this episode can bring you some joy and some light. I am so excited to get to introduce to you today my friend, Ashley Reeves. If you don't know who she is yet, you're about to, and you're going to fall in love with her because of the incredible messages she shares with us about loving your bodies. And I think regardless of experiencing infertility, I think that as women, we have a harder time loving and appreciating our bodies and I think there's so many reasons for that. I think that in general, we're targeted by the media, by magazines, by so many different forms of communication that our bodies are not right how they are right now. Any of us can go through a million different examples of where we can see that and so not only do we have those messages around us all the time. When something like infertility hits us, it can be really, really challenging because our body's not working how it's supposed to work, right? I've said this a million times before, but I'll say it again. We don't expect infertility to happen to us typically. We are taught how you have babies and when it's time to want to have a baby, we know how that's typically supposed to happen. And when it doesn't happen for us, it can be very tempting to look at our bodies and be critical and be confused and be judgmental. And if you're in that space right now, know first of all that you're not alone, and know also that there is a different better way. And Ashley is going to talk with us today about that and I'm just so excited. I just think that this is a message that everybody needs to hear regardless of experiencing infertility or not. I just think it's such an incredible uplifting way to look at our bodies that house our souls and you're just in for a treat today. She's the coolest. So I'm excited for you to get to listen to her today.

[00:02:37] Jenica Parcell: Before we get into today's episode, I always love to share a podcast review from apple podcasts. And the reason why it's so important for me for you to leave reviews is because there are so many women who have no idea who I am, they have no idea about Fearless Infertility, about this incredible community, about these beautiful tools, and they are more able to easily find this podcast and get introduced to this world in this community because of it when there are more reviews, because apple podcast says, oh, people like this podcast, I'm going to show it to more people. So it's really important for me that you leave reviews. So if you could go ahead and do that, that would be incredible, and just know that you were really helping someone who may feel really alone and doesn't know where to turn.

[00:03:17] Jenica Parcell: Today's podcast review winner is by username FloridaKait. The title is 'Must Listen! A Wonderful Resource'. She said after struggling to conceive and then experiencing a chemical pregnancy followed by an early loss. I've grappled with feeling fearful and anxious and in weak moments, it felt like I was losing hope. Discovering Jenica, her podcast and the community she's built has been such a blessing. She's a comfort and encouragement during a season of uncertainty and her authenticity and transparency has been such a gift. Grateful for the stories she shares, the resources she provides, and the perspective that she offers. Fearless Infertility is a must follow for anyone looking for realness along with helpful information and even laughs in their fertility journey. In many ways, this community feels like a place of hope for the hopeless and- oh, I'm going to start crying! It makes me so happy cause I'm like, this is what we need, right? This is, this is what we need as women who are experiencing infertility. She says Jenica coaches us through finding joy amidst the struggle, or reminds us that we're not alone. So if you could email me at [email protected] with your address and the size you want, you are the winner of this week's pajamas and socks set. So I created these incredible bamboo pajamas. You actually can no longer buy them. I'm really focusing on my program to help you through infertility and giving you the tools that you need. So I'm no longer selling these. You can only win them through leaving a review on the podcast. And then also a pair of my incredible socks. So everyone go leave a review, please. I would appreciate it so much. And then you could be the next winner, and I just, this just brings me a lot of joy. So I hope that the rest of you listening have also found this space, Fearless Infertility, to be a really incredible home when you are feeling hopeless and just know that you're not alone.

[00:05:01] Jenica Parcell: Another thing that I'm so excited about is I'm relaunching Fearless Infertility program in the first week of April and I've been working really hard to create this beautiful self paced program where I am holding your hand all along the way and teaching you the exact tools that you need to have more hope, to feel less stressed, to feel less overwhelmed and to really feel confident in your next step in infertility. And if you've been looking for tools to really better your life and just feel better and you know that there could be a better way, this is the better way. And I cannot wait for doors to open. So keep an eye out for that. Watch your inbox. And I will be announcing that and I can't wait to get to know you. It's going to be incredible. [00:05:49] Jenica Parcell: So without further ado, I cannot wait for you to listen to my conversation with Ashley. Let's go.

[00:05:56] Jenica Parcell: Alright, friends. Welcome back to Fearless Infertility. I have my friend Ashley Reeves here with me today. I am so excited you're here, Ashley. Welcome!

[00:06:05] Ashley Reeves: Well, oh, welcome. Hello! Thank you!

[00:06:07] Jenica Parcell: Haha, welcome and hello!

[00:06:09] Ashley Reeves: I'm so stoked to be here!

[00:06:11] Jenica Parcell: Oh my gosh, I'm so happy you're here and you were actually one of the first people I thought about interviewing when I started this podcast, because I love the message you share with women. Ashley is all about body love and teaching us how to love our bodies and I'm so excited to get into why she's so passionate about it today and get into her story. So thanks for being here.

[00:06:29] Ashley Reeves: Thank you for having me. I love you.

[00:06:31] Jenica Parcell: I love you. So Ashley, will you tell us, first of all, give us a little background on who you are, your story and why body love and helping women in that particular area in their lives is so important for you.

[00:06:44] Ashley Reeves: Yeah. My name is Ashley and I am a mom of four kids, living in Utah, been here for awhile. I just grew up with a ton of body image issues. I was bullied a ton. So I am six feet tall. I've always been like very big compared to my peers and from a really young age, it was just a constant focus. Almost every time I'd meet new people, it was always the first thing they said. And also I was a pretty overweight teenager as well. So I just had this like size. I remember watching football as a teenager and they would be talking about football players and I'd be like, oh my gosh, I weigh more than a football player. Like just these weird things and I would get this weird body image about how awful my body was. And I had very petite, small friends, and I had a group of friends that were great, but they were also girls who had their own body image issues, but they would be complaining about, weighing over a hundred pounds or something. It would just be so mind blowing to me. And I'd be like, oh my gosh, I'm double your size. It was just this math game in my head. The older I get, I realized how severe it was. Like, I could literally tell you how much I weighed every year of my life since I was eight years old. I just knew it. I tracked it. I was writing it down. I was obsessive about it. I was always on diets. I was always, you know, challenging myself to lose weight. But it just caused so many problems with these really vicious cycles of restricting and binging and just lots of stuff.

[00:08:04] Ashley Reeves: So once I got to college, I lost a lot of weight and it wasn't in a healthy way, but I did lose a lot of weight. And I had a few years where I kind of experienced the other side of life, I call it, where like, you are treated differently as a thin person in the world and kind of seeing that difference and just holding onto it, with like the grips of so much anxiety. Just never wanting to be treated or teased or bullied or made fun of for my appearance again, I kind of felt this obsession holding on to this weight loss. Even so much that like I had started dating my husband, and it was before the days of Facebook and social media, and I didn't want him to ever know that I had been overweight. Cause I just assumed, oh, if he ever saw he would leave me, he'd be done. Like he'd be out, you know?

[00:08:47] Ashley Reeves: And even into motherhood, I started having a couple kids and when I did start gaining weight again, it caused so, so many issues, so much heartbreak. My number one thing for not wanting to have kids was not wanting to gain weight and I would lose sleep over it. I would run marathons. I would try all this stuff to try to stay on top of it. And it was just a really, really messed up headspace for years and years and years. And, I had a couple experiences that really helped me find peace with my body and we can talk more about those as we get into it.

[00:09:15] Jenica Parcell: Yeah.

[00:09:15] Ashley Reeves: But I've been really grateful the past about six or seven years, I've found such a gratitude and love for my body and what it does and what it's allowed me to do in my life. And I've found so much peace. And because I know the difference and I know the torment of a mind that is not okay with their body, I just want to help other women not suffer like I did, and I speak to kind of two groups, because I speak to a lot of women my age. I'm 38 and you know, about my age, who struggled with body image, who we have so much to heal from, but I also love speaking to teenage girls. Kind of in a hope to prevent. More of a like, offense, defense type of thing, you know?

[00:09:55] Jenica Parcell: Yeah.

[00:09:55] Ashley Reeves: Like try to help them not get to a place where it gets so dark and scary.

[00:09:59] Jenica Parcell: Yeah.

[00:09:59] Ashley Reeves: But as my body's changed, and I've gained weight and lost weight and had babies and got sick and all this stuff, I really have more peace than ever around my body for how it functions and not what it looks like. So-

[00:10:12] Jenica Parcell: I love that.

[00:10:13] Ashley Reeves: Long story short-

[00:10:14] Jenica Parcell: I love that. No it's beautiful. And I just love that so much too, and I love that you said you want to share it with teenagers too, because I think so many of us, even if it wasn't super extreme, I think we can all relate to this-

[00:10:23] Ashley Reeves: Yeah.

[00:10:23] Jenica Parcell: Because I mean, I can remember being in elementary school too and I was just naturally taller and bigger than all my friends. And eventually they caught up to me, but for years I was the biggest one. It was like a subconscious comparison. And I remember looking in the mirror thinking I was so much bigger and taller. That was a bad thing?

[00:10:40] Ashley Reeves: Yeah.

[00:10:40] Jenica Parcell: And it was like, no one was telling me this, really. I mean, I'm sure there were certain things I was seeing in magazines. So I love that you're making girls aware of this-

[00:10:49] Ashley Reeves: Yeah.

[00:10:49] Jenica Parcell: -because even my daughter, you know, it's like this messaging, I want to give her when she says different things. Like for example, she'll eat some food and she's five years old so her belly gets big because she has a tiny belly, you know? There's only one way to go is out. And she'll be like, oh mom, I ate lots of food and my belly's big. And I tell her, Goldie, your body is just the right size. How amazing that your body is adjusting to be able to process the food that you are eating and give your body energy. And so I love that we are, based on our past experiences, able to then give this narrative to our children and to teenagers, but hopefully it will prevent them from thinking that it's normal to hate your body.

[00:11:24] Ashley Reeves: Yeah, I think it's so true. I think that we have this awareness now that we didn't have as kids growing up, you know? I think our parents did the best they could. My mom is great and I actually never really heard my mom say bad things about her body, but there was this inherent thing in society where magazines and the way people dressed and there was always like all of the beauty marketing was to tell us that we were not good enough as we were.

[00:11:49] Jenica Parcell: Right.

[00:11:50] Ashley Reeves: And now you can kind of see it for what it is that it's like this marketing ploy to make you feel bad, make you feel like their product can solve your problem. And it's also outward focused and none of it ever focuses on what's on the inside and that's where we're really hurting and broken. And so, yeah, it's so true. It is so empowering to be able to talk to teenagers and also I feel really blessed to be raising a daughter. I think boys struggle with their own body images as well, but it is definitely a very female dominated issue. I love raising my daughter who is very tall. She lines up with all of her little dance friends, and she's like two feet taller than all of them.

[00:12:22] Jenica Parcell: Haha, yeah.

[00:12:23] Ashley Reeves: And right now, you know, I know I'm not blind to like the realities of life, but right now she loves how tall she is and she talks about it and always be like, oh, I'm so strong. And I love watching her. Like, she goes downstairs in our little gym and she works out and she was like, I can't wait to be stronger. And I love her talking about strength instead of skinny and-

[00:12:40] Jenica Parcell: Yeah.

[00:12:41] Ashley Reeves: -I don't know, just trying the best we can, you know, when we learn better, we do better.

[00:12:45] Jenica Parcell: Right.

[00:12:45] Ashley Reeves: And no blaming our parents or the generations before us. But I just think we have an awareness now that can help us try to fix this issue.

[00:12:54] Jenica Parcell: Yeah. I love that. Okay. So Ashley got really, really sick, and will you go and tell us about that story? What happened? And what you've learned through being sick and basically like what good came from that for you?

[00:13:09] Ashley Reeves: Yeah. So, because I know this podcast is an infertility podcast, I personally haven't struggled with a lot of infertility, but one thing that was a huge blessing. So I started sharing online my body image journey, and I was trying to feel better about the way my body looked. And it was things like, I didn't feel comfortable in a swimsuit. I felt like I was choosing to skip out on options for memories with my kids and going places. If there ever was a place where I had to be in a swim suit, I would opt out. And I felt like my kids miss out on things and I miss out on things. And so I spent a couple of years just trying to feel more comfortable showing up in public. Even being on Instagram, I was so happy to be a food blogger at first cause I could just take a picture of food. That was how I started. And I was like, oh, no one ever has to see me. This is going to be great. And that was a ton of really important healing. It was. Because I had so many issues with just my physical appearance. And about two years ago I was in a really good place actually. I was super healthy. I actually had taken really good care of my body. And I had made all these decisions for my health that truly were from a place of love and not shame. I felt like I was in the best health of my life, truly, and I was in a good head space and I had kind of dealt with all these body image issues I had. And then I got really sick. I got meningitis and I had a stroke and was hospitalized and I was put on a pic line and home in hospital care for about a month. And then I stayed in bed for several months after that. My body really just kind of fell apart and it was so hard. I kind of felt like a soccer ball. I was being kicked around to all these doctors. They were trying to figure out what was going on. And when I was hospitalized initially that first week, I remember overhearing the doctors in the hall talking about the mortality rate. I didn't know much about meningitis.

[00:14:45] Jenica Parcell: Yeah.

[00:14:45] Ashley Reeves: And I was like, wait, what? And I pulled out my phone and I started Googling. It kind of started scaring me. And this was the first health issue I'd ever had. I'd had health issues in the past, but that didn't really have an explanation. I was technically healthy and fine, and it just kind of came out of nowhere and they didn't really know how to fix it. And it wasn't clearing up with the typical treatments. I started to get really scared and there is a high fatality rate with meningitis and I started getting really mad at my body again. I was like, are you kidding me?

[00:15:16] Jenica Parcell: Yeah.

[00:15:16] Ashley Reeves: I worked so hard to get so healthy. And, and I feel like what this really taught me was, it was so beyond what I look like in a swimsuit.

[00:15:25] Jenica Parcell: Yeah.

[00:15:25] Ashley Reeves: It was like really sitting and finding gratitude and peace for my body, even when it wasn't working. And I did have a new appreciation for people who do struggle with chronic illness, with infertility, with frustrations with the body that just doesn't work, no matter how many things you do right, you know? It felt so beyond my control. And I really, really had to tune into the pieces of my body that were working and just the simple gratitude of being alive. One of the main things that changed my life really is I had a family friend pass away seven years ago from cancer. It was when I was in a bad place body image wise and I just remember feeling so down about my body and then we got this phone call and she had four kids that she was leaving and I was just devastated for her. I had this vision of her standing in a room of thousands of women. The actual vision was in my high school in the auditorium. But her standing there, like on the stage and just listening. And you think about how many times you've been in conversations with women where we just complain about our bodies. It's really normal actually for women to get together and-

[00:16:36] Jenica Parcell: Yeah.

[00:16:36] Ashley Reeves: -Talk about like doing, I need to do this cleanse. I need this kind of treatment. I need to get this boob job. I need to do this. And like-

[00:16:41] Jenica Parcell: Yeah. It's, it's sad how common it is.

[00:16:44] Ashley Reeves: It's so common.

[00:16:45] Jenica Parcell: Yeah.

[00:16:46] Ashley Reeves: And I thought about her standing up there and just kind of like hearing all these conversations and just being like, okay, I'll trade you then. If you hate your body that bad, I will take the body that is 20 pounds overweight, a hundred pounds overweight. I'll take the body that can't even walk like people who complain about not being able to walk. I'll take the body that can have babies right now. I'll take the body that can't function. Like, I'll swap you because if I had a body that allowed me to stay here, I would be so grateful. And that little vision I had changed my life. And it was just something, cause I was in such a low place, and I knew this woman who was literally losing everything. And you know, she's not here anymore and her kids are growing up without her and I know she would give anything to be here and I'm going to cry, but like really, it is all that matters is that we're here right now. And we don't know when it's done for us. We don't know. And how silly of us to waste our time, our precious time, complaining about the parts and the pieces that don't look or work the way that we want them to. And I know the struggle is real, and I think that's what getting sick taught me is it was so beyond what it looked like. I'm like, no, it really is hard to live in a body with pain and it doesn't make it easy. And it wasn't as easy as like, oh, I just need to be grateful. Like I had to work for it.

[00:18:01] Jenica Parcell: Right.

[00:18:01] Ashley Reeves: I had to meditate. I had to pray. I had to try to understand God's plan for my body. Yeah, this might not heal for me. Like this might not fix and I'm going to have to be okay with that, but it really was this beautiful opportunity to have more empathy for others and also to grow closer to God.

[00:18:20] Jenica Parcell: Yeah.

[00:18:20] Ashley Reeves: Because the whole reason we're here is to go through hard things and experience things. They give us opportunities to draw closer to Him, and that's kind of what that experience helped me to do.

[00:18:35] Jenica Parcell: Yeah. Oh, that's so beautiful. Thanks for sharing that. I think also too, on a religious note, while you were talking, it had me thinking about how the adversary, satin, whatever you want to call him, he doesn't have a body. And so I truly believe that one of his biggest tools that works so well on so many of us is that we have this incredible body that houses our souls to be able to accomplish the things that God wants us to accomplish in life, to be able to expand our souls with characteristics that we wouldn't have otherwise. And his biggest, I think most winning tool that he uses is to twist that into a lie and make us pick apart our bodies that are really such an incredible gift.

[00:19:18] Ashley Reeves: Yeah.

[00:19:18] Jenica Parcell: And nobody's body is perfect. I mean, you know, you look around, it's like you have infertility or you have a sickness. I mean, even just minor sicknesses, right? We get colds. We get flus.

[00:19:28] Ashley Reeves: Yeah.

[00:19:28] Jenica Parcell: And for the longest time for me, it was so frustrating because I'm like, I have this idea in my head of how I want to live my life, and every time I would get sick or experience a part of my infertility or I got the Epstein-Barr virus after my twins were born. That was really hard to recover from and I used to have the perspective that I was so annoyed by it, right? It was so inconvenient to be a human, really, you know? Because it's like, and I've kinda thought about it-

[00:19:52] Ashley Reeves: That's so true.

[00:19:52] Jenica Parcell: Because it's like we have these souls that are so limitless, right? Without the limitations of our body what couldn't we do?

[00:19:58] Ashley Reeves: Oh my gosh.

[00:19:58] Jenica Parcell: And then it got me thinking, I was like, well obviously God knows what He was doing, and I'm not going to be out of my human body anytime soon. So I'm like, how can I look at it in a way that would benefit me and so that's kind of how I started to look at my body with all of these incredible limitations that it's just like, oh my gosh, not again. Now, I'm pregnant and I'm super nauseous. And before that, I was feeling sick because I was doing infertility treatments before that I had the Epstein-Barr virus and blah, blah, blah, you know? Like, I mean, everyone has their list of things that kind of hold them back. And I'm like obviously there was a reason, right? I'm just not seeing it with my human perspective. I'm like, obviously there's a reason. And I think that we can learn so much from being in our bodies, and it's like, who hasn't learned from really hard trials that you wouldn't have experienced if you weren't in your human body?

[00:20:40] Ashley Reeves: Yeah.

[00:20:40] Jenica Parcell: Because you have to be in your human body to experience those. Because I mean, all of us, I think anyone listening could probably experience with at least a little bit of body image issues. And I think that that's one of satan's biggest tactics is to say, okay, well you have so much to learn, this is such a beautiful gift you've been given, how can I twist it to make it so that you don't see that?

[00:21:00] Ashley Reeves: Yeah.

[00:21:00] Jenica Parcell: And pick apart these little things. And so I love that you have used your experience being sick to see it, because I, I felt the same way. Like I've been so sick before recovering from Epstein-Barr virus. If those of you listening don't know what that is. It's basically, it's a virus that causes mono. And, I, I ate a bunch of whole foods. I did all sorts of supplements. It took me several months to finally heal from it once I discovered that was my issue of major fatigue. But after that, I was like, oh my gosh, I'm so grateful. I, like just the fact that I feel normal, you know, for a little bit, that's all I need. I don't care how much cellulite's on my legs.

[00:21:31] Ashley Reeves: Yeah.

[00:21:32] Jenica Parcell: The fact that I can use my body to do the things I want to in life was everything for me in that perspective. I think that it's helpful to process through negative emotions when you're experiencing really hard trials, but then also I think looking back and saying, okay, what can I learn from it? And being in this really frail body, like what did I learn from that? And we can all say, I mean, you can't deny the characteristics that you've gained through being physically here in your body, that your soul's here in your body.

[00:21:59] Ashley Reeves: Yeah.

[00:21:59] Jenica Parcell: There's things that you would not have been able to become, had you not experienced the things that you have in your body.

[00:22:04] Ashley Reeves: Yeah, I love what you said too about, we have these limitless souls in a body with limits because that is that frustration that we feel, right? Like we have these ideas of how we want things to be. And I will say I mean, not like I'm some wise grandmother yet, but I do feel like, I'm like, I'm 38. I feel like I know a little bit more than I did when I was 28. Just more living experience.

[00:22:25] Ashley Reeves: Yeah.

[00:22:25] Ashley Reeves: And we see these patterns in our life where something felt like a huge deal and an insurmountable trial, and then give it a few years, and we see, oh, there was a purpose in that. And we see how it changed our lives for the good. And we see that, you know? And I'm grateful for these little things that have happened along the way that have helped me. I feel like now when something big and huge happens, even this week, we got some really hard news and I was like, I know it's going to be okay. I don't know how it's going to turn out, but I know that Heavenly Father gives us these things for us to learn. And it's kind of the whole reason we're here. And I've always said this, but I would say it and I believed it and then it started to bother me, but I've come around more peace to it. But I had this thing in my head that I would always say, and I would put it on Instagram and all this stuff. It's the funny thing about living a life experience and documenting it sometimes as you can look back and be like, I don't like my own advice.

[00:23:17] Jenica Parcell: Haha yeah.

[00:23:18] Ashley Reeves: But, I remember being frustrated because I wanted to run. I wanted to be a runner. I kind of wanted to, like, I went through this phase and I tried to do the half marathon. It wrecked my knees and the doctor was like, I just don't think for your body type, because like I said, I'm 6 feet tall, that this is a great thing for you because it was really bad. And I would get frustrated. And then I just had this feeling once, like, if you're meant to do it, your body will carry you through it. And I love that. And that helped me find peace. I'm like, okay, I guess my thing in life is not to be a runner and that's okay. And I'll explore other things. I did find other things I loved. But I think about someone going through a fertility struggle, that would be a frustrating piece of advice. Like, well, if I meant to do it, my body will allow me to do it. We don't know if that will always be the case, right?

[00:23:57] Jenica Parcell: Yeah.

[00:23:57] Ashley Reeves: One thing that I've really admired with, families with infertility, and I've been really fortunate to have siblings and some of my best closest friends like you and Amy, and so many people I love, that I feel like I have this front row seat to the struggles of infertility that have really helped me learn so much. But one thing I've always admired is the fight to build these families. Like the things you have to go through, to work through, the things you have to overcome. It's really admirable. And just trusting that like that is the path to your family, like you're fighting a different kind of fight, with your body, with your time, with your money. Like there's so much that goes into it. And I've always really admired that. But like I said, it's this piece of advice, if you're meant to do it, your body will carry you through it. And I feel like, I got mad at myself for that own advice, but now I'm kind of seeing like, oh, I still believe that. I think it's true. Like your body and your mind, you'll just fight a different kind of fight. You'll find another way. What you said about satan is so true. Women are freaking unstoppable. What we do to, create, we are like born creators, right?

[00:24:55] Ashley Reeves: Yeah.

[00:24:56] Ashley Reeves: And we want to create these- oh my gosh, I'm not going to cry- but we want to create these beautiful lives for our families, and, I do believe it is a tool of satan to distract us and make us think the most important thing is what our body looks like or how. It is a way that he uses to attack us. It's so silly. Like, when I go out, you know, Jenica and I are close friends and we get to go spend time together. We have a really wonderful group of women that when we get together, it's just really a beautiful experience every time. We all just care about each other deeply and we can have these wonderful conversations. And, you know, when you spend time with women and you hear them just attack their body- and you guys don't do this, is what I'm saying-

[00:25:34] Jenica Parcell: Yeah.

[00:25:34] Ashley Reeves: But you know the difference. When you go spend time with people and, bless their hearts, cause they're still trying to figure it out, but attacking their bodies and what they look like and talking about all the things they need to get done and fixed and cut and all this stuff. It's just, it's hard to hear because I see it differently. And, you think about like, satan really is taking it. And he's like, okay, if I can, if I can like, just really get in with this and just try to make it, make them twist their experiences and even just like, this sounds harsh, but it's helped me too, it's like, it's actually a really selfish thought process to be obsessed with our bodies, and how they look all the time. It's kind of selfish. It distracts us from doing good and focusing on the things that matter and focusing on the people that we love right in front of us. And I just think it's scary, what's happened, but I see so much change and I see women trying to take back the narrative and to appreciate their bodies and to really focus on healing those broken pieces of us, you know?

[00:26:34] Jenica Parcell: Oh, I love that. Such a great perspective. For me I'm like a natural born, type A, perfectionist. And I say that not as in like, like a happy way, it's like, kind of like a crutch sometimes, you know?

[00:26:46] Ashley Reeves: Yeah.

[00:26:46] Jenica Parcell: Cause, it's like, I have these expectations of myself. I have these expectations of my body, of my life. And when things don't go as planned, in the past, it's been very challenging.

[00:26:56] Jenica Parcell: Yeah!

[00:26:57] Jenica Parcell: And, and it's like this fine line between what you can control and what you can't control. And it's like, what do you hold tight to and control, and what do you kind of let go and say, okay, I just need to kind of like, relax. And so it's like this weird fine line because God gives us agency and he values agency so much, and so I know that that's important. And then I also know that trusting him is also important. So it's like this very fine balance between the two, like where-

[00:27:22] Ashley Reeves: Yeah.

[00:27:23] Jenica Parcell: -okay where do I rest in there? And the other day, I was reading this conference talk. I was really wrestling with it in my heart because going through infertility and getting pregnant and all of these blessings that like, luckily we're hopefully going to be able to have a baby in our family and all that, but it also really slows you down, right? Like with infertility, with the treatments and a lot of the shots that it really slows people down. And there's these experiences in life, infertility or not, that really slow you down from reaching your goals and your dreams. And really, for me, it's like a calling from God. I really want to help these women through this experience. And so for me, I'm like, okay, well why am I being slowed down then? I have all of these resources I want to give these women. I want to, you know, do this for them and that for them and create this for them, but I'm sick in bed. And so how am I able to create that? And it was just like this, this thing that I was wrestling within my soul. And so I read this conference talk and I feel like it was it, to be honest with you, I can't remember even what the conference talk was. I feel like God talks to you kind of where you're at a lot of the time.

[00:28:18] Ashley Reeves: Yeah.

[00:28:18] Jenica Parcell: You have this prayer in your heart, then he'll be able to speak with you wherever you're at. And so I don't really know if the conference talk title is even necessary. I'll link it in the show notes if anybody wants to read it, but basically it referenced a scripture that talked about, that He will give you strength to accomplish what is expedient that He wants you to accomplish. And I looked up expedient because I didn't know what that meant. I kind of like, context clues. I was like, all right, I'm pretty sure I know what it means, but it basically meant like what, what he wanted, basically like, cause for me, like I said, I feel like a lot of us feel called to be mothers or we feel called to create certain things in our lives and so when things get in the way of that, it's like, okay, what's the point of that? You know? It's like I have this calling and then I'm, feel like I'm so held back. And that scripture has really helped give me a lot of strength because I feel like He will help all of us accomplish what needs to be accomplished in our lives and He will give us the strength to do that and so doing what we can and then easing back and saying, okay, I know He'll give me the strength to do what He wants me to do gives me so much peace. Because then I'm like, all right, nothing's getting in the way. This is exactly how it is supposed to be right now. Yes, it's challenging to slow down and feel sick or whatever it is that we're experiencing, but it doesn't mean that the things that we're supposed to accomplish won't get accomplished. They still will. And that brings me a lot of peace and comfort.

[00:29:35] Ashley Reeves: Absolutely. That's the whole, if you're meant to do it, your body will carry you through it, you know?

[00:29:39] Jenica Parcell: Yeah, yeah.

[00:29:40] Ashley Reeves: That's what it is, like trusting, like, okay, when the timing is right. And I think it is hard to kind of let go of that control cause I'm like you too. I'm like, no, I want to know. I, I want to control, like I want it to happen it when I want it to.

[00:29:51] Jenica Parcell: Yeah.

[00:29:51] Ashley Reeves: But, also one thing that's really funny when I got sick, I got sick in August of 2020. There was a lot of stuff going on online. Like it was really contentious. It was really hard. And the way I do my business, I show up on Instagram almost daily and it was getting really, really hard for me and I wasn't really sure what to do. And I had decided I was like, you know what, I'm tired of sharing things I love and care about because it felt too vulnerable. And so I had literally decided, I was like, I'm just going to be a social media coach.

[00:30:22] Jenica Parcell: Yeah.

[00:30:22] Ashley Reeves: And I make it online and I'm going to tell people how to run their social media. And that just takes my emotions out of it. And I really had made a plan. And there's even a video of me in bed the day before I got sick. I had just gotten LASIK. I'm wearing sunglasses and I'm like, you guys, I'm going to start sharing more social media tips here. And I, it wasn't just out of nowhere. Like I had done brand school with our friend Allison.

[00:30:42] Jenica Parcell: Right, yeah you had good, great experience.

[00:30:43] Ashley Reeves: I was, I was doing social media tutorials on TikTok and it just kind of felt like a natural transition for me. And it's so funny, cause when that happened, I remember being in the hospital, looking at my phone and seeing other people teaching social media. It was like right when reels came out and I kind of thought this was my green light, cause I had already been teaching video tips on TikTok and I was like oh, this will be perfect. And I just saw this green light and I remember feeling frustrated like I was being held back.

[00:31:07] Jenica Parcell: Yeah.

[00:31:07] Ashley Reeves: I'm like, no, this is what I want to do. Like, I don't want to be in the hospital. I want to be out doing this. And it's so funny because literally I was given the gift within about a month of like being sick, I literally was watching someone's tutorial on changing the font colors of a video. And I was like, I would cry if this were my life, I don't want to teach people how to do font colors.

[00:31:30] Jenica Parcell: You're like, it's too boring, I'm not that, not that passionate about it.

[00:31:32] Ashley Reeves: I can't! And like, bless the people that do it, but I was so grateful that God kind of took that from me. So I was in the hospital and I was feeling those feelings of jealousy that other people were doing what I wanted to do. And I felt like I was being like physically held back. I could not do anything online because I was so sick. I was literally in bed plugged up to IVs. Like why? Like, Yes! You're like, this is my chance.

[00:31:54] Ashley Reeves: Yeah!

[00:31:54] Ashley Reeves: All of the stars have aligned.

[00:31:56] Ashley Reeves: Oh my gosh. It was so frustrating. And then it's just so funny because now, like it's been two years. I have zero interest in doing anything of the sort, and I have felt so much alignment and peace this year, as I've refocused back to body positivity and also appreciating life, just like loving life and being grateful for the breath in our lungs. And also I've been developing this beautiful body love basics line, which has been so fun. And the reason I had to do that is because my body was transitioning in sizes again. And I was gaining weight and I was in bed all the time. But I felt so differently about it. I was gaining weight in this like, beautiful way, because I was just so happy I was alive and I was slowly healing and my body was softer, but it was being cared for. And I just wanted clothing that felt good on my body and it just has developed into this beautiful thing and this new business that I have so much excitement for, and there literally seems no end in sight or possibilities for where it could go and what I could do with it. And I see the blessing in and out. I'm like, I'm literally sitting in bed with these big fat sunglasses, being like, I'm going to be a social media coach. And I'm like, it's hysterical like how badly I wanted it and how God literally just plopped me out of it and was like, nope, not here. Not now. That's not what we're doing.

[00:33:12] Jenica Parcell: Yeah.

[00:33:12] Ashley Reeves: And I just have so much more peace and alignment and more gratitude for just even being alive and I'm grateful for it, but oh my gosh, at the time I was just so mad. So mad.

[00:33:22] Jenica Parcell: Yeah. Yes. Well, I love that you have that because I mean, it's so relatable with, you know, not necessarily with that specific situation, but we've all been in this situation where we have our best plans and then all of a sudden it's like, wait a minute. It's not possible to accomplish that. What is happening?

[00:33:37] Ashley Reeves: Yeah.

[00:33:37] Jenica Parcell: So I love that you're able to look back and see the gift in it and it takes a lot of patients to be able to get through that, and, so do you have any specific thoughts that you can recall that helped you when you were in those dark moments of being so physically ill, you couldn't really do what you wanted to? Is there anything, that you'd like, that helped you to like grasp onto some light and hope for the future?

[00:33:59] Ashley Reeves: This might sound a little dark, but I read this book called Proof of Heaven and it was such a beautiful book for me to read at the time, because it just helped calm a lot of my anxiety about, you know, I've always had like a testimony, then the afterlife, and like God and all this stuff, but it does really jar you a little bit when you're like, oh, wait, am I, is this actually like up for me? And it brought me a lot of peace and the best thoughts that I had is I just knew that I had no control. And that I had to give it to God and you have to rely on Him and lean on Him. And I just had to trust the process. I just had to be like, okay, what does this look like for me? And I really turned my gratitude to parts of my body that were working. And so I think about that too, when you're going through infertility, focusing on the parts that are working. Like our bodies are actual miracles. When you think about our eyes, these things that see and process all this stuff around us. And the fact that our bodies breathe independently, I think we take like 700,000 breaths a day or something like that? And then we already focus on a lot in life, right?

[00:35:03] Jenica Parcell: Yeah.

[00:35:03] Ashley Reeves: We're busy multi-taskers you and I, and a lot of women. [00:35:06] Jenica Parcell: Yes, yeah.

[00:35:07] Ashley Reeves: And imagine if we also on top of that, we're trying to manage, okay, remember, to breathe, every, few seconds and remember to blink and like our bodies just operate independently of us. So I just really became so grateful for our bodies and what a crazy magic miracle they are because everything functions independently, like I remember being so grateful that we have two communication devices, our brain and our mouth.

[00:35:34] Jenica Parcell: Yeah.

[00:35:34] Ashley Reeves: And I was like, how wonderful that everything we think does not have to come out of our mouth.

[00:35:39] Ashley Reeves: Oh, yes. Haha, oh that's amazing.

[00:35:41] Ashley Reeves: What a blessing that we can have some thoughts and keep them to ourselves-

[00:35:44] Ashley Reeves: Yes.

[00:35:45] Ashley Reeves: -And be able to communicate differently, or even be able to think before we say things like, I mean, it's just crazy. Like, these dynamic, incredible bodies we have and just focusing on like, okay, my body breathes independently. I can see things. I can walk. I can do all these amazing things and not everyone's bodies can see or can walk, but think about the parts of your bodies that is working. The fact that we have brains that process so much information and we have feelings. We're not robots. Like our bodies are so divine and they're incredible. And it is so frustrating when things don't work the way we want them to. I'm not dismissing that. But a huge, huge part of finding more peace when you're in the middle of that is focusing on the things that are working and the fact that we're here at all. That we get to have another day and that we get to spend time doing things we love with people we love. It's a huge blessing, you know, and we have a very finite amount of time to do that. And so we just really want to focus on like the positive aspects during that time we have.

[00:36:46] Jenica Parcell: I love that. You're amazing. Thank you so much.

[00:36:47] Ashley Reeves: Oh, I love you.

[00:36:48] Jenica Parcell: Such great perspective. All right. So how do people find you because I know they're going to want to follow along. She has, she just shares the best, most uplifting content. She's funny. You just uplift people on the internet and I'm so grateful for you. So where do people find you? [00:37:01] Ashley Reeves: Thank you. I'm, uh, just everywhere. Ashley Rose Reeves. I'm on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, all the places, but, um, mostly Instagram.

[00:37:09] Jenica Parcell: Yeah.

[00:37:09] Ashley Reeves: That's kind of where I hang out the most and where I'm able to interact with people the best.

[00:37:13] Jenica Parcell: Yeah.

[00:37:13] Ashley Reeves: So that's where you can find me.

[00:37:15] Jenica Parcell: Okay! Amazing. All right, everyone. Thank you for being here today and listening in, I will see you here next week on Fearless Infertility

[00:37:21] Jenica Parcell: 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 create an ironclad mindset. That's where it all starts. I have the best free download for you. You're going to love it. It's my free Morning Mindset Magic Checklist. You'll get the seven tips I use to create my mindset each morning so I can create a life I love, despite my challenges. You will lower your anxiety and increase your peace. I spent a couple of years of trial and error and finally came upon this list of actions I take or never take every morning, even when I don't want to, because they work every single time. Download for free at fearlessinfertility.com/mindsetmagic.

[00:38:07] Jenica Parcell: Thanks for listening to Fearless Infertility. If you want the best infertility support and community on the planet, visit fearlessinfertility.com. See you there.



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