Ep58 – The Love Episode
Hello, you are listening to Katy Bradbury, nutritional therapist and registered nurse. Today’s podcast episode is called ‘The Love Episode.’
Hello, hello, hello. It feels like ages since I’ve spoken to you all, actually. I missed last week’s podcast as I warned you that I might do if you’re a regular listener on account of being away on holiday. For any of you who follow me on my socials at Katie Bradbury Health or are in my Facebook group’ Fertility and the First 1000 Days’, you’ll probably know that I’ve been away and seen some of my pictures and stories etc. So we had a lovely holiday. I actually recorded the episode before last before we went away, so for me, it feels like ages since I’ve spoken to you, although for you, it might not feel as long because I’ve released the pre-recorded episode while I was away.
It actually feels really funny recording this because my ear on the flight; we were away for nearly two weeks, and on the flight out to Spain, I don’t know if this has ever happened to you, but my ears popped really, really badly on the flight on the landing. And sometimes it can feel a bit uncomfortable for a day or two; this has actually lasted the full holiday. I don’t know what I did to my ear. But it was quite painful for a few days, and then it’s felt like I’ve been underwater ever since, but only in my right ear, so it’s quite disconcerting. I’ve got used to it now, and it’s a lot better than it was, but coming back to the studio and hearing my voice amplified a little bit through the microphone is a bit weird for my ear. So hopefully, it doesn’t sound weird to you. But one of the reasons I was away on holiday, and again, anyone who follows me or knows me might already be aware of this, is because I went to one of my best friend’s weddings. Her name is Holly, and she has married a Spanish man. So Holly is one of my oldest and dearest friends from university. And she moved to Spain temporarily, quote-unquote, about seven years ago, so quite a while. She moved out to Codabar, and she decided she really wanted to learn Spanish and the best way to do that was to go and live in Spain for a year. She went out there to go and teach English, and she loved it so much, and I think this sun, the whole lifestyle there, I think was just for her, and she never came back, much to our dismay. And then she met a lovely Spanish man called JC and they just got married. So we’re really, really happy for them. It was a beautiful day.
The reason I’m telling you all of this is that going and being at the wedding; I haven’t been to a wedding for a while actually obviously COVID, this wedding itself was meant to happen, I think it was it was rescheduled twice due to COVID. Quite a few of our friends got married at similar times a few years back, and then obviously COVID happened, so there were no weddings, and so it’s been ages since we’ve been to a wedding, and it was such a beautiful day. It really was; I’m getting a bit weepy just thinking about it. But it really was a wonderful day. It was interesting attending a wedding having been married because my partner and I got married in 2015, so we will be celebrating our seventh wedding anniversary this year, which is crazy. It’s really nice going to a wedding as someone that’s been married for seven years because when they were saying the vows, and by the way they formally did their signing of the papers a couple of days before and so the ceremony that we had was purely ceremonial, and it had some of their loved ones. So JC’s sister and my friend Holly’s brother said lots of wonderful things. And of course, the father of the bride did a speech, and they said a few vows to one another, as well. And it was just really lovely seeing all of those wonderful things that are said at weddings, with such hope and such sincere meaning. It was really nice.
I wasn’t sitting next to my husband actually, because I was a bridesmaid, so I was sitting next to one of my other wonderful friends, Sarah, but it was really nice to come together with my husband after the ceremony was done and just, I don’t know, we’re not very romantic people, generally speaking, but it was just, we got quite gushy, and it was quite sweet because it made us remember what it felt like to be married and to get married, and it made us, all of those things that they say it’s not just about the wedding day, it’s about the marriage, and it’s about how you navigate all of these things together. In the time that my husband and I have been married, we have been through the journey of infertility and come out the other side of it, thankfully. And we now have two girls, and it made us reflect a lot on everything that we’ve been through and the fact that we still stand side by side, despite plenty of bumps in the road, as all relationships have. It inspired me to come and do an episode with all of you just to talk about love because I think one of the things about when you are on a fertility journey, that is regardless of whether it’s a first child or subsequent child, assuming that you are in a relationship, and I’m not wanting to exclude anyone that’s not in a relationship in terms of the general content of my podcast, because, of course, lots of the things that I speak about with regards to fertility are still applicable to you if you’re not in a relationship, but still wanting a baby. But this particular episode is applicable for people who are in that relationship and who are going through the journey of struggling with fertility together because it can put a hell of a lot of strain on a relationship. And there are so many ways in which you can do that. And I just wanted to reflect a little bit on some of those things today, really, and also to give a little bit of practical, not advice, because it’s different for everyone, and I couldn’t possibly kind of advise you on your situation. But what I wanted you to get from this episode is to come away feeling a bit like lovey and gushy in the same way that I did after my friend’s wedding, and just maybe having that new appreciation for your partner, or you know that new kind of sense of love and respect for them.
What I’d really like you to do for this episode, and I don’t know where you listen to the episode, whether it’s while you’re out and about or in the car or on your headphones while you’re out walking or running. Or if you do it while you’re doing something else, like making the dinner or whatever it might be. But if you do have the opportunity to do this, during the episode, or to come back and do it, it’s better if you do it during, because otherwise, it turns into one of those things where you say you’re gonna come back to it and you never do. So if you do have the opportunity to do this right now, I’d love for you to grab a pen and paper, and I’m going to just have a little chat with you about a few things. Towards the end of the episode, I’m going to get you to just write a few things down and to pause me talking and to just time yourself to do a couple of really brief written exercises.
So, thinking about this wedding day and lots of what came up in the vows and the speeches and everything that was the rhetoric that was coming up time and time again was, you know, the things that really matter, in a marriage or in a relationship are things like laughing together and being compassionate and caring for one another and being respectful even when you want to throttle them. I guess those are the things like, are you laughing with your partner? And I know that was certainly one of the things in mine and my husband’s relationship that I was just so grateful for, and continue to be so grateful for, is that we do laugh, we share a great shared sense of humour, and we laugh together, about so many things. That’s super important for us. But also, it can be just things like, how well do you know your partner’s goals and hopes and dreams? And vice versa? Are you standing by each other sides while you work towards achieving those goals? Now, of course, that can feel really strained when you’re on a fertility journey. But I guess another layer to that understanding and mutual respect for one another is knowing that things won’t stay the same in any relationship. Regardless of whether you’re going through fertility struggles or anything else, things won’t stay the same; things will always change, and any hardship in a relationship presents the opportunity to change and grow together.
In my field, in my work, I’ve worked with couples in lots of lots of different circumstances. At the moment, I work primarily with couples who are trying to conceive, but I’ve worked with couples who are expecting children and couples who have recently had children. Within that journey, I see the full spectrum, I see partners who are fully engaged in the process, thinking about my current work supporting people on their fertility journeys, and doing investigations and using nutrition and lifestyle to get to the root causes of infertility, and I’d address those imbalances that can cause infertility. I’ve worked with couples who are fully engaged in the process, I’ve worked with couples who are like, yeah, working with me as a pair attending appointments together, doing things together, whether that’s exercising together, or meal planning, or, meditating together and really using this journey as an opportunity to be with one another and stand by each other.
I’ve also worked with couples where the partner has been sceptical of the work that I’m doing and hasn’t wanted to be involved. I’ve worked with couples where the partner has been disengaged in the fertility journey. I’ve also worked with people who have been in relationships where the person that I’m working with feels like they’ve done so much inner work on their journey, like meditation and counselling, et cetera. and is moving forwards in a way that respects, and doing so much inner work and the partner just wasn’t and, the person that I’m thinking of her, she just didn’t feel on the same page as him anymore, because she was doing all of this growth, and work on herself, and she just didn’t feel that he was meeting her there. They were just on different planes. And that was a cause of much frustration for her.
So I’ve seen it all, and this is not about pointing fingers or saying that one person or relationship is better than another because we all just are where we are, right? That’s life. But it’s about recognising where you are right now in your relationship and giving that, wherever you are at right now, the time and honour and respect that it deserves. Whether that’s being super grateful about where you’re at right now and how engaged your partner is and sharing that with them, or whether it’s acknowledging that things are tough right now. And perhaps even allowing this episode to be the catalyst for creating some change.
So what I’d like you to do is do a little bit of an exercise, and I’m just going to share a little bit about my own story to help you start to reflect on yourself and your own life. I’ve been with my husband for 14 years now; as I say, we’ve been married seven years, but we were together for seven years before that, and that’s a long time. We were in university when we first met. I was studying anthropology at Durham University, and I think it was in my second year. So my husband’s from Newcastle, he’s a Geordie, and of course, Durham, if you know England and the Northeast of England, Durham and Newcastle are geographically quite close together, they’re about 30 miles apart. My husband was a DJ, and he was DJing at my student union one day, and some of my friends dragged me to like go. I didn’t even feel like going out, I remember, and some of my friends dragged me to the Student Union to go and see these DJs that I wasn’t particularly into. I had been into once upon a time, but I like felt as though I’d outgrown them, and I was like, I was just far too cool to go listen to these DJs anymore. So I spent the majority of it in the upstairs room in like room two. I have the cool, quirky room, and my now husband was DJing in there, and we just got chatting, and the rest is history. So we got into a relationship, and I know this sounds really cheesy, but we just fell head over heels in love, and it was great. We had so much fun because we were at Uni and that’s what we did. We had a shared love of music, and we had shared ethics and politics. We just had great conversations, and we’re interested in similar things. We had great, great fun; it was fantastic. But, we’re now in our mid-30s, we’ve got we’ve been married seven years, we’ve got two children, we struggled with fertility, and we’ve been through a heck of a journey together. Our life now, of course, looks vastly different to what it did back when we first started working together.
I guess I’m just telling you just to help you start to reflect on where you’re at right now. As you can imagine, there has been a lot that’s changed since we first got together. There have been times where we’ve had major wobbles; some of them, I wasn’t even sure if we would make it through. I’ve truly believed that those moments in people’s lives, whatever the relationship, whether it’s a familial, a friend or a romantic relationship, I do truly believe that those moments in people’s lives have the potential to go either way. It’s how we handle and move through them that really matters. I’m not for a moment suggesting here that people stay in unhappy relationships, and nor am I wanting to exclude any of my listeners who might not be in relationships, as I already said. What I am saying is that if you are listening to this, chances are you are with the person who you intend to be with long term because you’re trying to have kids with them, right. And fertility journeys, as I spoke about a few episodes ago now, on a life stage. Being on a fertility journey is the life stage that can cause a strong sense of togetherness but also a strong sense of friction and even disassociation, and at its worst, it has the potential to result in miscommunication and arguments and put a complete strain on any kind of intimacy and sexual relationships, and also carry a big financial burden.
So what I’d like you to do now and thinking about the practical part of the episode, and if you can’t do the practical l side of things right now, don’t panic. Maybe you could just spend a few moments as I’m talking, just thinking this through. If you do have a pen and paper, and you’re able to do this, then fantastic. So I want you to spend a few moments just thinking about when you first met your partner. What were the things that first made you click with them? When did you realise you loved them? What are some of your most cherished memories together? If you can, I’d love for you to put a timer on your phone and spend two minutes on each of those questions. So just jot them down and literally put a timer on your phone and say the three questions are What were the things that first made you click with your partner? Number two is when did you realise you love them? And number three is what is your most cherished memory?
So just put a timer on your phone; I’m going to continue talking. So hopefully, you’ve paused me, and if you haven’t, then pause me now and do that exercise. Once you’ve done that exercise, whether you’ve been able to jot it down or if you’ve just been thinking about it, I want you to fast forward to now to the present day.
I’d like you to just spend; you don’t have to do two minutes on each of these, but just write down or think of three things that you’re grateful for your partner for today, right now. Then after that, after you’ve written those three things down or thought about them, I would like you to write down the one thing that is causing the most strain with your partner right now.
Now, that could be a really big thing, or it can be a small thing. I don’t think there are any people that live in the absolute perfect, most incredible relationship all the time. If you are in that space right now, where you feel like everything is as good as it could possibly be, then I don’t want you to start seeking out problems. I think probably for most people, there is something, and I’d like you to just write that down, write down the one thing that is causing the most strain with your partner right now. That could be a shared strain; it could be something that’s glaringly obvious. Or it could be something that is an issue that you’ve got that your partner might not even be aware of. Just to add to that, I just looked at my notes again and realised I wanted to add that it could be the thing that is causing the most strain, or it could be the one thing that you wish you could change about your relationship where things are at right now or just something that you wish you could communicate to them.
What I’d like you to do is just spend two minutes journaling. If you’re not familiar with a journaling practice, don’t freak out, it’s fine. Just spending two minutes just writing down what it might look like to have that conversation with them. And what comes up for you? What feelings does it evoke for you when you imagine having that conversation with your partner? And just work through those, and see what blocks you’re encountering when you’re considering having that conversation with them. Just spend two minutes now, again, put me on pause, and just write down, have a little conversation with yourself about what comes up for you because it’s going to be different for everyone. When you’ve done that, and the reason I wanted you to do that and to spend a little bit of time working through that is because when we think about tensions with our partner, it is so easy to become physically tense. When we become physically tense, we become governed by the emotions that come up for us. We get into a mindset that is kind of linked to scarcity, and all these uncomfortable things, feelings, and sensations can come into our bodies. They can include anything from fear to worry, anxiety, and those things, in turn, make us couldn’t make us feel defensive.
Thinking about the example that you just gave, and it’s going to be vastly different for everyone, but thinking about the example that you just gave, what would it look like to have a truly open and respectful and non-judgmental conversation around that thing with your partner? You don’t need to write this down, but just imagine it, so what would be the best time of day when you’re both feeling relaxed and not too stressed? How could it be presented in a way that conveys your feelings but without making them feel under attack? It can be helpful to use the ‘I’ language rather than the ‘you’ language. When you say ‘you,’ it can be quite pointing the finger. Whereas if you say ‘I’ as I’m, I am feeling like x y Zed about x y Zed situation, it can open up the doors for more positive communication compared to saying you did this, you, you you you you because that person then feels that it’s completely on them. In turn, thinking that through again, if that conversation then does result in your partner’s back getting up or in them becoming defensive, because it’s very easy for us to become defensive when we feel uncomfortable. If that does happen, if your partner did respond in a bad way, whether that would be whatever their kind of bad way responses, whether it’s kind of shutting down or, getting angry or becoming short or becoming evasive or joking, even whatever it might be, How could you then acknowledge that? Is there a way then that you could say, oh, I can see that this has made you feel angry or feel upset or feel like I’m accusing you or feel uncomfortable, but what I’m trying to do here is show you how I feel about this. Is there a way, and you can ask this to them, is there a way that we can work through this together even though it feels uncomfortable for both of us. It might be that you can then have a respectful conversation about whatever it is and open up those lines of communication. But it might be that you can’t, it might be that your partner, in that place in that time at that moment, they’re not in the right space to have that conversation there and then, and that’s okay, too. We need to be respectful of that. It doesn’t mean that you have to put it to bed forever. It just might not be the right time, it doesn’t mean that it can never be broached again, and chances are if you’ve mentioned it, then it’s going to be ticking away in their mind and probably is something that they reflect about later, and might even bring up with you themselves later. So I just wanted you to consider some of those things and hopefully, if there is something that you’re not feeling so great about at the moment, hopefully, give you some of the tools that might help you to have that conversation in a really open and respectful way with one another.
The final thing that I want you to consider today in this Love Episode Is Love Languages. When we’re talking about communication with our partners, in particular, it can be really helpful to understand what our partner’s love languages are. Love languages refer to the things that mean the most to us, from our partners; it doesn’t always have to be from our partners; it can be in any relationship. There is a quiz, and I’ve actually never done this quiz before, and it’s been something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Before I did the episode today, I did actually go and do the love languages quiz myself. There’s a website, there are lots of different ones, but I think the official one is called Five Love Languages.com. It’s just a series of questions that you do yourself, but if your partner was open to doing this as well, it’d be so helpful because they can be different, right? And what means a lot to us in terms of the things that we wish our partner could say or do or act towards us, to show them that they love us, that might be completely different for them. So understanding each other’s love languages can be so helpful because it’s different. It means that expectations of one another can be different.
I’m going to share what mine was because The Five Love Languages, according to the quiz, are quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, and physical touch. So for me, in terms of my Love Languages, physical touch and receiving gifts were pretty low on the agenda. For some people, they’re really high on the agenda and for some people, having that shoulder squeezed, having that massage, having that whatever it might be, are the things that really mean the most to that person. But for me, the one that came up Top Trump was quality time. So for me, it was thinking about, and this was actually one of the wonderful things about going to my friend’s wedding as well, is that my partner and I had some quality time together, and it was wonderful. The second and third, quality time, came up as 30% for me, but then both came in at 25% were words of affirmation and acts of service. The first thing where this quiz talks about what that means is, can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Yeah, yes, it absolutely can, Words of affirmation as well, so for me, I’m a big giver in all areas of my life, and it can often make me feel unappreciated or taken for granted. And so, for me, when someone conveys their appreciation, that means the world to me. When someone acknowledges and tells me the reasons why they think I’m great or the reasons why they appreciate what I’m doing, that means so much more to me than receiving a gift, for example.
For other people, it’s the other way around, and that’s different for everybody. So there’s no right or wrong here. It’s just understanding yourself and then maybe conveying that to your partner and understanding your partners to make sure that you can appreciate them and speak to them in their love language as well. That can be a really helpful tool, like a really simple but really helpful tool in understanding what your partner is going to be most grateful for.
So I’m going to leave it there for today. Hopefully, you’ve found that interesting, it’s not about fertility, per se, but it’s just an acknowledgement that this journey, when you’re going through it with a partner can be really rubbish and really hard. It might leave you feeling like you’re not on the same page. I just wanted to use this episode as an invitation for you to acknowledge and appreciate your partner and maybe as an invitation to open up some lines of communication with them. If you feel as though there are things that need to be communicated that aren’t being communicated or aren’t being communicated well, you can absolutely have respectful conversations about things that are sources of tension. It doesn’t have to result in arguments; it doesn’t have to result in huge struggles and tensions. It can take the place of a respectful conversation.
So that’s it for today; I will be back again next week. I’m not jetting off to Spain again anytime soon. I look forward to speaking to you again, and I would love to get some feedback from you on the show. So if you are one of the people that have been listening for a while, or even if you’re a new listener, and this is your first episode, and you’ve found it helpful, please do give me a rating on the podcast, drop me some stars and if you can leave a review that would be even better because what that does is it helps us to reach the people that really need to hear this stuff.
Thanks so much. I’m speaking to you again next week. Take care
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