Hello, you are listening to Katy Bradbury, nutritional therapist and registered nurse. Today’s podcast episode is called the Self Love Episode.
Hi, welcome back if you’re a regular listener, and a very warm welcome to you if you are a brand new listener. I am sitting in the studio as usual at the bottom of my garden. I’m recording this episode today because if you are a regular listener or if you happen to listen to last week’s episode, last week was called The Love Episode. It was really all about love in the context of partner relationships. The impact that some of the things around a fertility journey can bring to a partner relationship in terms of some of the challenges, and then I guess giving some tools and things that you might want to focus on and work around with regards to some of those things. Now, when I recorded the episode last week, I was well aware that there was a portion of people that we’re being excluded from that episode because it was all about partner relationships. I think I mentioned a few times across the episode that if you are someone who is not in a partner relationship who is trying to conceive or planning for pregnancy, then you might have felt a little bit left out. I was thinking about that after I recorded the episode last week. I was like, aww, I know for sure that the majority of people that I do and have worked with have been in relationships. Still, I had this little niggle, and I was it did leave a proportion of people out. Low and behold, the very next day is a stark reminder of this fact, I had a call with someone who was a prospective client and she’d been on my radar for a little while. I was aware of her and her situation. I didn’t know her new situation because previously, when we last spoke, she was in a relationship. But we spoke last Monday, so literally, the day after I recorded the episode last week, and we spoke the next day. She told me, I haven’t had an update for her for a while, Katy, since we last spoke, my partner and I have split up it wasn’t right for us but what I’ve decided to do is to go it alone. I really want to be a mum, and I’m going to go down the donor sperm route, and it’s happening. Can you help me? Let’s do this, let’s prep for this IVF cycle that I’m gonna have; I’m super pumped, and I’m honestly so excited for her, and I’m delighted to help her actually on this journey. I’m so so excited. It just reminded me, the timing of it was impeccable because I just recorded this episode all about partner relationships. As I say, whilst the majority of people that I work with are in partner relationships, there was a part of me, when I recorded the episode last week, was like, Oh, just something didn’t quite sit right. Then I had that call, and I was like “oh man, yeah”, there are probably quite a few people that did listen to the episode last week that were a bit like “oh!”
Now, of course, not every episode is going to be right for every person. What I did want to do today was come back and talk about self love. Because, of course, Self Love is the way that we feel about ourselves generally and is a huge part of the fertility journey, and oh my goodness, it can be a roller coaster, can’t it? Honestly, I think that my relationship with myself deteriorated. That was the thing I think for me that just snowballed and deteriorated when I was struggling with my own journey. That was the thing that then started causing the panic attacks and started causing this really acute stress and anxiety. I cannot tell you the amount of people that I work with who come to me saying, Katie, I feel like my body is broken. And that’s just so sad, isn’t it? Like, how upsetting is it to feel that way about your own body about yourself, because then it brings in the entire rhetoric, it brings in so much negative self chatter. It can really snowball quite quickly. So that’s one of the reasons I wanted to talk about self love is because this relationship with our bodies can be really difficult on this journey. And we also often take it upon ourselves, and let’s face it, and please don’t get me wrong, there are so many partners out there that are super supportive and just wonderful. But more often than not, as women, we are the ones who take it upon ourselves when we’re undergoing some kind of fertility journey and bear the brunt of the responsibility.
On top of that, layered into that, is the fact that it’s cyclical, right. So assuming that you do have a menstrual cycle, whatever that looks like for you. You could just take a battering, right? Like every time your period comes, it can just feel horrific. It’s almost like, and I’m working on the assumption that there is a monthly cycle going on here. But every month, it’s just like, bam, you’re not pregnant, bam, you’re not pregnant, bam, you’re not pregnant, and it can just feel like waves crashing over you that can just get worse every time. Then if you’re someone who has an irregular period, which lots of the people that I work with do, and I did, I don’t anymore. Still, I did, some months my cycle would be like 26 days and then other months, it’d be like 66 days, and it’s just like, What the hell is going on? I just couldn’t understand why my body was letting me down so much, and I felt like such a failure. Then for people who don’t have a menstrual cycle, that brings a whole new tier for things as well, because it’s just like, hang on a minute, like, how am I supposed to get pregnant when I’m not even cycling. There are lots of different ways and tiers that this can present as. I’m not trying to put words on you, and I’m not trying to describe your own experience because it is different for everyone. But these are common themes that I see across the majority of people that I work with.
On top of that, all of that, the feeling like your body’s broken and you don’t know what’s going on, the confusion, the feeling of let down. And also that linking into your very essence of femininity and womanhood. You could also just feel like you’ve lost yourself because, on a journey like this, you can end up having thoughts and feelings that just don’t feel line up with who you thought you were. When I say that I’m really referring to feelings like jealousy and bitterness when it comes to other people, right? Because you don’t go through this journey in isolation. You go through it in the context of a person in a friendship group with family and within society. There is no way that you can go through this journey without knowing someone that gets pregnant or having someone in your periphery that gets there before you do. That can elicit some really horrible thoughts and feelings that you don’t even recognise, like hang on a minute; that’s not me, what is going on here? Which are all normal, by the way. All normal thoughts and feelings.
Then tiered on that, I’ve already mentioned this sense of womanhood and that kind of like, it can feel like that very essence of your femininity isn’t working for you. And then for some people, for example, who’ve had ectopic pregnancies, or who’ve had tissue or even organs removed as a result of endometriosis, for example, that can exacerbate that even further, right, if you’ve had endometrial tubes taken out. That can have a huge impact on your sense of self with regards to Fertility as well. If you are overweight, and you’re told that that’s to blame, or you’re underweight and told that that’s to blame, this is completely tied into our bodies and the way we connect and relate to ourselves.
It’s just so easy to get caught up in that it’s so easy to get caught up in those waves of emotion and the negative self chat, and that can take over. For me, it did, it took over, to the point where eventually it was running the show, and I could barely function. Actually, I really struggled. I don’t want that for any of you, and a huge part of my work now is not just the nutrition, not just the lifestyle, but actually providing some of that emotional support as well.
Another thing is that many of you, many of the people that I work with, I see focusing on the negatives. I did this as well, and I’d still do this, this is my natural tendency that I’ve had to do a lot of work on and continue to do work on, but many of you I see focusing on the negatives, even when there are positives to be drawn. So for me, for example, I’m the type of person, and I know so many of you are as well, where you can achieve something, you can meet a goal, you can do something that you hoped you would do. And instead of celebrating that, your mind just automatically goes to the next thing or why that thing wasn’t as good as what it should have been. As I say, it’s just this constant negative self chat that can really, really take over.
In the episode today, I just wanted to remind you of something that I say time and time again, but it’s always worth being reminded of. And that is that fertility is a game of odds. And while there are certain conditions and certain imbalances in the body that can impede those chances of having a baby, it does not mean that there is no chance. It’s very rare that someone in my sphere comes to me, and ive just said there’s just no chance is not going to happen. So it’s a game of odds. And if it’s a game of odds, then we need to be focusing on improving those odds, right? If the odds are 100 to one, it’s difficult to count the odds Exactly. But we know the things that can be done to improve those odds and to make it more likely. And I started using the analogy here; that’s really not great for me because I don’t know what 100 to one means in 10 to one means is 10 to one better than 100 to one, I don’t know 10 to one. Yeah, I don’t know. So I’ve used a terrible analogy there. So you can definitely laugh at me. But regardless of my knowledge of it 10 to one and 100 times, it’s still a game of odds. We want to be in whichever direction that is in. We want to be working to improve those odds. And that is absolutely possible. And what that means is that there are small things on your journey that are absolutely to be celebrated because they are increasing those odds.
Things like these are some of the examples of things that have happened to people within my world. Clients, group programme participants, people in my Facebook group, people I chat to etc. and its things like improving the husband’s motility parameters through working hard on diet and lifestyle, through things like shortening the number of days spotting before a cycle, going from like four or five days spotting to two days spotting, that’s amazing. Has your period returned after not having one for a long time? That’s huge, increasing the number of follicles seen in a scan, improving AMH, and getting a higher fertilisation rate in an IVF cycle. All of these things are things I see week in and week out with people that I work with. So I guess I just wanted to go through a few things today that can help bring a little bit of hope. But also just a few tools and tips. I’ve just got three things here to talk about.
So first of all, just hats off to you, really, and kudos to you because it really does take, regardless of odds and regardless of anything else, or how let down you feel by your body, or anything else that I’ve spoken about today, the fact that you are on this journey at all, takes an incredible amount of strength and resilience to withstand a journey like this with all of the peaks and troughs and hope and a lot of the time shattered dreams takes a huge amount of strength and resilience. That is within you that strength and resilience has not come from anywhere else; it has come from within you.
I was talking in a recent Instagram video that I did about research that has found that an infertility diagnosis or struggling with infertility in women has a similar emotional impact to a cancer diagnosis. And yet, when you’re struggling with infertility, many of you, the people in your life, won’t even know you’re expected to just go and carry on functioning as normal. You still have to go to work. You still have to socialise and be a person, right? Yet you might be feeling like you’ve just had this crushing blow.
So, three things that we can be doing or you can be doing to elicit some self love, because I am absolutely congratulating you. I’m congratulating you for being on this journey at all and for the strength and resilience it takes. I’m congratulating you for being here listening to this podcast, and taking an interest in things that you can do to improve your chances. And I am congratulating you, just for being you and for being the incredible person that you are. So a few things that you can do to help on that self love side of things, which I think ultimately is something we could all do more of.
Number one is to keep track of the successes. So this is something that I’ve already touched on. Don’t dismiss those successes. You might not be pregnant yet. Or you might not have your baby in your arms yet. And that might be something that feels really difficult as milestones go past where you’d assumed or hoped that you would have your baby by now. But each step you take gets you closer to that goal. So keep track of the successes, and celebrate those successes. This isn’t me saying that you have to wear rose-tinted glasses about everything. It’s not me saying that we don’t acknowledge when things are really crappy. It’s not me saying that we don’t kind of stay true to ourselves. But it is about not dismissing the things that are really significant, as some of the things that I mentioned before. So absolutely. I’m celebrating you if you have had some successes, and I’d love for you to celebrate yourself too.
Number two is affirmations. Now, affirmations, if you’re familiar or not familiar, are about using words using the power of words to just create a more, I guess, just a more hopeful and some I was a positive mindset shift. And again, it’s not about creating false positivity. It’s not about forcing it. It’s just about opening up to the possibility. Because when we’re thinking about things, and we’re dwelling on how awful everything is, and we’re stuck in that space because it really can leave you feeling stuck. And I was massively stuck when it was me, and how I didn’t have that support. Partly my own fault because it’s not like I didn’t have anyone supporting me in my life, I just don’t think I opened up. I just didn’t really feel like anyone truly understood me. And I got stuck, I got stuck in a rut, and I felt let down by my body. And I just get, as I say, I let myself spiral. But there are things that you can say to yourself, and if you remind yourself have them every single day, then your body and your mind can open up to that possibility. And you can start to just release some of that negativity and some of that stuckness. And just be and feel that bit more open to the possibility that things could go your way. So affirmations can be really, really simple. And I’m going to give a couple of examples in a minute. But some of the things that you can actually do with those affirmations, you might take a short daily practice where you write them down, you might write them down, like you know, a few times in a row like, like Bart Simpson and the Blackboard writing down his detention notes after school, right. So you might write them down, you might like, take a picture of them and put that somewhere you see a lot. So, for example, you might write them down and then put them on your fridge. Or you might put them as your screensaver or your background on your phone, somewhere where you look, you see a lot, and you will see them, and you will read them, and they will be going into your subconscious. But also some people, and this is something that I do with my own affirmations now is, recording yourself, saying them and then playing them back. So you’re listening to my voice right now, right. So if you’re a podcast listener, then audio might be a medium that does it for you. And so maybe that would work really well for you is recording yourself, just on your phone, saying a few of these affirmations a few times over 6,7,8,10 times over for each one and then record while you’re cooking the dinner or out of your walk wherever it is that you might usually listen to this podcast and listen to yourself saying those affirmations. Some examples of affirmations, and I’m just giving you a couple here because really, they need to come from you, and they need to come from the heart. But some examples would be I’m stronger than I know. I trust and love my body. My hormones are working in perfect sync to create new life. I am safe. I am loved. And even just listening to those, even for me, saying those words out loud. Brings a nice little warm feeling to my heart. Words are powerful. They really are. And they can have a really wonderful impact if we commit to something like that. By the way, if you if, there’s a sceptical part of you listening to that, thinking yeah, right. Okay, I’m just gonna manifest my baby into life. Please don’t think that’s what I’m saying. I’m not naive. I know how sceptical it can feel when you’re on this journey. All I’m saying is that affirmations can be a powerful tool for just alleviating stress and just opening yourself up to the possibility. That’s all I’m saying.
Then the third thing is to join a community. And there are a number of communities out there. There are some really wonderful ones out there. But one community that is imminent. An offer on offer to you as a listener is my new community, my membership community which is a really affordable monthly membership. Where we can meet up every single week, and it’s a real community where you get instant access to tonnes of tools. So you’ll have a resource library available to you with things that can help with all of this that I’m talking about today, but also really practical things as well, with regards to nutrition and lifestyle. The main thing is the space each week during our live calls to come and share, connect with others on this journey, and just be you. And that can mean crying if it feels horrific that week. It could mean celebrating and sharing wins and encouraging others, and ultimately just being in that space that is safe and loving and nurturing. And to allow yourself to be supported in taking steps and having accountability towards taking those steps towards a healthier and more fertile body and mind. So I would love for you to come and join my community. And it’s going to be called Fertility and the first 1000 days. I do already have my free Facebook group, which is also called Fertility and the first 1000 days. It’s my thing; obviously, this podcast is the same name. But this is like the community times 100. Right? It’s a community that really stepped up a notch. So it’s not a half-hearted thing. It’s like, okay, this is us, this is my tribe, these are my people. And so, if that sounds like it would be a nice thing for you for where you’re at right now, to learn a bit more about steps that you could be taking to maximise your Fertility. And to connect with others who are in the same boat and to just get my expert help and support and advice week in and week out, then it can be a really, really great option. So I will put the link in the show notes to sign up for that if you want more. But if you are just curious to know more and you want more info, then drop me an email at support@Katybradbury.com, drop me a DM on Instagram at Katy Bradbury health. I’d be more than happy to chat with you about this.
But ultimately, if you listen to this episode today because you’re feeling rotten, and you’re having a day or a week or a month or even a year where this journey just feels insufferable and horrific, then please know that I know how horrible it can be. And please know that you do not have to be going through this alone. You can love your body again. I promise you can fall back in love with yourself again. And please just come and chat with me if you need to.
Sending you lots and lots of love today. And I will speak to you again next week.