Have you ever thought how your brain works in your fertility journey?
Meet Tessa Mills! Tessa Mills is a life coach, Certified Fertility Awareness Educator and full-time authority questioner on a mission to help women take over the world.
She combines brain-based coaching and body literacy education to help women connect with their innate wisdom, cultivate sustainable confidence and self-trust while unlearning toxic beliefs perpetuated by all our patriarchal, capitalist institutions.
In this episode, we dive deep how to dissect your health, fertility, and brain to conceive your baby. Knowledge is power in this episode.
What you’ll learn:
1:30 Get to know more about Tessa Mills and what she does
7:14 Painful periods are not normal
10:38 Why it’s important to know what’s happening in women’s body
17:00 How to hack the brain
23:29 How to work with Tessa Mills
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The Carolina Sotomayor Podcast is brought to you by Carolina Sotomayor and the Fertility Foundation.
Carolina Sotomayor is an Expert Womb Healer who helps women conceive by removing physiological blockages with Reiki. She is the host of the Carolina Sotomayor Podcast, a show that covers everything from fertility to postpartum to motherhood, and the creator of Fertility Foundation Collective, an online membership that helps women heal at their own pace to boost their fertility.
Carolina has served over 500 women from around the world to heal. She is passionate about helping women create their families. As a result, there are over 60 reiki babies in the world.
Fertility Foundation Collective: https://carolinasotomayor.com/membership
Carolina Sotomayor Reiki: https://carolinasotomayor.com/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carolinasotomayorreiki/
Full episode transcript:
Hi, I’m Carolina, your podcast host and expert wound healer. Over the past five years, I’ve served over 500 women to remove physical blockages in their bodies. We achieve this with Reiki. I believe healing doesn’t have to be done alone, nor should it be. We will hear stories of healing methods to heal with and guest speakers covering taboo topics you won’t hear anywhere else.
Let’s continue this journey of wound healing together.
Hi, I’m Carolina you’re Ricky Womb healer and podcast host. Today we are talking to a very special guest. But before we dive in, I want you to go ahead and take a moment to rate and leave a review for this podcast. And don’t forget to subscribe. We are super grateful that you are here every week with us and.
For all of our listeners, we’re super grateful. So today we’re gonna talk about how to hack your brain for optimal fertility with Tesa Mills. Tesa, thank you so much for being here. Thanks for inviting me. Oh my goodness. So a little thing for our listeners to know, I’m in Nebraska and you’re in Iowa, so technically we’re neighbors.
Not only are we friends, now we’re neighbors. Mm-hmm. . I know it’s a small world, isn’t it So true. Represent . It’s super small. So can you give us a little introduction of like what you do, and I know you work in the fertility space, but give us a background of like how are we gonna hack our brain and how do you do that?
And I know you serve so many people, so give us the. Yeah, well, my background is actually in public health, so I started my career working in the cancer prevention world and probably about the age around 27, I had what I like to refer to as a Dark Knight of the Soul. I’m like, wait a minute. This is not the work I wanna be doing.
Super familiar. Oh, it was awful. But it was very, very needed for my transformation because what ended up happening was I just really, well, first of all, I did not like working for somebody else. That was not my jam. I realized I worked very differently than other people, and I also just felt like my unique.
Brain, my, my interests, my talents weren’t really being utilized, and so I ended up hiring a brain-based life coach to sort of help me figure out, okay, what’s next? What do I. What do I wanna do? I know all the things I’m interested in, but how do I put everything together into a pretty little package and start a business and make money from it?
And simultaneously, about that time, my husband and I were about to get married and so we were starting to have these conversations around when might we want to have a family. And so simultaneously, I’m working with this brain-based coach to try to figure my life out. , and I’m also thinking more and more about my fertility.
And what was interesting was I thought, oh my gosh, like the fir, the first question that triggered all of this in my mind was, How am I supposed to get pregnant if I’ve been on birth control for, you know, a decade plus? And the reason I was always put on birth control was actually because I had really like irregular periods.
Like sometimes I would go up to six months without having a period and I would go to the doctor concerned and they would say, unless you’re trying to get pregnant, there’s really nothing that we can do. We’re just gonna put you on birth control and send you on your way. And I even. As a young person, that didn’t always make sense, but it just wasn’t something that was forefront of my mind.
And so once I met my husband and we were, you know, engaged and we started talking about this stuff, I thought, oh, we need to figure this out like this. I don’t, I’m not sure how this is supposed to work. And so I ended up buying the amazing book, taking Charge of Your Fertility by Tony Weschler, and I’m sure most of your listeners are probably aware of that book, but I call it the Bible of Women’s Reproductive Health.
I bought that book and I devoured it in a crazy amount of short time. I was blown away at how much I did not know about my body, my fertility. and so I ended up learning how to chart my cycles using a fertility awareness based method. Became obsessed with the fact that you can actually look at your cycle charts and you can identify.
Pretty accurately health issues that can show up in your charts. And so I had been off birth control for a year and I was still having really long cycles. I was losing my hair, I was gaining weight super rapidly. I had all these things going on, and I knew based on my research and my cycle charts, I probably had something going on with my thyroid.
And it was when I went to my doctor that year for my physical, that was sort of the transformation day I went in. I said, look, I’ve been charting my cycles. My husband and I would like to get pregnant someday. These are things I’ve been noticing. I really think that we should check my thyroid because this is not normal.
It’s not normal to go 80 some days between periods. And she looked me dead in the eye and she said, if you’re not trying to get pregnant right now, or you’ve been struggling, there’s really no need to run tests or look into this further. And it was almost verbatim. Wow. Yeah, it was almost wow. But every doctor I had seen in the past 10, 15 years had said to me it was some variation of, if you’re not trying to get pregnant right now, Your cycle health and your in, in my mind, I’m like, you’re talking about my body as well.
Like it’s not important. Talk about the patriarchy, right. And the, the sexism that exists within our healthcare system. And it was like everything became clear to me in that moment as someone who worked in public health. Who was very like perplexed with the whole idea of the fact that in the United States we have one of the worst maternal mortality outcomes of all like developed countries.
And I’m thinking to myself, holy shit. It starts here. It starts here because we don’t teach women about their, their menstrual cycles. We slap birth control on any, you know, gynecological concern. and then we say to women, well unless you’re struggling to get pregnant, it, your health isn’t really important.
That’s so Ft. . That’s, that’s so ft. So is, it was not until I started doing some research for the season too, did I learn that painful periods are not normal. Mm-hmm. like the point where. where like, so I just assumed because other women around me have the same issue. Like it’s moodiness. Okay. Discomfort.
Okay. But like there’s been like these cycles where sometimes I’m in bed for a few days. Mm-hmm. and it’s like my energy levels are totally like, but I also have a friend who had fibroids and things like that works to the point where like, She can barely stay awake when she has her periods, but they’re so painful.
Like it’s like migraines throwing up, like she can’t, so I’m like, so I called her because we interested, we recently interviewed an Ari, I name Caina SWE though, and she said that, she goes, yeah, it’s worth an evaluation if it’s you’ve super painful periods, it’s worth an evaluation with your doctor. So I called my friend and I was like, You need to know this.
Did you know it’s not supposed to hurt? And she said, no. I said, yes. I said, it’s not supposed to hurt. We’ve been lied to. Our mother’s lied to us. And she’s like, shut the front door. I was like, no, let me send you my podcast. I said, I sent her my podcast episode from last week. I was like, it’s straight from a doctor’s mouth.
And she’s like, oh my God. So we had no idea. Yeah, and I didn’t even know charting your cycle was important until my friend, when I, like when I got my i u D out, I was, she’s like, so, How long is your period? I was like, I don’t know, but it came back the day after I took it out. I said, I just know it comes every month.
And she goes, do you know your, she goes, do you know your window? I was like, window for what? And like I knew nothing about fertility until I’m at this one friend and she’s like, are you, what’s your temperature every day? I was like, temperature of what? She’s like, if you not take your temperature every single day that you wake up, I.
What the fuck are you talking about? I literally knew nothing. Mm-hmm. until like, I was, I knew nothing. Even when I was trying to conceive, I didn’t know anything about, I just knew like ovulation was when the egg was released. You have sex, you get pregnant, but I didn’t know, like people refer to it as a window.
I sound, I sound so dumb, but literally like, I’m sure there’s a thousand other women just like me. Like you just spend so much of your life. Like I had an abortion in my twenties. Mm-hmm. and like that scarred. And I, and I like spent the rest of my time being very careful and very like, proactive in making sure that I did not repeat that mistake.
So when I did choose to plan my family and have it, that it would be very intentional and as, as I chose, I just did not know the gap. Mm-hmm. of the lack of knowledge and education. Until recently, like how giantly gaping, like they, there’s so much, and that’s a huge part of like why I’m doing this podcast is that there is, sure, there’s some emotional on the W side of the womb, but like mm-hmm.
I’m like, okay, I can see inside people’s wombs. I can see this stuck emotions, but like, but what about like the cycle, like how long the cycle is and like what if it’s shorter? What if it’s longer? Is that normal? Like, so there’s like still all this science and I. , there’s so many women that need to know this information, so I’m super grateful that you’re here, and so super grateful that you’re sharing all this information.
Yeah, I considered an epidemic. Women don’t understand what’s actually happening in their bodies and it’s applicable to so many different things. And I, you know, when I started down my fertil infertility journey, it took us two years to get pregnant with our daughter who’s now four months and happy and healthy, and we’re so grateful.
and what I learned during the process really informed the business that I have now, because what ended up happening was as a result of, you know, charting and learning and, and being able to advocate for myself, I, I learned how to trust myself, which is something that, as a coach when I work with women, talk about a whole nother epidemic is that we.
We are often told not to trust ourselves. We often are taught, you know, very subtly how to pathologize ourselves. I mean, we’re really not that far out from the Western medical model that, you know, classified hysteria, you know, in women. And so, you know, as a result of trusting myself, what ended up happening actually is we, you know, we’d been through all the testing and I knew after all the testing, I had a theory and I said, I think what we need is we just need a little help getting the sperm to the egg.
And the specialist that we saw really tried to gaslight me and say, no, I think you just need to go do ivf. Like, I think, you know, wasn’t willing to look into anything else. And so, Very interestingly, I met another woman in a Facebook group who had started a company called Fertile. And they made the one of the only sterile intra cervical insemination kits.
And so think of like a Turkey based sort of situation. And when I met her and I learned about the science behind intra cervical insemination, I said, I truly believe this can help. Based on my knowledge and everything I’ve charted and everything that I’ve fought for to sort of gather this database on my body and our fertility.
And so I ordered a kit, we did one cycle and we were pregnant, and it was really all through that wow process that I realized, wow, not only is it so important to understand your body, to build that confidence in yourself, to build that trust, and like what I see and what I’m experiencing is. Real, and I’m not gonna allow somebody to deny my experience as so important.
And where the brain-based piece came in was I started working with, um, fertility coaching clients. So I started a business, I left my nine to five and I started a fertility coaching business where I was actually working with women and some couples to, you know, to chart the menstrual cycle to kind of help use that as their kind of the guidepost.
And so the analogy I would use is that, You know, male hormones, you know, they’re, they really don’t have biomarkers or ways to, to track their hormones, but at females we do, you know, we’re able to track our, you know, our. Bleeding, we’re able to track our cervical fluid, our, like you mentioned, like temperature, all of that stuff.
And that can really give us an idea of what’s going on hormonally. And so I would say to my clients, that cycle chart can be thought of as like the border of a puzzle, right? So let’s say that you have a puzzle that you’re wanting to put together, but you don’t have like a full picture of what that’s supposed to look like.
You can start with that border piece. And fill in the full picture from there. And that’s kind of what I equated the, the cycle chart to was like, we’re gonna start with the border, like the framework, and so we can see what’s going on in your body. We can figure out what tests we need to run and what questions need to be answered, you know?
And once we have that piece put together, you know, then we might look into male factor infertility and all of. And so that was really what I started with. And slowly over time, a lot of the brain-based coaching stuff started coming into play because I would have clients come and say, you know, I’m so distraught about the fact that, you know, it’s not happening yet, and.
What was interesting was when I would start really talking to my clients about like, what are the thoughts, kind of going through your mind, like what are your, what’s your thinking around your situation? And what we often find are what are called cognitive biases. And so that can be things like all or nothing thinking.
And so one example, I had a client that said, you know, I just, I really feel like if we can’t get pregnant, we’re never gonna be. We’re never gonna have fulfilled lives. And, you know, that’s probably a very common thought. And so, you know, I said to her, you know, I, I understand that. Let’s piece that apart a little bit.
You know, let’s kind of dig into that thought and see, you know, are we making any assumptions? , are there any pieces of data that are missing? And so that’s where a lot of the brain-based stuff would come in. And so it’s just this really interesting mix of not only teaching people how to pay attention to their cycles, to understand their bodies, be able to advocate for themselves, but also the mind piece is so vitally important.
That’s a long, long answer to your question,
So essentially brain-based coaching is really getting to the association, uh, to the language that they’re using. So like what is the deeper belief that you have around that’s, but is indicative of from the language that you’re using to tell your story about your situation. So, but you apply it specifically to fertility, so like mm-hmm.
what language are you using? To describe your situation, your eggs, your, when you tell you’re trying to conceive, or if you’ve had a loss. Mm-hmm. . So, and then like, okay, let’s back that up. So how far does this go back? Okay. So then what is an, like, what is the root cause or is the root belief here that this is all stemming from mm-hmm.
But then how do you change it? Mm-hmm. , what is so like the, I know, so hacking the brain is essentially changing that. But how do we go about doing. . Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Well, I think the key is not necessarily changing it, but digging into it. And so a lot of times this is very, happens a lot is even when somebody begins their fertility journey, let’s say, there’s a lot of unlearning that even needs to happen because.
I think socio culturally we are taught that getting pregnant can happen so easily, and for some people it definitely does. You know, you hear about those people that say, oh my gosh, if I look at my husband, I like, I’m getting a positive pregnancy test. But , there’s a lot of assumptions around, I have a find this on her fifth baby
Yeah. Yeah. And so, you know, in, in some cases, Definitely true. So people can get pregnant very easily. Right. Um, but you know, the way that we’re taught, you know, think about even like sex ed is really based on like contraception and you know, you hear a lot of messages around, oh, it can, you know, only takes one time and this and that.
And so a lot of people might even go into their fertility journey with. Beliefs that actually aren’t even true. You know, they might just be messages that they have picked up or received over, you know, over the course of their life that aren’t based in fact. And so, you know, it wasn’t uncommon for me to have clients who had been trying for less than six months and they had this core belief or fear, oh no, I’m in fertile because I’m not getting pregnant.
and actually it’s not uncommon for it to take up to a year even for a healthy couple to conceive like the, the percent chances of conceiving in any given cycle are actually fairly low. And so it’s things like that. And so what a brain-based coach does in any sort of context is that what we try to do is understand not only the experience and validating the experience too that, that the client is having, but then also just getting to.
Stand how they’re thinking about their situation, how are they viewing it, what beliefs are are coming into that self-talk that they’re hearing. And then what we do is we’re looking at it and going, where’s the truth? And these thoughts and beliefs and where might there be? Like I mentioned, those cognitive distortions, which are simply errors in thinking.
And again, I, I always like to highlight when I work with clients, just because we’re looking for any possible. Cognitive distortions does not mean that I am negating your experience at all, but what we’re trying to do is see where and how our our thinking patterns. Increasing our stress, maybe triggering our fight or flight system, which absolutely is the last thing that you want to be doing when you’re trying to get pregnant.
Because when that fight or flight system turns on, our bodies automatically turn off any unnecessary. You know, systems and the reproductive system is one of those systems that is not vital for survival. And so if we’re in that constant fight or flight mode and we’re feeling stressed or anxious due to the thoughts that we’re having, then that’s really something that we wanna pay attention to because that certainly can affect your, not only your mental health, but also your physical and your, your reproductive health as well.
So if a listener wants to hack their brain right now to optimize their fertility, what’s your number one tip to give? Yeah, so I would say first, start becoming really aware. Cultivate an awareness practice of your thoughts and your mind. This is really challenging if you’ve never done this before, and what I like to tell people is that we all have this inner voice.
We all have. You know, like if I say to you, what color is my shirt? You’re gonna answer it silently in your head. We have that inner voice. Some of us may be more than others. I feel like mine and she’s, she talks nonstop all day long, but pay attention to it. And even, you know, once you get into the, the practice of being able to connect with that voice, give yourself even.
Five, 10 minutes and sit down and almost like transcribe what you’re hearing. So I’m not joking. Sometimes I will, even if I’m having a day where I’m feeling really scatterbrained or I’m feeling uneasy and I can’t figure out okay, like what’s going on, I literally pull up a Google Doc. And I, I start just letting the contents of my brain dump out into words.
And I look at those words, and what you can do is look at the language, look at the language that’s being used, look at the words that are being used. And sort of take a, a bird’s eye view and see, okay, what are some recurring maybe words or phrases that I’m using? Where are those coming from? You know, kind of just, just get very curious, you know, approach it from a curious standpoint, not from a shaming standpoint, because our thoughts and our beliefs are oftentimes unconscious.
They’re just the ways that we think and we see the world, and oftentimes those are influenced by things that we aren’t always consciously aware. I’ll give an example. I had a client once who they were dealing with secondary infertility, which for listeners that don’t know what that is, that is struggling to conceive after you’ve already had a, like a healthy live birth.
And you know, she ended up, we kind of went through this process and she realized, oh, something I’ve been telling myself that I wasn’t consciously aware of is that if we can’t have another child, I believe that our life is going to feel incomplete. I believe that our family is going to be incomplete. And actually, I don’t know if I truly believe that that’s the case, but that was something that she had been kind of hearing and telling herself.
And what’s interesting is I, if I’m remembering back right, I think after sort of having that realization, I think a couple months later she was actually able to conceive and she moved on to have a healthy, healthy baby boy. So it is very, very interesting to to think about how the mind body piece plays out when it comes to fertility.
A hundred percent, a hundred percent. The triangle between emotions, mental and physical is just so intertangled. How can people reach you and work with you? Yeah, so you can find me on Instagram or Facebook, and my handle is at Tessa n Mills, so that’s T E S S A N, as in Nicole Mills. And you can also find email@example.com.
and I actually have, if you go to my website, or if you find me on socials, I have a link to schedule a consult call. So if you’re interested in getting some brain-based coaching, whether it relates to infertility or maybe you’re trying to create a new career or you know, create something different, a different life experience, brain-based coaching is incredibly effective.
And I may be by saying that, but I’ve experienced it myself through working with my own brain-based coach. So, Yeah, that’s how people can find me. So Tessa, thank you so much for being here, and thank you for sharing your story, your wisdom, and how you serve the world. We’re so grateful for it. And till next time, I hope you have the best night.
It was an honor to connect and serve you this week. If you were a spiritually curious person wanting to conceive and heal blockages in your fertility, click the link in the episode description to learn more about the Fertility Foundation collective. Until next time, my friend know you are.
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