Breaking the Stigma: Tiffany

Infertility, parenting children with mental health diagnoses and struggling with her own mental health, Tiffany shares her story with us in this episode.

We talk about the realness of mom guilt, how she found the right counsellor for her and how she is working hard to break the stigma through her own podcast – Hard Beautiful Journey.

To hear more about Tiffany’s story please check out her podcast call Hard Beautiful Journey and follow her on social media @mstiffvaughan!



Nicki Kirlin, Jenna Fortinski, Tiffany Vaughan

Nicki Kirlin  00:02

Thank you, everybody for joining us. today. We are so excited and so grateful that Tiffany could join us for this episode of breaking the stigma. So,

Tiffany Vaughan 00:12

Nicki Kirlin  00:13

why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Tiffany Vaughan 00:15

Sure. Thank you for having me. My name is Tiffany Vaughn and I am 46 years old. I live in Turner Valley, Alberta. And fun fact about me is I have been to the prices right? Twice. And once was when Bob Barker was the house. And lucky I wore a shirt that said, I have fought through this mob to see my heartthrob, Bob. No, I really Oh, yeah. It definitely got some attention. And then I went a second time when Drew Carey is the host. So that’s a fun fact about me. And I am a professional accountant by day.


Okay, okay, so I but we have

Nicki Kirlin  01:06

to go back to the prices right conversation for just a second. I need to know.

Tiffany Vaughan 01:11

What was it like? A mazing? Yeah. Oh, yeah. Amazing. We actually ended up the first time I went when Bob was the host. We ended up right in the center, about five rows back. Okay, so we were right in perfect seats. And actually, the guy in front of us ended up getting called in the first round. And he ended up in the showcase at the end No, and won everything. So we were on camera. Oh. Oh, my goodness. It was it. It was so exciting. Because everyone around us was new him, like from sitting in line with him and stuff. So it was so exciting. Oh, fantastic. Yeah. And so what was what would?

Nicki Kirlin  01:55

Well, obviously you’re gonna say, Bob, but I was gonna say Who? Who? Who was the better host? Yeah.

Tiffany Vaughan 02:01

I Oh, that’s a tough call. Actually. Drew Carey is really good. Yeah. But I think it would have to be Bob just because it’s Bob. But it was also in rod rod. He was there. Come on down. Yeah. So it was the whole experience. Right. Yeah. So I would have to say the first time okay. Yeah, that’s

Nicki Kirlin  02:20

so fantastic. Yeah. jealous. Yeah.

Jenna Fortinski  02:27

Okay, so I know your story, Tiffany, because you are one of my former clients. So what I would like for you to do is, can you share, basically like a Coles notes version of your story? for everyone, so they can kind of know what’s happened for you, in your short lifetime so far?

Tiffany Vaughan 02:55

Thank you.

Tiffany Vaughan 02:59

Oh, my goodness, it’s gonna have to be Coles notes. So I went to school to become a professional accountant. And from day one, I knew that I shouldn’t be doing it. But I ended up going to school for 10 years. Wow, taking this program, while also working full time. And in that time, I experienced a mental breakdown. And it was because I knew I shouldn’t be in the accounting program. But I kept going, because there was no way I was going to quit after eight years at that point, yes. But at the same time, we, my husband and I were also trying to have a baby and it wasn’t working. So we were dealing with infertility struggles. And it was a very hard infertility battle. But we ended up getting pregnant with our daughter through IVF. And then we, five years later, it we had our twin boys through IVF as well.

Tiffany Vaughan 03:57


Tiffany Vaughan 03:58

But that was another journey, very hard journey with them. Just trying to get pregnant with them as well. And then, when they were all about four years old, they were all diagnosed with ADHD and odd and an anxiety disorder. So that has been actually even more challenging than the infertility battle, if that is even possible. Yeah. Right. And I never ever thought I would say those words. Yeah, after dealing with infertility for that long. Yeah, but actually parenting children with behavioral disabilities and different types of behavioral Disabilities at the same time, is a challenge. So through that process and diagnosis, I ended up having a second second mental breakdown, and hence why I was Jenna’s former client. And, yeah, that was a hard battle as well. So that has been my journey. Oh my god in a nutshell. That’s it? No, no, no.

Tiffany Vaughan 05:11

There’s a lot more.

0Tiffany Vaughan 5:13

But those are the big, big things. Yeah, for sure.

Nicki Kirlin  05:16

Yes. No. And thank you for, for sharing that with us.



Nicki Kirlin  05:23

just to pick up on, I guess one piece of your story is around some of the challenges that you faced with infertility? Can you share with us a little bit, give us a window into what that was like to live through those challenges?




it’s, the first thing that I’ll say is, it is extremely difficult on a marriage. Right? Extremely difficult on marriages, because you don’t know who’s to blame at first. And when you try, they won’t actually let you go into a fertility clinic until you’ve tried for at least a year. And that’s a full year of getting angry at it not working well. 12 months of taking tests, and, and so waiting that long is actually painful as well. Then you get into the clinic, and you start to find out, you know, what could possibly be causing it? But in our situation, it was both of us. Okay. And so for a year, I was pretty much I think blaming him. Yeah. And for a year, he was pretty much blaming me. Yeah. And or combination. Right. Yeah. And then we start to find out No, no, it’s actually both of you. And that actually helped matters. Yeah. So we weren’t so angry with each other. But it also is hard on a marriage, because it just becomes a task.

Nicki Kirlin  06:56

Yes. Yeah.


It’s not romantic in any way. It’s like, just get the job done. Yeah. And try and make it work that month. But it’s, it’s extremely challenging on the mental health, for sure. For not just for the women, it’s for the men too, because it challenges their masculinity, and going into that room and doing the things that they need to do. It’s not easy on them as well. And just sitting in that room, like in that waiting room with at the time, it felt like 1000s of people. And it actually, it’s hundreds of people. Yeah, like it. There’s it’s so widespread, that you’re sitting in that waiting room, and you’re looking around at each other, like wondering what their story is. Right. You know, yeah. Wondering how long they’ve tried. Yeah, how many failures they’ve had? Yeah. And, and it actually ends up feeling like a cattle call. Yeah. Because you’re going in for blood tests. You’re going in for ultrasound? And it’s like, you’re like in a shoot? Yeah. You know, it’s it’s very mechanical. And there’s no romance or anything around it. So it just becomes depressing. Yeah, that you’re in that situation. Right. And like you never ever thought you’d be there. When you got married? Yeah, like, you’d be like, Oh, it’s easy. You went through high school, not trying to get pregnant. And then all of a sudden, yeah, you’re getting, you know, needles and everything. It’s awful. So yeah, it’s, um, it’s a challenge. And luckily, we did get pregnant with our daughter. But we, we almost, I almost gave up. Like, right before the end when they said that it wasn’t going to work. And my husband intervened. And he said, We’re going, we’re going regardless of if it doesn’t work or not, we’re continuing on with this cycle. And thank God he did, because I would have quit because my body was tired. My brain was tired. And he said, Let’s keep going. And we ended up with Avery. Wow. Yeah. So but then we tried for five more years. And it took five more years, but we ended up with twin boys. Wow.

Nicki Kirlin  09:21

Yeah. That’s incredible. So like, how did you in the face of all of that? How did you manage to where did you muster up that courage from to say, Okay, let’s just like you mentioned like, your husband, of course, is your you know, was your rock in that situation? How do you Where does that come from? Where do you source that energy from to say, Okay, let’s just give it another try.


I honestly don’t want the desperation. Yeah. The absolute desperation to have a child and just knowing that you’re supposed to have one yeah, eventually and and i i went to school for 10 years. Okay. I mean, something I hated. I don’t give up. Yeah, that’s very true. Yeah. So that is where mine came from, right? I don’t give up on things easily. And so this was just another one of those things where I was like, No, I got to keep trying, until there’s absolutely no more options left. So it’s Yeah.

Nicki Kirlin  10:25

And good on you for doing that. So were you getting any mental health help at that time? No.


No, I was not. I was actually talking with a counselor about the fact that I hated accounting. with every fiber of my body, yes. But I, I did not talk to him about the infertility battle, because I honestly didn’t even tie them together, which is really interesting, looking back. But I didn’t tie them together. At that time. I just was so unhappy with going to school, that I thought that that was the only reason why I was losing my mind. And it happened in a classroom where I felt that shift in my brain. Yeah. And so I just associated it only with being in school. Yeah. And so, no, I didn’t get any help. At the beginning. No, okay. No.

Jenna Fortinski  11:27

Okay, so you go through all these struggles with the infertility, you have three beautiful babes. And then a few years later, you find out that they have these diagnoses.



Jenna Fortinski  11:47

prior to finding out about the diagnoses, did you know anything about those diagnoses that your kids


had received? Nothing? No. I knew nothing. Nothing about ADHD, or odd? Nothing. The first time I ever heard the term ADHD was or odd actually was at my nail appointment. And my nail technician was like, you know, this sounds like one of my clients, kids, and they were diagnosed with odd, which is oppositional defiance disorder, you might want to look into that. Oh, yeah. Okay. And then when you start reading about that, that’s when, like, ADHD is right in there with that. Right. So, but I still didn’t think anything of it. Yeah. At all. Yeah. But yeah, that was the first time I’d heard about it. Yeah.

Jenna Fortinski  12:42

So at that point, when you had received the diagnoses, where were you at in terms of parenting? What was your life like parenting these kids before receiving the diagnosis?


Well, since you were my therapist at the time, part of it. How on earth is honestly and I’m, I’m, I’m all about being real. Yes. That’s my thing. And it was hell on earth. It was more so with our daughter at the time. And she was about four and a half, five years old. And we didn’t know what we were going to do with her. It was there, the level of extreme behavior was unlike anything I’d ever witnessed. And we didn’t know what to do from day to day. We didn’t know what was going on. We just thought we were absolutely terrible parents. Because we didn’t know how to control her or how to talk to her or how to discipline her or consequence. We didn’t. We didn’t know from minute to minute if we were doing the right thing with her until she got the diagnosis. And then we’re like, oh, okay. But still, even after we feel bad, even to this day, even after her getting diagnosed. We didn’t take it. Seriously. Yeah. Like, we were like, Oh, she’s got this thing. Yeah, you know what I mean? Like, I will just monitor it, you know, like, find other things to deal with it. And it was only when we started to see the boys start to also show that stuff that we’re like, oh, no. Yeah, what is going on? And sure enough, yeah. They, it was really, really, really bad at daycares and they home facilities. Every single day, practically, we were getting calls or write ups, requests to come in and get them because they didn’t have the staff or the experience to deal with them. behaviors that were being shown. And that’s very hard when you’re working professionals. Yeah. James and I are both managers had our companies and picking up and leaving at any time is hard. Yeah. And yeah, then they got diagnosed as well with ADHD and odd. And that was when we were like, not James, necessarily, but me. I said, I need to know absolutely everything under the sun about this. I need to know what the hell is going on? Yeah. And how to handle this, and what strategies to use. And yeah, I became a ADHD mama bear. And that’s when I realized that my husband was also ADHD. Like, Oh, all right.


Yeah, but I

Nicki Kirlin  15:56

remember that makes sense, though, right? Like you, your first strategy is to educate yourself and to to learn as much as you can, so that you know what you’re dealing with. Right? So

Jenna Fortinski  16:07

So what was it like for you, as a mom? Seeing, like your kids struggle through, like, things that maybe other kids wouldn’t struggle through?


It’s, I think it’s a combination. Because as they’re acting like maniacs, as a mom, you’re traumatized. Yeah. It me anyway, with my personality. I do not like I shouldn’t say now. But I did not like attention being on me at all. And when they’re acting like that, in every store possible, it’s very hard to not take the looks and the comments to heart when you hear people saying, like, take, take care of your kids, or like, control your kids or whatever, right? So I was internalizing a lot of that, but at the same time, I felt really bad for seeing them. So elevated, right, and like trying to calm them down, right? Because we knew at that point, that it was something that they couldn’t, it was out of their control. Yeah. Right. So it was a combination of trying to deal with my emotions, and James dealing with his, and also parenting them to know that they were safe. Right. Right. So it was very trying. Very trying times for sure. Yeah.

Jenna Fortinski  17:40

So yeah, so I like I think what’s important, and for everybody to think about and what I often think about when I talk to clients that have struggled with what you’ve gone through, is that, you know, when we have children, there is no parenting book, right? Like, there is no book of what your life is gonna look like when this little being comes into the world. Right? And then we’ve got, you know, so we’ve got kids, which having kids is difficult. It’s it’s a fog through and through. And then we’ve got, you know, you’ve had kids cane. So now you find out that they’re struggling, right, and that they’ve got, you know, maybe a potential diagnosis that goes along with that, right. And so I think the assumption is always that I’m a bad parent.


Yeah, of course. It’s got to be me. Yeah,

Jenna Fortinski  18:28

me. I should know better. What am I doing wrong?


This didn’t happen for my mom. Yeah. So it’s obviously me. I’m a really bad parent. Yeah.

Jenna Fortinski  18:36

And so like, for me, I think it’s important to normalize that thought process that it is normal to have that thought process. However, it isn’t just you as a parent, right? There’s so many factors that go into each individual little being, how they interpret what’s happening around them in the world, and how they process that for us as parents to remember that each one of our kids is so special, so individual, and for us to understand that, as parents were given very limited information on how to be parents. And that, you know, creating a support system around yourself is so important. And like Tiffany did is to really seek out that education. Yeah, about how you can help yourself and how you can help your children as well.


So I just wanted to comment. Thank you. Yeah, absolutely.

Nicki Kirlin  19:30

So Tiffany, you shared with us at the beginning that you experienced two mental breakdowns. Yep. Do you want to do you mind to just share with us a little bit about what was happening that sort of led to those two instances


for you? Well, the first like I said, was the schooling and I, it was in the eighth year of my 10 year program, and I’ve been going to school at night. While I was still working full time, and I, I just couldn’t handle it anymore. Like I, I didn’t like it to begin with. But then the thought of going to the school to sate after working all day, and then going home and studying all night or on the weekends and that I just, I’d had enough and my brain just gave out and it actually felt like it felt like I had Tourette syndrome. After that happened, I’m like, I don’t know how else to explain it. Other than that, where it was like, I felt like I needed to blurt out, like things that people like sitting in a meet, meeting at work. And I’d be like, I’d want to say, You’re stupid. That’s a ridiculous idea. You know what I mean? Like, I want it to like, say things out loud. So I’d actually like pinch my tongue with my teeth throughout a whole entire hour. Wow. And that’s really hard when you’re trying to breathe. Yeah, yeah. I don’t recommend it. At all. Yeah. But that was my only way of trying to keep myself from not getting fired. Because I wanted to say it to some pretty important people. And, yeah, so yeah, that wasn’t good. And like, I would even get on elevators. And I’d be like, want to, like, yell at people. And so that, that was very hard to overcome, but I did. I, I chose to finish the program doing homeschooling online. Yeah. schooling, and that saved me. Yeah. Because I could sit in my office. Yeah, I can do online. And in my pajamas. Yes. And it, it was the best decision. And I finished so that I was very proud of myself for sticking with it. But it took its toll for sure. So what I would recommend for anybody listening, if you feel it isn’t right. Don’t do it. Yeah. Like life is way too short. Way too short. The second one was after, right around the boy’s fifth birthday. And they had obviously just been diagnosed about couple months earlier. And we had an experience at Animal Kingdom in Disney World. And it was very traumatizing. And I actually like that’s where I felt. Again, my my brain kind of, I just I describe it as snapping. Yeah, like, I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s just like, something goes off. Yeah. And then you’re not fine. All of a sudden. And it was just tears, and just extreme anxiety. And just I was so ashamed and embarrassed by what happened in animal kingdom that I was just like, I can’t deal with this anymore. Yeah, like it’s, it’s too, too much for the brain to handle. So anyway, we got home from Disney World. And something happened at home like it usually does. And I actually ended up going into the my closet, and I hid behind the clothes in my closet. And I might cry.




Um, so I yeah, I just I hid behind the clothes in my closet. So they wouldn’t find me. Remember me telling you that? I do. I just couldn’t, I didn’t want them to find me ever. Like I was just like, I can’t I can’t deal with these little people anymore. They’re way too hard on the brain. And so I I was hiding behind the clothes in my closet and praying that my dogs wouldn’t give me away.




and I thought about killing myself while I was behind those clothes. Because I was just I was done with not knowing how to deal with the shame of not being able to parent them. Like I knew that I could. My I just wasn’t able to hit that point. It was just too tired and, and I was very angry at God. And I spoke to you a lot about that. Yes, I was very, very, very, very angry at God that he, not he just that it took that long to have them and that painful to actually just bring them into the world. And then now we also deal with this. Yeah. So that was hard to wrap my head around. And yeah.

Nicki Kirlin  25:35

Sorry about that, Miss Tiffany, do not apologize. Yeah. It’s funny because you say, go into the closet and hide behind the clothes. And I feel like and I know you’re saying that literally. But I feel like anybody who is a parent has probably had that moment at one point or another where they just feel like they need need an escape, you know? So it’s very, yeah, it’s awesome that you’re able to speak some some truth to that and to be real about it. And to say that this this happens.


Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I think it’s important to not hide those moments anymore. For anybody, because it’s, it can be the difference between life and death. Hmm. Literally, literally,

Jenna Fortinski  26:29

for you, literally for me. Yeah.


And if I didn’t do something about it, and I didn’t find help, I wouldn’t be here. And that is 100% certain. Yeah. I would not be here if I didn’t reach out and get help. Yeah.

Jenna Fortinski  26:49

So well, good on you for doing it. No kidding. Good on you. Because it really is like it’s it’s an experience in and of itself to, to have those thoughts. But then to muster up the enormous amount of courage it takes to speak about it is really something that’s truly, you know, hits. It’s unbelievable, so good on you. Yeah,


thank you.

Jenna Fortinski  27:19

And we’re very thankful that you’re here today. Yes,


yes, I am. Yeah.

Jenna Fortinski  27:24

Mom guilt. Oh,




guilt. It is. More than real. It is. Yeah. I don’t even know where to start with that one. But the, like I said, the guilt. The main guilt that I felt for a long time was just being angry, in general, that we were dealt this hand. You know, like, I was very angry. Like, I was just like, I don’t understand we are good people. Like, James and I looked at each other so many times, and we were like, We must have done some another light to really tick off the big guy. And so but then I was just, yeah, I don’t know. For, I don’t know, maybe two years, I was an A, I call myself an angry chicken. I would just fly around the house, like, just bitter, like Angry chicken about everything. Like, this is ridiculous. Why do we have to deal with this crap and, and then I don’t know what it was, it was obviously working with you. And, and just really learning more about it. And knowing what’s involved, that it was like,




I just need to breathe, and I need to just release this, you know, but then we have the guilt of the constantly about my kids taking a lot of extra time to manage. Yeah. And I’m, I’m a manager at a company, I’m in senior management and going to your owner and saying, gotta go my kid just threatened to throw a rock through a window. So See ya, you know. Yeah. And that weighs heavily on on you as a manager. And yeah, you just feel guilty for taking company time to deal with your little shitheads. And, yeah, sorry for swearing. You know what I mean? We know. So, yeah, there’s a lot of guilt in a lot of areas. So and not if you’re doing the right thing if you’re getting them the right help. Why didn’t we try this? Why didn’t Why are we putting them on drugs these days. People say you shouldn’t put them on drugs. Like it’s like it’s nonstop. Have you tried this? Oh,


what about this? What about? My kids do that?


Yeah. And this worked for them. Yeah. And so it should work for yours. And yeah. Yeah. And you learn a lot through being in support communities, who to actually throw your life preserver around and stick with, you know, because there’s a lot of opinions out there. Yeah. And just stick with who, who you resonate with? Yeah. And who sounds like and feels like your situation? Yeah. And just forget the rest. Yeah. Because there’s millions of different combinations of kids and families, and nobody is the same. Yeah. And so find what works for you. And we found strategies that worked for us, that we’ve stuck with every day is not rainbows and butterflies. But we’ve found things that definitely work, where we are more comfortable not taking them to the RCMP station on a daily basis. And just dropping them off. Yeah.

Jenna Fortinski  31:16

I think it’s important, like when we talk about mom guilt, I feel like we are in you know, a time of life or whatever you want to call it. That mom guilt is just like, it’s so prevalent. And I think, you know, the fact that we have access to each other more than we ever have, you know, through social media, and we have access to people, you know, accessing different information that, you know, you start to feel guilty because people are throwing their opinions out you. Or they’re showing what they’ve done in their life that Yeah, we just can’t help but feel this overwhelming veil of guilt. Yeah. Because our lives are not the same as other people’s right. And, you know, like, obviously, I’m doing something wrong, because I work full time, or because I’ve sent my kids to daycare, or, you know, like, there’s so many things now that are put out into the world at such a fast and easy pace. That, you know, I think as moms, we can’t just help but feel this veil of guilt. Right? And, you know, the standards standards have been set at such an unattainable level. Yeah, that, you know, if you’re not doing it this way, or that way, you’re doing it wrong. So no matter what you’re doing, you feel like you’re doing it wrong. Yeah, of course.

Nicki Kirlin  32:33

And there’s daily reminders of that. Exactly. your social media or wherever.

Jenna Fortinski  32:39

Yeah. And it’s hard, because I think everybody has assumed, you know, some sort of an expert role in, you know, like, through the roof research that they’ve done, or through their own experience, so we can help us feel and question, you know, what we’re doing and what I love about what you said, Tiffany, is that you guys have found what works? That’s right. I know, stuck with it. Right. And that’s been my message throughout this whole podcast is, you know, we really just need to focus on what works for yourself, focus on your own little family unit, or even just yourself and figure out what works and just stick with it. Yeah. Right. And and to not allow those other messages to, to come through and and to cause you to question yourself.


Yeah, absolutely.

Nicki Kirlin  33:25

Yeah, no, I think I think that’s really wise advice. And what’s important to in what you both have said, is this idea of having a support network of people that you trust, and that you know, are good, you know, good, reliable sources that you can lean on. Yeah. And so for you, Tiffany, you’ve shared in your own podcast,


which is amazing. Yes,

Nicki Kirlin  33:49

that we will. We’ll chat a little bit about later. Yeah. But you’ve shared that you went through to therapists before you actually found your Jenna. Yeah,


my Jenna. Sorry, everybody. She belongs to me. That was my loving nickname for her.


So but found

Nicki Kirlin  34:08

it before you found your Jenna. What wasn’t working with the other counselors that you met before? You before you found Jenna?


Well, I actually. So Avery, my daughter actually started doing play therapy with Jenna. So that’s how I that’s how I met Jenna. Fantastic. And then we had this you don’t know this story, I don’t think. But then, at one point in those sessions, James came in. Yeah. And you met with James and I, and you didn’t put up with anything? No, I did not. And I was like, I really like her. In I don’t mean not just towards j given to me, like when I was saying something, yeah, we’re just like, you would give me that head twist that you do. And you’re like, Huh. And even when we left, he was like, I like her. I like her too. And so, I didn’t originally start seeing Jenna was our daughter. Right? Okay. But the other person other two people I just didn’t click with, okay, I just didn’t feel and I actually describe it as I want to be able to snot cry one minute and laugh my ass off with this person. Right. And that was Jenna. Okay, from like, from that first meeting with James actually made me laugh. And, and then it’s always been like that. So yeah, I didn’t, I didn’t want to go see anybody else. So, but I just didn’t click with the other two. I didn’t feel like I could really open up and be real. 100% real? And I don’t know why that is. I don’t I don’t have an answer for it. Okay, I just didn’t feel that level of comfort. Like it wasn’t there.

Nicki Kirlin  36:10

And I think that, Jenna, you can comment on this. But I think that therapeutic relationship is really, I mean, in most times, it is sort of that mystery in some cases. Right? Right. It has to be a good fit between client and therapist or counselor. And sometimes it just doesn’t work. Right. And sometimes it works. like you’d never believe it could work. Yeah.


That’s right. Yeah.

Nicki Kirlin  36:32

So that’s fantastic that you were able to find that connection with Jenna.


And have that space to truly be yourself. Yeah. And for James to be himself as well. Yeah. And he was he definitely was. And I have booked two hour appointments with Anna. But in my defense, I live an hour and a half away. Yes, that’s right. So I go big or go home.

Jenna Fortinski  36:56

Right. Yeah, for you. And we’ve gone over the two hours.


Too much to talk about. Yeah.

Jenna Fortinski  37:06

No, it is it’s the therapeutic relationship is so important to the therapeutic journey. And it is truly about, you know, the client and the therapist feeling that connection together. And, you know, my hope for all of my clients would be that they do feel like they can come in and like you said, you know, snot cry and laugh. Right. And, and for it to be a space that they feel 100% comfortable being in. Okay, so why do you think that there’s a stigma with seeking and receiving mental health support? What’s your opinion on it?


Well, I actually would say that I actually see promising change. Go ahead. Good happening. And it very recent, I would say even in the last year and a half. I agree with, especially with COVID. Yes, I agree. But I think it was starting a little bit before that as well. And that’s been encouraging. But I think it’s especially with the social media world. Nobody wants to show their real stuff. Totally. And, and they don’t want to be found out that things aren’t perfect. Or, and everybody says, you know, nobody’s perfect. You know, everybody says that. Yes, but yeah, they portray it. You know, that a lot of people do. Yeah. And I think it’s they don’t want to be found out. Yeah. And I think it’s I think it’s time just to be 100% real. Yeah. And just find out what really is going on. Not just in your life, but if you see somebody struggling, actually ask them. You know, yeah, like, actually ask them how they’re doing. And wait for the answer. Yeah. Not just I know a lot of people that just Hey, how are you doing? And they’re walking as they’re asking. Yeah, yeah. And like that isn’t that isn’t genuine? Yeah, you know, yeah. And I have found that me making that change was like at work or like with my family, actually waiting for them to respond. They actually react to you like, actually waiting, you know? Yeah. And sometimes even pressing further. Yeah, because some people do the canned answer. But I don’t know if it’s that I I’m like, I’m quite intuitive that I can feel it. That it’s not okay. Yeah. That I keep pressing. Yeah. But when you sense that something’s not right. Don’t walk away. Yeah. Because you never know. It could be that moment where they need you were like the most Yeah. Right. So that that’s been my experience in the last two years anyway. Yeah. Since I’ve come out of my dark abyss, is help each other out. Yeah. Because it’s a very lonely place to be. Right. And scary, very scary place to be. I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. Yeah, ever? Well,

Jenna Fortinski  40:43

I think, for you, Tiffany, like you have, like we mentioned previously, before, you’re taking on a very special role in terms of breaking the stigma in the podcast that you have. And I know that a very important part of your journey has been talking about what you’ve gone through in your life. Can you talk a little bit about your podcast and what you’re


working towards? Yes.

Jenna Fortinski  41:11

Breaking the stigma. Oh, I


would love to.


So last June, last year, in June 2020. It actually started about six months before where I had the idea to maybe start a podcast. So I bought a mic. And I kept it in the box for a very long time. Because I I knew so it was either write a book, or do a podcast. Yeah. And I just kept thinking there’s no way in hell that I could talk that long into a microphone in. And I kept thinking, who wants to hear me talk that long? Like, Oh, my gosh, I do.

Jenna Fortinski  41:57

Yeah. I’ve got to write here. Yeah.


But at that time, I was like, you know, self doubt. Yes. I honestly, I was like, Yes. My voice is just awful. Like, it’s crackly and I was like, Oh my god, I’m never doing that. And then one day, I pulled a book off of my bookshelf. And I opened it just to practice. Yeah. And so I start and I pulled the secret. And even the page that I turned to, I was like, Whoa, I think I’m supposed to do the podcast. So anyway, I talked to talk. And then I was I went upstairs and I said, I think I need to start a podcast and to my husband, and he was like, Alright, what do you want to talk about? Yeah. And so anyway, the main idea, it started out that I wanted to talk about our journey. That was the main goal, right? Because, like I just said, there’s a lot of people that hide behind being perfect. And we have this perfect life, even though there’s no, you know, yeah. Kids at that time or like, and people, some people knew we were struggling with infertility, but not, not to the degree that we were. And so, before I started, though, I did sit down with James and I said, I’m not sharing one piece of our story without you approving it, because it’s very personal. And it’s very, it’s you two, right. And he was fully on board. Yeah, like fully from day one. And, and still to this day, like when, when I say, I think we’re going to talk about this. Are you okay with that? And he’ll be like, he hasn’t said no. So that’s been really, really good. So anyway, I met with somebody because I had never started a podcast, like how the heck do you do this? And so she helped me come up with the pillars of the podcasts. And so those are mental health, and infertility, and marriage and parenting kids with behavioral disabilities. So, and then, I had actually come up with a name that I texted Jenna. And Jenna Oh, she’s so supportive. And it had to do with Brene Brown. And Jenna was like, Oh, yes, for sure. It’s Yeah, she’ll definitely like that. And no, no, it didn’t end up being that.


And I’m not even going to disclose what it was


gonna say. Are you going to tell us what it was?


Well, I will actually, because it’s a Brene Brown. Yes. Saying I love her and we love Brene. So I was actually going to call it living awkward, brave and kind. Oh, okay. Yeah, but when I talked with this podcast coach, it didn’t read And eat with her. And so we actually, she recorded that for her podcast, oh, my my coaching call. And I’ve listened back to it a few times and the moment where she said, hard, beautiful journey, both of us, like inhaled like, like, oh my god that’s it. So it is called hard beautiful journey and yeah, and it’s because life is can be Yes, very hard. But there’s so much beautiful in those hardships as well. So I am now on season three. And it has been a crazy ride but so much fun. Yes. Season One was more talking about my story, our family’s story and stuff about ADHD and the infertility and all of that. And then season two, I actually started interviewing people about their heart beautiful journeys. And that has been so amazing to see, hear their stories, and then to see the relief that they feel. Yeah. After they’ve shared their story. And that it’s out there.


Yeah, right. Yeah.


They’re so nervous to be in with Yeah. And then it’s like they’re like, a weight has been lifted. Yeah. Like the the shame has been lifted. If there was any there. Yeah, for some of them. They they’re past the shame. Yeah. Right. They’re there. They just want to share their story. Yeah. And get it out there as to as many people as possible, just like I do. Yeah. Right. The shame is long gone for me. Yeah. Honestly, I just want to tell my story to as many people as possible. And

Nicki Kirlin  46:56

thankfully, we have people like you that are, you know, brave enough, courageous enough, vulnerable enough to do that. And you’re the reason why we are making gains in breaking the stigma, right? It’s because of people like you that we that we can do that. And we can say it’s okay. And everybody has their own story.


And that’s wonderful. Right?

Jenna Fortinski  47:19

Yeah. And it’s also because of Tiffany that the simply, Jenna podcast with us. That’s right. Because I was, you had asked me to be a guest on yours. And after my experience of being on your podcast, I had chatted with Nicki and I said, You know what, maybe there’s, there’s something there for us that we can, you know, helpful, hopefully help. Lots of people through this and, you know, as local to Calgary and all around the world and just share, you know, my thoughts as Yep. As a psychologist, a practicing psychologist in Calgary. So thank you to Tiffany. Yes, that’s right, giving us this gift to be able to share with people. So we’re very grateful for that.


Yeah. When you go, Oh, my gosh, when Jenna told me I was a blubbering mess. Yes. They were. So proud of you for doing it. Yeah. Because I knew there’s their wide. I told you, because there’s a lot of people that don’t have the privilege of having coverage. Yes. Through their work review. To see somebody like you. Yeah. And to have that resource, that free resource to hear stories about something they might be going through. Yeah. You know, like, it’s a sense of comfort for them. Yeah. That they wouldn’t have gotten. Yeah. At all. Yeah, right, in some cases, because they can’t afford it. And there’s millions of people like that, right. So you taking your expertise and what you know, and helping, like it’s amazing. Thank you. I’m very proud of you. Well, thank



Jenna Fortinski  49:08

I thank you. And thank you. Thank you. So Canadian. Thank you very Canadian here. Okay,

Nicki Kirlin  49:16

so I think you might have already mentioned this with your sort of background on building your own podcast. But is there one sort of common lesson or theme that you’ve learned in your mental health journey?


Oh, yes.


And I’m pretty sure if Jenna wrote notes from our sessions, there would be one common word that came up over and over and over again, that I’m finally finally listening. And that’s to say no, learning how to say no to things that I don’t need to be doing right. And that don’t light me up. And that don’t bring me joy. And, you know, like, just finally saying, You know what? That’s not for me. Yeah. And even though somebody else might think it’s your thing, oh, she’d be perfect for this. We got to ask her. And then of course, I used to always say yes, yeah. And now it’s No, you know what, I just don’t have time. Yeah. And I would, I’ve actually even said, No, I would rather not do that. I’d rather do this. Yeah, good girl. You know, that would be the main thing that you definitely helped me with. Good. That makes me a lot of things. But that one stands out for sure.

Jenna Fortinski  50:43

Yeah. And I think that even goes back to the mom guilt thing, right is that, you know, I think as moms, we’re kind of given this idea that we’re supposed to be able to do it all, and be at all. And that’s so far from the truth, right? And really pick what you want to invest your time in. And what means the most to you. And, you know, really enjoy it and enjoy every minute, because that’s what’s important. And that’s what you’re going to get the most out of, is to be able to say no, right?


Absolutely enjoy the stuff that matters.

Jenna Fortinski  51:15

However, darling, what’s your last piece of parting advice?




well, there’s a lot. So trying to be summarize it, I guess it would be when I started talking, when I not just in my podcast, but with Jenna. And even like, with friends with family, when I just started talking and opening my mouth and using my voice, I found relief. And I found that the shame and guilt feelings that I was having for years, just started to lift. Yeah. And when I started my podcast and made it even more out there so that everybody could hear it. That was actually more transformative than anything. And I’m not suggesting that people all have to go start podcasts. That’s not what I’m saying. But to use your voice and share your story. And you never know what you sharing that one story about whatever, could help somebody that is on the edge. Now, you know, yeah, that how you got through it. And you’re here, and this is what you’re doing now. And what’s changed for you? You never know what that can do for some person, somebody? And I’ve seen it myself. Yeah. repeatedly in the last year. Yeah. So that is definitely what I would recommend. User voice

Jenna Fortinski  53:03

wise words, very wise words. Thank you.


No, thank you. Thank you for having me.

Jenna Fortinski  53:12

And, you know, thank you for for coming on here and sharing your story and using your voice again, you know, just on another platform, being able to share your story. And I know that your story is unique and special, and your heart beautiful journey is such a beautiful capture of what you’ve gone through. And so please, please, please go listen, definitely to podcast. It is unbelievable. Make sure you don’t make the same mistake that I did, which is applying your makeup while you’re listening to it at all just

Nicki Kirlin  53:48

run right off.


Just to be clear, some there are lots of funny moments there are there are some moments where you will absolutely cry. Yes. So we don’t care is not cry,

Jenna Fortinski  54:01

right? In true Tiffany fashion. So, but do please head on over. We’ll put all the details in the show notes to Tiffany’s links, so that you can listen to her her beautiful journey. So thank you.


Thank you guys.

Nicki Kirlin  54:16

Thank you.


This has been great. Thank you.

Jenna Fortinski  54:19

We’re gonna close with a quote from Tiffany, that she chose. It’s from Diana Hardy. It only takes one voice at the right pitch to start an avalanche