Joanne Verkuilen

I have PCOS and have known about it since my late teens. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a hormone imbalance that affects about 5-10% of women in the U.S. It basically puts your ovaries into overdrive, producing many cysts (hence the “poly” in the name)
instead of healthy eggs. Throughout my twenties and early into my marriage, the diagnosis that “pregnancy may be difficult” was there lurking in the background, but I honestly didn’t get too hung up on it as it was something to be dealt with at a later time. I was blessed to have two perfect children, but not without a lot of heart-ache and emotional ups and downs along the way.

Our first child came within six months of “trying but not trying.” It was easy, actually. No temperature monitoring, no buying pregnancy tests in bulk, no infertility procedures, and more importantly, very little stress. There was no figuring out when my period was supposed to come, and waiting with baited breath to see if it did. It was living life normally.

The second child, who came almost five years later, was a bit of a different story. We did the same approach to start, but after a year of trying unsuccessfully, we knew that we needed to start taking things more seriously. So, the tests,the timing, and the waiting started in earnest. It was hard, and what I found was that my normal thought pattern started to shift. Images of swaddled babies smelling like baby powder became regular. I would get a twinge in the pit of my stomach when I saw a pregnant woman. I found myself looking at those tiny little outfits and imagining a fully stocked dresser of tiny diapers, lotions, and wipes. Looking back, I am sure I had become a bit depressed and somewhat crazy. Well-meaning friends and family would comment how lucky we were to have one healthy child. A few times the pregnancy test came back positive and the rush of those emotions flooded me, only to find out weeks later that the pregnancies were not viable and needed to be terminated. Heart. Ache.

I had two very different experiences having two terrific kids. Can I say that my depression and stress that I felt hampered my ability to get pregnant the second time? Who knows. What I can say for sure, however, is that my infertility problems certainly did contribute to my stress and depression and we all know the detrimental effects on our body when we have such extreme emotions.
I have always believed in the mind-body connection, but in the case of my second pregnancy, had no idea how I could help myself through the problem. I know that the emotions that we carry around with us, especially anger and anxiety, can be energy-sappers, but can also be destructive to the careful balancing of our hormonal and immune systems. The negativity captures excess energy that could be redirected elsewhere in the bodies – most importantly your reproductive system. By freeing this negative energy through relaxation, meditation and even recording your thoughts in a journal, we begin the wonderful process of recovery and healing.

I started Circle + Bloom™ to help others in this process of taking a more proactive stance. Helping ourselves help ourselves. Through the power of the mind-body connection along with the stress-infertility link – we have the knowledge to take matters in our own hands (we do not advocate, however, to delay seeing a doctor, if you suspect problems with being able to get pregnant).

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, comments or ideas: I would love to hear from you.