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The holidays are a festive time of year, full of hustle and bustle, family events, good food and good friends.

It can be a time of great joy, but for those struggling with infertility the constant stream of messages and images depicting the picture-perfect holiday can be a not so subtle reminder of what we want, but don’t have.

Many people get the holiday blues, but there are some truly effective ways to cope and to help you enjoy this special time of year.

Infertility and Holiday

Being prepared for what lies ahead is incredibly important and there are a few wonderful strategies for ensuring that your holiday season is a time filled with love, kindness, and joy ——

1. Surround yourself with good people who support you and are sensitive to what you are going through.

Do things that you enjoy with people that make you feel loved.

Don’t feel guilty about saying no to holiday gatherings or events that you know will make you feel uncomfortable or sad and instead focus your energy on the people and activities that encourage your happiness and wellness.

2. Find joy in doing kind and generous things for others.

Doing something nice for someone else is a surefire way to take your mind off of your holiday blues and to show the people around you that you appreciate the extra support they have given you along your journey.

3. Ask for help when you need it.

The holidays can be overwhelming on their own, but when you add the emotional strain of infertility it’s easy to become completely consumed in feelings of anxiety and helplessness.

Seeing a professional counselor and addressing your feelings in a safe and supportive space can truly help to alleviate some of this strain and help you to refocus your energy on the people and traditions that bring you joy.

4. Stick to healthy habits.

Between shopping for the perfect gift, attending a slew of holiday gatherings, and managing family commitments, it’s easy to let healthy routines slip.

Lack of time and energy make it difficult to care for ourselves in the ways that we know we should. Don’t beat yourself up for breaking your healthy habits for a few holiday indulgences, but be sure to mitigate splurges with more moderate choices, too.

5. Create new traditions.

This advice is often given to families who have recently lost a loved one, and when you are dealing with infertility or miscarriage, it’s also very important not to get trapped in holiday routines that are simply too painful during such a difficult time in life.

Traditions that used to bring joy can feel empty and meaningless. If you’re struggling with these emotions, make it a priority to establish new traditions and give yourself the permission to break with holiday routines that you don’t find fulfilling.

6. Let yourself feel…All of it.

Facing your fears and anxieties head on and with an open and non-judgmental mindset is crucial to overcoming those fears and moving forward.

The frustration and stress associated with infertility can be even more acute during a time of year so centered on families, and particularly children. If you feel yourself becoming increasingly depressed or resentful, take a step back and ask yourself “What am I feeling?” and “Why am I feeling this way?”

Acknowledge and give credit to the answers to those questions– your feelings are valid and important, and by acknowledging and respecting them you can grow from painful and scary experiences in a way that brings you closer to inner peace.

7. Know that you are not alone.

The holidays are a difficult time for a lot of people. It feels very isolating when everyone around you seems to be having a wonderful time and you’re doing all you can just to keep it together.

Just know that things are not always as lovely as they seem, and that the holidays are tough for a lot of people for a number of different reasons. There is a silver lining to this in that it provides an opportunity to reach out to others who may be struggling and to support one another.

We encourage you to join our Circle + Bloom PRIVATE Infertility Support Circle Group on Facebook, and for you to know that you will always find support from us and the amazing community that has grown from this group. To join the group, simply email amy@circlebloom.com and ask to be added.


There comes a point, usually around December 15th or so that I finally start getting into the holiday spirit. And then it hits me like a warm blanket. That cozy feeling that everything seems right in the world.

I remember living in New York City and getting this feeling. There is nothing like walking around the streets of New York with the hustle and bustle of city life, with the extra excitement of the season making everything sparkle a bit more than usual. A beautiful thing.

But until then? Not so much.

Before December 15th, there is just a lot more stress than usual. More demands on your time, more to-dos on your list, more things to remember. And don’t forget about the additional financial commitments and decisions going on as well.

And on top of all of this? The stress and struggle of infertility… and what that means for you. In fact, last year we wrote The Tiny Guide to Holiday Sanity to provide you with one more tool in your toolbox.

So, we thought we would extend an early gift to you… A special holiday discount of not 10%, not 20% – but a whopping 25% that we hope helps you make the decision to download and get started with on your new journey of taking greater control over your fertility…and more importantly…your state of mind!

Because there is no better investment – or gift that we can make but to ourselves!

Hurry as the coupon will expire on December 15th!


With love + gratitude –


Are You Really in Control?

Guest Blog by Katie Ryan, a Fertility Coach, guiding couples through pregnancy preparation and fertility solutions.

They say becoming pregnant is the ultimate act of letting go. But what if you’re not good at letting go? What if you prefer to be in control?

I see so many clients who are super-organized about having a baby. They’ve researched it out the wazoo and whatever is worth doing, they’ve done it. They’re on top of the vitamins (practitioner prescribed of course), they take their temperature every morning and know when they ovulate, they schedule sex in their calendars and keep their partner on track.

They eat well, exercise and do all the right things. They’re in control of every variable that can be controlled to help bring on that big fat positive.

But it comes at a price.

When we think we’re in control we can actually be getting in our own way. The illusion of control makes us think we’re being useful but many of my clients use it to distract themselves from the real reason they haven’t conceived yet.

Keeping busy with all the doing means no time for feeling all those emotions under the surface. Those emotions are the reason your baby hasn’t come through, not because you forgot your multivitamin yesterday or accidentally drank real coffee instead of decaf.

The real skill comes not in being organized and in control, but in having the courage to look into your heart and face your fears, then feel your way through your emotions to the other side.

Imagine yourself behind the wheel of a car. You have somewhere important to be but looking ahead, all you can see is a line of traffic. Looking in your rear vision mirror you see more of the same. You’re almost stationery, in danger of being overtaken by the proverbial tortoise.

Imagine yourself gripping the steering wheel and feel the tension in your hands and arms, trying to move your car forward with the power of your mind. Feel your posture, upright with impatience.Your breathing is shallow and your chest feels tight. All you can think is “what the heck is the delay? Why me? Why now? Can we please just get on with it?” Aargh the frustration!

If you had to describe how you feel in that car in one word, would it be stressed? You might have planned your route and done all the right things to keep your car clean and well-maintained but that hasn’t helped you avoid this traffic jam.

What if you took your hands off the wheel for a moment and let them fall into your lap. Take your next breath in deeper than the last. Let your shoulders drop away from your ears.

Could you be here for a reason? What if you’re not quite ready to arrive at your destination, or what if the delay allows time for something undesirable to be moved out of your path? Be open to knowing why things are taking so long.

Being in control takes a heck of a lot of brainpower, energy and resources. The constant planning, what if-ing and organizing is exhausting and stressful, and of course stress is the number one enemy of conception.

Stress comes from being in your head but making a baby comes from being in your body, trusting your intuitive gut instincts and feeling complete faith in yourself deep in your heart.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still up to you to prepare yourself physically by eating well, doing some exercise and so on, but let that preparation come from a place of calm assuredness rather than frantic worry. Let your heart and intuition give you the guidance that your head can then put into practice.

Prepare then let go. Take your hands off the wheel and let the universe take control.

Are You Really in Control? - Katie RyanKatie Ryan is a Fertility Coach, guiding couples through pregnancy preparation and fertility solutions. She believes in a world where babies choose their parents, your body is your best friend, and intuition is golden. When she’s not bringing parents and babies together, you can find her tending to kale in her backyard, meditating with a cat on her lap, or making healthier versions of her favorite desserts. www.beforethebedroom.com


Not Easily Dispelled

Last month, I wrote a blog post on journaling after receiving some pointed questions about my journaling process from a member of our Circle+Bloom community.

Journaling, writing, and self expression have been on my mind ever since, and I thought it would be a great time to share a personal experience that shows exactly how powerful these practices can be and the broader themes that they bring to light.

A few months ago my sister started writing a blog Not Easily Dispelled when she made a huge decision to quit her job after 30 years.

It’s been a great way for me to relive some family nostalgia through her stories and pictures, but beyond that I couldn’t help but notice a couple of things about it that highlight some great qualities we can all strive for.

First, the courage to try something new. It doesn’t matter if it’s only your family, a group of friends, the whole Internet, or just yourself as a witness.

Try something new and different if you feel like it, even if you’re nervous about what might happen or what others might think. She even tags certain posts with “something new” to highlight the way she is challenging herself.

If you put yourself out there you might just finding yourself having a lot of fun doing something you never would have imagined yourself doing!

Not Easily Dispelled Blog

Second, forcing yourself out of your comfort zone. I love this post where she states openly that blogging was outside her comfort zone when she first started, and it still is.

But taking on something outside of your comfort zone let’s you overcome some of the fears that may have been holding you back, and that’s a pretty great accomplishment. Finally, the positive impact writing can have. My sister called it ‘having a conversation with yourself.”

When you sit down to write it allows you to express yourself in a way that’s different from how you might communicate on a day-to-day basis.

Writing can help you work through tough emotions, express something that you wouldn’t talk about normally, or simply to share some joy and laughter with others.

I urge you to experience these benefits for yourself! Whether sitting down with a new journal or creating a personal blog, take the first step in reaping the rewards of writing for YOU today.

With love and gratitude,


Guest Blog by Vickie Barnes, co-founder of BabyHopes.com.

The journey to parenthood encompasses the full spectrum of emotions. At the start, everything is exciting and hopeful. You are full of dreams of how your future is going to bloom and how you will soon have a brand new baby in your arms. As the journey unfolds, this hopefulness can slowly diminish and be replaced with sadness and frustration if the positive pregnancy test remains elusive. This is what inspired Vickie Barnes to found BabyHopes.com.

About Vickie Barnes and BabyHopes:

Babyhopes.com was a natural progression from a labor of love, literally. In 1996, I moved to England, from New Jersey, to be with my soon-to-be husband, Steve. While living there, we had our daughter, Jennifer. Her labor was amazing and I started a website called The Labor of Love to tell everyone about our home water birth. That website blossomed into a thriving supportive community of people, who were trying to get pregnant or were parents of young children. It became apparent that many people were spending a fortune on ovulation and pregnancy tests month after month. We knew there had to be a more cost-effective alternative. When BabyHopes opened in 2001, we sold low cost, reliable pregnancy tests and ovulation tests. As the years passed, we grew and changed. On the personal front, we moved back to the United States and added two wonderful sons to our family. On the business front, Babyhopes.com continued to grow and change too, still selling low cost tests, but now also selling many different herbal products that will help you optimize your chances of getting pregnant naturally.

The BabyHopes Philosophy

As online shoppers ourselves, we greatly value good customer service. Sometimes, it is hard to come by in the impersonal world of ecommerce. We like being able to help our customers find the right product for their needs. One husband and wife team called our office many times, over a two week period, asking for clarification about what products would be the most helpful for the wife. They shared their struggle with us, in detail, and, sadly, the fertility doctors had given them no hope of conceiving on their own. They refused to accept that prognosis and came to us, looking for hope and advice. We were able to suggest some natural supplements that would be helpful. The best part of this journey was when they called back, about 2 months later, to thank us for our help because they were able to get pregnant on their own! Businesses typically do not want their customers to go away, but in our case, we would much rather you achieve your dreams then come back month after disheartening month. Our hope is that won’t see you again, until you start trying for baby number two!

Products To Help You Achieve Your Dream

When BabyHopes was first “born”, we were really focusing on providing the high quality, low cost tests. The amazing ladies, on our message board, were spending a fortune on buying ovulation and pregnancy tests at the drug store, month after month. Our focus expanded, over time, to include herbal supplements that helped to increase overall reproductive health. It was at this point that we felt that we were able to really offer value to the couples trying to get pregnant. I have always been a fan of natural approaches to achieving health. Being able to offer this natural option, to the trying to conceive community, fit right in with my life philosophy. Sometimes your reproductive system just needs a bit of a tune up to optimize the hormones that lead to a successful pregnancy. An added benefit of using the herbs is that both women and men can use them. As women, we are a little more tolerant to doctors having access to our private parts. Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 10.05.10 AMMen are, typically, more resistant to having issues surrounding their family jewels scrutinized. The herbs provide a non-threatening way for them to try and deal with fertility issues they might have with their sperm. The herbs don’t guarantee success, but if you have an imbalance in your system, they are a great first step in correcting that. Provide your body with the hormonal balance it needs in order to get pregnant, and the chances of having that baby increases. We have had many couples come back and say that they finally succeeded in conceiving after trying the herbs, and sometimes, this is after they had doctors, unsuccessfully, involved. We love those types of stories!

Adding A Little Hope to Every Order

We would love to be able to wave a magic baby wand to help our customers reach their goal of getting pregnant. It is heartbreaking to watch the emotional struggle that many have in achieving their dream of holding their newborn baby in their arms. Included in every order is a complimentary packet of baby dust. It is a reminder for you to not lose sight of your dream. We want you to know that we are right there with you and hoping you achieve your dream soon.

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 10.01.06 AMVickie Barnes is the co-founder of BabyHopes.com, an online retailer of herbal fertility treatments. Based in Morrisville, NC, Vickie and her husband, Steve, work to keep the hope of having a baby alive. In her free time, Vickie spends time with her kids and likes to sneak away and read a good book every now and then. Want to ask Vickie a question? You can find her on twitter, facebook, or send an email.


Keeping a journal is a powerful tool for relieving stress, providing clarity of thoughts and emotions, and helping to achieve greater inner harmony.

A member of the Circle + Bloom community recently reached out to us because she wanted to tap into these amazing benefits, but wondered, “Where do I begin?” Her question made me realize that we need to do a better job of laying the groundwork for this incredible daily practice!

5 Simple Steps For Reenergizing Your Journaling Practice

Journaling is a very personal process…and one size shouldn’t fit all. In other words, you might try a few different avenues or methods to find what works best for you.

And most importantly, there is no right or wrong way to do this! Like meditation, there is evidence to support the theory that repetition and consistency are much more important than the amount of time spent on mindfulness and reflection activities. More than trying to feel that you need to do a long and involved journal entry, just try to take 5 minutes a day and make it a habit.

When you sit down to write, ask yourself a simple question – “How am I feeling today?” – and then set your timer for 5 minutes, and start writing! Be truthful, brutal, honest and open.

Allow yourself to express the full range of emotions that you feel without shame, embarrassment, or any other self-regulating thoughts. Allow your reactions to come in loud and clear, and be the witnesser and recorder of those thoughts.

Something truly amazing happens when you do this!

You provide yourself with a safe zone of reflection and you start to realize there are two of you – the thinking and emotional mind, and the witnesser of those thoughts and emotions. Becoming more aligned with the witnesser of those thoughts and emotions is the key to finding peace within. Buddhists call this “enlightenment.”

So, let me summarize in five simple steps for how to make the most of your journaling experience each and everyday:

  1. Make it a daily, but short, habit (5 minutes).
  2. Get yourself a journal that feels good in your hands…something that you will feel a physical connection with. HomeGoods or TJMaxx actually have a great selection and they are cheap! But if you don’t have a journal yet, use what you have. Don’t let that become a barrier to getting started today!
  3. Create a calming ritual around your journaling time. Sit down in a quiet place, maybe have a cup of tea, or light a soothing candle.
  4. Ask yourself the simple question “What am I feeling today?”
  5. Set a timer for 5 minutes and write whatever comes to mind! Do not self-regulate or pass judgment on your thoughts and feelings – just be open and honest.

We recently wrote this blog post about keeping a gratitude journal, which is also very helpful!

Tell us about your tips for journaling (or favorite place to get a journal) in the comments or on our Facebook page.


Circle + Bloom is so pleased to introduce the C + B Infertility Support Circle, a private Facebook group created to serve women living with infertility.

Living with infertility can leave you feeling isolated, with no one to talk to, who really understands this reality.

Rest assured that you don’t have to walk this journey alone. In the Infertility Support Circle, we know exactly what this is like.

We are a group of women dedicated to learning, helping, and supporting each other on the journey to building a family. In this group we will share our stories, be inspired, find hope, discover kinship, and take joyous, positive action in our journeys.

Circle+Bloom’s Infertility Support Circle is truly unique. Our community is rich with experience, insight, and thoughtful leadership. In fact, our group is moderated by Rosanne Austin, creator of www.frommaybetobaby.com.

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 9.43.39 PMExpert coach, attorney, writer, wife, and infertility survivor, Rosanne Austin combines lessons learned on her own fertility journey with tactical skills honed during her 10 years as a “force of nature” trial attorney, to provide parenthood hopefuls with the tools they need to create a path to parenthood in the face of infertility. Rosanne has been a featured blogger on fertilityauthority.com, Circle+Bloom, Heartfelt Egg Donation, and can be heard on the Fertility Revolution Podcast. Click here to learn more about Rosanne.

Rosanne will pose powerful questions, foster great conversations, and stoke the fire of authentic community.

Join our private Infertility Support Circle group on Facebook by sending an email to amy@circlebloom.com and we’ll make you a member. The group is TOP SECRET so that no one on Facebook will see that you’ve joined the group, nor can they see our posts! You are welcome to invite others by email once you are a member.

Joining the Infertility Support Circle now means that you will get 2 fantastic bonuses:

  1. Get the first 5 sessions of the Circle+Bloom Natural Cycle program for free, AND
  2. Get your exclusive invitation to exciting special events that Circle+Bloom and Rosanne Austin will be hosting starting in November!

We are excited and honored to share this with you and to share in your journey.

Join hands with us. Be a part of our circle.

With love & gratitude, –


Managing the Costs of Infertility

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with the mounting costs of infertility treatments? For many couples, the financial strain associated with trying to conceive is an uphill battle in itself! Fortunately, our friends at Fertility Within Reach are doing some wonderful work and providing expertise on how to ask your insurance company to cover health care related to infertility.

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 1.22.40 PMDavina Fankhauser, president of Fertility Within Reach, was recently interviewed for an article in MONEY Magazine called “Waiting for Baby. $55,000 and Counting,” which chronicles the family-building journey of Carrie and Dan Zampich (read the full story and see a video of the couple here). Along with Atlanta-based financial planner Lee Baker, Fankhauser offers the following suggestions to Carrie and Dan for working with their insurance company and saving money throughout their infertility journey:

  1. Press for more coverage from your insurance company.
    “You have to be your own advocate,” says Fankhauser. Review your insurance policy carefully and discuss exactly what is covered with your benefits specialist. Discuss ways to maximize your coverage and identify negotiating points that you can leverage with the insurance company.
  2. Appeal for reimbursement.
    Treatment for the same condition may be covered by insurance if it’s characterized as a medical problem but not covered if infertility is cited as the reason for care, says Fankhauser. Be sure to take advantage of these situations and petition your insurance company to cover any treatments or procedures for symptoms that could be attributed to other medical conditions.
  3. Melt the plastic.
    Credit card bills can rack up quickly for couples undergoing infertility treatment. Baker suggests designating a monthly amount that you are comfortable with to pay down credit card debts. Identify credit cards with the highest interest rate and pay those down first.
  4. Be stingier.
    Sit down and log monthly expenses and spending. Look for areas where you may be spending in excess and create a reasonable budget that allows you to devote more income to paying off debts and saving for the future.
  5. Get priorities straight.
    Baker says that the Zampich’s No. 1 goal should be to build an emergency fund that would cover at least six months’ worth of their expenses.  This includes budgeting for a contribution to their retirement account and keeping an eye toward future costs associated with parenthood, such as childcare, and life/disability insurance.

For more information on how to cut costs during infertility treatment, please read this additional article (where Fankhauser is also featured), or click here for a full list of infertility and finance resources.


After months of sharing, learning, and growing together as a community, our Pay It Forward Fertility Summer Challenge is drawing to a close. We received so many touching and thoughtful responses from all of you throughout the course of our summer challenges and we are thrilled to announce that we had 282 total pay it forward actions!

We came so close to meeting our 300 actions goal, and we want to give back by paying it fertility forward to you! As a thank you for your participation, we invite all of our fans and customers to use the special code payfertilityforward20 (expires 9/25) to receive a special 20% off discount on any Circle+Bloom program! Also congratulations to Cindy and Turinese for winning our flash giveaway in July, and to Laurence, Julie, and Brittany for winning an entire line of our downloads FREE!

Our supportive community is stronger than ever and we hope to grow the fertility circle beyond this campaign by continuing to share good things and encouraging fertility to bloom! Thank you again for sharing your experiences and opening your hearts.

With love and gratitude,



Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 5.04.25 PM

SAN DIEGO, CALIF. (June 13, 2014) – Natural Baby Pros, Hullabaloo, and Reproductive Wellness present the 5th annual Natural Family Fair, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The Natural Baby Fair, Fertility Expo and Hullabaloo Family Music Festival combine for a fun-filled day of learning and entertainment, when all three events come together under one tent!

Your Natural Baby Fair
The fair answers all your pregnancy, birth, and health questions, while showcasing a variety of vendors, demonstrations and products to fit all lifestyle choices.

  • Keynote: Peggy O’Mara, former editor of Mothering Magazine – “How It Really Is: The Truth About the Early Years of Parenting”
  • Karen Brody, founder of Bold Tranquility, a fatigue management system – “Be Good to Yourself: Embrace the Healing Powers of Rest to Tame the Overwhelm”

Fertility Expo
Brought to you by Reproductive Wellness, this semi-private area is a great resource for couples seeking support in conception and natural alternatives. Attendees will have a chance to speak privately, at no charge, with the physicians and experts at the expo. Speakers include:

Hullabaloo Family Music Festival
Head into the Paddock to boogie on the grass and enjoy several music acts throughout the day. Hullabaloo will play for two sets, and we’ll also enjoy the performances of Randy Kaplan, The Hollow Trees, Kathryn Cloward and Melissa Green. Several family-friendly vendors and activities will be in this area as well to allow your kids to channel their inner-monkey and inner-artist.

The Breastfeeding Lounge returns with The Dad’s Lounge, and Free Community Clinic is making their debut.

The fair will be broadcasted live via New Mommy Media. Live interviews and demonstrations of speakers, sponsors and talented pros who will be at the fair. No matter where in the world you live, enjoy an inside view of the expertise and cutting edge support that the fair offers – live on the day of the event.

Due to huge support from several key sponsors, this family event is made very affordable to the families of San Diego. Key sponsors include: Nature’s Whisper Yoga, home of hot mama yoga, BabyHawk, San Diego Breastfeeding Center, New Mommy Media.com, Gymboree Play & Music, Kid Ventures, Basic Training for New Dads and Good Vibrations Family Chiropractic.

The fair is 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 14. Tickets are $10 for adults and children are $7. Tickets may be purchased in advance or at the door. Goodie bags will be given to the first 250 families. Family Packs and VIP packages available for pre-sale, including a Babyhawk carrier and other full-sized products.

For more information on the event, visit www.naturalfamilyfair.com, www.sandiegofertilityexpo.com, call (760) 689-2229 or email amy@naturalfamilyfair.com. And follow the fair on Facebook and Twitter as well.


I cannot lie. Stress consumes me. Yup, the creator of *relaxation programs* is a stress-monger.

There are nights that I lie in bed, staring at the ceiling amidst a personal hurricane of regret, worry and general negativity. It usually surrounds a situation of dealing with others in my life… or a sudden life event that alters my perception of the future.

I know you know what I mean, because these are the emotions that shaped MY life while trying to conceive.

And, our programs provide a huge antidote to it…and of course, that is a shameless plug here in our blog for our programs, but, I am so very proud of our offerings and I will not apologize for that.

However, the in-between times when you aren’t listening to them, and you go back on auto-pilot, this is when the monster (even when you think he is asleep) will roar back to life in an instant and bite you in the ass.

CB_calmSo, here are my eight ways of dealing with it. First and foremost – and lately – my method of control is using a mantra… so hence, that is first on my list…

  1. Mantra.
    This is a life-changing habit. I guarantee it. This is what I’ve done: I take 10 – 15 minutes to take a simple walk outside. And while I step, I either say “thank you” “thank you” thank you” or “I love myself” “I love myself,” “I love myself” over and over again (see steps 7 and 8 below as well). It’s a powerful way to reprogram your brain such that when you encounter negative emotions, you will begin to catch yourself and say your mantra again. More on this in the coming months, I promise. It’s a game-changer.
  2. Breathe.
    Deep breathing is a great way to lower stress and you can practice it just about anywhere. Close your eyes and take ten deep, cleansing breaths. Shift your attention from your mind to your body by focusing on filling your chest and belly with air on each inhale and the sensation of release that comes with every exhale. Take as many breaths as you need until you feel your heart rate slowing down and your tension easing.
  3. Practice positive self-talk.
    It’s easy to slip into negative self-talk when we are feeling depressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, but remember to be gentle with yourself. Push negative thoughts aside and embrace your positive inner voice. Imagine yourself as a child, feeling lonely or afraid – what would you say to your child-self to help calm their fears and remind them they are loved? A simple, “It’s okay” might be all it takes to make you feel more centered and peaceful. Adopt these reassuring thoughts as your personal mantras and repeat them to yourself throughout the day.

  4. Meditate.
    Meditation goes hand in hand with many of the other tools on this list and is a wonderful way of increasing awareness and acceptance. Mindfulness meditation is a particularly helpful technique that expands on deep breathing exercises by focusing more deeply on the rhythm of your breath and letting thoughts and emotions pass over you without judgment. Acknowledge and respect the feelings that come to you during your meditations and clear your mind by intentionally allowing them to float away. For more information on meditation check out Ken Myer’s guest post Finding Time to Meditate: Keeping Yourself Healthy.
  5. Sleep.
    Anxiety is exhausting! It drains us mentally and physically and oftentimes disrupts our sleep patterns. If you find yourself having a hard time sleeping or falling asleep, you may need to adjust your routine. Try a cup of herbal tea, power down all screens at least an hour before bedtime, or do a few restorative yoga poses before hitting the sheets – it may take a little experimenting to find what works for you, but the benefits of a good night’s sleep are worth it. Check out Joanne’s post Waking Up Feeling Refreshed – It’s Possible! for more sleep tips.
  6. Create a support system – and use it!
    Fill your life with people that accept you for who you are, encourage you, and bring you joy. We all need help sometimes, and when someone really cares about you, it isn’t a chore to lend a hand. Just remember that your support system wants you to be happy and healthy, and they would probably do anything to help get you there.
  7. Walk it out.
    Exercise has many stress-busting benefits. The Mayo Clinic concludes that exercise increases feel-good endorphins, acts as meditation in motion, and improves your mood by giving you confidence and a sense of command over your body. You don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy these benefits – whether its walking, gardening, swimming or yoga – just pick an activity that you enjoy and make time for it everyday.

  8. Express gratitude.
    Every single day, identify the simple things in life that bring you joy and express gratitude for them. Whether it be the rays of morning sun, or your best friend’s belly laugh – whatever makes you stop and enjoy the moment. What else brings you happiness throughout your day? Try to become more aware of your inner state of being and make a commitment to yourself to manifest more positivity in your life.

And now your turn. What methods of control do you use to help keep stress at bay? Please share…I want to hear from you!

With love & gratitude –



It’s time for our fourth Pay it Forward Fertility Summer Challenge. Please join us in this final push to pay fertility forward and we will pay it forward to you!

Here’s how it works:


This spring I received a touching and inspirational story from a woman named Ashley. Ashley and her fiancé had been trying to conceive for 2 years. They suffered through an early miscarriage and then became pregnant again in the fall of last year. After their initial loss, Ashley was wrought with worry and fear throughout her first trimester and at week 16, the couple was given heartbreaking news – their seemingly healthy son was diagnosed with Trisomy 13, a fatal genetic disorder. His heart and brain were not able to keep up with the growing demands of his body and he passed a week later. Ashley was induced and able to hold her baby boy Noah to say goodbye.

Ashley was consumed by grief after the devastating loss of her son. Trying to conceive again was the only way that she felt she could move forward. Ashley discovered the Circle+Bloom website and was inspired by the testimonials of women who became pregnant and gave birth to healthy babies, even after traumatic experiences like hers. She stretched her household budget and purchased our programs with the hope that someday, she too would have one of those success stories to share.

Ashley is now in her second trimester of pregnancy and attributes her newfound calm, confidence, and happiness to the support provided by Circle+Bloom’s programs. In her message to me, Ashley said, “I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate you designing these programs and making them available to women on so many different paths in their journey to conceive. I truly think your fertility programs are the secret to reviving the hope of women who have been beat down by the negative test month after month.”

Ashley’s story struck me at the core. I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for our ability to support and nurture women like Ashley along their sometimes-harrowing fertility journeys – but I also felt that I could do more. Ashley inspired me to start “paying it forward” by personally donating $50 to Make a Wish Foundation each time we receive a message like hers. By making these donations, I hope to inspire others to spread joy and gratitude by giving back in whatever ways they can.

Dates: August 26 – September 9

How YOU Pay it Forward:

Here are the ways you can CELEBRATE BREAKTHROUGHS:

  1. Share your breakthrough story with Joanne and the community via social or email. Share how you made a significant change to your outlook on how you think about your family journey or how you experienced success as a result of that shift in perspective. Share on Facebook or Twitter, or email me personally at joanne@circlebloom.com if you prefer to share your experience anonymously.
  2. We’ll share “Breakthrough” inspirations for you to pass on. Circle+Bloom will be sharing special “Breakthrough” devotions with you over the next few weeks via our social channels. Share a devotion that resonates with you to help inspire others.

How WE Pay it Forward:

For every ‘good news’ message shared, I will donate $50 to the Make a Wish Foundation. All those who share their breakthrough story through Twitter, Facebook,
or email are entered to win our entire line of downloads FREE. Please be sure to tag anything you share on social – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – with #payfertilityforward so we can track your participation!

Every person who pays it forward is eligible to win!

That’s not all.

If we reach 300 total pay it forward actions throughout the course of the campaign, we’ll continue to Pay it Forward and share a special 20% off discount with all our fans and customers.

We are already over halfway to reaching our goal, so please share your breakthrough and success stories to help us make it to 300 pay it forward actions!

With love + gratitude –


Guest Blog by Jessica Rutzick, Founder of Premium Egg Donation, Inc.

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 3.03.47 PM

When I was unceremoniously dumped by my long-term boyfriend at the age of thirty-five, I had to find a way out of my heartbreak. Yes, I was upset about losing the guy, but I was altogether heartbroken about losing the chance to have a traditional family. I was terrified that I would wind up a workaholic, single and childless – the modern day version of a spinster. I needed a plan “B.” So I promised myself that if I was still single when I turned 40, I would go ahead and have a baby as a single mom by choice.

Five short years later, I found myself still single and at a fertility clinic, checkbook in hand. Five minutes into the ultrasound, the doctor was shaking his head, frowning. “This doesn’t look good,” he said. A more elaborate and even less glamorous hormone test proved that I was not fertile. “Premature ovarian failure,” the doctor said, looking at the wall behind me. I argued with him. “But I look young, and I act young and I am really healthy and fit- look at me!” The doctor shook his head and said: “Your ovaries didn’t get the memo. You need an egg donor.”

I had heard about egg donors before because my friend used one to have her baby at the age of forty five. Other than that, I knew nothing about what is now known as “third party reproductive medicine.” I considered my options. It is very difficult to adopt as a single mother. The wait is quite long. In open adoptions, the biological parent(s) choose the adoptive parent. I did not have it in me to interview for someone else’s baby.

I considered the egg donor option. I would have control over the pregnancy, but what if my baby grew into a 6 foot tall blonde, while I am a 5’0” brunette? “Would she still be my baby,” I wondered.

Type “A” and goal oriented, I was not going to let a little infertility get in my way. Within weeks I had scanned hundreds, if not thousands, of on-line egg donor profiles. I narrowed it down to five young women and showed their profiles to my two best girlfriends. We voted and chose “Donor No. 35561.” Arrangements were made, agency fees paid, and lengthy contracts signed and notarized. Travel plans were set.

The whole experience was extremely stressful. Was the egg donor really who she said she was? Was the agency ripping me off? Did my doctor know what he was doing? Plagued by nagging doubts and anxiety, I got on the plane to La Jolla.

The waiting room at the doctor’s office was small and crowded with young women, and American and foreign couples both gay and straight. Within a few minutes, Dr. Smotrich ushered me into his office. Photographs of the doctor’s wife and children filled his book shelves. I sunk into his low, leather couch. “I want twins,” I said. He smiled, and said “ok.”

Dr. Smotrich reassured me that my donor was “lovely.” I tried not to ask too many questions about this woman- who I had never met, but who was giving me the gift of a baby (or two). I knew only a few things about her. I had her general medical history, her hair and eye color, height and weight. I knew she ran triathlons. She was in graduate school. She was married. She has a twin sister. She had donated six times already to other families. She resembles me.

I was scheduled to have the embryos transferred to my uterus on Sunday, Mother’s Day. “Auspicious,” said my best friend.

Jittery with nerves, bruised from injections and amazed the logistics had all worked out, I was ushered into a small, dimly lit examination room. The procedure was short and painless. The embryologist had selected three of the best looking embryos from the batch. He gave me photographs of them. They looked like three, sepia-toned cookies. I looked at the photos a long time. “Will this be my baby?” I asked myself again.

As it turned out, I had one baby boy. He has brown hair, brown eyes and a terrific smile. And rest assured, he is my baby.

Not a day goes by when I do not have gratitude for my egg donor. I still have never met her. I don’t know her name, or if she still runs triathlons or if she is still married. Her gift transcends all of those details because my egg donor gave me my baby.

Rutzick-18HighResJessica Rutzick founded Premium Egg Donation, Inc., an egg donor agency specializing in matching intended parents with academically credentialed egg donors. She also is a trial lawyer and single mom by choice. She and her son, Solomon, live in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.



August is here and it’s time to issue a new call to action for our Pay It Forward Fertility Summer Challenge. Please continue to help us pay fertility forward by joining in our third challenge and we’ll pay it forward to you!

Here’s how it works:


Your outpouring of support over the course of our first two challenges is an inspiration to us all here at Circle+Bloom. Those who have shared their experiences, advice and testimonials have strengthened and uplifted our community. We ask you to build on this momentum by helping us to build a special community and to keep the dialogue going!

Dates: August 5 – August 22

How YOU Pay it Forward:

Here are the ways you can GROW THE CIRCLE:

1.     Help us to build a special online Circle+Bloom community.

While there are a few wonderful online infertility communities out there, we often find ourselves disappointed in the level of support provided by many of the groups we come across. Sometimes these groups become a negative free-for-all, leaving many members feeling hurt and alone. However, we see great potential in creating an online infertility community that is effectively moderated, provides professional expertise, and focuses on positive action. We would love your help in creating such a space! Please help us to do so by sharing feedback about your experience with online infertility groups and your suggestions for ways that Circle+Bloom can make build the strongest, most supportive online family possible. Whether it be a weekly live Q&A session with me, or guest posts on special topics, we are eager to hear what YOU want so we do this right!

2.     Share as a parent.

Has someone shared a piece of advice with you that greatly impacted your fertility journey or experience as a new parent?  Give back by sharing your knowledge with the Circle+Bloom community. Pass along words of wisdom and support for the conception journey, pregnancy or parenthood via Twitter, Facebook, or email.

As with our other challenges, we understand the sensitive nature of sharing such personal experiences, but feel that it is important to foster an open dialogue around our common bond. If you would like to contribute, but would prefer to do so in a less public way, I encourage you to email me personally at joanne@circlebloom.com so we can share your experience anonymously.

How WE Pay it Forward:

 All those who give feedback for building our special community, share one of our graphics, or share advice and support through Twitter, Facebook, or email are entered to win our entire line of downloads FREE. Please be sure to tag anything you share on social – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – with #payfertilityforward so we can track your participation!

Every person who pays it forward by growing our circle is eligible to win!

That’s not all.

We want to really make our circle grow so we’ve set a collective goal for our Pay it Forward Fertility Summer Challenge.

If we reach 300 total pay it forward actions throughout the course of the campaign, we’ll continue to Pay it Forward and share a special 20% off discount with all our fans and customers.

We look forward to learning together with you through this new and exciting community experience.

With love + gratitude –



Circle+Bloom's Favorite Summer Reading Blog Posts

Summer is in full swing here in North Carolina! The sun is shining and everywhere I look, the world is in full bloom.

There are so many wonderful things to see and do during the summer months, but one of my favorite warm weather pastimes has always been finding a quiet spot in the shade and diving into a great book.

While I love a good novel, I also see my summertime reading sessions as a nice time to learn something new that I can share with you! With this in mind, I picked five of my favorite Circle & Bloom blog posts for your “summer reading.”

These blog posts provide insights and inspiration for every step of your conception journey and provide you with the tools you need to embrace and nurture your mind + body connection. I hope that you enjoy this summer reading and are able to incorporate these teachings into your daily life all year long!

Three Powerful Steps to Get In Control Over Your Fertility
Trying to conceive can be so emotionally taxing that we can feel like we are spinning out of control. But we can take ownership of our fertility by managing stress effectively and quieting our anxious minds. The three tools that I share in this post enable you to do just that, by reflecting on and accepting the things that are out of our hands and embracing the power in the choices that we can make.

Why Does Nutrition Matter?
Good nutrition is essential for healthy bodies, but it is especially important for women who are trying to get pregnant. Striving to have good nutrition in your life is a worthwhile dedication and even if your fertility seems to be unaffected by your diet, there are at least 4 great reasons nutrition still matters for you.

Mind + Body – Simple Mind + Body Exercise
This post describes the process for a simple visualization technique that leaves you feeling calm and with your mind and body in tune. By repeating the mantra “I have the power over my body to bring it back to its natural state of balance,” this basic exercise increases our awareness of innate healing powers within and helps to bring serenity, and balance to your body just by having your brain take a the lead for a bit.

Fitness – The Key to Conception
Summer is a wonderful time to rekindle your love of the outdoors and to get active! Fitness plays a huge role in achieving optimal hormonal balance for women who are trying to conceive, increasing libido, and helps to build core muscle strength to
prepare a woman’s body for the physical strains of pregnancy.

How to Become Open to Life
This guest post by Leo Baubuta of ZenHabits celebrates the concept of “openness” and allowing yourself to experience life fully and completely. With an open heart, we are able to practice acceptance without judgment and to find joy no matter what comes our way.

With love & gratitude,



The Pay It Forward Fertility Summer is under way! Help us pay fertility forward by joining in the second challenge and we’ll pay it forward to you.

Here’s how it works:

Challenge #2: REFER & REVIEW

Building a supportive community surrounding the fertility journey is of utmost importance to us. In order to strengthen our circle and to provide you with the best possible resources, we ask you to share your experiences, advice, and feedback with us and with each other.

Dates: July 21 – August 4

How YOU Pay it Forward:

There are the ways you can REFER & REVIEW:

  1. Review your experience with Circle+Bloom.
    Share how our programs have impacted your fertility journey with other members of our community by posting to our Facebook or Twitter accounts, or by emailing us.

    We fully understand the sensitive nature of sharing such personal experiences, but feel that it is important to build an open community around our common bond. If you would like to provide a testimonial, but would prefer to do so in a less public way, I encourage you to email me personally at joanne@circlebloom.com so we can share your experience anonymously.

  2. Refer a friend.
    Do you know someone who is trying to improve her health, well-being, fertility, and energy level? Share the power of the mind-body connection with a friend through our Circle+Bloom referral program. With every referral, you earn 15% cash and can share a 15% off coupon with friends!

    Get started by clicking here!

Please be sure to tag anything you share on social – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – with #payfertilityforward so we can track your participation!

How WE Pay it Forward:

Anyone who shares a review of their Circle+Bloom experience will receive a special discount code for 15% off and anyone who refers a friend receives a special bonus of 20% off their next purchase!

Every person who pays it forward – by sharing their testimonial – or sharing the Circle+Bloom love with a friend – will receive these special offers!

That’s not all.

We want to really make our circle grow so we’ve set a collective goal for our Pay it Forward Fertility Summer Challenge.

If we reach 300 total pay it forward actions throughout the course of the campaign, we’ll continue to Pay it Forward and share a special 20% off discount with all our fans and customers.

Let’s keep the momentum going and all pass fertility on this summer!

With love + gratitude,


Through the Heart

Guest blog post by Karen Kelly of Through the Heart.

1398100912My name is Dr. Karen Kelly and in February 2013, my husband and I lost our daughter at 20 weeks. It was a devastating experience and we quickly learned of the lack of resources available to those who have suffered pregnancy loss.

We believe everyone should have the support and information necessary to deal with this difficult situation. As a result, Through the Heart was born.

Through the Heart is a national 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to educate and support anyone experiencing a pregnancy loss either directly or indirectly. Our organization provides a community and a glimpse of light in your darkest hour. One of the most important things to know following a pregnancy loss of any type is that you are not alone!

Dealing with a loss, and subsequently trying to conceive again, can be very difficult emotionally. Grieve in whatever way makes sense for YOU. Take as much time as you need and do not let others rush you.

Do not feel guilty, ashamed, or that you did something wrong. Don’t be afraid to ask people for specific help or, if you’re not sure what you need, it’s ok to vocalize that too.

Even if you have your spouse, family members, or friends to lean on, it may still be helpful to find another outlet for your emotions as you travel through this journey. Consider putting your thoughts into writing, either privately in a journal or publicly (Through the Heart offers the chance to share your story on our website or chronicle the ongoing process on our blog). You may also want to consider joining TTH’s discussion forum where you can anonymously connect with others who have experienced pregnancy loss. Also, talking with a counselor or therapist may be helpful in sorting through emotions.

Some people are ready to begin trying to conceive very quickly after a loss but for many others, it takes time. There’s no rule that says you have to start again when you’re cleared physically by your doctor – you also need to be mentally and emotionally ready. Some women never really feel ready again but know that if they want a child, they have to try. Understand that whatever you’re feeling is normal and ok, there is no right or wrong answer.

Trying to conceive after a loss can be a very isolating process. It is often a more emotional journey than it was before and it’s easy to have the mindset that because pregnancy happened once, it will naturally happen again. While this is the case for some women, many others struggle to conceive again for a variety of reasons. It’s important to remember that your body can change after a loss, especially during those first few cycles so you may not have the same patterns as before. Even if your cycle occurs like clockwork, it’s a good idea to go back to basics such as charting, taking your temperature, and testing for ovulation. You may be surprised to find “a new normal.”

Additionally, recurrent pregnancy loss is much more common than people are led to believe. Because it’s not talked about much, we don’t often hear the stories and so someone faced with multiple losses can easily feel alone or that there is something wrong with them. Whatever you are going through, whatever your challenges and struggles, remember that someone else has been there. It’s important to find an outlet for your emotions and a source of information and support such as that offered by Through the Heart. Go ahead and ask questions, ask for advice, vent about your frustrations, whatever you need to do to make it through.

Just remember that you are not alone!

Connect with Through the Heart:
Website: www.throughtheheart.org
Twitter: @Through_Heart
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Through-the-Heart/186644458155328
Blog: http://www.throughtheheart.org/wordpress/
Discussion forum: http://throughtheheart1.proboards.com/

headshotDr. Karen J. Kelly is a Texas resident and New Jersey native who loves sports, music, traveling, baking, and her 2 cats, Smokey & Plinko. In March 2013, she co-founded the nonprofit organization Through the Heart with her husband, Sean. Following the loss of their daughter at 20 weeks, the couple recognized the lack of resources available to them as well as a lack of understanding by others on how to react to the situation. It is their hope that through this organization, pregnancy loss can become a topic that is more openly discussed, acknowledged, and understood.



The Pay It Forward Fertility Summer starts today! Help us pay fertility forward by joining in the first challenge and we’ll pay it forward to you.

Here’s how it works:

Challenge #1: SHARE

We believe there is great power in sharing in the journey to fertility. We don’t conceive alone or parent alone – or struggle alone – so to keep the circle going this month simply help us share support, advice, and feedback.

Dates: July 3 – 20

How YOU Pay it Forward:

There are three ways you can SHARE:

  1. Share some feedback with us. Take our brief survey (click here) and let us know how we can better support you.
  2. Share a shoulder. Look for our quotes of support on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Simply like, share, comment, pin, or retweet to help pass them on.
  3. Share a kind word. Tell us – and others! – what advice helped get you through. Share some advice on Facebook, Twitter or via Email.

Please be sure to tag anything you share on social – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – with #payfertilityforward so we can track your entry!

How WE Pay it Forward:

We’ll pick three winners and give away three FREE downloads for you AND three FREE downloads to share!

Every person who pays it forward – by filling out a survey, sharing – or commenting on – a support quote or passing along advice – will be automatically entered to win.

That’s not all.

We want to really make our circle grow so we’ve set a collective goal for our Pay it Forward Fertility Summer Challenge.

If we reach 300 total pay it forward actions throughout the course of the campaign, we’ll continue to Pay it Forward and share a special 20% off discount with all our fans and customers.

Ready to begin? Let’s all pass fertility on!

With love + gratitude,


Circle and Bloom began from a very personal place. Having experienced my own struggles with fertility, I set out to help others conceive and in a way, I started a circle. Over time, that circle grew. Our community grew. The web of support grew. And the fertility rates grew. The number of successful births grew. (And grew!) We’ve kept circling – growing – to this day and we don’t plan to stop!

The path to conception – and even throughout parenthood – is not one we travel alone. It’s dotted with kind gestures, small moments of support, and little actions along the way. (From people we know, and also from those we don’t know.) The journey is a shared one, and frequently, one good moment leads to another.

CB_fertilitycircle2We’re calling these connections “The Fertility Circle.” And we want to keep it going strong. We want to honor the part we all play in supporting one another, in encouraging fertility to bloom.

We’ve decided to spend the summer paying fertility forward. Whether you are on the journey to conception, in the middle of pregnancy, or enjoying parenthood, we all have something to share. We’re kick-starting a Pay it Forward Fertility Summer Challenge to pass the good things on and we invite you to join us.

Stay tuned each week to our Facebook page, blog and Twitter account for the Pay it Forward Fertility Summer Challenge and help the fertility circle carry on and on and on…

With love + gratitude,


Leafy greens and dark green vegetables are an excellent source of folate (or folic acid), an essential B vitamin that supports healthy pregnancy in a number of ways. During the beginning stages of pregnancy, folate supports fetal brain development by preventing neural tube defects that can cause spina bifida and anencephaly. Folate also contributes to optimizing sperm production, promotes routine ova production, and aids in the creation of healthy red blood cells.

The Centers for Disease Control suggests that women who are trying to conceive consume at least 400mg of the B vitamin daily. Luckily, there are numerous ways to enjoy greens and incorporate other folate-rich foods such as lentils, asparagus, beets, beans, and broccoli into your diet.

Let's Get Leafy - Six Delicious Ways to Add Folate to Your Days

Here are six tasty ideas:

  1. Tear pieces of kale, sprinkle them with olive oil and kosher salt, and roast on high for crunchy kale crisps.
  2. Throw a handful of chopped romaine lettuce into the blender with the ingredients for your favorite fruit smoothie.
  3. Sauté cooked lentils with olive oil, shallots and lemon for a filling side dish (or mix in some roasted veggies for a healthy lunch!)
  4. Stir-fry baby bok choy with garlic, soy sauce, ginger, and a drizzle of sesame oil (For a spicy kick, sprinkle in red pepper flakes)
  5. Toss baby spinach and sautéed mushrooms with hot whole wheat pasta or brown rice and pesto for a quick and easy dinner.
  6. Coat asparagus spears with olive oil, salt and pepper, and grill over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Drizzle the cooked asparagus with balsamic vinegar.

For more tips on healthy eating, check out our two part series Best Diets for Fertility – The Top 13 “Super” Foods – Part 1 and Best Diets for Fertility – The Top 13 “Super” Foods – Part 2.

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Guest Blog by Rosanne Austin, founder of Maybe to Baby.

It’s no mystery that fertility treatment is often a budget crushing expense. (Goodbye vacations, adieu disposable income!) As if that wasn’t bad enough, it’s an expense that comes at a time when you are likely feeling broken, defeated, and even desperate, after trying for months, or even years for a child of your own.  This insidious, highly combustable combination of a high price tag and soul searing emotion can be a recipe for disaster if you don’t have your wits about you.

When starting on the fertility journey, most of us really haven’t considered in concrete terms exactly what we are willing to spend. Why? Because in some ways it’s like trying to answer the unanswerable. Seriously. “How much are you willing to spend in order to have a baby of your own in your arms?” Whose heart didn’t immediately shout, “a million, billion, trillion dollars!?”

Talking about money, particularly if you and your partner have “differing” philosophies can be as appealing as deep vein thrombosis, but it’s a conversation you need to have pronto!


Here are some considerations to get the ball rolling:

1) How Much Money Do We Really Have?

This question isn’t about what you think you make per year or what your gross salary is. What I’m asking is more bare bones, nitty-gritty than that. I want you to think about how much money, after taxes, basic living expenses, car payments, student loans, credit cards, insurance, and other monthly expenses do you really have? What do you have in savings, investments, or otherwise? Having a clear understanding of your true net worth and your liabilities will put “how much CAN I spend” into perspective real fast.

2) Do We Have a Written Monthly Budget?

You may already have a perfectly organized, down to the penny written monthly budget that would be the envy of any self respecting bean counter–if so, high five! BUT, if you are like my husband and I were when we started on this path, we  scoffed at the idea of a written budget, deludedly thinking that we were so innately organized that the exercise of writing it all down was a waste of our precious time. How wrong we were.

When the roller coaster started rolling, it felt like we were shoveling cash out the window of our car at 70 miles an hour.  Everyone’s hand was out!  This is exactly why having a written monthly budget and knowing precisely where every dollar is going is essential.  When you are dropping loads of cash on fertility treatment, have control of your monthly expenses! Plan where you can save extra cash to stock pile for your fertility treatment war chest.

Don’t have any idea where to begin with starting a written budget?  Google it.

3) Do We Know EXACTLY How Much the Treatment Will Cost?

You must be certain that you know exactly what the treatment plan you have selected is going to cost. The sticker price from the doctor may not include medications and add on services.  For example, if you have elected to do IVF, the cost of the procedure at the clinic may be X dollars, but:

  • What is the cost of the injectables and medications you will need to order from a specialty pharmacy?
  • How much will ICSI or assisted hatching add?
  • How much will it cost to freeze any embryos you may have after the procedure?
  • What about acupuncture or other alternative treatments to supplement efficacy?

There could be a myriad of other considerations, but the bottom line is you must know the bottom line.  No scary surprises to sucker punch your pocketbook!

Keep in mind: this cost could possibly be multiplied several times over, if you need to repeat the procedure.

4) Does Our Insurance Offer Coverage For Any of Our Procedures?

You may actually be one of the lucky few that has health care coverage that will cover fertility procedures.  If so, awesome!  If you are like many of us in states like California, you are likely going to pay out of pocket.  BUT, here is where you need to contact your health plan–they may cover at least some of the prescriptions needed for the treatment, such as pain killers, Clomid, and antibiotics required prior to the procedure.  That may not feel like much, but when you are spending thousands, any little bit helps.  Ask questions!

5) How Much Are We Willing to Spend or Afford?

Again, in theory we’d probably all be willing to spend an infinite amount of money to have a baby, BUT that is neither realistic, nor sensible, so when starting to answer this question, take a deep breath and for heaven’s sake be REAL.

To illustrate the point, let’s say that you make $75K per year and you are looking at doing IVF, which with drugs can cost roughly anywhere from $12,000 to $20,000 (this is just an approximation–plug in your own numbers) depending on the state you live in and the protocol your doctor recommends.  If you have additional specialized procedures like ICSI, assisted hatching, or are using donor eggs, the fees can be even more.  Do you have the money to cover these costs today?  What percentage of your income are you willing to spend?  You may be great with your money and have a healthy nest egg upon which to draw, but how much of that are you willing to spend on treatment?

Now, I didn’t just ask how much you are willing to spend, but also how much you are willing to afford.  Depending on where you are in your journey, you may not have all of the money you need or the luxury of time to wait to save it.  There are more than a few companies who are in the business of financing fertility treatment and that may or may not be an option for you depending on your comfort level with acquiring debt.  That necessitates the question, am I willing to go into debt to for fertility treatment?  In answering that question, refer back to considerations #1 and #2.  Can you really afford to go into debt?

How much are you willing to spend, when there are absolutely no guarantees you will end up with a baby in your arms?  I suggest that you come up with a reasonable “finish line number” for yourselves–a number where you and your partner agree you will stop, because you could end up spending into oblivion! Don’t make other fantastic options like adoption out of reach because you didn’t have the foresight of an FLN!

6) Will We Have Money For Other Options?

As I touched on in consideration #5, if you don’t set a limit for fertility treatment, it could complicate or delay your foray into other options, if the treatment doesn’t turn out the way you hoped.  Private adoptions can be expensive. Surrogacy can be astronomical.  If you plan ahead and have your wits about you, planning for these options can be a breeze, but not doing so can detrimentally delay a change of course on the road to baby.

7) How Will Our Choices Effect Our Financial Plan When Our Baby Comes?

It makes me sad how many couples don’t think about how their spending on fertility treatment will effect their quality of life when their baby does come.  Using the hypothetical $75K from consideration #5, how will having $150K in fertility treatment debt on top of your mortgage, credit card bills, car payments, and monthly living costs, effect your way of life?  Seriously.  If you are making ends meet, but don’t have a lot of leeway, what are you going to do when you have depleted your savings and have incurred a mountain of debt on top of that? Don’t be short sighted!

Being a good parent starts way before getting that positive pregnancy test.  It starts with being financially healthy, so that you can not only feed your family, but enjoy those precious moments you have longed and prayed for.  Having to take on a second job, or living in constant fear because you have no savings will rob you of that!

Bottom Line:  Ask yourself these questions!  Use common sense. If you need financial counseling, GET IT.  Doing things the From Maybe To Baby way is all about defining your own journey and making choices that are right for you.  Love on your relationship and future family by having a clear financial plan for your journey!

Bankrolling Fertility Treatment: No Sucker Punches AllowedRosanne Austin, creator of frommaybetobaby.com, is a fertility journey mentor who combines lessons learned on her own fertility journey, with Co-Active Coaching principles, and tactical skills honed during her 10 years as a “force of nature” trial attorney, to provide parenthood hopefuls with the tools they need to tame the fertility treatment beast. Featured as a guest and commentator on KCBS and KSRO radio in the San Francisco Bay Area, Rosanne empowers her clients with proven strategies to avoid heartbreaking pitfalls, safeguard their relationships, and prevent financial foolishness, all while creating a path to a luscious life they love. By popular demand, Rosanne will be producing a webinar series starting on July 2, 2014, and will launch a sanity saving, no stone unturned, online fertility journey boot camp. In the few hours when she’s not mentoring, writing, or speaking, Rosanne is a Paris loving, Downton Abbey crazed, food and wine fanatical, woman madly in love with her husband. Rosanne gives back by serving on the executive board for Verity, an organization committed to providing resources to survivors of sexual assault and human trafficking.


CB_conceive40I hear from a number of women who are over 40 and wondering if our programs can help them to achieve their dream of having a baby. In fact, we recently received a call on our customer service line from a kind woman who inquired about our pregnancy program. After answering her questions about it she opened up to us to share her incredible story, and I want to share it with you today:

At 47 years of age, and with an 8 year-old who had been conceived through IVF, I decided to try the Circle + Bloom Natural Cycle Program. A few weeks later, I happened to go to my OB for my annual exam. I had been late for my period and told the doctor as such, thinking that maybe I was pre-menopausal. To my delight and amazement, my doctor told me that I was in my early stages of pregnancy. If this could happen for me, I am hopeful for other women in their 40s who wish to become pregnant naturally!

So is it possible for women over 40 to conceive naturally? Heck yeah! Here’s some more wonderful feedback we’ve received from other women who were over 40 and trying to conceive and found that our Circle + Bloom programs helped them on their journey:

Trying to Conceive After Age 40

Please shoot me an email or comment below if you have any experience you want to share with others regarding age and trying to conceive. And as always I look forward to hearing from you with your questions, comments, and stories of hope.

With love+gratitude,

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Guest Blog by Julie Chang, founder and host of Fertility Revolution.

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Have you heard about the new Fertility Revolution? The podcast will feature many respected fertility doctors, complementary fertility practitioners, attorneys, infertility advocates, published authors, health & wellness experts, and more…including yours truly!

About Julie Chang and Fertility Revolution:

Julie-2013Hi, I’m Julie Chang, founder and host of Fertility Revolution. I’m a licensed acupuncturist and natural fertility expert with an acupuncture practice in San Diego. I have 15 years experience in using Chinese Medicine including acupuncture, herbs, supplements, and nutrition to help women and men grow their families. I’m particularly passionate about blending the best of modern medicine with the wisdom of holistic medicines to provide a comprehensive treatment plan for those I’m helping. Under my supervision, hundreds of babies have been born and I hope with Fertility Revolution we can make that millions!

As Benjamin Franklin said so effectively, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. That’s what this is all about for me.

So I created Fertility Revolution, a 5 day a week podcast, hosted by myself, interviewing fertility experts and educators. We share our experience and valuable tips to help you get pregnant. Fertility Revolution hosts respected fertility doctors, complementary fertility practitioners, attorneys, infertility advocates, published authors, health & wellness experts, and more. Join me on a journey with my spotlighted guests, highlighting common stumbling blocks and misconceptions which might make it more difficult for you to conceive. Of course, we provide tips and resources to help you overcome these potential hurdles.

Fertility Revolution is all about inspiring YOU on YOUR fertility journey. We know that by hearing common stumbling blocks, misconceptions, and proactive fertility action tips, you can realize your dream to growing a family and take inspired ACTION!

So if you’re committed to doing whatever you can to have a smooth pregnancy and a healthy baby, join me as we learn from fertility experts all over the world.


Guest Blog by Stephanie Fry, author/blogger of The IVF Journal book.

Anyone who is battling infertility and undergoing IVF treatment knows that there are loads of options when it comes to selecting complementary treatments and therapies. There are diets, exercises, mind body options, acupuncture, acupressure, massage, yoga, herbal remedies and so much more.

With all these options, deciding on a complementary treatment can feel just as overwhelming as struggling with infertility. It can be pretty hard to find your thing.

As you consider complementary treatments consider this advice from The IVF Journal,

“Do What Feels Right. As you go through IVF treatment you are likely to come across loads of different types of tips, advice, and complementary therapy options. As you encounter and consider these things, always remember that while there are plenty of experts out there, there is only one expert on you. Make sure you listen to your heart and your body throughout the entire process. Whether it is a new diet, a new mind-body technique, advice on how much you should exercise, or what vitamins to take, if something you are doing doesn’t feel right, honor that feeling. Know that while it may have worked great for someone else, that doesn’t mean it is right for you.” – The IVF Journal

finding-your-thingThe reason I give this advice is because I spent quite a few years trying to find my thing when it came to supporting my IVF treatment.

To help myself sort things out I decided to look at the world of complementary treatments for IVF as one where I could be adventurous and try new things. I was saddled with the ever present waiting that is a side effect of infertility treatment so this new world also provided me with something positive to focus on while I endured the many waiting periods that go hand in hand with extended IVF treatment.

I developed a little mantra: Explore, research, discover. And armed with that mantra I jumped in and started trying things out.

I started with what I felt would be a no brainer for me: Yoga. I already knew that practicing Yoga had so many amazing benefits for both mind and body and my (limited) experiences with the practice thus far had been really positive. I couldn’t wait to get started and signed up for an awesome local Yoga for Fertility class. After a few weeks I was really bummed to learn that my body was not quite where my mind was when it came to yoga. Surprisingly it just didn’t feel right. So back to the drawing board I went.

(Side note: I know and work with so many wonderful yoga instructors, acupuncture and other practitioners who are doing wonderful things for people going through infertility so please don’t take these anecdotes as a reason not to try yoga or acupuncture or any other practice – the whole point is to find what works for you, not me.)

Next I tried and initially loved acupuncture. There are so many great reasons to do acupuncture – studies abound on its benefits and there are loads of wonderful practitioners and centers that specialize in fertility and IVF related acupuncture. Many of the women I have cycled with swear by it. But, in the end, when I really considered all the elements of extended treatment it just wasn’t a sustainable practice for me.

So I moved on, determined to find my thing.

I tried reiki and massage – good but not exactly what I felt I was looking for. I dabbled in herbal supplements and diet changes, that wasn’t my thing either. And then one day my therapist suggested meditation.

As a fairly hyper (ok, very), Type A, who really doesn’t like sitting still, I was pretty skeptical about meditation. But, I was in experimentation mode so I figured it couldn’t hurt to try.

What do you know, meditating felt pretty good. Unfamiliar, definitely. A bit uncomfortable at first but mostly just, really good. And calming. Wow. I would have never guessed. So I decided to try it on for a while. And much to my surprise, it stuck.

I think finally found my thing.

As I continued with the practice I came to realize that meditation worked for me on so many levels. For one thing, the length and timing of the practice was right up my alley – really flexible. No travel required, no appointments to keep.

More importantly meditation helped me to slow down and relax my mind and my body. This led to me becoming more self-aware and was the catalyst to so much positive change in the way I handled my infertility. Finally, and more simply put, I was less stressed. I felt calmer, more balanced and therefore stronger than I had in so long.

Hooray! I definitely found my thing!

self-awarenessIf you haven’t tried mediation yet, absolutely give it a try and check out my Mindfulness and Self-Awareness pin-board. If it isn’t your thing, don’t worry. Just keep exploring and your thing will eventually reveal itself.

If you are on the fence about trying complementary therapies consider the following from The IVF Journal, Chapter13: Don’t Go it Alone: Complementary Therapies and A Support Network.

“Complementary therapies are a great form of support for IVF patients and can greatly enhance your experience. They can help you to reduce stress and feel more relaxed and can improve your physical and emotional health as well. They also provide positive ways to pass the time during a cycle, especially during waiting periods. Some popular options include mind and body programs, yoga, meditation and visualization, acupuncture and massage. If you are employing or interested in exploring these or other options, start by asking your clinic and other contacts for information and referrals, or use the organizations and contacts in your support network to search for practitioners in your area. You can also turn to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. This is a United States government resource and a good place to research your options. Their information can be found at http://www.nccam.nih.gov.

No matter what type of practice you are considering, most therapies have different styles, pricing, and practitioners available. To get the most out of any treatment, you should feel comfortable with all aspects of the program, including price, location, schedule, and instructor or technician. It is important to note that complementary therapies can provide great benefits for some, but if a certain practice is not your cup of tea, then you should not feel compelled to use it. If you are doing something that you don’t enjoy, the stress of stress relief can ironically do more harm than good. You should only do what you feel comfortable with, and if that does not include complementary therapies, then you should not feel obligated to pursue them.” – The IVF Journal

Finding Your Thing During IVF TreatmentStephanie Fry is an advocate, volunteer and respected member of the local and national professional community serving those with infertility. A former marketing executive turned professional infertility patient, her work in infertility advocacy began in 2010 as a Board Member and the Marketing Chair for RESOLVE New England, the largest regional infertility organization in the country. Currently she is the Director of Corporate Partnerships for RESOLVE New England and continues to volunteer as an Infertility Peer Discussion Group leader in Massachusetts, a role she has enjoyed for many years. She created The IVF Journal as a personal coping mechanism based on her own experience with extensive fertility treatments and hopes to educate, empower and comfort women who are building families through IVF and other infertility treatments.


Guest Blog by Ken Myers.

Although nutrition is a vital component to keeping yourself healthy, relaxing your body through meditation could be almost as important. The mind can do a great deal for your physical form, and practicing methods of meditation can make an impact in ways you never thought before. What’s more, you don’t have to dedicate hours per day trying to unlock the secrets of the Universe.

Finding Time to Meditate: Keeping Yourself Healthy

StressStress can cause a wide range of physical problems within your body. While many people focus on the aspect of it affecting your heart, it can also cause problems conceiving as well as carrying a child. Stress can affect both men and women and make it difficult for either to assist in pregnancy. Meditation can help reduce your stress levels which can help your plans for conception as well as help in:

  • Weight control
  • Mental focus
  • Various physical pains
  • Stomach and digestive problems
  • And a plethora of other physical needs

Brain Fitness – Without proper rest and diet, the mind can have a much harder time processing information. Your brain needs a certain balance in order to be more efficient when it comes to thinking. While meditation can provide a method to help your mind relax, it still needs proper nutritional care in order to provide clarity of thought. Keeping your brain fit can make the use of meditation that much more efficient. If you try to meditate while fighting fatigue, you’ll wind up putting yourself to sleep. Depending on the situation, this could be your ultimate goal.

Finding the Time – While there are many different ways you can meditate, everyone has specific methods that are perfect for themselves. Some will sit in the lotus position on the floor of a quiet room. Others may find solace in a shower with the lights off. Some still will take five to ten minutes sitting in the office at their desk concentrating on breathing techniques. Regardless of your lifestyle, there is a method that will fit. You just need to find one that works best for you and the daily schedule.

Active Meditation – Not all meditation techniques require a silent place to sit with your eyes closed. In fact, you may be practicing methods of meditation right now without realizing. After a hard day, some people will vigorously clean the home in order to find peace. This gives the person a chance to think about situations while keeping the body occupied. Others may go for a jog. In most cases of active meditation the key component is physical movement. This could be a result of an increased flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. As mentioned above, the health of the brain will impact your life whether it is thought processing or maintaining your physical form.

Proper meditation techniques can be more effective for maintaining mental stability than prescription drugs. It costs you nothing and has no side effects to worry about. In fact, your entire body can benefit from meditating more often. While this method of focusing your mind can help you relax, it may not be an instant cure of infertility. It can, however, be used as a method to reduce your stress levels in order to rule out stress as a cause for the inability to conceive.

Ken Myers is a father of three and passionate about great childcare. He’s always looking for ways to help families find the support they need to live fuller, richer lives. Find out more about expert childcare by checking out @go_nannies on Twitter.


Please join me in congratulating Celeste G., the winner of our 30 Days of Fertility campaign! She’ll receive our entire product line of downloads for participating and helping to support all women on the fertility journey.

I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to every single one of you who participated. It was an amazing response, and it showed me how wonderful and powerful this community can be.

When we come together to share our tips, insights, concerns and support we really create a powerful resource that makes a positive difference in people’s lives. How cool is that?!

30DaysofFertility_couponSo to thank all of you for participating and being such an amazing community, please use the code THANKYOU25 (expires May 6, 2014) to receive 25% off any of our products during National Infertility Awareness Week.

Just because our 30 Day Campaign is over doesn’t mean you have to stop sharing! Continue to join us on our Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest page to keep the conversation going. We will continue to post our tips, insights, and questions and hope you will continue to join us.

With love + gratitude,


Guest Blog by Stephanie Fry, author of The IVF Journal book.

Back in 2009, I was lucky enough to help the folks at Circle + Bloom as they developed their IVF/IUI Mind-Body Program by giving them a patients perspective on an IVF cycle. Since then their product has helped thousands of women and I hope my guest blog, How and Why to Build a Support Network during Infertility Treatment, will too.

After my first round of IVF resulted in an early pregnancy loss I was at a very low point in my already distinguished infertility career. It was then that I realized I needed some support. And quick.

So I did what I do best. I made a plan. A plan to get myself some much needed help.

As I researched my options I immediately started to feel better. I was thrilled and uplifted to learn that there were individuals, organizations, websites and businesses dedicated to infertility education and support. Finally, I didn’t feel so alone, so isolated.

After some initial research, my first step was to call my fertility clinic and talk to my nurse. I felt really comfortable with her and she seemed like a good place to start. When she got on the line I blurted out a simple statement and asked a simple question.

“I’m really struggling. Where can I get some support?”

Not very eloquent and certainly not the easiest thing I have ever done but I am so glad I took that first step. It was the beginning of my healing process and without it I’m not sure I could have continued with treatment.

She referred me to a therapist who specialized in fertility. What a relief it was to find someone who fully understood the process of infertility treatment without my having to explain everything! My therapist helped me identify and work through the incredibly complex range of emotions that infertility can bring and she also introduced me to RESOLVE and The American Fertility Association, two wonderful non-profit resources that I still rely on today. I began attending a peer support group and with the help of my healthcare providers, non-profits, organizations, on-line resources, individuals and some great books I found everything I needed to educate myself about my situation.

It took some time but within a few months I had surrounded myself with a network of people, organizations and information sources that supported, educated, comforted and understood me. With all this support I began to really understand my diagnosis, my treatment and what my options were for coping with it all.

Understanding brought comfort. Comfort was followed by strength. When I had regained my strength I knew I had successfully created a support network and I can’t imagine having gone through the next few years of fighting infertility without it. It is the one thing that I universally recommend to anyone battling infertility.

Here is a bit more on why and how to build a support network,

The IVF Journal Front Cover.small for web“THE IVF PROCESS is not always easy, and having access to your own personal support network is a great way to stay positive, informed, and connected during your treatment. It is also a great comfort to know you have go-to resources when you are faced with difficulties, whether it’s a small bump in the road or a larger emotional or physical crisis… As you consider your options, keep in mind that your support network should provide you with resources that not only educate and inform but also help you feel connected and comforted while you go through treatment. Strong resources help offer emotional relief by providing opportunities for you to soothe yourself in whatever way you are most comfortable with.
They also help you:

  • Explore and vent your feelings—including unsettling ones
  • Learn and gather information
  • Make decisions—both large and small
  • Develop coping skills
  • Mourn loss and celebrate success
  • Relax physically and emotionally”

Excerpt from The IVF Journal, Chapter 13: Don’t Go It Alone: Complementary Therapies and A Support Network.

No matter what stage of the infertility journey you are in or what type of family building you are pursing going through infertility alone is never a good idea. I encourage you to try creating your own support network. As you do so just keep in mind that every person who experiences infertility is unique and has different needs. Your network should reflect your needs, likes and personality. Also, it doesn’t need to be huge and complicated just jotting down a few resources, even if you never need them can’t hurt and might be just what you need if you find yourself needing some extra support.

With hope,
Stephanie Fry

Head over to our sister site YourFertilityDeals where we are currently offering a giveaway on Stephanie Fry’s The IVF Journal book.

SLFStephanie Fry is an advocate, volunteer and respected member of the local and national professional community serving those with infertility. A former marketing executive turned professional infertility patient, her work in infertility advocacy began in 2010 as a Board Member and the Marketing Chair for RESOLVE New England, the largest regional infertility organization in the country. Currently she is the Director of Corporate Partnerships for RESOLVE New England and continues to volunteer as an Infertility Peer Discussion Group leader in Massachusetts, a role she has enjoyed for many years. She created The IVF Journal as a personal coping mechanism based on her own experience with extensive fertility treatments and hopes to educate, empower and comfort women who are building families through IVF and other infertility treatments.


Guest Blog by Suzanne Hanna, a Licensed Psychotherapist, Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Coach, Writer, and Inspirational Speaker.

It can happen in a moment, usually after a life-changing realization or event. Everything goes dark. The air in your body gets sucked from your lungs. A lead ball crashes into your core, leaving you weak. Your throat constricts and your body begins to sweat. Your heart races. Your temples pound. We have all been there.

I can remember this happening to me a few times in my life. Something completely unexpected happens. You get a devastating phone call; you’re counting on people and no one shows up; you wake up from a lie and realize just how shaky the ground you’ve been standing on is. These moments send you reeling down the rabbit hole into the deep dark abyss.

You think you’ll never recover from whatever it is, but most of us do eventually. Once we have regained equilibrium, we look back and wonder how we got from there to here, and then we swear that we will NEVER go back there again.

Yet we do that, too. You see, that is the evolution of life. Pain is often the catalyst for periods of intense growth, when we are ready to shed the old, but are not yet ready to embrace the new. Pain is perhaps the defining characteristic when we are thrashing about in the murky waters of denial, shame, fear, anger, and doubt until we regain the strength to swim to the nearest shore.

The times I have spent in the rabbit hole have been scary as well as painful. I will admit that I have wanted to run, hide or find anything just to make it stop. I have prayed that I would fall asleep and wake up to the realization that it was all just a dream. The truth is, there is no way around it. We can temporarily avoid it but it will always come back until either the lesson is learned or we have been awakened from a deep sleep. It would be nice if growth could come in prettier packages and with detailed instruction manuals to follow, and at times it does. But if you are anything like me, with a stubborn streak, then there are times when the Universe has no other choice but to bring the hammer down. Not to punish us, but to awaken us.

EVERY time I have been in the darkness, I have learned something new — about myself and about the lessons I have come to this life to learn. I have gained more insight into my deeper truth and have brought healing to my core wounds. I have learned to reach out and ask for support so I do not drown in the pain. And once I have climbed out of the rabbit hole, I see the enormous gifts that I received from my time there.

I am not going to lie and say I look forward to these periods of painful growth, but I will say that they no longer frighten me as they once did. You see I have gotten the tools and resources that I have needed to see in the dark. My faith, my purpose, my truth, and my courage have been loyal companions. There are moments that I forget that they are there, but before long I am reminded again.

We will NEVER be able to outrun the darkness. The more we run, the more painful the process. It will inevitably find us lurking behind some tree or hiding underneath the bed. We eventually have to face it.

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew what to do when it comes knocking at your door?

What if you could befriend it so that you can learn quickly what it has come to teach you?


What if you no longer had to constantly fear the day that it will find you so that you can live FULLY in the present?

suzanne_hannaSuzanne Hanna is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Coach, Writer, and Inspirational Speaker. She has helped hundreds of men and women move through their fear and pain as a way to live a more Inspired Life. Suzanne believes that it is up to the mid-lifers and beyond to come out from the shadows of their own fear, pain and shame in order to be the way – showers for the younger generations.

“I am on a mission to remove the stigma around fear, pain and shame. I want to teach others about the importance of the journey into darkness in order to reclaim their power and true selves. I believe it is the ONLY way to get to personal freedom. Several years ago I went on my own version of The Wilderness Walk when I hiked across the United States with my golden retriever Grace. It changed my life.”


I’ve found another book to add to my list of recommended reading related to fertility! Rebecca Fett’s It Starts With The Egg is an important read, and one I am happy to see getting such positive feedback.

Circle+Bloom is grounded in science. The development of our mind-body programs was done in collaboration with the professional medical community who have provided guidance and counsel throughout their creation. The desire to create these programs in the first place stemmed from the fact that over the past few decades the effectiveness of guided imagery / visualization, along with the negative impacts of stress on fertility, have been established by numerous research findings.

Screen-Shot-2014-04-16-at-8.56.31-PMStill, it is sometimes hard to find robust research that scientifically explores infertility that crosses over into every-day knowledge and practice. That’s why it is so refreshing to read It Starts with the Egg. The book presents a reasoned and balanced review of the latest science linking environmental factors to reduced fertility and other health problems.

One of the most interesting findings in the book relate to nutrition. If you’ve read our blog you may have seen that we really believe that nutrition can have a huge impact on your fertility. It’s good to see this backed up by science, especially since current fertility advice related to nutrition is lacking. The book describes research published in the Journal of Fertility and Sterility finding that women following a Mediterranean diet before their IVF cycle had a 40% higher chance of becoming pregnant, along with some other really interesting studies related to nutrition and fertility that you may not have heard about.

That’s why Rebecca’s book is so important in my eyes. It raises awareness, in an easy-to-read, approachable way, so that more people are aware of the scientific evidence linking environmental factors to reduced fertility and health problems.

The true beauty of the book is that it compliments the thorough overview of the current scientific research with easy-to follow, practical changes you can make in your everyday life. Small, simple changes in life can have big impacts! We truly believe that here at Circle+Bloom, and Rebecca’s book brings this to light in a powerful way.

I want you all to be able to read it, so head over to our sister site YourFertilityDeals where we are currently offering a deal on the book. I would love it if after you go and read the book, you come back here and share in the comments what changes you made as a result.

Happy reading!


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Guest Blog by Cheretta A Clerkley, a strategic marketing health care professional for Hormone Health Network. She has worked for over 10 years in direct patient education focusing on hormone health.

Being pregnant affects a lot more than your body. The outward signs of expecting a baby become more apparent over time, but the emotional and psychological ones are easier to hide. As a result, many pregnant women are taken by surprise by how much their emotions change during the course of those nine months. Knowing that you’re about to become a mother is enough to heighten anyone’s emotions, but there’s more to it than that. As soon as you become pregnant, hormones in your body go into overdrive and can dramatically impact how you feel. By keeping a few things in mind, you’ll be able to emerge on the other side with your mental well-being intact.

Common Hormonal Changes During Pregnancy

Sometimes, just knowing which hormones are flaring up and how they’re affecting you can help you deal with them more effectively. Dozens of hormones spring into action when you’re pregnant, but three are of particular interest:

  • Progesterone: This hormone helps to ensure that the baby grows normally. However, it is also responsible for making you feel sore and bloated, and it can cause upset stomachs and make your breasts exceedingly tender and painful. Coping with these symptoms is enough to make anyone feel moody.
  • HCG: Human chorionic gonadotropin kicks in very early in pregnancy, and it aids in the production of progesterone. It’s also largely responsible for the morning sickness and feelings of fatigue that tend to plague expectant mothers at this stage.
  • Estrogen: The primary purpose of this hormone is to prepare the placenta so that the growing baby can stay nourished and healthy. It is believed that estrogen is mostly the cause of heightened emotions and mood swings that many pregnant women experience.

Tips for Dealing with Pregnancy Hormones

As you can see, the hormones that make you feel less-than-great while pregnant all serve important purposes, so suppressing them isn’t an option. There are ways to minimize the impact they have on your state of mind, though:

  • Find ways to relieve stress: It’s natural to feel like you’re running out of time and that you need to accomplish as much as possible before the baby arrives. However, that’s also a good way to end up feeling more overwhelmed than ever. Make a point of carving out time to engage in stress-relieving activities. Exercise and meditation are great for this, but simple things like getting enough sleep and eating right help a lot too.
  • Take it easy: There’s no such thing as being completely, 100 percent prepared for a baby. Don’t overdo it. Once your bundle of joy arrives, the days of having time for yourself will be gone for the near future. Be kind to yourself, and set aside plenty of time for naps, baths, trips to the spa and other pampering activities.
  • Bond with your partner: The more support you get while pregnant, the better you’ll ultimately feel. Don’t be afraid to lean on your partner as you go through the whirlwind of emotions that you’re bound to experience. If you are single, turn to friends, relatives and other loved ones for support.
  • Have fun: Hormonal changes can make you feel less than enthusiastic about doing the fun things you usually enjoy. You will probably have to force yourself to go out and have fun, but try to do so at least a few times per month. Once you’re out there doing fun things, you’ll be glad you made yourself go.
  • Talk it out: Now is not the time to try to be the strong, silent type. Most people are perfectly understanding about the emotional toll that pregnancy takes, so use that to your advantage by talking about how you feel as often as possible. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved!

Know when to Get Help

Pregnancy hormones can make you feel like a completely different person, and they’re never much fun to endure. With that being said, some women experience more severe symptoms. It’s important to know when to get help. If you feel excessively anxious or depressed, talk to your doctor. Similarly, let your doctor know if you experience mild to moderate depression or anxiety that lasts longer than two weeks. About 10 percent of pregnant women experience depression, and there are ways to treat it.

The vast majority of pregnant women get through their pregnancies without going through too much turmoil. As stressful as dealing with pregnancy hormones may be, it’s a fact of life. It may seem like you’ll be pregnant and feel this way forever, but the baby will arrive before you know it. In the meantime, go easy on yourself and seek help if your symptoms become too overwhelming.

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Hello! My name is Meagan. Some of you may already know me if you are a Circle+Bloom partner since I help work with our wonderful affiliates and partners. If not–hi! It’s nice to ‘meet’ you 🙂 I also do some of the blog writing here. I’m going to take advantage of that and use this post to share a little with you about a recent trip I went on.

I just got back from a trip to Istanbul, Turkey (my first voyage across the Atlantic!) After over 10 hours of flying I felt like I had traveled to a different world, and the city is certainly different from my hometown of Boston, as well as my current residence of Washington, DC. More surprising than the differences, however, were the many similarities I saw. Here are just a few.

-11. People love good food and drinks.

The food and drinks might be different (doner kebabs and turkish coffee in Istanbul’s case) but just about anywhere people like sitting down to a great meal with their friends and family. [Side note–fresh squeezed pomegranate juice is amazing and it might be the thing I’m going to miss most about Istanbul!]

-12. History brings people together.

While the Freedom Trail in Boston and the National Monuments in DC are much much younger than sites like the Basilica Cistern, the Blue Mosque and the Ayasofya, sites that tell a story about our past are always a draw for people. (One huge realization related to this is just how young the United States is. The First Great Church in Istanbul, the predecessor to the Ayasofya, was built in the year 360!)

3. Getting be out in nature is a shared joy.

-2I was struck by the similarity between the views of families and friends walking along the Bosphorus and enjoying the sun in the numerous parks along the water with views of people running and strolling along the Charles River in Boston and the Tidal Basin in DC. Give people some sunshine and a green space and it’s pretty much a guarantee you’ll see smiles, no matter where you are.

The world is a big place, but when you see how much we all hold in common it doesn’t seem quite so big as before. I hope one day I’ll get to go back to Istanbul. There is so much to see and experience and I only got to scratch the surface while I was there.

So, where have your travels brought you, and have you noticed any similarities or differences between where you’re from and where you visited?


This April, in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, we’re launching a “30 Days of Fertility” campaign to support all women embarking on the fertility journey and we hope you’ll join us!

We’ve always believed in the power of mind + body awareness as it pertains to fertility. Our programs help explore the connection between stress and hormone balance and ultimate fertility, and so this month we’ll be offering up some of our best insights.

Day1Over the course of the next 30 days we’ll be sharing 30 thoughts, meditations, and tips to help you create an optimal mind + body connection. We’ll make it easy to nurture yourself and find support for your fertility journey.

We invite you to join us and to share your own journey – or show your support for others. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and share your comments, thoughts, and photos.

Help us build a community of fertility support.

At the end of the 30 days, we’ll be giving away an entire product line of our Circle + Bloom downloads free.

All you have to do to enter is share something once during the month of April on our Facebook page or via Twitter or Instagram tagged with #30DaysofFertility.

We’ll randomly pick a winner and announce who it is on May 12th.

We look forward to supporting the journey to conceive and to sharing conversations with you.

With love and gratitude,


I have to apologize right off the bat to those of you who may still have snow on the ground, but spring seems to have sprung in North Carolina and I could not be more happy!

Whenever the seasons change I get excited to spend some time in my kitchen. New ingredients that arrive with spring mean we get to brighten up and revamp our meal line-up with fresh tastes and local ingredients.

As I’ve been looking at some new recipes to try this spring it reminded me that we haven’t featured any fertility recipes on the blog in quite some time (although we are constantly sharing new recipes on our pinterest board!) So, without further ado, here’s a blog post featuring some delicious soups that just happen to be great for fertility as well.

When it comes to the best foods to eat to increase your chances of getting pregnant, seek out whole foods packed with iron from plants. Spinach, beans, pumpkin, tomatoes, and beets all appear to promote fertility and help boost your overall health. Why not enjoy them in a delicious soup?

Here are our Four Favorite Fertility-Friendly Soups:

1. Roasted Garlic Beet Soup

Beets belong to the same family as chard and spinach and have amazing blood cleansing powers. Their high content of iron regenerates and reactivates the red blood cells and supplies fresh oxygen to the body, helping rid your body of unwanted toxins and opening it up to things you do want (like a baby!). The flavor of this soup is as rich as its color.

CB_fertilityrecipes2. Roasted Pumpkin Soup

For an easy boost of iron, mix some pumpkin seeds into your yogurt or trail mix or sprinkle on top of ice cream. If you have a little time, we recommend this recipe. This seven ingredient, two-step soup will fill the house with great smells and fill you with satisfying nutrients.

3. Quick Three-Bean Chili

Beans are a magical food when it comes to fertility. Rich in vegetable protein, they are the perfect ingredient for your diet and this delicious soup. Trust us, it’s so easy and delicious you won’t miss the meat!

4. Roasted Red Pepper and Sun-Dried Tomato Soup

Sun-Dried Tomatoes also pack in the iron and pair nicely with roasted red peppers. Soak them to rehydrate before cooking in the soap and you’ll soak in tomato’s cancer-reducing properties as well as iron.

Want to know more about fertility and nutrition? Check out Harvard Medical School’s tips on ten evidence-based suggestions for improving nutrition.

What recipes are you excited to make in the upcoming weeks? Are you trying something new? Have any old favorites that you can share with us? Post below or on our FaceBook page to share. I can’t wait to try out the recipes you suggest!

Warm wishes,


Can Yoga Increase Fertility?

Guest blog by Sandra Mills.

Fertility struggles can feel like you’re stuck on a hamster wheel in a cage you did not choose. Couples undergoing fertility treatments suddenly feel like they no longer have control of the most intimate parts of their bodies and their relationship, and it is stressful. That stress adversely affects fertility, which creates more stress, and more problems, and the wheel continues to spin, as you go nowhere.

Yoga has many forms of practice developed over centuries. With care for the unique issues of fertility, yoga has proven to be a very good way to provide both a woman and her partner with effective tools for controlling their approach to the stress in both body and mind. Many respected fertility experts are suggesting fertility yoga classes for patients. While it will not solve all fertility problems, it will help give the perspective needed to face them.

According to the NYU Fertility Center, “Yoga for Fertility is a safe, gentle practice inspired by Hatha Yoga with a focus on deep relaxation, guided visualization and breathing to trigger the relaxation response.” A class for Fertility Yoga can tone and strengthen the body, but it also is designed to increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, decrease tension in the pelvic and hip region, and affect cortisol levels by teaching you how to control your reactions to stress.

More than exercise results from sharing a class with others in the same struggle. Realizing you are not the only one to feel trapped by infertility is encouraging as you learn together how to quiet your thoughts. The Colorado Center For Reproductive Medicine states, “Yoga is increasingly recommended for people trying to conceive, both because it helps relieve stress that can accompany fertility challenges and because the many therapeutic benefits may enhance fertility.”

Experts caution that not every fertility issue is going to be solved by holistic technique, and some yoga poses can actually create more problems. For instance, excessive twisting can cause ovaries swollen by fertility treatments to torque. It is important that the yoga class be designed for the specific limitations of the body during this time. Overall, an appropriate approach to yoga for fertility is highly recommended. When looking for yoga classes in your area, be sure to mention the fact that you are interested in fertility yoga and discuss any concerns you have with your instructor.

Yoga classes for fertility are not billed as support groups, but in many ways that is exactly what is accomplished. You meet others experiencing the same struggles, and realize you are not alone in this situation. They are not guarantees of fertility, but they restore your peace of mind and give you the skills to control your reaction to this stressful situation.

Many couples find that doing yoga together helps them to connect with each other outside the “got to get pregnant” pressure their fertility treatments put on the relationship. Activities together, learning new things and enjoying each other’s company, are welcome additions to their lifestyle.

Travel can be one of the best ways to learn new things and enjoy life together. Some couples have enjoyed traveling together to one of many excellent yoga retreats for a long weekend. One such place, if you can take the time to go, is to the birthplace of Yoga in Rishikesh, India, which has a lot to offer yogis at all levels.

The important thing is realizing that there are ways to confront the stresses of infertility with positive actions. It is difficult to feel trapped in that cage, running on a wheel that may seem endless, but fertility yoga can give you the key to freedom.

sandraSandra Mills is a freelance health and travel writer. She enjoys coming up with topics that benefit people’s health. She recently discovered the many health benefits of practicing yoga.

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1. In vitro maturation (IVM)

With traditional IVF, patients typically inject themselves with hormone medications for eight to 10 days to stimulate the ovaries into producing multiple eggs for fertilization. But hormone injections aren’t always the best choice for PCOS patients because they have an increased risk for ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) – a condition that causes the ovaries to become swollen and painful.

Instead, a new better option might be in-vitro maturation. With in vitro maturation (IVM) eggs are removed from the ovaries and are collected when they are still immature. They are then matured in the laboratory before being fertilized.

CB_pcosBecause the eggs are immature when they are collected you don’t need to take as many drugs before the eggs can be collected like with conventional IVF. In addition, women with PCOS are good candidates for this procedure because they have many immature follicles which lead to lots of little immature eggs.

The treatment is still considered experimental, so it’s not covered by insurance. Neway Fertility hopes to change that with an ongoing IVM study that has shown success rates of 80 percent so far. For more information or to enroll in the study, visit NewayFertility.com.

2. Letrozole

With clomiphene citrate, the most commonly used agent for ovulation induction in women with PCOS, only about half the women who ovulate end up having babies. So scientists have been focusing on new ways to improve fertility in women with PCOS.

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article looking at these new developments. They write, “Dr. Eisenberg, Penn State’s Dr. Legro and the Reproductive Medicine Network have been running a clinical trial to improve fertility. In a presentation to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in October, they showed that early results indicate a medication called letrozole, a drug commonly used for in vitro fertilization, appears to result in more live births than clomiphene.”

To read more visit the article here. In addition to covering new developments it also provides some good facts and figures about PCOS.

3. Inositol

PCOS Diva is a great resource for the latest PCOS news, and she recently shared some exciting new research. She spotlighted Dr. Antonio Simone Laganà, who has been conducting studies around the supplement inositol. Inositol is a naturally occurring substance produced in the human body that belongs to the vitamin B complex group. It is a precursor to a number of ”signaling molecules” that essentially tell cells how to behave.

According to the article there are nine different types of inositol that are found naturally in many foods such as fruits, nuts and beans. Of the nine different types of inositol, two have insulin-sensitizing capabilities: myo-inositol and d-chiro-inositol.

Dr. Lagana told PCOS Diva, “According to our recent data analysis, both the isoforms of inositol are effective in improving ovarian function and metabolism in patients with PCOS, although myo-inositol showed the most marked effect on the metabolic profile, whereas D-chiro-inositol reduced hyperandrogenism better.”

You can read a summary of his findings, as well as check out all the wonderful resources PCOS Diva has to offer, at the site.


Why Become an Egg Donor?

Guest Blog by Natalie on behalf of The London Egg Bank.

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 8.45.12 PM

Becoming an egg donor is an altruistic affair. Many women choose to become egg donors so that they can give the gift of parenthood to those couples who have embarked upon the difficult and emotional journey of trying to conceive.

Some women may have had a close friend or relative who has experienced the trauma of infertility and wish to prevent others from going through the same emotionally draining experience, whilst others donate their eggs out of the goodness of their own hearts. Whatever their reasons, these women have undergone the egg donation process with the same motive in mind; to help childless couples.

The egg donation process allows those women whose ovaries do not produce enough healthy eggs, to become pregnant using donated eggs. By donating your eggs, you can offer infertile women a life-changing gift: the gift of a child and the chance to become a mother.

As an egg donor, you’re likely to experience feelings of goodwill. Why? You will know that you’ve helped couples to overcome infertility as well as grant them the greatest happiness of all: parenthood. As an egg donor, you can play a significant part in helping a loving couple make their family complete.

Why do Women Donate Their Eggs?

Satisfaction and happiness are the two key elements that tend to give women the desire to become egg donors. They feel these emotions due to the fact that they are able to help struggling women to begin or expand their family.

Egg donors are often family members or friends of those who are unable to conceive naturally. However, in most cases, the donors who work through clinics are matched up with individuals or couples that they previously did not know.

Research has revealed that 68% of women stated that helping somebody was their number one reason for donating their eggs. Of this same group that was surveyed, 100% of the egg donors reported that they would donate their eggs again.

Whilst the egg donation process can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster, being an egg donor is a wonderful and exciting experience at every step. Knowing you are going to change lives for the better is a heart-warming feeling.

How Can Egg Donation Help?

The egg donation process is able to help two different types of women to give birth to a child: those who don’t have eggs fit for conceiving, and those who unfortunately have no eggs at all.

Early menopause is the main reason that causes a woman not to have eggs fit for conceiving. This sometimes occurs around fifteen or twenty years before it would normally happen. If a woman begins her menopause when she is still very young and she has not yet had a child, she will not be able to have one without the egg donation process. Epidemiological studies have revealed that 5% of women develop this condition which is much more than people anticipate.

The cause of this is usually medical for those who have no eggs. For example, some women have to have their ovaries removed because of a tumor, once they have recovered these women still cannot have their own children unless they use eggs donated from another woman.

Do you wish to help women who are unable to conceive? You can, by becoming an egg donor. The London Egg Bank is the UK’s first egg donor clinic with the aim of encouraging people to donate eggs. For more information, call 0207 563 4306 today and learn more about the egg donation process.


4 Ways to Restore Your Energy

CB_energyYesterday afternoon I found myself becoming really sluggish. In fact, while driving home I got so sleepy that I needed to pull over and rest my eyes a bit. A bit embarrassing to have to admit that!

It got me thinking about energy and how we all struggle with maintaining our energy levels throughout the day. When I’m dragging and feel completely drained, I need things that are easy to do that have instant impact on re-energizing myself.

I know I can’t be the only one who feels like they need ways to restore their energy, so I figured I would share with you the practices that consistently help me to re-energize.

They’re simple, easy to do, and immediately have an effect.

  1. Move

    One of the best ways to increase your energy is to jump-start it with some physical activity such as walking. I find that even if I stand up and do a short amount of movement, such as 10-15 minutes of yoga, it instantly gives me a boost.

    I’ve also been doing CrossFit recently, which is a lot more intense, but boy do I feel great (although usually sore!) afterward.

    On a physical level moving and stretching brings in more nutrients and oxygen to your body since nitric oxide is released from the linings of arteries to allow blood vessels to move blood more freely.

    Integrating gentle movement, such as walking, stretching, restorative yoga, and similar activities can allow you to regain energy in your body and life and connect more fully with your body and self. Try out different types of movement and see what feels right for your body.

  2. Munch

    When it comes to increasing energy, food is one of the quickest and effective natural remedies. Especially during that dreaded 2 pm slump, I reach for a glass of water (or Green tea) and a high protein snack to give me a boost of energy to get through the rest of my day.

    One hidden cause of fatigue is dehydration. It’s something that many of us don’t immediately think of, so if you’re feeling a little sluggish drink a glass of water and it may give you the boost you really need.

    Snacks made up of high-quality protein, such as nuts and greek yoghurt, as well as lots of fruits and vegetables and 100-percent whole grains, end up giving you way more energy than snacks made up of simple sugars and carbs. Here’s a list of high-protein, portable snacks that I usually turn to. I also find that the physical act of munching on something crunchy, such as an apple dipped in peanut butter, keeps me more alert.

    (Side note: If you usually turn to coffee for an energy boost, try green tea instead. It actually has one-third the caffeine of black tea, but it’s been shown to yield the same level of energy and attentiveness with more even levels than the ups and downs associated with other caffeinated drinks. Plus its full of polyphenols, which are chemicals with potent antioxidant properties.)

  3. Meditate

    By meditate I mean even just taking 5 minutes on your own somewhere where you can sit and take some deep breaths. Feel your breath move inside your body and notice how it makes your body feel. With each inhalation and exhalation, feel your breath extend further into your body (until it feels like every cell in your whole body is breathing). Then enjoy that feeling of energy flowing within your body.

    EnergyblissfulsleepEven better, when you’re feeling sluggish listen to the Energy for Empowerment program. The program will guide your brain on a journey inside your body so it can help direct the body to find balance, health and energy. Each session is about 20 minutes long so you can take a quick break to regroup, re-energize, and then go take on your day!

    I am also known to find a place to take a power nap during the day as well. In fact, this is a surprising habit of some of the mos well-known super productive people in the business world. Finding a space to be alone can be challenging, but reclining in your car seat, setting my phone alarm for 15 minutes, works wonders!

  4. More (and better) sleep

    This one may seem obvious, but its so important I had to include it! Sleep has the ultimate restorative powers and you need it for your hormonal balance. Sleep is fundamental to our health, levels of stress, and energy to accomplish our goals.

    We’re just not doing enough of it. Not only that, but we often don’t get the quality of sleep we need. I’ve definitively had those nights were I wake up throughout the night because my mind won’t shut off!

    Eight high-quality hours a day will make a huge difference. If you have trouble falling asleep, you may need to change your sleep practices and approach to falling asleep. That’s why there is a special session just for better sleep in the Energy for Empowerment program. Give it a listen tonight and see what immediate impacts it can have!

So how about you? What do you do when you’re tired that quickly and easily boosts you energy? Please share in the comments below so we can all try your tips!

Warm Wishes,


We’ve been doing a lot of reading while we wait for warm weather to arrive and wanted to share some recommendations for books that are wonderful resources for dealing with infertility. There are plenty of good ones out there, so be sure to check our ‘books we love‘ page for more recommendations, as well as our blog for guest posts from authors and highlights from any new book we come across that we think you’ll like.

Navigating the Land of If: Understanding Infertility
and Exploring Your Options

by Melissa Ford

Final+CoverAuthor of the extremely successful blog Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters, Melissa Ford presents readers with a guide for navigating the complex world of infertility. The Land of If got its name not only because “IF” is the abbreviation for “infertility” in the online world, but also because there are so many “ifs” inherent in being here. No stranger to the Land of If herself, Ford shares her hard-earned knowledge and insights, helping couples struggling with infertility understand the lingo, learn the details doctors tend to leave out, and keep their emotional sanity despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Navigating the Land of If gives the nitty-gritty on injections, rejections, biting your tongue during happy parent-to-be conversations, and trying not to cry over baby shower invitations. With chapters that include how-to’s for same-sex couples, and present adoption or remaining child-free as plausible alternatives, Ford tells you exactly what you need to know, from one infertile to another.

On Fertile Ground: Healing Infertility

by Helen Adrienne

on-fertile-ground-healing-infertility-helen-adrienne-lcsw-paperback-cover-artInfertility is a bio-psycho-socio-spiritual crisis affecting 7.3 million couples. Unlike acute crises, this one can take years to resolve, straining life which feels on permanent hold. Men and women suffer terribly with their longing for a child. With Helen Adrienne’s book, On Fertile Ground: Healing Infertility in hand, readers will learn how to turn the tables on this unwanted change and ride the infertility wave rather than be swamped by it. Each chapter ends with easy-to-learn exercises that foster coping skills including hypnosis and other mechanisms that have a statistically significant association with rates of pregnancy. The words of former patients support the effectiveness of Helen’s mind/body interventions and not only show readers that it is possible to cope effectively, but that it is also possible to “gain from the pain.” On Fertile Ground goes beyond other books of its kind by teaching how to manage the ego states like anger or negativity that escalate when we are faced with adversity. This is a get-back-in control book and a growth-from-adversity book that is comprehensive in its scope. It is relieving to know that these shock-absorbing methods can make the ongoing challenge manageable. Those who are struggling with infertility, those who want to understand them, or physicians and therapists who serve this population will benefit from the guidance provided in these pages.

Molecules Of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine

by Candace B. Pert

51bqdR793OLWhy do we feel the way we feel? How do our thoughts and emotions affect our health? Are our bodies and minds distinct from each other or do they function together as parts of an interconnected system? Candace Pert provides startling and decisive answers to these and other challenging questions that scientists and philosophers have pondered for centuries. Her pioneering research on how the chemicals inside our bodies form a dynamic information network, linking mind and body, is not only provocative, it is revolutionary. By establishing the biomolecular basis for our emotions and explaining these new scientific developments in a clear and accessible way, Pert empowers us to understand ourselves, our feelings, and the connection between our minds and our bodies — body-minds — in ways we could never possibly have imagined before. Molecules of Emotion is a landmark work, full of insight and wisdom and possessing that rare power to change the way we see the world and ourselves.

Please share your own book recommendations in the comments!


CB_BFNHow are you doing? Be honest, you can tell me if you’re feeling like crap. I won’t judge!

In fact, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to deal with the really crummy emotions that surround that time of the month where you have a BFN (Big Fat Negative). Not an easy time.

Thinking about the crazy range of emotions that you encounter at this time, I realized that in the week of getting your period you go through similar steps to grief, commonly referred to as the Kübler-Ross model of “five stages of grief”. I found this awesome blog post from Melody Mccabe over at Essential Mums that I thought captured the experience perfectly.

Here is how she describes her experience with the 5 stages of grief surrounding a BFN.

  1. Denial: According to Kübler-Ross “I feel fine.”; “This can’t be happening, not to me.”

    In trying to conceive speak: “I am fine, this wasn’t the month, but that is ok, next month will be the month”. Or “So the home pregnancy test was negative, that is ok, maybe the blood test will be accurate, those store-bought things can’t be that good.”

  2. Anger: According to Kübler-Ross “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; ‘”Who is to blame?”

    In trying to conceive speak: All of the above and “Are you kidding me? I went for acupuncture every week, I had a good ovulation, we timed things perfectly? Why is this not happening?” and in some misplaced anger at pretty much anything and everything. In my absolute frustration, I found myself blaming [my partner], which is not logical (or fair) at all.

    I sometimes get angry if I hear people complaining about being pregnant at this point. Again, illogical and unfair, because every person’s reality and journey is different, but it stings to hear when you are battling to get pregnant.

  3. Bargaining: According to Kübler-Ross: “I’ll do anything”, “I will give my life savings if…”

    In trying to conceive speak: Preaching to the choir Kübler-Ross! In my case, I start thinking – “Maybe it is something I am eating? Maybe if I stop eating dairy and sugar totally that will help? Maybe it is because [my partner] is exercising every day, could that be negatively impacting his sperm? Is it the chocolate I ate? Was it that day I had two coffees instead of one? Maybe if I don’t drink coffee at all? Maybe we should both go on a stricter diet?”

    “Maybe if we (insert pretty much anything here) it will happen this month.”

  4. Depression: According to Kübler-Ross: “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”

    In trying to conceive speak: … I had this terrible fear: what if we go through years of this? What if we wake up five years down the track and at that point realize it was never going to happen and we have invested years of our lives into something that was never going to happen? Do we go through the torture? Or do call it quits now? Do I need to start accepting that being a mother is not on the cards for me? I know it sounds irrational, but you do start wondering. The truth is, no one can tell how many months/years you are going to go through this.

  5. Acceptance: According to Kübler-Ross: “It’s going to be okay.”

    In trying to conceive speak: As the hormones get back to normal (when taking Clomiphene, I find it is the second week of the cycle) you are better able to get things back into perspective.

    You count your blessings, you spend time with your partner-finding and connecting with each other again- in my case, I thank God that I have a treatment plan, I rationalize that I will only be 29 in March, there is time, there is support, there is hope.”

What I think is so helpful about this realization is that regaining a positive attitude after a BFN is a process. You don’t need to force yourself to smile right afterwards, and you don’t need to feel guilty for feeling absolutely crumby.

Take the time to go through these stages of grief. The important thing is that as you work your way through the stages, you end up at the “It’s going to be okay” part.

Journal, talk with others, meditate–do whatever you have to do to help yourself work through these stages of emotion and find what you are grateful for and what keeps you going. One option is to listen to our Happy Mind and Healthy Body program as a way to focus on regaining balance and positivity and to get out of your funk.

You are not alone. If you need to connect with people you know will get it, comment below and talk with others. Rant and rage and ask questions and talk about what keeps you hopeful or share how you got through it.

For some more tips related to healing and dealing with negative emotions check out my previous posts, Healing Of the Heart, How to Work Through Negative Thoughts While Visualizing and The Surprising Side Effect to Feeling Like Sh*t. I think they provide useful ideas for dealing with a BFN.

I would love to hear from you about how you manage to keep a positive attitude after a BFN.

Warm wishes,


The I Stands Alone

Guest Blog by Lindsay Agne, founder of Full Circle.

There has been alot of talk about VULNERABILITY lately. Brene Brown and her TED talk brought a spot light to that word and it spread like wildfire. SHAME is another biggie. Why is there such a stigma around infertility? IS it that despite the numbers showing that 35% of infertility is male related, 35% unexplained and 30% female related, it is still thought of as mostly a women’s problem? Why can’t we tell our families, our co-workers our friends we have known since grade school? Why do too few women and men utilize infertility support groups? Because there is no pink ribbon for the broken uterus. There is no national banding together, three day walk to raise money, sweatshirts, hats, water bottles or commercials of women smiling and holding hands.

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 10.08.29 AMInfertility is silent. And with that silence comes so much suffering. We are taught not to tell anyone of a pregnancy until at least 12 weeks just in case we lose it. We allow ourselves approximately ten minutes of rejoicing before we rein it in and focus on worrying about/goggling every side cramp and hiccup. We do this mostly by ourselves so that we don’t have to make anyone feel badly for asking, if we do have a miscarriage. WHAT? Didn’t you just experience a horrible loss? Shouldn’t people, all people, be compassionate about that? Shouldn’t people be able to look you in the eye and say, “I am so sorry”? Every woman who has walked into my office has been weighed down by carrying the responsibility for “the infertility”, whether anyone expressly told them to or not.

Women come in twisted in knots. They are holding everything in so tightly you could bounce a quarter off their backs. We work on off- loading. We work on letting go. We work on unclenching fists and breathing, which is hard to do when your heart is in your throat! Slowly.. they begin to tell people. One person at a time and the person often whispers…”me too”. Lasting connections are forged. Vulnerability means letting yourself be truly seen by another. It means being brave when you least want to be.

Allow yourself a day where you just stay in bed with the curtains closed and then GET UP. Call a friend, make a date for tea or a walk. Do yoga. Seriously, do not worry about the fact that you do not have the most recent Lulu Lemon top! Get in that yoga studio with other people and begin to thaw. Allow someone into the deep, dark, corners of your grief. You will see you are not alone.

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 11.26.09 AMLindsay Agne, LICSW, developed Full Circle after working as a social worker for many years in the fields of surrogacy, infertility and medical social work. Lindsay spent five years at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston as a medical social worker and covered OBGYN units as well as post -partum and NICU support. Lindsay also worked for six years for Circle Surrogacy, a full service surrogacy and egg donation program in Boston. Full Circle began as a way for Lindsay to begin to help people on an individual basis. Lindsay listens to each individual story and develops an action plan to begin to address many of the issues right away. Lindsay uses a systemic approach to therapy that involves: talk therapy, coaching, nutritional assessment, and exercise evaluation as well as referrals to psychiatrists, acupuncturists and new mother groups.


Fitness – The Key to Conception

Contributed by freelance writer.

While some women can conceive without any problems, others are not so lucky. Those in the latter group can attest to the frustration and disappointment associated with trying different procedures to no avail. Not surprisingly, the stress of being unable to conceive often worsens the situation.

Female hormone imbalance

Doctors have recently discovered that having female hormone imbalance significantly affects a woman’s ability to conceive. Hormones are chemical messengers in the body whose main duties include regulating the reproductive system and influencing other processes in the body.

iStock_000004481131MediumThe primary sex hormones in women are estrogen and progesterone. These two are mainly produced by the ovaries although other body tissues supply small amounts. In healthy women, estrogen and progesterone exist in proper amounts and ratios, helping to maintain reproductive health.

Female hormone imbalance occurs when the delicate balance between these two hormones is altered. This can be due to a variety of causes, including endocrine disorders, drug use (including oral contraceptives and cancer medicines), perimenopause and other lifestyle factors such as sleep deprivation, stress, poor diet, obesity and lack of exercise.

Since both estrogen and progesterone play a key role in regulating a woman’s menstrual cycle, a hormonal imbalance directly affects her fertility. This then makes it hard for her to conceive. In most cases, female hormone imbalance can be treated using medication supplemented by changes in the woman’s diet and overall lifestyle.

Restoring balance

Nowadays, medical practitioners are raising awareness on the important role that fitness plays in achieving optimal hormone balance in the body. The simplest way to keep fit is through exercising. Regular exercise is especially invaluable for overweight or obese women. This is because keeping fit helps the body to break down and burn excess fat, allowing a woman to achieve her ideal weight and balancing her female hormones in the process.

Additionally, exercising boosts the woman’s libido, increasing her chances of conceiving. As she sheds more weight, she becomes more confident and happy with her appearance. Exercises also trigger the release of endorphins in the body. These are special chemicals that assist in combating stress and aiding relaxation, both crucial components when it comes to conception.

Furthermore, a fitness routine strengthens core body muscles, helping it to get ready for the strains of pregnancy, labor and delivery. This means that a fit woman is less likely to develop complications during pregnancy and while giving birth. In order to reap the most benefit, women are advised to incorporate a variety of exercises into their daily schedules.

A fitness regime has to be complemented with a balanced diet. Women who are having trouble conceiving need to cut back on refined carbohydrates and sugars. These unhealthy foods provide empty calories and increase harmful cholesterol in the body. They should be replaced with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and vegetable proteins. Dairy products such as cheese, whole milk and cream ought to be taken in moderation.

In addition to keeping fit, women who are trying to conceive need to avoid alcohol and smoking, as these substances often have a negative impact on their fertility.

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Stories to Brighten Your Day

Well another snow storm is suppose to hit Charlotte this week, but that’s not putting a damper on my day. Why? Because of these two wonderful success stories I received recently. I wanted to share them with you because they filled me with hope and joy when I read them. We all need a little encouragement, so here’s your daily dose!

The first one is from McKenzie. She says,


I just wanted to share my good news with you. I have been using your programs for the past year going through infertility treatments. I used the IUI/IVF program for 4 IUI’s (all of which failed unfortunately) and my first IVF cycle last month, which resulted in a BFP!!! I am so excited and in shock actually. I am almost 5 weeks pregnant so it’s really early but I’m so relieved. I just wanted to tell you the program helped me relax and visualize what was happening during my IVF and was a great source of comfort to me during the cycle as well as for retrieval and transfer. Thank you for making this program.


Congratulations McKenzie, and thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

Valerie writes,

testimonialI just wanted to let all of you at Circle+Bloom know that you helped me to get pregnant on the first cycle of using your fertility program, and I have been trying to conceive for 2+ years.

I KNOW that your program was the thing that made the difference for me in helping me to conceive. Stress has always had a huge impact in my life, and I had this gut feeling to give your program a try, and I am not even kidding, it worked the first cycle.

I really love your program and have recommended it to all my ttc friends. I am now 12 weeks pregnant, and I can’t believe it! It took us over two years. Thank you so much, and I just wanted you to know.


We are so happy for you Valerie!

It’s stories like these that inspire us to do what we do. You all show so much strength, resilience and hope and you’re stories totally make our day here at Circle+Bloom.

If you have a success story to share, please comment below so your story can give hope and inspiration to our community. We would all love to hear from you! And please email me if you have any questions, thoughts, or if I can help with anything.

Warm wishes,


Guest blog by Smita Parikh, MD, founder of The Fertility Advisor.


Just two years ago, I sat in a corner at my nephew’s first birthday party with a fake smile plastered on my face as kids buzzed by me and a sing along was taking place. What should have been a fun and happy occasion was a reminder to me that it was exactly one year since my husband and I had been trying to get pregnant. For most, this wouldn’t have been a big deal, but as a physician, I knew that if we were unsuccessful after one year of trying, it meant the dreaded diagnosis of “infertility.”

Unfortunately, the “what if” scenarios quickly filled my mind and my anxiety and sadness overtook my ability to be rational about our situation. From my medical training, I knew there could potentially be a gazillion blood tests, scans and injection medications ahead of us. I was completely paralyzed at the thought of it. To make things worse, both my husband and I were working 80 hours a week. How and when would we find the time to figure this all out?

Our journey to parenthood certainly took a lot longer than I had hoped for. Between finding the right reproductive endocrinologist (we saw about 4 docs) and researching what our best treatment options were it was incredibly overwhelming, time consuming, and emotionally exhausting. Each month it seemed like I was just throwing my money away and trying something different from changing my diet, to purchasing supplements and fertility herbs, to having consultations with doctors across the country. As I read through blogs and forums on infertility, it was clear to me that many others were just as confused as I was.

Looking back, I would have given anything to have a trusted source provide me with both emotional support and an unbiased idea of ALL of the potential treatment options for us (i.e. what types of things actually work?) A guide who could save me the time and effort of sifting through all of the information we received from our doctors, alternative healthcare providers, and the Internet. And thus, the idea of “The Fertility Advisor” was born. I quickly realized that I had the skillset to be that person for others – with the combination of my medical background and all of the research I had done from my personal experience, I could help clients access, comprehend and process all of the relevant information to tackle infertility.

As a fertility coach, I work with clients by breaking down the entire experience – from educating them about tools that can help them cope emotionally and deal with stress (such as the C+B programs) to providing a personalized roadmap of potential scientifically valid alternative and medical treatment options so that clients can regain a sense of control and feel ready and prepared to take on this challenging journey.

Since fertility coaching is a relatively new concept, I invite potential clients to learn more by contacting me for a complimentary coaching session.

SmitaParikhDr. Parikh received her MD from Tufts School of Medicine in Boston and trained in Internal Medicine.  She also completed a fellowship in Clinical Innovation where she learned about the best ways to use technology to activate and engage patients in their own healthcare. On a personal level, she struggled with infertility and explored numerous treatments including both natural and medical therapies to get pregnant.

Please visit www.thefertilityadvisor.com or email her for more information or to set up a complimentary consultation.


Guest Blog by Melissa Hubbard.

As your beloved baby bump grows, you’re getting closer and closer to the arrival of your dear little one. As your baby grows, however, so do back aches and pain in the pelvic area, joints and ligaments. No matter what kind of shape you’re in, the excess weight of pregnancy can create muscle tension and lower back pressure because of your curving spine. Gaiam Life explains that because of significant growth in one central area (the uterus), your body becomes unbalanced, which can cause discomfort and strain on the neck, shoulders and back muscles.

healthy pregnant woman doing yoga in natureAlthough it may be a low-grade back pain, an understanding and healthy response can provide a sense of control over the condition. Appropriate exercise designed to support a sensitive area can enhance your well-being. If you don’t already have an exercise regimen, start exercising regularly to help relieve pain, promote proper alignment and strengthen you body. You can find many helpful exercise, diet and overall healthy lifestyle tips at Laser Spine Institute’s wellness blog.


Stretching and yoga postures can help stabilize joints and provide pain relief. Keep in mind to always move cautiously and slowly to prevent injury. Also, check with your doctor before performing the following yoga sequence by FitSugar.

  • Wide-legged forward bend: Stand with feet three to four feet apart, and fold over at the hips while breathing. Hold onto your elbows, and let your torso hang to loosen tight hips and hamstrings.
  • Kneeling hamstring stretch: Sit on one leg’s shin, and straighten out the other leg. While keeping hips square, reach for your straightened leg and hold five breaths for hamstring isolation; alternate.
  • Butterfly: Release tension in tight hips by sitting on the floor with bent knees, and touch your feet together. Breath five times, and fold forward for a deep stretch.
  • Pigeon: Open the hips from butterfly, and extend one leg behind you. Pull the heel of your bent leg in toward the pelvis. Keep breathing with your torso lifted, or stretch over the bent leg.

Kegel Exercises

Kegel exercises are pelvic floor muscle contractions that strengthen the muscles, support the uterus and bladder and even help with an easier birth. To do a Kegel, tighten the muscles around your vagina like you’re trying to stop the flow of urine while going to the bathroom. Hold while counting to four, release and repeat for a total of 10 times. Baby Center recommends doing three to four sets of Kegels about three times a day.


The squat position improves pelvic flexibility and strengthens your thighs. Yoga instructor Hilaria Baldwin also recommends the squatting pose because it can help with a smooth delivery by strengthening the lower body and abdomen, opening the birth canal and preventing tearing. With your feet hips-distance apart and toes facing outward, bend your knees and lower into a squat position. Form a prayer position with your hands, and place elbows on the inner thighs. Pull shoulder blades together, and sit tall with a lifted chest and relaxed shoulders while deeply inhaling and exhaling 10 times. Then push legs to a rising position and repeat.

Melissa Hubbard dedicated herself to living an active, healthy lifestyle eight years ago, and she’s never felt better. She writes health and wellness articles for a number of blogs.


Dealing With The Unexpected

Whoa is it cold here! Don’t I live in the south? Certainly doesn’t feel like it…but I suppose comparatively to some parts of the country, it’s downright balmy here. We actually got some a bit of snow in North Carolina, which is on its third day of staying on the ground. So bizarre!

Of course, this meant two very unexpected snow days with no school for my girls – which of course they were beyond excited about. While the bump in our routine was the fun kind, it got me thinking about how we deal with the unexpected–the fun and the not so fun.

The reason unexpected change can be so difficult is because its completely outside our control. Suddenly you’re forced into a new situation where you’re not sure what to do and you’ve had no time to plan. It can be stressful, and that’s why many of us say “I don’t like change.”


But change, even the difficult and unexpected kind, doesn’t have to be feared. Here are 3 tips that I find work for me when all of a sudden something in my life has changed and I have to adapt.

1. Don’t panic, and don’t act quickly.
Of course you’re going to feel some strong emotions when facing unexpected change. But rather than panic, make yourself recognize that these feelings are temporary and will not be your long-term feelings. Be still, and don’t make any quick decisions.

Allow your mind to process things. Unless its an emergency situation you don’t need to make important decisions before you’ve had time to process your initial emotions, so be patient and wait until the first onslaught of emotions have passed.

2. Now, prepare and move forward.
Change catches us by surprise, so it appears bad. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. Now that you know change has happened, start preparing for actually dealing with it.

I’ve found that it can be very empowering to go about it by acting as if you were creating the change yourself. If this was all part of your plan, what would you do? How would you do it? This will help clarify things and remove that element of doubt that comes with having to react to the unexpected.

3. Look for the opportunity.
Once you’ve had time to think about and process your situation, look deeper. Instead of viewing unexpected change as a setback or undesirable challenge, re-frame and ask empowering questions like these:

“What else will this allow me to do?”

“Where is the potential value in this new situation?”

“What will it take of me to get around this setback? Who can I become?”

I’m fully confident that even when setbacks happen, they are not forever. How you deal with unexpected changes, however, can set you up for a future of successes. Embrace change, uncertainties and the unexpected as a way to grow.

I won’t lie, I still find dealing with unexpected change a struggle. But the tips above have worked for me, and I would love to hear from you about how you deal with the unexpected so I can have more strategies to use. Email me or comment below to let me know!

And as always, I would love to hear from you if you have any questions or would like to share anything going on in your life right now.

Warm wishes,



Guest Blog by Tanya Selvaratnam, author of ‘The Big Lie’.

I got the idea for The Big Lie after my third miscarriage at the age of 40 in fall 2011. I wrote the book that I wished I could have read then. In the book, I explore many Big Lies. The Big Lie is that we can do things on our own timetables. The Big Lie is that we can manipulate evolution. The Big Lie is that we don’t need feminism anymore.

Big-Lie_finalFrustrated not so much by the lack of information but by the conflicting messages in the media, I wanted to explore how delaying motherhood intersects with science, feminism, evolution, popular culture, female friendships, global economics, and more. When I started writing, I had no idea how my own situation would evolve, and I was completely unprepared for the logistical and emotional roller coaster my life would become. The book is part memoir and part manifesto. I offer my personal story to connect to while presenting up-to-date research, interviews with experts and women around the country, action items for the future, and a comprehensive list of resources.

In this excerpt of Chapter 4, I introduce you to the moment I stepped for the first time into a fertility center. I hope that the experiences and thoughts I recount resonate with many of you. When I began pursuing treatment, I turned to Circle + Bloom and Your Fertility Deals. I joined the mailing list, and in spring 2012, I downloaded the Discover Your Mind Body Power podcast. By winter 2013, after it was clear that my original plans were not working out, after dealing with cancer, surgery, and marriage issues on top of the failed pregnancies and fertility treatments, I was downloading the Healing and Recovery podcast.

When I walked into the Fertility Center at Massachusetts General Hospital on September 7, 2011—just a week after my third D&C—I was stuck in a continuum of loss. The first pregnancy had brought me joy then heartbreak. The second and third ones were accompanied by fear, which I suppressed until my anxiety was ultimately proven justified. One miscarriage felt like a disappointment; three felt like a curse. I began to mull over the mistakes I had made in my life and wonder if past or even occasional transgressions had resulted in my not being able to carry a baby to term.
All my life, I’ve put one foot in front of the other and prepared for various possible futures. I’ve seen the options and kept going with which- ever one became most real. What I’ve done is not as important as what I will do. But maybe what I’ve done is preventing me from having a child. Becoming a mother was a role I shirked throughout my childhood, teens, and twenties. Then I met Jay, and motherhood seemed desirable and fun because I had a partner I wanted to have a child with.
Now Jay and I were sitting in the office of Dr. Irene Souter as a couple with fertility problems. Dr. McGaraghan, my ob/gyn, had warned me that the biggest obstacle to having a successful pregnancy would be my age. Why had I waited so long to see a specialist? Why hadn’t my previous doctors referred me to one earlier? In a survey conducted by Merck (the pharmaceutical giant) and RESOLVE (the national infertility association) of fifty-seven participants, 91 percent of those seeing a fertility specialist wished that they had gone earlier.1
I remember the feeling of heaviness between Jay and me that day. We were in the world of infertility now. Our courtship and marriage had been so exciting and full of love, but the failed pregnancies came soon into our union and kept coming. A 2010 SELF magazine article on breaking the silence around infertility quoted a man named Jack who was pursuing fertility treatments with his wife: “It’s almost impossible to convey what it’s like to people who haven’t gone through it. There’s a feeling of despair and loss that you just can’t quantify. So much weight is on the line, so many questions about genetics and identity and what it means to pass that down—or not.”2
Is it worth trying so hard to have a child? What are Jay and I missing out on now by focusing so much on our fertility? Will he still love me if I don’t have a child? How do I find the words to talk to him about this?
When Jay and I walked into the waiting room on September 7, everyone looked depressed. There was no art on the walls. I wished they would make these places look more happy. In her office, Dr. Souter told me that because it was so soon after my miscarriage, I would have to wait until my period returned to begin the recurrent miscarriage tests. Jay would have to be tested as well, and we set up his blood work and semen analysis appointments for later that week.
Did I really want to be a mother? And why does it feel like we have to jump through so many hoops to become one? Wouldn’t it be great and logical if there were more support systems (like universal insurance coverage for fertility treatments) in place for those of us going through the process of having children and more support systems (like subsidized childcare) for those who are already parents?
At one point I had a free subscription to Good Housekeeping, and I actually read every issue. Ellen DeGeneres was on the October 2011 cover. I really like Ellen, so I immediately opened the magazine. In it was an article called “Crisis Control” by Mark Matousek, which began with boilerplate suggestions like acknowledging your pain, dialectical thinking, deep breathing, and yoga; but it ended with the concept of “Focus on Faith”— that the ability to turn one’s confusion over to a higher power and to find solace in psalms is a boon when the chips are down.
My pondering got me thinking about the problems women face in confronting their realities. Too often, they are expected to tough it out or turn to faith. Believing will help you have that child. Believing will ease your burden. I will live the life that I have been given.
But this is fatalism, I thought. If you believe that, then you might as well believe that babies are dropped down chimneys.
Those years of failing to become a mother had given me time to think hard about what I wanted. They had also sparked an intense desire for . . . I don’t know, success at having a child. Now, I want so much to have a child that I will be destroyed if it doesn’t work out.

Today, I’m still on the Circle + Bloom mailing list because I consider myself a survivor, part of a community, and I believe it’s good to stay informed about the topics that Circle + Bloom covers. At the moment, one year out from the endpoint of the book, I am still healing, but after working on the book, I have found fulfillment in ways I couldn’t have imagined when I started writing it.

In the Discover Your Mind Body Power podcast, Joanne Verkuilen tells us, “The brain is one of the most powerful tools for health that you have.” I hope my book arms women, and men, with better information so that they feel like they can make better choices. I want people to share their stories, strategize for their goals, and advocate for a better future. I wrote the book to be a conversation-starter and policy-changer.

A great compliment is when readers tell me that they felt like they were on the journey with me and that they find the book unexpectedly uplifting. I also love it when they tell me that the book opens their minds and impacts their decisions. I hope you enjoy the excerpt and thank you for reading! I would love to hear from you, so please send your feedback to tanya@thebigliebook.com.

You can win a copy of Tanya Selvaratnam book “The Big Lie” on our Your Fertility Deals site www.yourfertilitydeals.com.

Screen-Shot-2014-01-23-at-2.03.06-PMTanya Selvaratnam is a writer, an actor, a producer, and an activist. She has produced work by Chiara Clemente, Catherine Gund, Mickalene Thomas, and Carrie Mae Weems; and has performed with The Wooster Group and The Builders Association. She is also the Communications & Special Projects Officer for the Rubell Family Collection. As an activist, she has worked with the Ms. Foundation for Women, the Third Wave Foundation, the NGO Forum on Women, and the World Health Organization. Her book The Big Lie: Motherhood, Feminism, and the Reality of the Biological Clock is available worldwide. For more info, please visit tanyaturnsup.com


Guest Blog by Nancy Parker.

fruitsWhen it comes to command of your body, your diet plays a very important role. The adage, “You are what you eat” is true in every sense of the statement. Everything you put into your body is used in order to be as healthy or as unfit as you want. Even fertility can be increased by eating the right kinds of foods. This isn’t saying that eating well will allow you to have triplets, but it will increase your chances of having a baby with your partner.

Proteins – Consuming more lean proteins can help your body develop the necessary components for having a baby. Those rich in omega-3 fatty acids not only improve your physical health, but they can help in ovulation as well as sperm production. In addition, try getting your proteins from alternative sources such as plants. Some of these could include:

  • Virtually any fish, but salmon is the most common
  • Liver
  • Lean Beef
  • Chicken
  • Grass-fed Cow Dairy Products
  • Eggs
  • Wild rice
  • Beans

One way to look at the situation is: the healthier you are, the healthier your baby will become. Don’t over eat the above foods, but make sure you include them in your diet.

Zinc – Foods heavy in zinc have been found to be greatly beneficial to both men and women in order to increase fertility. Foods heavy in this mineral can provide a great boost in the chances of becoming pregnant. Coincidentally, many of these foods are also present for other aspects of health:

  • Seafood: Various seafood are high in zinc, but three ounces of oysters can provide you with more than four times of what you need in a day. However, not all fish are beneficial when trying to conceive. Some fish can be very dangerous when consumed by women who are pregnant or who are trying to conceive due to high levels of mercury. Mercury can stay in your system for up to a year, so steer clear of mercury filled fish.
  • Lean Beef: As well as providing a great source of iron, lean beef can help build your levels of zinc.
  • Spinach: Although it’s healthier for you cooked, raw spinach can provide a great deal of nutritional value.
  • Chocolate: While you may not think it’s healthy, the proper servings of chocolate can provide a great deal of value to a healthy body. Many professionals believe it’s in the top 10 for foods containing zinc.
  • Mushrooms: Adding mushrooms to your meals can increase various aspects of your health. They can be a great source of zinc as well as other minerals and vitamins.

Antioxidants – Increasing your intake of antioxidants can help reduce physical ailments as well as help prepare your body for fertility. Many illnesses can prevent you from conceiving during peak ovulation periods. Eating foods such as berries, oranges, and other fruits will not only help keep you in prime condition, but they can also improve the quality of sperm in order to help fertilization. The more healthy the male is, the more healthy his sperm is. This is especially true for foods that are rich in vitamin C. 

Being overweight can be detrimental to conceiving a child. Eating healthier is a prime component of maintaining a proper weight for yourself as well as helping you conceive a child. Provide an ideal environment for your baby in the womb. Your body will be its home for the next nine months.

Nancy Parker is a regular contributor to www.enannysource.com and she loves to write about wide range of subjects like health, Parenting, Child Care, Babysitting, nanny background check tips etc. You can reach her @ nancy.parker015 @ gmail.com

Image from LiveLiving.org


Healing Of The Heart

“All healing is first a healing of the heart.” – Carl Townsend

I hope all is well and your new year is off to a great start! Do you have anything you want to share with me? Any questions, concerns, or stories? Please do email me and let me know.

This time of year always makes me think of renewal and re-energizing. A fresh new year deserves a fresh new start, right? But a lot of the time we carry emotional wounds from previous experiences that we might not even be aware we are still holding onto, and that makes the process of renewing yourself pretty difficult.

So, in order to really get the year off to a good start I invite you to try to following exercise with me.

1. Find a quite moment to sit or lay down by yourself. Let your mind wander, and as it does don’t try to redirect it away from any negative thoughts or remembering bad experiences. Recognize those thoughts, and let them take place.

Take time to acknowledge any pain or sadness. Don’t rush to move away from the uncomfortable feelings. Give yourself space to feel.

2. Once you recognize any pain you may be holding on to, be kind to yourself. Don’t judge yourself for having this wound. You wouldn’t judge someone for having a scar on their body, right? Don’t judge yourself for having emotional scars.

Try to treat yourself as you would treat others, because we are often much kinder to others then we are to ourselves. If someone else were feeling how you feel, what would you say to them? This is also what you should say to yourself.

Feeling good, and being happy are not the only experiences worth having. All experiences have value. Once you find the value it is a lot easier to move on with a lighter heart and a more renewed soul.

Please let me know if doing the above exercise helped you at all, and if it did what are you planning to tackle now that you are renewed and re-energized?

With love and gratitude,


Guest Blog by Sharon on behalf of Hadassah Medical Center, visit them for more information on IVF treatment in Israel and physical changes during pregnancy.

When Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel stated that, “We must not see any person as an abstraction. Instead, we must see in every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own treasures, with its own sources of anguish, and with some measure of triumph,” he could have also added, “with its own physical responses,” as no two people react exactly the same way to any situation – emotionally or physically. And this too is the case with infertility treatment.

There are numerous reasons why a woman may be infertile. To fulfill the dream of parenthood, science has discovered many different methods to improve the chances of becoming pregnant by addressing the specific causes of the infertility. However, with every infertility treatment you have both the intended consequences or rather physical changes to the body that will allow you to become pregnant as well as other not unintended consequences but rather unavoidable consequences that may occur as part of the treatment.

We are all aware of the fact that the human body is a complex machine where everything has its purpose. Its parts do not act independently, and the optimal operation of the body as a whole is dependent on every organ playing its part (pardon the pun) as designed. Mess with one part of this complex jigsaw puzzle and you affect every part. It follows from this that when looking to influence the body during fertility treatment, there will more than likely be physical changes.

Causes of Infertility, Treatments and Physical Effects

Causes of infertility in women can be broadly categorized as follows:

  • Problems associated with ovulating
  • Blocked or damaged tubes
  • Endometriosis
  • Unexplained infertility

Treatments for these causes include drugs that stimulate that release of hormones needed to cause ovulation, drugs that lower blood sugar levels, as well as other types of hormones.

Physical effects from infertility treatments include:

  • Enlarged ovaries and abdominal discomfort
  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, increased abdominal gas, or shortness of breath
  • Hot flashes
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Blurred vision
  • Breast tenderness
  • Hair loss
  • Lactic acidosis which can ultimately be fatal but is very rare

Physical changes following surgery to unblock or fix damaged tubes are limited to the area of the operation. Similarly, the effects from procedures to treat endometriosis and insemination are limited to the area on which the surgical procedure is performed and cramping respectively.

Achieving the dream of parenthood by undergoing infertility treatment does not come easy – and that is even before the pregnancy. All the effects mentioned above affect women to a different extent. The physical changes may not be comfortable or fun but they are rarely life-threatening and the reward at the end of a successful process will more than compensate for any discomfort.


One of my New Years resolutions is to declutter. If you’re anything like me, your in constant battle with clutter. Seriously, where does all that stuff come from?? If you need help figuring out how to win the clutter battle, I recommend checking out Zen Habit’s 15 Great Decluttering Tips.

But here’s something you may not have thought of. Decluttering your mind is just as important as decluttering your space. Just like your shelves, your closest and your cabinets seem to inexplicably fill up with stuff, so does your mind. The world of stresses and worries and errands and projects that we must all endure prevents our mind from finding calm and balance.

Luckily for us, Zen Habits also has a helpful list for how to go about decluttering your mind so you can allow it to relax and bloom 🙂 Here are their 15 tips (I’ve shortened them a bit, be sure to check out their site for the list in its entirety).

1. Breathe. So simple, and yet so effective. Take a few deep breaths, and then for a few minutes, just focus on your breathing. Concentrate on your breathing as it comes into your body, and then as it goes out. It has a calming effect, especially if you continue to return your focus to your breath when your mind strays. It also allows other thoughts to just float away. (Note: some people might call this meditation, but that word scares some people off, so we’re just going to call it breathing.)

2. Write it down. If you have a bunch of things on your mind, it helps to get them on paper and off your mind…This keeps your head from being filled with everything you need to do and remember.

3. Identify the essential. This one is practically a mantra here at Zen Habits…because it’s crucial to everything I write about: if you want to simplify or declutter, the first step is identifying what is most important. In this case, identify what is most important in your life, and what’s most important for you to focus on right now. Make a short list for each of these things.

4. Eliminate. Now that you’ve identified the essential, you can identify what’s not essential. What things in your life are not truly necessary or important to you? What are you thinking about right now that’s not on your short list? By eliminating as many of these things as possible, you can get a bunch of junk off your mind.

5. Journal. Similar to “write it down” above, but with a little more depth. Journaling (whether it’s in a paper journal or online doesn’t matter) helps you explore different areas of your life that you don’t think about much. And this exploration might allow you to find some things on your mind that you didn’t realize were there, some things that can be eliminated or pursued. And just getting these thoughts into some kind of a journal is a way of getting them out of your mind as well.

6. Rethink your sleep. Sometimes we aren’t getting enough sleep, or our sleeping patterns aren’t ideal. I’m not saying that you should change your sleeping patterns, but sometimes it can do wonders. And if you don’t give it some thought, you won’t realize how much your sleep (or lack thereof) is affecting you.

7. Take a walk. Getting outside and doing some kind of physical activity is a great way to get stuff off your mind. I like to run or do yardwork, but whatever you do doesn’t matter. Spending some physical energy clears the mind.

8. Watch less TV. For me, television doesn’t relax me, although it might seem that vegging in front of the TV is good for relaxation. TV fills your head with noise, without the redeeming qualities of music or reading or good conversation. Watch less TV, and you’ll notice your mind begin to quieten.

9. Get in touch with nature. Similar to “take a walk” above, but without the bustle of activity. I like to go somewhere with water … the ocean, a river, a lake, even just a man-made fountain if nothing else is available. Or watching rain does the trick for me too. Somehow this can be calming and focusing at the same time.

10. Do less. Take your to-do list and cross off half the things on it. Just pick a few things to get done today, and focus on those. Let the rest go away. If you do less, you’ll have less on your mind.

11. Go slower. Seems kinda weird, I know, but walking and talking and working and driving slower can make a very big difference. It’s kind of like you’re saying, “I’m not willing to rush through life, no matter what artificial time demands others are putting on me. I want to take it at my pace.” And as a result, your mind is less harried as well.

12. Let go. Worrying about something? Angry about somebody? Frustrated? Harboring a grudge? While these are all natural emotions and thoughts, none of them are really necessary. See if you can let go of them. More difficult than it sounds, I know, but it’s worth the effort.

13. Declutter your surroundings. I’ve mentioned this before, but decluttering my desk or my home have a way of calming me. Having a lot of stuff around you is just visual clutter — it occupies part of your mind, even if you don’t realize it.

14. Single-task. Multi-tasking, for the most part, is a good way to fill your mind with a lot of activity without a lot of productivity or happiness as a result. Instead, try to single-task — just focus on one task at a time. Clear away everything else, until you’re done with that task. Then focus on the next task, and so on.

15. Get a load off. Sometimes it can make a huge difference to unload our troubles on another human being. If you have a significant other or a best friend or a close family member or coworker … unload your thoughts on them. And listen to them, to return the favor. Sure, it’s just talk … but it can make a huge difference to your mental sanity.

What are your favorite ways to declutter your mind? Share in the comments!