I’ve mentioned before that I used this meditation program while we were trying to conceive after my miscarriage last fall, but I’ve never sat down and written out my thoughts on the program. I thought I’d share that here.
I first started my meditation practice in college, over ten years ago, when a course I was in led me to join a local Zen Buddhist group. I maintained a semi-regular zazen practice from that time on, even meeting up with a couple Zen groups in the DC area after I left college and moved back for grad school. As a practitioner of zazen, I always kind of looked down on guided meditations, but when we first started trying to conceive, I found I was having trouble sleeping and turned to guided meditations on the Insight Timer app to help.
After my miscarriage, we spent a couple months trying in a more casual way, but after a few disappointing months, I was starting to find myself in an odd mental space. So I started looking into ways I could feel like I was taking control of the process. I started tracking fertility signs again, I found an acupuncturist, and I decided to try the Circle + Bloom meditation program. The program is normally $59 through the Circle + Bloom website, but I found it through this site for $34. It’s 29 recordings, one meditation per day for a 28-day cycle, plus one extra for right around ovulation. The Circle + Bloom website also offers a free fertility relaxation meditation so you can see the approximate format and quality of the meditations before paying for any of them. The free meditation is about a half an hour long, while the program meditations are 15-20 minutes each.
Each meditation starts with a guided relaxation. One of my favorite things about this program is that the guided relaxation was different each time. Throughout the 28-day program, it seemed like they cycled through about half a dozen different guided relaxation visualizations. One of my favorites was the visualization of a screen passing through your body, filtering out things that weren’t serving you, whether mental or physical. But I mostly enjoyed that I didn’t get too “used” to any one relaxation visualization as it was a different one each time. The relaxation was my favorite part of each meditation, as I really did feel totally relaxed. I tended to either lie down to listen to the meditation, or else recline in a comfortable chair or on the sofa. I usually covered myself with a blanket, at least loosely, especially if I was on the sofa and wanted to make sure my cat didn’t try to steal my earbud wires while I was meditating.
From there, each meditation is distinct, focusing on a new process in the body as you progress through the month. At the beginning, when you start out on Day 1, the program focuses on the hormones that are being produced in your brain to regulate your menstrual cycle, and later signal ovulation and other processes. I really liked these visualizations, as they gave me something concrete and even scientific to focus on each day, rather than some vague affirmation about my body. As the 28-day program goes on, you learn about how the different hormones effect different physical changes in the body, which I found fascinating.
Each meditation closes with a mental component of addressing something that could be affecting your emotional or mental health as you go through the month. These include general anxiety about the process of trying to conceive to feelings of closeness with your partner. It’s a nice way to close each meditation and left me feeling relaxed and hopeful. I found that I always felt better ending the meditation than I did before I started, and even found that the level of relaxation could help get rid of a mild headache or even mimic the effects of a nap when I was feeling tired that day. I didn’t always have time to do my meditation first thing in the morning, so it was nice to have the break in the middle of my work day, or even in the evening between work and rehearsal.
One thing to note about this program is that it is very obviously intended for people with no known health problems. It was great for me because the meditations encouraged you to think of your body and strong and capable, without any physical impediment to conception, but this seems like it could be a problem for anyone who knows they have a physical issue with fertility. They do offer separate meditation programs for people with PCOS or people using assisted reproductive technology, so perhaps those programs are more considerate of the fact that the “my body knows what to do” affirmation may not work for everyone.
Finally, the one thing I cannot speak to is how the program would work if I hadn’t conceived right away. I happened to conceive the first month I used the program, though I doubt it was because of the program. I don’t know how I would have felt to have gone through the visualizations of conception and implantation if I had ended up getting my period that month. I do know that the meditation helped me not obsess over conception during my two-week wait that month because it gave me a set time to meditate on my fertility, and then I was more easily able to let it go for the rest of my day. If you’ve tried this program and not conceived right away, I’d definitely welcome any comments about how you felt in the months when you didn’t conceive. I do feel like the program meditations are good at providing empowering visualizations without being judgmental about your body, so I don’t think I would have felt like I’d “failed” to visualize things well enough if it “hadn’t worked.”
All-in-all, I found this a thoroughly worthwhile purchase, even just for the one month. I considered purchasing the meditation program for pregnancy, but my inherent fear of another miscarriage made me nervous about buying anything for my pregnancy before I felt like I was “safe” and at this point, I’m nearly halfway through and it almost seems like a waste. But I do really enjoy Circle + Bloom’s meditation programs and would recommend them to someone thinking about a mindfulness program for fertility or general health.
NB: I am not affiliated in any way with Circle + Bloom and have not been provided with any incentive to give this review. The program was purchase out of my own pocket and all thoughts are my own.