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How my PCOS Journey Inspired Our Social Enterprise.

It is #PCOSAWARENESSMONTH and so I thought I would share how my experience of being diagnosed with PCOS in my early 20's and how my healing journey was part of why I set up Changing Cycles.

A holistic approach to health and well being has always been part of my life. When I was 25 I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and was asked by the Consultant “If I wanted to get pregnant?” My answer was “no, not at that time” I was offered Hormonal Contraceptive for the symptoms, which I declined. I had read enough to know that it wasn’t really a solution and only dealt with the symptoms rather than healing the root cause of the problem. I was told to come back when I did and we could explore what support I might need. The assumption was that this would only affect me if I wanted to get pregnant. There was no other information on how I could deal with the impact on my day to day life. So, I began my own healing and dealing journey and found solutions that worked for me. Over time I healed the physical, mental and emotional symptoms I was experiencing.

At that time I was doing my Reflexology Qualification and as my journey as a Reflexologist continued I had many fertility and pregnancy clients. It became really clear to me that so many women suffered with menstrual related issues from their early teens and how often the only solution offered was Hormonal Contraceptive or in severe cases surgery. I also realised that equally as many women don’t understand their body and their menstrual cycle in they way that they should. I would regularly find myself saying there is a huge difference between what is common and what is normal and that if anything else your body was doing was painful you would question it. When we view symptoms as signpost to well being everything changes.

I was part of a Holistic Therapist Network and one evening was invited as a speaker it was there that I met Mayella Almazan of Yo Soy Gaia who was also speaking that evening. Mayella is an amazing Menstrual and Feminine Energy Educator, Ancestral Healing Practitioner and Level 3 Moon Mother®. Mayella introduced me to the concept of The Red Tent, the work of Miranda Gray and in talking with her and attending her circles I discovered a piece of my well being Jigsaw.

I knew from the moment I was introduced that it was going to be very significant for me. I had always felt connected to the cycles of the moon and had held Full & New Moon Meditation Circles for a few years this gave me more understanding and connection and made me realise it wasn’t just me that for 1000’s of years women had met in circle and connected to the moon cycles and honoured their unique feminine energy.

I began to regularly take part in Mirandra Gray’s World Wide Womb Blessing®. and in May 2016 Mirandra held the first Moon Mother Attunement® in Ireland

This was an incredible weekend and another phase of a journey that brought me to a deeper understanding of myself and my feminine energy.

A Moon Mother is a woman who has been called in her heart to help women to awaken to their authentic femininity and to heal the hurt and patterns created by modern life so that all women can live as the empowered, sensual, sexual, creative and spiritual beings that lies within them.

I knew that it was so important that more women understood their cyclical nature, how to flow and work with the energies of their menstrual cycle rather than fighting against them.

In 2018 I trained with The Institute For The Psychology of Eating and again the topic of Feminine Energy came up in understanding a woman’s relationship to her body and to food. I knew that women of all ages and stages needed Menstrual Education beyond basic biology.

In 2019 I asked the question on my Social Media Pages is it a “Mental”Health Issue or a “Menstrual” Health issue.

The response publicly and privately was phenomenal and so many women contacted me to say they had never thought of it that way and that what I was saying resonated with them in many different ways.

In a world that predominately see’s strength in masculine energy (Yang) qualities I also knew we needed to understand what it meant to be strongly feminine(Yin) and that with this knowledge women could improve their overall health and well being,prevent burn out and optimise their life. I started to integrate this information into by work with clients on a one to one basis and in group programs. Women of all ages and stages were fascinated by how much sense it all made, how it resonated on a deeper level and many where angry that they hadn’t known it sooner and that conversations related to Menstrual Well Being are still limited. With the general approach being you’re a woman it’s part of being a woman so just put up with it and get on.

In January 2020 a local Youth Group Contacted me to see if I would run a Menstrual Education for their Young Women’s Program. I was delighted to have the opportunity and nervous at the same time as I knew it was still very much an embarrassing and taboo topic. The response was fantastic, the girls & young women aged from 10 to 16 were so engaged and whilst they were also reserved and embarrassed they wanted the information and responded so positively and was amazing to see their confidence in themselves and their body grow. They were educating the adults around them and the Youth Workers were also learning.

My confidence and passion was growing

In July 2020 following the purchasing of Moon Times a company founded by Rachael Hertogs that produce and sell Re- Usable Menstrual Products, with the support of family and friends Changing Cycles Community Interest Company was set up. I could say it was my Pandemic Project. I had the time and space to focus on something that I had wanted to do for a number of years.

Changing Cycles is a Social Enterprise focussed on helping people to understand and connect with the cycles and rhythms in their body and in the world around.

A key element of our programs is Menstrual Well Being for all ages, whether preparing for puberty, pregnancy or peri menopause or simply navigating day to day living.

Preparation for any life stage is key, as is understanding and that’s not just the Physical aspects, it is also the emotional and energetic aspects.

When we speak to adults, the overwhelming majority wish they had known more about their body, their cyclical nature, how to flow with the weekly changes that come with a menstrual cycle. They wish they had known just how powerful their menstrual cycle is. How understanding it and working with the different phases can help them reduce stress, achieve their goals, build better relationships, create work/life balance generate personal happiness and improve their overall health and well being.

At Changing Cycles we want our young people to have this information. In fact we want everyone to have this information.

We believe a key part of this is Educating, Empowering and Supporting, Parents, Care Givers & all those involved in the lives of Young People along with the young people themselves. On our Moon Times Website we have a diverse and inclusive range of menstrual education books for all ages and stages. Our best selling book “Why Does Mummy Bleed” aimed at children as young as 3 or 4. It is never too young to begin these conversation in fact with all things body related the younger we begin the better.

Every purchase you make, every program you attend helps us to achieve our vision.

Thank you for your support

Joanne x

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