Hi, I’m Carmen, a women’s coach and menstrual cycle educator.
Photo credits: Veronica Miranda
Since my first period at 12 years old, my cycles were irregular and very painful. When I turned 20, and without much explanation, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). What came next will be a familiar experience for many women. I visited many different doctors trying to get a proper diagnosis and treatment, but heard the same from all of them: to treat my condition I had to take the birth control pill.
While I was on the pill, the cysts in my ovaries vanished almost entirely, and I would bleed every month, so I assumed that my cycle was regular and I was on the right path. Little did I know that the birth control pill works by inhibiting the reproductive system — those monthly bleedings were nothing close to a normal period! Then five years later, I started experiencing mid-cycle heavy bleedings for several days, pain and other complications, so I decided to stop it. Within a couple of months, the old symptoms came back, but this time with more intensity: my face became covered with acne and hirsutism, I gained considerable weight, and I didn’t have my period for over a year. A new ultrasound showed my ovaries were full of cysts again, and for the first time, I heard a gynecologist say that PCOS is a lifetime condition (what?! I thought I had already healed!). As usual, the only choice she offered was to take the pill.
The idea of going back to hormonal birth control was very frustrating. Deep inside, I felt there had to be a friendlier alternative for my body. I understood then that if I wanted to heal I had to stop feeling like a victim and take control of my health. I made deep changes in my mindset and lifestyle, and I educated myself on all things related to the menstrual cycle and female hormones. Little by little, step by step, I’ve been able to recover my hormonal health.
Learning about PCOS led me to understand that the menstrual cycle is the most amazing feedback tool that women have: it gives us insightful messages about our physical, emotional and mental health. This was a huge discovery for me! I stopped seeing periods as a curse and started a journey of self-knowledge that has helped me to get more in tune with my body and my femininity.
Now I feel strongly called to share all the things I’ve learned on my path. The gifts of our menstrual cycle are amazing, but sadly, we don’t learn to cherish them. I truly believe that the more we understand about how our bodies work, the better decisions we can make for ourselves.
Photo credits: Eva Kiviluoma
– I have a certification in Menstruality Leadership with Red School (formally known as the Women’s Quest Apprenticeship)
– I have an International Coaching certification by Growthroom and World Coaching Organization, Finland.