Local counselor launches a fertility mindfulness app
WINDY EZZELL remembers the exact moment the idea for Fertile Affirmations was conceived.
“I was sitting on a beautiful North Carolina mountain during my fourth miscarriage thinking, ‘I can’t be held hostage by this journey anymore. I have to get my life back,’” she recalls.
For the next year, the licensed professional counselor channeled her love of guided meditation and visualization into a series of daily positive affirmations she wrote for herself. “Infertility, loss, and postpartum can be all-consuming with the doctors’ appointments, the stress, and the grief. It can take over every waking moment if allowed,” Ezzell says.
The affirmations shepherded her through some very dark times and helped guide her through her physical and emotional recovery; so much so that she decided to make them public.
In 2015, the fifty-six card deck titled Fertile Affirmations was born.
This year, Fertile Affirmations was reborn as a digital application. The Android version launched in October, and the iOS launch followed in November.
“The Fertile Affirmations card deck and app are a mindfulness-based wellness tool to help motivate and support you during your family-building journey,” Windy Ezzell says. “Utilizing the power of affirmations to reframe negative, anxious, and fearful thoughts has been proven to rewire your brain.”
For the past twenty years, guided by her own experiences with recurrent pregnancy loss, birth trauma, and postpartum anxiety, Ezzell has devoted her career to the issues of reproductive health and wellness. In addition to her LPC licensure, she has a graduate degree in counseling and provides counseling services for individuals and couples at Inner Solutions Counseling Center in Wilmington.
Her specialties include cognitive behavioral therapy, LGBTQ family building, choice motherhood, fertility support, male and female reproductive health, reproductive health across the lifespan, postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, infertility counseling, miscarriage, stillbirth, and other fertility concerns, including cancer and preserving fertility.
“I’m honored daily that men, women, and couples trust and allow me to be a part of their journeys,” she says.
According to Ezzell, one in eight couples will experience infertility. Forty percent is female factor infertility, 40 percent is male factor, and 20 percent is combination male/female factor or unexplained. One in four couples will experience a pregnancy loss. One in seven women and one in ten men will experience postpartum depression.
As part of her practice, Ezzell works closely with local and regional clinics, doctors, and attorneys in the fertility, reproductive health, and family-building community.
“Being a part of a multidisciplinary team allows me to provide their patients and clients with informational, supportive, and therapeutic counseling,” she says.
“Fertility challenges, birth trauma, or a postpartum mood disorder may be the first medical crisis a couple faces together,” Ezzell adds. “So, it’s important to have an integrated approach to address physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual, and financial needs.”
It took ten months to bring Fertile Affirmations into the digital world. During that time, Ezzell worked with Kinsley Sigmund and Dylan Woodworth at the University of North Carolina Wilmington to develop, test, and launch the app.
“Love this app!” reads one of the user comments. “When I am feeling anxious or in need of a positive focus I am able to use this app to help me reflect and keep a positive mindset. Wherever you are in your fertility journey this app will apply to you. It has helped me tremendously throughout mine.”
“When I am feeling down it is so easy to just pull out my phone and get a card rather than pulling a deck of cards out. Always brightens my day,” says another.
Ezzell’s favorite feature of the app allows users to write their own affirmations and save them to the collection.
Her long-term goals for the digital tool include adding an audio component and expanding the app’s reach to provide reproductive wellness support internationally.
She’s currently working on a podcast – called Fertile Affirmation Station – that will address reproductive health and wellness issues across a person’s lifespan.
The Fertile Affirmations boxed deck is available online at Etsy, Amazon, and fertileaffirmations.com. Locally, the cards can be purchased at Mystic Elements and Pomegranate Books.
The app is available through the Android and Apple app stores.
“The journey toward a child of your own may be brief or long and is often filled with anxious thoughts and affirmations that contribute to a negative self-perception,” Ezzell says. “Whether you’re struggling through fertility challenges and losses, want a more peaceful pregnancy, or need support through postpartum anxiety and depression, these affirmations will help you create and experience more harmony, growth, and healing during this emotional time.”
To view more of photographer Terah Wilson’s work, go to terahwilson.com.
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