I teach NFP. Because of that, the issue of women being put on the pill for various issues with their cycles has been at the forefront of my thoughts, since many who come to me have been on the pill at some point for supposed medical reasons. I can relate, for I was one of those women, too.

Recently, though, I’ve thought of the disconnect in my own mind when I was prescribed the pill as a teenager. At the same time as my gynaecological issues, I also had issues with my knee. My tendons were malaligned and thus my patella was being pulled to the side with every straightening of my leg. By the time I was 18, my patella was beginning to degenerate. I lived with constant pain and swelling, just as I also lived with the cyclic pain of my irregular cycles.

My reactions to these pains was quite different, though. Perhaps it’s because I was embarrassed by the bleeding and pain of my periods and breakthrough bleeds (I was the lucky one who bled at ovulation and menstruation), but I didn’t hold my doctors to the same standards. For example, my orthopedist prescribed pain medication, but I would’ve been furious if he’d said “the pain medication is working so we won’t do anything else”. After all, the pain medication wasn’t solving anything, just masking the pain so I could function a bit. No, instead of just doing that, he ordered physical therapy, and, when that didn’t work, surgery. He got to the root of the problem and addressed it instead of just giving the quick fix of a bandage. It wasn’t quick, and there was a fair bit of recovery needed, but I hoped the pain would be gone after that (it took 2 surgeries, but my knee is much better now).

So why did I then accept the quick fix and bandage from my gynaecologist? I was prescribed the pill, with no effort to address why I was in such pain and having such heavy bleeding. She did test hormone levels and check for cysts and endometriosis, but when those showed nothing wrong, nothing more was done. I wouldn’t discover why I’d had the bleeding every 2-3 weeks until I went off the pill years later and started charting, in fact (by the way, bleeding at ovulation is in fact a normal variation of the menstrual cycle). When I would ask about an alternative treatment, neither of my gynaecologists were willing to consider it because, as one said, the pill was “working”. In fact, it took me finally working up the courage to ask my uncle, an OB/GYN, before I was told of a non-hormonal treatment, which I then requested from my GP. By then I’d been on the pill for years with little questioning, though I’d never have accepted that in other medical fields. I wish I’d known about red raspberry leaf and nettle teas, too, but live and learn.

Yes, I’m sure much of my willingness to accept it from my gynaecologists was due to me being mortified by this issue. I had to be convinced to see a doctor in the first place, and I avoided talking about if possible (years of teaching NFP have cured me of that squeamishness, obviously). Now, though, I’m just angry that we women don’t talk about this more and demand better. After all, don’t we deserve to have the crux of the problem addressed and not just be given a plaster to cover it? (Please note I’m not saying hormonal treatments aren’t sometimes required, but that the pill shouldn’t be used as a quick fix, in my non-medical opinion based in part on my personal experience.) Let’s ditch the disconnect and quit settling for the quick fix.


Book Nook

For the first time since Leo’s birth, we finally made it to the library! I really need to make sure we get back into the habit of going weekly, as we were all excited. Knowing that we all love James Mayhew’s Katie meets the Mona Lisa, I wanted to see if his other books were available. We were in luck, for Katie and the Sunflowers was there. I love Van Gogh, so seeing his painting of Sunflowers on the cover was a good sign. We haven’t been disappointed! This book introduces kids to the post-impressionists, namely Van Gogh, Gaugin, and Cezanne, through a fun adventure with the precocious Katie. I love that they’re seeing real art and enjoying a fun story.

The Prayers of Children

I am often amazed at my children and their grasp of matters of faith. Their prayers and requests for prayers are simple, simplistic, trusting, genuine. Often I’m met with requests such as, “Mummy, I’m afraid of the dark, can you pray for me?” Or “Mummy, I hurt myself, will you pray for me?” Then there are their prayers for others. One of Kieran’s friends broke his arm, and Kieran prayed for The Lord to bless him. If I’m having a bad day, the kids pray for me.

While obviously their prayers won’t, and shouldn’t, remain simplistic, I do hope they retain the simple, child-like nature of their prayers. I often hesitate to bring the little things to God in prayer, but my children teach me that I shouldn’t hesitate. Nothing is too small or too big for Him, and my children’s absolute trust in Him is found in their prayers. True, they don’t have bigger worries right now, but I hope they continue to pray about every little thing. Of course, this doesn’t mean we just sit and do nothing while waiting for God to act, as sometimes the answer is just to give us the grace we need to do it ourselves. But that grace is sorely needed, and if I can learn one thing from my children, I hope it’s to completely trust in God and bring Him my everything.

Book Nook

While at my parents’ house, my children happened upon Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett. I couldn’t remember the book, so it was an adventure for all of us. We discovered a whimsical town where the weather was actually food. This sounds great until things go awry. We continue to have fun reading this book and talking about what would happen if our favourite foods fell like rain. I think just about all children, and their parents, would enjoy exploring this book.

March For Life

Today found us in St Augustine, FL for the annual March For Life. Having attended last year, we’d learned that we needed to arrive earlier to park anywhere close, and that the kids wouldn’t do well staying for the speaker. So we timed it to get there around an hour early, and we still had to park about a block or so down the road. Charlotte had fallen asleep in the car and wasn’t quite awake yet; Leo was wide awake, which means he didn’t want in the mei tai. So I started out with Charlotte in the mei tai on my back and Leo in my arms, just until Charlotte was more awake. The kids wanted to goby the large cross at the shrine, and I wanted to step in at the shrine of Our Lady of La Leche to pray for a friend whose baby is due.

After that, we were ready for the march. There was a good crowd, and fair weather. The kids wanted to hold signs and were proud of themselves for doing so. By this time, Leo was asleep in the mei tai and Charlotte was intermittently walking and being carried by my husband. We didn’t march with a specific parish or group, but we found ourselves close to the Couples for Christ group. One of their members was leading the Rosary, so I stayed close and prayed the Joyful and Sorrowful mysteries with them (that was as far as we got by the time we reached the end of the march).

I only saw one protester, but I didn’t see any marchers react with anger. Instead, we kept praying, and I especially prayed for her healing from her anger. Further on, on George Street, some protester had dropped a bunch of clothes hangers in the path of the march. Again, my reaction was one of sadness and prayer. Our goal with pro-life events like this isn’t just to stop abortion, but to help ensure a woman doesn’t feel like that’s the only viable option. I also lament that adoption is so expensive, because I’d bet many more would adopt if it weren’t cost prohibitive.

While there was a speaker and food after the march, we chose to go on home. I wouldn’t have been able to eat the meal (spaghetti), and the kids were ready to leave. I was glad we were able to participate, though.