It’s My Body

When I got engaged, I phoned my gynaecologist’s office to see if there was an alternative to the pill for my issues (I’d somewhat talked about it at the appointment before then, but I wanted to ask point blank). As is customary for such offices, my question was taken to the nurse, who asked what I wanted and why. In talking to her, I mentioned that I’m Catholic and was not comfortable using the pill once married. She then became obviously agitated and told me “it’s your body and no one can tell you what to do with it!” Taken aback by this attitude, I quickly got off and my question was never taken to the doctor, to my knowledge.

All these years later, and I can’t help thinking about it. Besides assuming that I couldn’t possibly be asking this question of my own volition, she also didn’t give me a choice. It’s my body, and she was adamant I should have a choice, yet she didn’t give me a choice. I wanted to know what, if any, alternatives were available so I could have a choice and not be stuck with something I didn’t especially like, but no choice was given.

Musing on that led me to consider how often this idea of “choice” is often no more than lip service. The choices that are promoted and offered are all meant to suppress or thwart a working part of a woman’s anatomy, and other choices are derided. Instead of teaching a woman to chart and thus identify issues, she’s given a bandaid. Those who choose to chart anyway are derided as using something unscientific when it is actually backed by science. It seems somewhat ironic that this mantra of choice actually allows for only one choice. Surely women should be given all the information available to make a truly informed choice?

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You’ll Be Amazed

Now that Kieran will be turning 6, I have to start officially homeschooling him. Now, I essentially follow the “unschooling” route, though this doesn’t mean I don’t utilize educational materials. I like to treat everything as an opportunity to learn, though.

Even though I know this, lately I’ve been a little worried that maybe we weren’t doing enough “school”-type things. I decided to start documenting it, and downloaded the Homeschool Helper app to organize my documentation. At the end of the day, I jot down all the things we did.

Let me tell you, I was amazed when I started documenting everything. That app first lets me input the subjects we cover, and that alone amazed me for I saw that we regularly cover writing, reading, maths, science, music, religion, history, art, French, physical education, and creative play (I include this as a subject because it is one way they process the things they’ve learned, and that is an important part of life for a child, too). While I knew we covered these things, seeing it documented really put things in perspective. It’s just amazing what we cover without doing much that is “formal”!

Book Nook: Odysseus

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Source: David Jarvis, Wikimedia Commons

I am a fan of the classics, so when I saw Ancient Myths: The Voyages of Odysseus by Sue Reid at the library, I excitedly showed it to the kids. They were already familiar with Odysseus and the story of Polyphemus from another book, and they were happy to read more. This book goes through the trials Odysseus encounters on his voyage back to Ithaca, presenting The Odyssey in a way they can understand. For me, it also presented an opportunity to discuss religious differences. As I hoped, the children love the book and have even taken to acting out parts of it, such as defeating Scylla. I’ve no doubt this book has been helpful in introducing them to Homer so they’ll be ready to read the originals when older.

Those Pesky Nightshades

I’ve a love/hate relationship with Nightshades – I love to eat them, but then I regret it.  I first became aware of my nightshade intolerance when pregnant with Kieran, and suddenly I couldn’t eat tomatoes. After the second trimester, though, I could eat them again without a problem.  Then I fell pregnant with Charlotte, and my reaction was worse.  Once she was born, I could eat them again.  The reaction again intensified once pregnant with Leo, and so I decided to just avoid tomatoes altogether.  Image

Enter my love of peppers.  Actually, I’ve always loved peppers, but with tomatoes out of the picture my consumption of peppers has increased.  I discovered that roasted red peppers could be used instead of tomatoes, with delicious results, meaning korma and pasta bakes were back on the menu. Everything was great.

or so I thought. I don’t react as violently as I do to tomatoes, but I have noticed I sometimes feel a little icky after eating Nightshades.   Usually I feel fine, though.  The one who doesn’t feel fine is Leo.  I had noticed he was getting more upset after meals, and it finally occurred to me that he might have an intolerance to nightshade plants.  As it turns out, there’s a possible connection between nightshades and gallbladder problems.  So, once I use what I already have on hand, I will try cutting out Nightshades completely to see if it helps.  If anyone has good nightshade-free recipes, I’d love to hear about them.

Guest Post: NFP is Pro-Man

Thanks to Micah at Truth and Charity for this post.

Pop Quiz! 1. Sex or babies: pick one. Just one.

Answer: If your decision was easy, you picked sex, and you should really continue reading. If your decision was difficult, you probably realized you can’t pick babies without picking sex. Kudos on paying attention in 5th grade biology! Read on.
2. What’s missing from the statistics below?
-In 2007, the US Census Bureau tracked single mothers at 80% higher than their 1980’s counterparts.
-In 2011, 62% of young (20-24) recent mothers were single.
-36% of US births are now to single mothers, up 5 points from 2005. That rate is as high as 68% for African-American women and 43% for Hispanic women.
Answer: What’s missing from these statistics? Men.
3. What do the two previous questions have to do with one another?
Answer: Cause and effect.
A lot of people these days forget their 5th grade biology. Decades after the rise of the modern contraception, it’s possible to hear someone wonder aloud, “How did I get pregnant? I must have missed a day on my treatment schedule.” Sixty years ago, the answer would have been, “Oh right, I had sex!” Today, the Pill and other contraceptives have so strongly divorced sex from babies that babies are often assumed not to come from sex, but from a medicinal failure.
Contraception was revolutionary – it promised sex without the babies – but it was also destructive, leaving it its wake the decline of marriage and the decay of the family. As more men realized they could have sex without babies, premarital sex and extramarital affairs became more normal. Accordingly, cohabitation and divorce both increased. When couples did occasionally conceive, solutions were available: abortion and abandonment.
I don’t want to imply for a moment that all these social ills are solely the fault of men, but I do want to point out that the rate of single fathers is not skyrocketing. Though the number is on the rise, men make up only about a quarter of all single-parent homes. It is the mothers who are taking responsibility for their children. This family model is a result of contraception, but nature would not have planned it this way. In nature, sex is bound up with babies. Maybe not every sexual act will result in conception, but no one can say its nature’s plan for babies to come from another source. Sex exists to make babies.
Enter NFP, a pro-man approach to a natural sex life. We men are supposed to be builders, providers, and leaders. Natural Family Planning helps us fulfill all three. First, we build our families. Women get all the credit, nurturing life in their wombs. Yep, neat trick. We are called to be the fathers of dynasties. The average man produces 1000-1500 sperm cells every second. (That’s between 86,400,0000 and 129,600,000 a day.) We have endless potential within us. NFP can be used to help you conceive the first step to your dynasty.
Second, we provide for our families. NFP can be used successfully to avoid pregnancy when a just cause calls for it. Unable to provide adequately for your family? NFP might be for you. Prolonged illness in the family? NFP might be for you. Natural Family Planning can be incorporated into the stewardship with which you run your family.
Third, we lead our families. We live in a time when men are lacking true leadership, but that need not be the case. Whether by making responsible decisions regarding the spacing of children, or using fertility tracking to practice generosity in bringing children into the world, men live out NFP with their wives with discipline engage their need to be leaders.