Endometriosis: An Invisible Illness

Endometriosis is a rather mysterious condition that causes endometrial tissue (uterine lining) to grow outside of a woman’s uterus. These painful endometrial lesions respond to a woman’s hormonal cycles, growing and then shedding and then growing again. It’s surprisingly common, affecting around 10% of women worldwide. The symptoms can vary greatly in presentation and severity,…

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Telling “My Abortion Story”

All too often, stories about engaging with “the other side” of the abortion debate quickly turn ugly and presumptive of others. I hope this story will be different, and am willing to risk ridicule for sharing it because I hope it will encourage others to step out of their comfort zones. This past weekend, I…

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Contraceptive Implants and the Illusion of Control

Nexplanon, an artificial birth control arm implant, launched a recent ad campaign using the slogan “Armor Up.” It shows pictures of attractive young women with battle ready faces, flexing one bicep while pointing to the implant. The ad reads: “Pregnancy protection for up to 3 years. Over 99% effective. Your life. Your way.” This ad…

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All Mothers Need Help

As a young mom, I have found support and virtual camaraderie in several Facebook groups.  I’ve made connections with women around the world who are in the same season of life: deep in the trenches of mothering young children. I didn’t have this support group when I first became a mom, but as the mother of…

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“Informed” Consent?

A smart phone app that is garnering more media attention, due to its expanding market, is Nurx. The app allows women to order and obtain contraceptives through the app, which are then delivered right to their door. Women can pick a contraceptive of their choosing (or get a doctor’s recommendation), then answer a “few health…

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High Risk Pregnancy in the Internet Age

My husband and I were cautiously excited when those two pink lines showed up. I had experienced a very early miscarriage a few months earlier and was afraid of the same thing happening again. As those first weeks ticked by though, everything was fine. I made it to almost seven weeks, and then the bleeding…

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Healing Birth: Midwifery and a Rainbow Baby

I chose midwifery for the birth of my son because I believe in the intricate design of the female body and its ability to birth unassisted and in an unaltered physical and mental state. Selecting a care team for labor and delivery is not to be taken lightly—according to the most recent data published by…

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Can you use NFP while breastfeeding?

So you’ve made it through the first few weeks with your new baby at home and now it’s time for your six-week follow-up appointment. You’ll finally be cleared to resume relations with your partner (or maybe the idea of anything going on down there is still terrifying). Regardless of how you’re feeling about resuming your…

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Fertility Awareness as a Path to Health

This week, July 23-27th, we celebrate Natural Family Planning (NFP) Awareness Week. As a new face to the Guiding Star Project blogging team, I thought it would be fitting to share how my passion for the work of GSP originated with my own journey to health through learning about my body by studying NFP and…

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An Open Letter to Melinda Gates

The timing of your recent article, “Keeping Our Promise to 120 Million Women and Girls,” and the Global Family Planning Summit in London could not be better in light of the upcoming Natural Family Planning (NFP) Awareness Week. We are in agreement that, “the conversation around contraceptives is one of the most important conversations the…

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The Alternative Care That Women Need

Last year I was treated for endometriosis, which is a disease that affects more than 5.5 million women in North America. However, it took seven years of doctor visits before I was actually diagnosed—which, believe it or not, is shorter than the national average of ten years. Why does it take so many years of…

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Not Knowing What to Do: A Husband’s Perspective on Postpartum Depression

Before you read this, you should read my wife, Abby’s articles about postpartum depression. Most of what I write is a response to what she has written about her struggle with PPD: WALKING THROUGH DARKNESS: MY JOURNEY INTO POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION PART I  WALKING THROUGH DARKNESS: MY JOURNEY INTO POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION PART II THE BEGINNING It…

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Walking through Darkness: My Journey with Postpartum Depression, Part I

In honor of Maternal Depression Awareness month, we are re-publishing Abby Johnson’s series on postpartum depression.  Abby is a Guiding Star Project board member and pro-life speaker and advocate and she shares her journey with postpartum depression in this powerful series.   The day I found out I was pregnant with Grace, I don’t remember being happy. I…

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Giving Women More Choices: An Introduction to Executive Director Jamie Rathjen and Guiding Star Cedar Valley

photo credit: Waterloo Courier I recently had the privilege to interview Jamie Rathjen, the Executive Director of Guiding Star Cedar Valley. I was so encouraged by her vision, insight, and desire for true societal change. Jamie, who is trained in the Creighton model of fertility charting and holds a Masters degree in Community Health Education, first…

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Is Your Birth Control Sustainable?

Spring is in full swing here in the Midwest. I can hardly believe it’s already April 22nd, Earth Day! First established in 1970, Earth Day was designed to promote awareness of environmental issues and to celebrate our precious natural resources. It is a day that reminds us of the importance of conservation, personal responsibility, and practicing sustainability….

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NFP is Just Too Hard

Sometimes Natural Family Planning (“NFP”) is just too hard. Maybe you’re avoiding pregnancy and your fertile time aligns with your wedding anniversary (or worse, your wedding itself…).  Maybe you’re breastfeeding and your postpartum cycles are so confusing that you have to switch methods when you don’t even have enough energy to take a shower.  Or…

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Cutting the Cord with my Doctor: Exploring Alternative Methods of Care

The twenty first century woman has access to unlimited information at the swipe of a finger. This creates an interesting paradox in no matter what phase of your motherhood journey you find yourself—opinions flow freely and are not often kind. The information management struggle is so real whether preparing for the birth of a child,…

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Pairing Holistic Care with Social Justice: An Introduction to Executive Director Ginny Cronin and Wakota Guiding Star Center

Wakota – a Guiding Star Center, originally known as Wakota Life-Care Center, is situated on a bustling corner of Butler Ave E and S Robert Street in St. Paul Minnesota. Virginia (Ginny) Cronin, the Executive Director, often passed the time in traffic at this intersection wondering about what had filled the space behind the walls…

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Period positivity: moving beyond self-empowerment

Period positivity can be defined as the practice of accepting menstruation as a normal and healthy process. But what is it for? Why be ‘period positive?’ In some parts of the world, where girls are literally quitting school because of a lack of menstrual care products, or find themselves ostracized from daily life because of…

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