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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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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Phone-Based Apps: A 21st Century Facelift for FABMs

I’ll never forget their conversation on that car ride home. I was driving back from a nationally recognized nursing research conference with graduate nursing students in my research group. I was horribly intimidated by their knowledge of research methods and how they could tear apart a study in minutes. They knew so much more about…

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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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