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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The Economy of Sex: Hugh Hefner, Harvey Weinstein, and the Marriage of Left-Right Liberalisms

The death of Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner in September drew accolades as well as critiques from, shall we say, some rather strange bedfellows.  Some on the left praised his support for civil rights (that is, he objectified black women too) and his more infamous role in the sexual revolution.  From the right, an editorial in The Federalist bizarrely misnamed his sense of personal entitlement as joie de vivre…

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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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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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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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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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4 Ways to Stay in Love this Summer

Last night at quarter after nine in the evening, there was still light outside my window. As usual, summer has fully arrived almost without me realizing it! I don’t know about you, but this summer is a particularly busy season for my family. We’re juggling selling one house, buying another, moving, keeping up with growing…

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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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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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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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Not just in my head: The physical force of postpartum depression

I’ve wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember- and a stay-at-home mom at at that. My own mom had these little “School Days” books that she kept for my brother and me. One of the sections included the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Year…

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