My Personal Experience with Emergency Contraception

My Personal Experience with Emergency Contraception

During our newlywed years, contraception was a trial for us. We intended to start a family sometime within a few years of our marriage, so permanent or long-term options were out. However, we were determined not to accidentally start a family a moment too soon. Like many other couples, we wanted to build a strong foundation for our marriage before we added the important but stressful component of child-rearing. Unlike many other couples, we also needed to make some difficult choices before we began our family. My husband has genetic diseases that could be passed on to our children. How would we handle that? Risk it? Adopt? Medically intervene? At that point, we were still considering our options.

I took hormonal birth control while my husband used a condom. According to the textbook, this should have been an ideal solution for our situation. Both methods are temporary and quite effective; combining the two methods made the system even more effective.

But my body rebelled. During my second or third month on any birth control pill or shot, uncontrollable vaginal bleeding would begin. Sure, the hormones were still preventing pregnancy, but mostly by making me feel too gross to even consider having sex.

The only way to stop the bleeding was to stop taking birth control, wait for the side effects to go away, and then go back to the doctor for a different kind of prescription—all of which yielded the same results.  During the interim, our two-part pregnancy prevention system would be reduced to one part—the condom.

And one night, that condom broke.

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Tobacco, Milk, Fact-checking & Testimony

Tobacco, Milk, Fact-checking & Testimony

When I was very new in my career, I wrote a pamphlet.  If I were to rewrite this particular pamphlet today, I would delete a quote I took from a reputable source that stated, “You would have to gain 100 pounds to equal the health risks of smoking.”

I had the best of intentions when I included that quote.  Smoking is extremely damaging to the human body and I sincerely believe people should not smoke.  Some people are afraid to quit smoking because they might gain weight.  The “fact” I included in the pamphlet could encourage them to make the right decision.

However, as I gained more experience in my profession, I learned to dig a little deeper before I accepted facts, even if they came from a reputable source. 

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Ugly Eyes

Ugly Eyes

I don’t have pretty eyes.  Well, actually, both of my eyes are pretty individually but together the effect is not good.  My eyes look crossed.

This abnormality has no health effects for me whatsoever.  Some people with cross-eyes have double vision.  In such cases, surgical correction resolves the problem.  Not me. My resourceful brain looks out through my weird eyes without seeing double. In fact, ophthalmologists have informed me that if I did surgically alter my eyes, I would ruin my vision.  Since it is an ophthalmologist’s job to make people see better, not to make them prettier, ophthalmologists have universally advised me against any intervention.

That is not the case with everyone else in the world.

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Henry B. Eyring: Societies of Caregivers

President Eyring found an elegant solution to the potentially awkward task of being a man giving a sermon to women about their womanly duties: he began his talk by quoting a great female Mormon heroine and centered the rest of his talk around her admonitions.

 “We must cherish one another, watch over one another, comfort one another, and gain instruction that we may all sit down in heaven together.” –Lucy Mack Smith

As an example of how pioneer women heeded Lucy Mack Smith’s counsel, he recounted the oft-told story of how Mormon pioneers rescued the Willie and Martin handcart companies, with particular emphasis on the cooperative nature of the rescue.  He quoted a pioneer woman who appreciated the “unanimity of feeling” they enjoyed as they worked together and who wondered, “What comes next for willing hands to do?”

President Eyring observed that modern women also wonder about their future lives of service. When he hinted that he would talk about future service, I anticipated that he would address organized Relief Society service projects, but he placed greater emphasis on caregiving. I liked this choice of topic; it is a practical concern, since, statistically, many women are likely to become caregivers in their own, individual futures. Long-term caregiving, whether to an elderly parent, a spouse, a disabled child or other loved one, is a spiritually challenging endeavor that is often overlooked, perhaps because of the emphasis on parenting children. During his talk, President Eyring focused on how caregiving could be enhanced by sharing duties. Traditionally, women often do the time-consuming and emotionally draining work of caregiving alone. I appreciated that President Eyring encouraged women to formulate plans to involve others in this important work, reducing the strain on primary caregivers.

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Maternity Garment Wishes

Maternity Garment Wishes

When I was a fetus, I had my first and only opportunity to contribute to the design of the Mormon undergarment.  My parents’ neighbor had been commissioned to design maternity garments for the Church. Her goal was to make a garment that would accommodate a pregnant woman’s expanding belly without discomfort.  She sought out my mother’s help because she needed a model who was both temple-endowed and enormously pregnant.  As she observed to my mom, “Not many women get as big as you.”

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