Recently, I stumbled across an article on Goop, a weekly lifestyle publication started by Gwyneth Paltrow, about what the best birth control option is for women. And while the article was informative for those with questions about birth control, there was one option they forget to mention: NFP.
The article focuses on a Q & A session with Dr. Maggie Ney, co-director of the Akasna Center in Santa Monica, California. Throughout the piece Ney answers a variety of different questions ranging from what the healthiest long-term form of birth control is to what all parents should know when their daughter goes on the pill for the first time.
Now, I understand that Goop and Dr. Ney want to educate women on their fertility, but is birth control really the only option? Newsflash: It’s not! But you wouldn’t know that by reading this article.
Then I realized something. Had I not been working for The Couple to Couple League International or even been aware of NFP in the first place, I would have taken these answers to heart and believed that this is the only way to “take control” of my fertility.
This article, along with so many others out there on sites other than Goop, are presenting contraception as the only option women have when it comes to their fertility and how to control it. Have irregular cycles? Here’s the pill. Painful cycles? Take the pill. Diagnosed with PCOS? The pill can fix that! But can the pill really “fix” our fertility? Since when has our fertility been some kind of disease that needs to be cured, or worse yet, taken away all together? In today’s world contraception is the immediate answer to so many female health-related problems, and people everywhere seem to not only accept this as the truth but also embrace it.
Most times, NFP is not even considered an option when it comes to family planning or female health. But that isn’t because women don’t want to choose this as an option, but rather because they don’t get that choice in first place. When a mom has questions about her teen daughter’s irregular cycles, what if instead of just prescribing the pill and writing the problem off, doctors actually explained that cycle irregularity within the first couple of years is totally normal while hormones stabilize and that often with the right nutrition or supplements, girls can often find relief? Why not try these and other approaches for things like PCOS and acne, instead of jumping right to the pill? CCL has a great place to start to learn more: Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition by Marilyn M. Shannon, a best-seller for years.
I, for one, would like to see more articles online about healthier alternative options like NFP! And the good news: some of these websites already exist! Websites like Verily Magazine and Body Language often post articles that encourage their readers to own their fertility and have a say about what chemicals are put inside their bodies instead of just conforming to a little pill that may or may not work in the end. It is websites like these that give me hope that some day birth control will NOT be the societal norm…that instead of trying to cover up our fertility with pills or condoms or injections, we can take pride in actually knowing about our bodies and fertility cycles.
— Meghan Pryatel
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