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SLS18: Young women find hope at CCL booth

Two female friends with smartphone, smiling. Young woman holding phone, mid adult woman looking at her and laughingCountless wonderful and beautiful things happened at Focus’ 2018 Student Leadership Summit in Chicago last week, but one thing in particular stood out at the Couple to Couple League booth:

Young ladies from across the country were being blown away by the beauty of their own bodies.

Many women (and men) who approached our booth to use our selfie machine or take advantage of the free stuff on the table saw that we were promoting natural family planning and would back away apologetically, explaining, “Oh, I didn’t know you guys did NFP. I love what you do, but I’m not married or anything.”

But when told that fertility awareness wasn’t just for married couples, their ears would perk back up.

Many of the young women at the conference were amazed to learn that their monthly cycles are strongly related to their overall health, and a simple fertility chart can provide an incredible snapshot of their general well-being and even point to developing problems. We provided tips for charting important symptoms and directed the young women to resources that would help them better understand what they were observing.

The conference attendees, however, weren’t the only ones caught off guard. A surprising number of the ladies who approached our booth were already charting regularly and asked for information to help more accurately observe and interpret their signs, surprising us. Some had already caught and began treatment for significant issues, such as PCOS and endometriosis.

All of these conversations inevitably led back to the same subject: everyone’s love-hate relationship with their period.

To that end, we offered them a pre-release copy of CCL’s newest booklet, “Shorter, Lighter and Pain-Free Periods” in which anatomy & physiology professor Marilyn M. Shannon explains that a healthy period should not be painful, heavy or long. She goes on to provide nutritional suggestions to help return the female reproductive system back to its ideal state.

It was incredible to see the faces of so many young women light up as they realized—often for the first time in their lives—that they don’t have to suffer.

We’d brought a supply of the booklet to the conference for an exclusive premiere — and easily distributed all 500 within two days.

Suddenly, at the CCL booth at SLS18, instead of bonding over shared frustration at their bodies, women were celebrating the genius behind them. There were “ooohs” and “ahhhs” as they flipped through their booklets, beginning to understand the interactions between their bodies and certain nutrients and hormones. Many girls requested multiple copies to take home for their friends, and campus ministers, missionaries and even nuns took down information to place bulk orders for later, when the book becomes available online. [UPDATE: The book is now available here.]

We were not created for suffering, pain and frustration. Since the Fall, all of these things have been realities of human life, but they don’t sit well with us because we’re destined for so much more. At SLS18, young ladies were discovering the goodness of their bodies and, through them, learning about their Creator and wonderful gift of femininity. Best of all, after their faces lit up and the learning began, they walked away joyfully, excited to share this good news with the rest of the world.

— Forest Hempen
Marketing and Communications Associate