Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Thursday, August 22, 2013
I recently read an article about research into adults’ knowledge of reproductive health. The research itself focused on adults’ perceived level of knowledge and their actual ability to correctly answer questions related to risks or health benefits of birth control methods, abortion and pregnancy. The research also recorded demographic information to learn more about whether one’s social position on abortion may be related to one’s actual knowledge-base. For example, one of the questions asked participants to determine whether first trimester abortion or childbirth was riskier to a woman’s health. Only thirty percent (30%) chose the correct answer, which was that childbirth is riskier than a first trimester abortion. That leaves the majority of adults who believe childbirth and first trimester abortion are equally risky or who believe that childbirth is safer.
A question related to use of birth control asked participants to determine which percentage of women used some form of birth control at some point in their lives, with the correct answer being ninety-nine percent (99%). Only sixteen percent (16%) of respondents selected this as their answer. More than half answered that just three-fourths of women use birth control at some point. While the study does not specifically state what constitutes birth control, participants’ responses can be seen as indicating that many people are either not aware of women’s use of birth control and/or have different views about what constitutes birth control. Birth control, in the broadest sense, is anything done to prevent or otherwise deter pregnancy from taking place. This would include the rhythm method and withdrawal, and even the morning after pill, which is not an abortive and will not prevent implantation (according to the latest research) or otherwise abort a fertilized egg. For the record, the morning after pill has no effect on a fertilized egg. It’s only benefit is to delay or stop ovulation. If ovulation has already occurred, a woman has just as much chance of getting pregnant as she would if she did not take the morning after pill.
Knowledge of the benefits of oral contraceptives is lacking. Twenty-seven percent (27%) of respondents correctly answered that oral contraceptives are believed to be protective against ovarian cancer. Twenty-eight percent (28%) claimed this was not true and forty-seven percent (47%) were unsure as to whether birth control pills conveyed any health benefits for ovarian cancer. Not only has birth control pill research backed this up, but also other research into the age of first menstruation, the age of menopause and the number of pregnancies has all supported the idea that fewer cycles of ovulation are protective against the risk of developing ovarian cancer. Considering the survey results, I will be clear and state that the reason pregnancy conveys protection is because ovulation is suppressed during gestation, and if a woman breastfeeds, ovulation can be further delayed for sometimes up to a year after childbirth.
The most disturbing part of the survey was that women who had an abortion were more likely to answer incorrectly about the risks associated with abortion where future pregnancy is concerned, and where the actual risk of the procedure is concerned. The second most disturbing result was that eighty-one (81%) of survey participants claimed they believed their general knowledge base of reproductive health was high. The third most disturbing result, yet not surprising either, is that respondents who want to limit or eliminate abortion are more likely to answer the questions about birth control and abortion incorrectly. This may indicate that their beliefs are distorted by misinformation. Another surprising result was that men more often answered correctly than women where questions around the risks of abortion and childbirth were explored by the researchers. Of course, this may not necessarily mean that men are actually more knowledgeable than women about the risks of abortion and childbirth, but rather may indicate that men view anything to do with women’s reproductive health as inherently risky.
The article I read was addressed to a professional audience of physicians and other healthcare workers who interact with women around reproductive health care as a call to never assume a level of knowledge or understanding. The author instead advocated for providing information, even if a patient indicated she already knew about birth control, oral contraceptives, abortion, pregnancy and childbirth or whatever reproductive health issue being discussed and/or treated. I’m writing this article to remind women and men to be informed. Maybe you don’t have a need right now to run out and get the latest issue of “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” or another text on women’s health. However, before you make decisions about reproductive healthcare, make sure you get reputable, scientifically supported information and education about all options. Most of us have a health class in sixth-grade about puberty. We then are fortunate if we get a class in high school that goes beyond abstinence-only information. After that, while we might scan the internet for information, or ask friends, we’re typically embarrassed to ask our physicians questions or to verify information. Speak up! Visit reputable websites—not those with scare tactics, and know your options. Your health depends on it.
Posted by nausetsunrise at 10:36 AM
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
I still remember back in 1994 that fateful day in May here in Massachusetts when same-sex marriages began. The building I worked in at the time was directly across the street from City Hall in Worcester. I remember seeing couples exiting the building with well-wishers standing on the steps blowing bubbles, balloons floating in the light breeze and police presence further off to either side, making sure nothing stood in the way of joy and love as it exited the building that day. The weather was perfect: warm, sunny and dry. I offered to make a beverage run for the office because I wanted to be at street level even for just a bit of time. I stood on the street corner and called my husband via cell phone to describe the scene (no phones we could afford had streaming video capability then). We both cried tears of happiness for those couples able to join us as married people in Massachusetts. Today, we again celebrate this move toward equality for all couples! It is a move in the right direction, and strikes down a law that was absurd from its inception.
The law did not stop more progressive states from moving along and ignoring the federal law against same-sex benefits. Partner benefits were also loop holes around D.O.M.A. policy, which were already in place. The Bankruptcy Court recognized same-sex marriage for filings as of 2011. Now, the Supreme Court realizes that D.O.M.A. is unconstitutional and discriminatory and has fixed the problem across the board at the federal level. Of course, some states still resist. However, like other archaic marital laws throughout history, I believe each will come around given enough time--and commitment by equality-minded people! Like with any right or benefit, we cannot sit idly by thinking nothing can change or that once we've moved forward toward equality that we can't fall back again.
There is still work to be done where immigration policy and marriage is concerned, too. For some time now, same-sex international or immigrant couples could not marry legally in states recognizing same-sex marriage and have that status convey protection to deportation like opposite sex couples. Spouses could be separated and one spouse could be deported because of laws like D.O.M.A. that denied federal recognition of same-sex marriage. In some instances, when green cards or work visas were reviewed, individuals found themselves targeted because of their same-sex couple status, something that was "outed" when federal immigration staff found out the immigrant was married within the state in which he or she resided with his or her legal resident/citizen spouse.
We must be vigilant and dedicated to educating people everywhere that love doesn't discriminate, so neither should our social policy and laws as they apply to citizens, those seeking citizenship and immigrants.
For today, we put all of that aside and celebrate!
Posted by nausetsunrise at 11:38 AM
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
However, as I read the entries, it was like a time warp. Suddenly, I was transported via mental and emotional TARDIS to that time. It was incredibly painful. It was like a PTSD-style flashback, and I do not mean that lightly or to sound funny. I mean it quite seriously. I was devastated by what I read. I was brought back to those feelings of loneliness, desperation, exhaustion and frustration. It hurt to read those pages. I immediately placed the notebook I had opened in the trash along with all the rest of the notebooks in the box without a further glance or thought. It was like finding a video or photographs or some other minute-by-minute replay of a life-altering and really negative event, like a car crash. I still don't regret doing it. I don't need any memory of those depressing, stressful times. Yes, the notebooks got us through. They may have even saved our marriage, and definitely saved our sanity. However, like an old bandage, there was nothing appealing about revisiting them.
|Q&A A Day Journal|
Because I've made so many art journals, I went searching for ways to inspire using them. They look amazing just as they are. However, all those Cloth, Paper, Scissors eye-candy magazines feature publications specific to art journals. Some of their other publications have articles and features about art journals, as well. I also took a Strathmore brand art journal course online, complete with materials lists and videos on using and altering your art journal. I love the work I see done by other artists! I cannot seem to somehow get that curly lettering style down, or even a more utilitarian block print. Besides, what do I say? Even if I write about something inspiring, or that was newsworthy or otherwise journal-worthy, I find that once I finish the journal, I don't necessarily want to keep it. (This is related to my purge-cycle self who refuses to store things for the sake of them. A pack rat, I am not!) I end up unceremoniously tossing the journal into the garbage or recycling it in the bin. Sometimes, if we're having a fire, I might toss it in as kindling. That's as reverent as I get about it. Sure, they're pretty to look at. However, will I ever go back and re-read them? It's not likely. It's not exciting to do so. This brings me full-circle to the compact tidiness of the "line a day" style multiple year/perpetual journal.
Imagine my delight then when I searched for "art journal" and found a home-made version of the line-a-day, perpetual journal/calendar! I just had to make one! I spoke with a friend, Melissa Delorenzo (check out her blog!) and asked if she had heard of this kind of thing before. Her sister, also a friend, has one that a friend made her. Since Melissa doesn't have one, and I was dying to make one, Melissa is the lucky recipient of the project pictured here. If you Google "perpetual journal" under Google images, you will find a lot of variations on the project. Most credit Design Sponge with the idea and format, and so here is a link to Kate Pruitt's page that depicts the her version of the project: http://www.designsponge.com/2010/12/diy-project-vintage-postcard-calendar-journal.html.
My next may involve purchasing library book check-out cards and using those since they have a line already for the date and then a space already for a phrase that sums up the day or some aspect of it. We'll have to see though since I already bought hundreds of index cards and have a date to make more of these with another friend mid-July. I also saw websites with ideas about decorating the card for your birthday and/or marking other birthdays, anniversaries and/or significant dates and holidays in your life. (Wait 'til Melissa sees the tiny top border of gold stars I put on her birthday!) Since my version is slightly different from the Design Sponge idea, here is a suggested list of supplies/ideas to inspire your own:
*Use whatever size cards or card stock you want. I used 4x6 index cards and cut them in half. You will need enough to make 366 cards (because, yes, Leap Year is important to some of us).
*If you like your handwriting (I've already judged my own above) then hand-date each set of cards. Otherwise, you will need a stamp pad and date stamp. You do not use the year part of the stamp, so you will either have to cover it or if you buy one with years on it already, just use a razor blade like I did to scrape off one of the years so you have a "blank" that won't print.
*I found it easiest to do a month at a time, adjusting just the numbers as I went along. Since some months have 30 days and some have 31...and one has 28 or 29, depending on the year, it's easier to stamp by month to remember which is what. The old saying helps: 30 days has September, April, June and November. All the rest have 31...except February.
*I also let some of the less-than-perfect stamps that were lighter in areas or a bit smudged just be part of the charm and only re-stamped those that were really a mess or I did too close to the edge so the date was cut off.
*I used card stock of several types. Some is decorated on both sides, some was plain and some patterned/printed.
*I cut these to be 3" wide, since cutting a 4x6 index card in 1/2 the short way makes 4x3 sized cards. The card stock was then cut to a size of 4.25" so that a little edge became the decorative divider.
*For some of the plainer card stock, I used rubber stamps to give them a little "more" decorative presence and also some washi tape (essentially this is decorated masking tape, something of which I am deeply enamored).
There are lots of ways of finding and/or creating a container for the cards. The way to accommodate 12 card stock dividers and 366 index cards is to make sure that the container's depth (front to back) measurement is at least 3.25". I cut the one shown in cardboard in the picture at the top of this blog entry using a template from a container for cube notes and so the dimensions are definitely not "accurate" yet are close enough to being about that size.
Posted by nausetsunrise at 12:40 PM