The FAbM Base PodcastApr 25, 2022
20. What is Hormone Coaching? with Jamie Rathjen, M.A., FCP
Co-host of the Hormone Genius Podcast, founder of the Fiat Institute, and Creighton Practitioner, Jamie Rathjen, M.A., FCP joined Emily and Mary to explore her new (and pretty amazing) hormone coaching program, which fills the gap between your fertility awareness instructor and your physician. There are lifestyle factors and nutritional insights that these pros just don't have the time, or knowledge in many cases, to address. This is where your hormone coach comes in! So far, Jamie has trained about 30 incredible women (a mix of Creighton & FEMM instructors, PAs, DOs) to serve you in this space! Jamie also explained how stats on birth control influenced her work.
Find Jamie: www.hormonegenius.com, www.fiatinstitute.com, www.guidingstarproject.com
Instagram: @fiat_institute, @hormonegenius
To become a hormone coach: Fiatinstitute.com
To receive hormone coaching: email email@example.com or visit Fiatinstitute.com/directory
19. When Charting Sucks: Health Issues with Mary
Charting for Mary had really good moments. Her Creighton chart revealed a lot about what was going on in her body and that was really helpful to her physicians and for her to understand some pretty intricate details about her health. However, because it revealed how dysfunctional her body was and trended worse over time, it got really hard. The meds, supplements, and doc appointments got hard, too. Pregnancy tests really messed with her mind, but you'll learn in this episode why she had to continue to take them.
Is there a healthier way to approach charting? Restorative reproductive medicine? Our relationship with infertility? Why doesn't pregnancy heal the wounds of infertility? Emily interviews Mary to find out.
Website Overview: Two Ways to Find the Best Method Fit
So you've found our amazing website at fabmbase.org, but you're also feeling like there is a ton of info. Where do you start? Keep your eyes peeled for a series of bonus episodes that will help you to maximize your time navigating our website and get the most out of it for your individual needs.
This first one will help you or someone you know to use our website to find the method that fits best (there are two ways!!), get all relevant info to help you access the method websites and materials you'll need, and find solidarity!
WATCH and listen to this episode on YouTube so you can see how Mary navigates the website with her shared screen as she explains each detail.
18. When Charting Sucks: Unplanned Pregnancies with Emily
Well, it's no secret that we have a deep appreciation for the benefits of charting our cycles, but let's be real - sometimes it just sucks! Charting is more than putting marks on the paper or app and making observations. It has an effect on life and life has an effect on it and Emily's story illustrates this really well.
In this episode, Mary interviews Emily about her expectations about sex going into marriage, how that played out, the pressure of needing to avoid a pregnancy, sharing the responsibility, the mental health importance of finding the right method for each individual woman, and when Emily wanted to stop charting.
17. How to Talk Infertility with Friends & Family
One of the biggest struggles for infertile women is how to navigate a wide range of emotions around close friends and family members. Many women who haven't personally experienced infertility have the same concerns and want to know how they can care for their loved ones' hearts. How do I share my pregnancy with her? How will I manage being around friends and family with pregnancies? How can I show her I care? Emily and Mary understand how difficult this can be because they have personally experienced it in their friendship, and sort of accidentally discovered how to do it well. Tune into this episode to learn how.
Pelvic Floor PT Part 2: Pain w Sex & Tampons - and What You Didn't Realize Could Cause it, with Jenny Porter
Dr. Jenny Porter is a physical therapist at Pivotal PT & Wellness in Mandeville, Louisiana, specializing in pelvic floor therapy for men, women, and children with bladder, bowel, sexual, and pain dysfunctions. This episode was dedicated to bringing awareness to what it means to have a normally functioning pelvic floor.
Here is some of what was discussed:
-A normal pelvic floor vs changes identified that cause pain
-What causes pain with intercourse? What is vaginismus? What about postpartum?
-The range of pain intensities possible (mild, moderate, severe)
-Should a tampon ever hurt? An OB/GYN visit?
-Can my husband be "too big?"
-Should I bring my teen, or even younger daughter to pelvic floor PT if she has pelvic pain?
-How does endometriosis cause painful sex? Why do I still have pain after surgery?
-What does treatment look like? How long can it take?
-What is a dilator and do I have to use one? Is this licit?
-If I have tightness/painful intercourse, does this increase my risk of tearing during labor?
Mary shares a bit about her personal experience with pelvic floor tightness, painful intercourse, and pelvic floor physical therapy. Since Jenny is her PT, they were able to offer a unique perspective of these situations. This is an honest conversation about the most intimate parts of a woman’s body. We know that this can be a sensitive subject, and please know that we did our best to handle it with care. We won’t shy away from these difficult conversations because we believe they are important and often do lead to healing.
Links mentioned in the episode:
Pelvic Floor PT Part 1: Prenatal and Postpartum with Emily Jurschak
Emily Jurschak is an orthopedic and pelvic floor physical therapist located in Alexandria, VA. She owns and operates her own private physical therapy practice, Fiat Physical Therapy. Emily is a board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist who emphasizes the importance of integrating the whole person into her treatment and plan of care, and loves teaching women about their bodies.
Emily Frase sat down one-on-one with Emily Jurschak for an indepth conversation around prenatal and postpartum pelvic floor physical therapy. Jurschak kicked things off with a fascinating explanation of the function of the pelvic floor as it relates to pregnancy and postpartum (which you may want to watch on our YouTube channel), which gave great context to answering questions like when to start PT whether during or after pregnancy, and how C section scar massage is beneficial. Frase also shared her own experiences during pregnancy and birth. The two Emilys also shared the importance of gentleness and mind-body connection through these two wildly changing periods in a woman’s life.
And you’ll want to listen all the way to the end of the episode - Jurschak shares the most common issue she tends to treat for both pregnant and postpartum women.
Whether you’ve have or are planning to get pregnant soon, no matter if you’ve had vaginal or C section deliveries, this is an episode you won’t want to miss!
Resources mentioned in this episode:
The Sexpisodes Part 3: How These Ideologies Can Creep into Everyday Life
We couldn't finish up our Sexpisode series without giving some very real examples of how these ideologies can be brought to life, and often without us realizing it. Emily divulges about how purity culture has affected her relationship with her body image. Mary shares how one aspect of purity culture did some huge damage to her understanding (or lack thereof) of sex and how it is still having a pretty big impact on her and her marriage. Since it isn't always easy to see, we explain how damaging it is to insist that NFP can be used with a contraceptive mentality specifically for those who are infertile.
Mary and Emily get pretty vulnerable in this episode. Don't miss the conclusion of this special series and please don't forget to rate this podcast/leave a review!
The Sexpisodes Part 2: Contraceptive Mentality & Providentialism
We continue our mini-series by looking at the ideologies that can mess with your sex life and sexuality with a deep dive into just what contraceptive mentality is and why it’s equally as devastating for sex and marriage, and relationships between men and women.
Just a warning folks, this is some serious Catholic insider baseball, but it’s an ideology that has been increasingly growing among certain Catholics circles and seems to be messing more and more with our basic understanding of the truth of sex and marriage - so yea, we had to talk about it!
As in the last episode, we don’t hold back about where this ideology comes from, why it’s ultimately not in line with Catholic Church teaching, and why it causes a lot of damage to marital unity and authentic expressions of sexual love.
If you missed the last episode, you might want to go and catch the first few minutes for some important groundwork we laid for all these conversations.
Resources discussed in this episode:
Links to Humanae Vitae, Casti Connubii, the Catechism, and more Catholic Teachings about Fertility Awareness (fabmbase.org)
Counseling resources Come Read our External Resources for Fertility Awareness (fabmbase.org)
The Sexpisodes Part 1: Intro & Purity Culture
Hold on tight to your headphones, ladies and gentleman, because Emily & Mary are tackling purity culture & contraceptive mentality for NFP Week 2022 in our first miniseries: The Sexpisodes! Part 1 is an intro to both ideologies, which leads into a thorough discussion on what purity culture is, where it comes from, and how this mentality can creep into marriages. We also get crystal clear about God's design for love, marriage, and sex.
We're talking a lot about theology in this miniseries, but also making some very real connections to secular culture and the idea of consent with the help of a Washington Post article by Christine Emba, linked below. If you were born in the U.S., you have most likely been affected to some degree by purity culture. Dive into this juicy topic with us to find out how.
Links to Humanae Vitae, Casti Connubii, the Catechism, and more Catholic Teachings about Fertility Awareness (fabmbase.org)
Counseling resources Come Read our External Resources for Fertility Awareness (fabmbase.org)
Mary and Emily Chat about Mary's New Book
We’re back with an exciting off-season episode to announce the launch of our very own Mary Bruno’ s memoir, Twelve Stripes Deep: How Infertility & Other Suffering Delivered My Greatest Joys.
You're getting some behind the scenes info in this episode! We go in-depth about what inspired Mary to write her story to begin with and what that process looked like. We also talk about who this book is for - definitely infertile women, but also for women who don’t carry that cross and long for a more holistic understanding of womanhood, motherhood and femininity.
From Emily’s foreword for Twelve Stripes Deep:
“When Mary asked me to write the foreword for her book, she said, “All the books and talks out there for infertile women are from women who eventually had a child. I want to write a book for the woman who will never have a child, and let her know there is still hope.” That is what you hold now. In sharing her own story, Mary invites women into a process where they can explore their femininity, womanhood and motherhood as the inherent gift it is, regardless of whether they ever produce a biological child. She doesn’t do this with theological platitudes, but from her own heart. She illuminates the truth of the Catholic female identity in its fullness because she has labored to discover it.
Mary’s story isn’t a challenge to the Catholic understanding of womanhood and motherhood. Rather, her story shows us the narrow ways we often limit and confine the meaning of these states, which is not Catholic at all, but a reflection of our limited human understanding. Her story can remind us that the lives of the saints, though all expressions of virtue and striving for holiness, were lived in wildly different ways. This book is an invitation to see your life and your suffering, not as a curse or a cross to bear alone, but simply as a totally unique life with a unique call to love and to experience God.”
You can buy Mary’s book TUESDAY, JULY 12 by clicking the link below:
“In Twelve Stripes Deep Mary brings a unique and needed voice to a rarely discussed topic. It is clear that she has sought the face of Christ in all of her sufferings. If you are feeling the nudge to read this book, do it!”
-Christopher West, Th.D.
President, Theology of the Body Institute
Author, Good News about Sex & Marriage
“Mary Bruno shares the intimate details of her struggles, yet writes with a light, accessible tone that makes you feel like you're at brunch with a friend. I have no doubt that many women -- both those who have struggled with infertility and those who haven't -- will feel less alone thanks to her words."
- Jen Fulwiler, standup comic and bestselling author of Your Blue Flame
“It would be nearly impossible for your doctor, close friend or counselor to delve as deep into the heartbreak of infertility as Mary does. She crumbles before you on the pages so you can experience her journey, then she leads the way to put the pieces back together - no matter the outcome.
Naomi Whittaker, MD, OBGYN, CFCMC, FCI
“Mary’s book is the anthem for change in women’s health care.”
-Bridget Busacker, Founder of ManagingYourFertility.com
S1 E10: Shall We Talk Method Wars, erm Choice? with Emily & Mary
In this episode, Emily & Mary dove deep into a topic that few people dare to address: method wars! Just kidding, but only sort of. We surveyed many of you to determine the theme of this final episode of season 1, and you chose a discussion between the two of us on method choice! We focused on the various things to consider when trying to find the method that will fit YOU best because you are unique and will want a method that reflects that. Our personal experiences with different methods, Emily’s experience as a coach, and Mary’s experience with different clients as a Creighton Practitioner were some great starting points that brought a lot of flavor to our convo.
As far as method wars go, they don’t serve anyone well. In fact in some cases, they cause outright harm. The fact that we have these options though is what makes fertility awareness stand out as a true alternative to hormonal birth control, because the focus is for each individual woman to learn and work with her unique body and situation. It is good that we have many different methods to choose from, but sometimes having lots of options is hard - and almost feels like scrolling Netflix ACK! Fertility changes over time along with our age, intentions, and reproductive category, so choosing a method can seem like a monumental task. What factors should you consider? What are your priorities? Do you have health concerns? Are you hoping to avoid or achieve pregnancy?
In our conversation, we aimed to break down the complexity of this decision, and offer some insights from our own personal experience, and the experience of speaking with hundreds of women. As our friend Lisa puts it, “the best method is the one you’re going to use.” We are here to help you make that connection.
Resource mentioned in episode:
Additional Resources from Emily's Total Whine blog that can help with method choice:
All the Single Ladies who want to learn fertility awareness (relevant to anyone new to fertility awareness, or those interested in a making a switch)
The Postpartum Conundrum of NFP (a list of questions and considerations for choosing a method for postpartum)
Which FABM to Choose? (a series of Q&As with instructors and users of 5 different methods)
S1 E9: Collaboration vs. Competition with Bridget Busacker
Bridget Busacker is founder of Managing Your Fertility, an online, one-stop shop of fertility awareness resources for women and couples™. Bridget helps women step boldly into their womanhood by being unafraid of their cycles & bodies, embracing their reproductive health in all its glory and messiness. She’s on a mission to integrate faith & science through compassion & connection with her website, courses (launching soon!), podcast, writing, and speaking engagements. Bridget is married to David and together they have two sweet girls, where they live out the beautiful mess of NFP and marriage together every day.
On this episode, we had a fun chat between friends about the importance of collaboration over competition. If you consider the missions of fabmbase.org and managingyourfertility.com, you might notice something very similar! In a culture that often encourages women to compete against each other, we strongly believe in encouraging one another because we all have something beautiful and important to bring to the table. We hope this conversation brings you the hope and support you need to do exactly what you are called to do - no matter who else appears to be doing it!
S1 E8: From Prescribing Birth Control to Advocating Fertility Awareness & Holistic Health with Dr. Susan Caldwell
We both learned so much during this episode with Dr. Susan Caldwell, who is a primary care physician specializing in women's health. She is a NaProTECHNOLOGY Medical Consultant practicing in New Orleans at East Jefferson General Hospital - Lakeview Clinic. More importantly, she is a proud mama of three amazing children.
Dr. Caldwell practiced in internal medicine, prescribing birth control and using it herself, for many years until she began to see its effects in so many of her patients firsthand. Some of these experiences shocked her! As someone who doesn’t like to color outside the lines, it was very hard for her to make the change to restorative reproductive medicine, but she believes it is what women deserve.
She explained how birth control affects the body short- and long-term, how infertility plays into that, the unique labs she assesses, and both the liberation and challenges of providing authentic women’s healthcare through charting. Her perspectives were fascinating!
Here are the resources mentioned in the episode: The Upside of Infertility (drsusancaldwell.com), How Charting Your Cycles Could Help Prevent Breast Cancer (drsusancaldwell.com), Counseling resources: Come Read our External Resources for Fertility Awareness (fabmbase.org)
S1 E7: "What if I can't afford to be in the 2% failure rate of FABM methods?" with Louise Boychuck
Louise Boychuk is a Registered Nurse and Marquette Method instructor who lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She is the director of Vitae Fertility Education, a collective of Marquette Instructors who teach the method virtually and in-person. She's passionate about teaching couples about the science and research behind NFP in an approachable and easy-to-understand way.
The theme of our conversation with Louise is “What if I can’t afford to be in the 2% failure rate of fertility awareness methods?” Some couples are desperate to avoid pregnancy, and with good reason. Louise discussed how Fertility Awareness Based Methods can be customized for the individual in this situation, when to consider a method switch, and the importance of a good instructor fit. The desire to avoid pregnancy falls somewhere on a spectrum that ranges from great need to “we’ll see what happens.” We talked about the effect of mindset and how abstinence plays into these important decisions.
Louise also broke down PCOS for us in a way that we could understand and explained how Marquette and other methods approach charting the woman with complicated hormone patterns. It was an absolute joy to have this chat with Louise and we hope you enjoy it! Make sure to check out this FREE resource she provided for all of our listeners: Straight Talk About NFP Effectiveness (vitaefertility.com)
S1 E6: Body Literacy for Girls and in the Parish with Christina Valenzuela
Christina Valenzuela is the owner of Pearl and Thistle, LLC, where she provides education and support programs to help Catholics share the "Language of the Body" in their families and their parishes. She has been a certified instructor in the Boston Cross Check method of NFP since 2013, and her parent-daughter cycle and period education program, Cycle Prep, was a finalist project in the 2021 OSV Innovation challenge.
Christina is a good friend of ours and we had a blast chatting about her inspiration for both of the programs she has developed - Cycle Prep for girls and their parents (now also available in Spanish) and an NFP ambassador program for parishes. She led us in a robust and enlightening conversation about the “Language of the Body” as it relates to the Theology of the Body, and as it applies to each individual woman - not just within the context of sex. We even explored what truly makes a couple fertile, and it isn’t simply their ability to procreate. Enjoy the show!
S1 E5: A Priest's Perspective with Fr. Justin Braun
Fr. Braun is the pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, a bi-lingual parish in the northeast corner of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas. He was on the ground level of launching Bishop Joseph Strickland's St. Philip Institute, where he has served in various roles since 2017. Fr. Braun regularly serves as Chaplain to engaged couple retreats for marriage preparation, as well as being a retreat and conference speaker for marriage enrichment.
In this interview, Fr. Braun explained why it’s important, and even in the business of a priest, to know and talk about fertility awareness when he is not sexually active. He gave his response to those Catholics & non-Catholics who take issue with some of the really hard teachings of the Church (like the ones on IVF and birth control) and gave us some insight into how he counsels couples struggling with family planning issues, IVF, miscarriage, and infertility. You’re going to appreciate his answer. Finally, he gave a very specific challenge to his brother priests! You don’t want to miss this!
You can find Fr. Braun here: Department of Family Life - St. Philip Institute (stphilipinstitute.org), Sacred Heart Catholic Church - Texarkana, TX (sacredhearttxk.org), & on Facebook @Justin Braun or @Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Texarkana
S1 E4: Menstrual Stigmas and How to Change Them with Jamie Murphy
In today's episode, Emily goes solo chatting with Jamie Murphy about some of the craziest things she's read about menstruation and ovulation, how these stigmas persist and negatively affect women, and what we can do to change the narrative. It's a fun, informative conversation we hope you enjoy!
Jamie Murphy is a fertility awareness educator with a passion for educating women about their bodies. She believes everyone should have the tools necessary to be confident and knowledgeable about their fertility and her mission is to help FAM users become autonomous and empowered. Jamie is a full-time toddler mom, part-time SymptoPro educator, and in her leftover free time you can find her reading and writing about menstrual activism and anthropology.
Follow Jamie on Instagram @followingmybody
Books referenced in the episode:
The Woman in the Body
S1 E3: Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy with Drs. Emily and Jenny
Dr. Emily McElrath is the owner of Dynamix Physical Therapy in Mandeville, LA., specializing in orthopedics and pelvic floor physical therapy. Dr. Jenny Porter specializes in pelvic floor physical therapy for men, women, and children with bladder, bowel, sexual, and pain dysfunctions. She also specializes in pregnancy and postpartum care.
In this episode, we dove deep into what pelvic floor physical therapy is and how it uniquely addresses postpartum care, endometriosis, painful intercourse, vaginismus, hormonal birth control, and even male infertility! If you’ve heard that it involves “internal work” and that has made you nervous in the past, don’t worry - it isn’t always needed, and if it is, it is the goal of these therapists to make you feel as comfortable as possible. Drs. Emily and Jenny address this concern sensitively and explain how it is licit, if needed.
Find Drs. Emily and Jenny here:
Find a PT near you by using either of these links. Make sure to call first and ask if they have a PT who specializes in “pelvic floor.”
S1 E2: Life Before, During & After Birth Control with Taryn Delong
Taryn DeLong is an editor and writer and, most importantly, a wife and mother. She is the managing editor of Catholic Women in Business and a contributing writer to Live Today Well, Natural Womanhood, and CatholicMom.com, as well as other publications. Taryn was certified to teach FEMM in 2021 and teaches it to women and couples at a pregnancy center in Raleigh, North Carolina.
One thing that is so interesting about Taryn's story is that birth control improved her symptoms, and did it without adding unwanted side effects. So why did she stop using it and how did the transition from this common drug to fertility awareness & restorative reproductive medicine go? In this very interesting episode, Taryn answers all of these questions and gives us some insight into how some birth control users perceive those of us who promote fertility awareness.
Find Taryn at https://everydayroses.blog
Facebook: @EverydayRoses. Also on LinkedIn.
S1 E1: Welcome to "The Intersect" with Emily & Mary
In this episode, Emily and Mary share their stories like you’ve never heard before. With new details and new perspectives, they engage in a raw conversation about their personal experiences, which is what has brought FAbM Base to life. This led into various side-discussions about the state of women’s healthcare, transvaginal ultrasounds, having the freedom to be authentic about our feelings, pro-woman vs. pro-birth, suffering, therapy, discovering self-awareness, non-judgmental listening, what you can expect from this new podcast, and so much more.
At one point, Emily said “We’re here to talk about fertility awareness and yet we have tangented onto so many different things. And that’s really important to call out because that’s what fertility awareness does - it’s not just learning your fertility because your fertility doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It is affected by, and it affects, everything in your life…”
Welcome to “the Intersect!” We hope you enjoy hanging with us and can’t wait to do it again next Tuesday!