By: Andi Seibold, Au. D.
Edited by: Shirelle Edghill, CFCP
This is part 3 of Andi's infertility journey from the standard approach to infertility diagnosis and treatment to finding NaPro Technology's approach.
You can read part 1, where she describes her first attempt at achieving pregnancy with a typical infertility clinic here.
You can read part 2, describing her journey to finding NaPro Technology here.
It had been 18 months since my exploratory surgery to remove pelvic adhesions caused by my previous ectopic pregnancy and I was starting to lose hope again. We'd been doing everything that our NaPro TECHNOLOGY physician had told us to do. I felt I was getting old-maybe too old to have another baby. I began to make peace with God that this was our family, and even if we didn't have another child, I was grateful to have found care that at least helped me feel immensely better and correct some underlying hormonal issues that wouldn't be good for me, long term.
I scheduled one more appointment with Dr. Kalamarides., wanting to see if there was anything else that we hadn't yet tried. If our prognosis was to keep waiting, I was ready to graciously say goodbye to Dr. K. and to the idea of having another natural child. Emotionally, I was spent. I could no longer wait without end.
I was on day 5 of my cycle when we made our trip to Austin.
Dr. K. explained, "I see that you're ovulating, and we haven't yet tried low-dose Clomid, so I'd be interested to see how you do if we just tried it. You're on the perfect day to start, so I'll just call it in to the pharmacy down the street."
Additionally, he recommended we have another ultrasound series done. My heart sank. I had grown weary of blood draws and ultrasounds. I debated not doing them. But I trusted the process, and I trusted Dr. K., who had given me more hope than anyone ever had, so I decided I would do it.
I took the Clomid and begrudgingly drove to each ultrasound appointment. On the third appointment, I asked the technician to tell me on which ovary was the largest follicle. When she responded, "The left," I choked up and my eyes filled with tears. That was it. I was done. My left side had no fallopian tube due to my ruptured ectopic pregnancy years before. Another wasted cycle.
I told my husband, "That's it. We're done."
"But didn't Dr. K. say it is possible for the egg to go from one side to the other?" he recalled.
"I'm not that lucky," I responded, hopelessly. "The odds are definitely not in our favor."
After a good cry, I asked God to take this burden from me and allow me to surrender my heart into acceptance, into my family, and my son, and to give me the grace to accept the blessings that I did have. I traveled to visit my good friend in Arizona, and to meet her twin boys, born 10 months earlier. I found it refreshing that helping care for her babies didn't make me upset or jealous. I loved them, and after helping out with mealtime, bath time, and nap time, I was reminded of how much work this was! I thought to myself, "I'm really ok if I don't have another one."
Based on my Creighton Model chart, I was set to start a new cycle on the day I would fly home, which was 15 days after my estimated ovulation day (Peak + 15 in Creighton lingo). I had never gone past Peak + 16 before starting a period, but my new cycle did not start that day. Nor did it start on Peak + 16. Four years before, I had tossed my stash of pregnancy tests, and I truly did not think pregnancy was a possibility due to the circumstances of ovulation being on the "wrong" side, but that day I found myself standing in the self-check out line with tampons in one hand, and a home pregnancy test in the other.
Related post: Your Cycle is Not Your Period.
"Why I am doing this?" I asked myself, dreading the disappointment I knew was to come.
Saturday morning, the day before Father's Day, I tested, completely expecting the empty white window that I had seen dozens of times before. To my complete and utter disbelief, two very strong pink lines appeared in the test window. I sat, dumbfounded, starting at it, not sure what to feel. A blank, numb feeling, was all I seemed capable of. I was too nervous to be happy, but there was nothing to be sad about.
"How was this possible?" But I had seen with my own eyes on that ultrasound and on my chart where I had ovulated. My mind turned to prayer, asking God to please not let this be another ectopic.
At 8am on Monday morning I was on the phone with Dr. K.'s office to ask for blood work to confirm the home pregnancy test and an ultrasound to confirm that the baby had implanted in my uterus.
Knowing a bit about my history, I tentatively asked the ultrasound technician, "I know you can't give me a diagnosis, but can you tell me.....is it in the right place?"
She smiled and said, "I can definitely tell you that it is not in your tube. It's in your uterus." I cried tears of joy, on the same table where I'd cried hopeless tears only a few weeks before.
The miracle that had happened was not lost on me. I was a flurry of conflicting emotions: from excitement, to anxiety, to sadness for the many friends and acquaintances who were still fighting their battle with infertility. Now I would be that friend making yet another pregnancy announcement that would cause unwanted pain and sadness. I decided we would wait to make any announcement until my growing belly required it. As a couple, we also wanted to wait as long as possible to make sure the pregnancy was viable. Both of us still felt the fear of getting our hopes up too high only to experience another loss.
I continued my prenatal care with Dr. K. until 12 weeks, when the distance became impractical. Each ultrasound, that tiny heartbeat flickering on the screen eased our fears and made our baby more real. At 12 weeks, our 8 year old son traveled to Austin with us, to see and hear the heart beat of his brother or sister.
Here, we had come, full circle. What do you say in a moment like that? My heart was so full of gratitude for the gift that this doctor had given us. "Thank you," seemed so small. Our family was forever changed, and for the first time in so long, the heavy weight of infertility was lifted from my shoulders and I felt joy again.
Related post: NaPro Technology Offers Healing After 5 Year of Infertility
In an effort to prevent miscarriage or pre-term birth, I was prescribed progesterone support through 23 weeks of pregnancy. Everything was progressing well and each day I enjoyed the little bump that was foretelling the arrival of our next child.
Our miracle rainbow blessing was born in February of 2018 in the most healing way. I had hoped and prayed for a baby girl to take the name of my grandmothers, who I felt were watching over this baby from the beginning. God answered our prayers, and our baby daughter completed our family of four. I know that she is a miracle orchestrated by our loving Heavenly Father many years ago, when he put specific people directly in my path to lead me to this place.
To say that I am grateful for NaPro TECHNOLOGY would be a understatement. I am so thankfully that Dr. K. kindly persuaded me to not give up, even for one more month. NaPro TECHNOLOGY forever changed our lives. This miracle baby will grow up knowing how to she came to be, and when the time is right, she will also be taught about the beauty of her own body and the gift of her own fertility.
Thank you for reading Andi's story! If you enjoy our blog content and would like to be notified when we publish new posts, please sign up for our mailing list below! Please send questions or comments to Shirelle@InfinityFertilityCare.com .
By Shirelle Edghill, Creighton Model FertilityCare Practitioner
Periods are one of those topics that women seem to be able to talk freely about. In this enlightened age people talk a lot more openly than in the past about bodily functions and sexuality. We have definitely come a long way from the days of women going to great pains to hide that they even did menstruate, and the topic being completely taboo, but if we really drill down on this, can women really talk freely about their periods? Ask questions about them? Do you feel comfortable asking your BFF if she has a lot of brown bleeding during her period? Do you ask her how many days she bleeds? How often? Did your mom sit you down and try to tell you what you should expect when it came to your period, and what you should watch out for.
I’m going to guess, probably not.
I think one of the biggest services we as Creighton Model practitioners can offer to women is a safe place to ask potentially uncomfortable questions and finally help women understand just was is a normal period, and what is not.
One note is that if you are on hormonal contraception (the pill, the Mirena IUD, Nexplanon, etc.) this conversation doesn’t really apply. Women who are on the pill may have withdrawal bleeds during times of taking placebo pills, but they are not truly having periods. There really are not standards for how much a woman should and shouldn’t bleed when using these medications, as the woman’s reproductive system is being driven by artificial hormones. I'm going to encourage you to move away from using hormonal contraceptives if you want to find out what is really going on with your body.
Periods should follow an ovulatory event and should be between 3 and 7 days in length. They should follow a fairly predictable pattern, starting off light, going to a moderate or heavy flow, and then back down to light. Another normal pattern would be if it starts moderate or heavy and then tapers down to light or very light spotting.
You might be saying, “Well that sounds like my period,” and I hope that it does. But what exactly does moderate, heavy, and light really mean? Is my definition of heavy the same as your definition of heavy? After all, the only period you’ve probably ever seen is your own. Most women have no idea if the amount that they bleed is a normal amount. Speaking in generalities, heavy is needing to change a regular pad or tampon every 2-3 hours, moderate is changing a regular pad or tampon every 4-6 hours, and light flow would just require a pantiliner to manage. Menstrual cups can provide a very accurate measurement of how much fluid loss (blood + other normal fluids) you have during your period.
Here are some good rules of thumb. Dr. Hilgers, founder of the Creighton Model, and expert on all things related to female reproductive health, is said to have explained that the period should be like a faucet, turning on and then off efficiently. You really shouldn’t be having multiple days of brown spotting before your period really gets going, or at the end of it. These aren’t healthy signs. “Leftover bleeding (as one of my new clients called it)” is not a thing. If you are soaking through regular pads or tampons more often than every 2 hours in one 24-48 hour span of time, this would also be a concerning sign. Some clotting can be normal, as it’s generally caused by a heavy flow pooling and creating a clot. But there would be a range of normal here. Passing huge chunks of tissue is not normal. If you’re using a menstrual cup, you may notice that there is a lot of clear discharge that seems to float at the top, or you may notice that you have a little bit of clear discharge just before your period starts. This is normal. Your period is not just blood-about half of it is actually other fluids, primarily endometrial fluid, which can look like a clear discharge.
We also need to move away from referring to any and all vaginal bleeding as a period. I once had a woman call me in February and tell me she’d been on her period since November. You can’t be on your period for 3 months. That’s not a period. Another situation that likely wouldn’t be a true period would be in the case of a woman who is bleeding every two weeks. Again, some of that bleeding is probably not a period. 8 days of similar brown spotting from day to day, would also not be a normal period. It might seem like semantics, but these things are important when we’re talking about your health. You can’t describe to your doctor that you don’t have normal periods if you don’t understand what a period should look like.
Remember, your period is an important sign of your overall health. Pay attention to what it’s trying to tell you. Have more questions? We'd love to chat with you. EMail Shirelle@InfinityFertilityCare.com
By Shirelle Edghill, CFCP
Endometriosis is a complex condition that usually goes undiagnosed. Rarely able to be diagnosed without a small surgery being involved, it is often overlooked as a cause of health problems or dysfunction.
There is no blood test or simple imaging scan that can diagnose endometriosis. In studies, 20% of women who were ultimately diagnosed with endometriosis reported no menstrual cramps, and another 40% reported only mild or moderate menstrual cramps. Also, most women who end up diagnosed with endometriosis have fairly normal length cycles, having periods about every 28-32 days.
Just because a doctor can’t find it or see it, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t there, causing infertility, cycle problems, or painful periods.
A quick anatomy lesson to help us understand what is going on in the case of a woman with endometriosis. A woman’s uterus, or womb, has an interior lining called the endometrium. It is this lining that thickens in preparation for possible pregnancy and then sheds when pregnancy doesn’t occur and that lining is no longer needed. Sometimes these tissues that should be inside the endometrium end up outside of it-usually in other locations in the pelvic cavity like above the ovaries, on the colon, on the bladder, or really anywhere in the pelvic cavity. More rarely, the endometrial implants have even been found in the lungs and liver. This is endometriosis. These tissues respond to normal hormone changes happening during a woman’s cycle, bleeding when you’re menstruating. This can cause inflammation and scar tissue to develop.
So, why can’t a doctor usually see endometriosis using something like ultrasound? Think of the ultrasounds you’ve seen of babies. Can you make out distinct facial features? Hair color? Birthmarks? No, of course not. Even with ultrasounds becoming better and better, most of the smaller details are not able to be seen until we actually meet the baby. Endometriosis is similar. It’s often small deposits that, when seen with the naked eye, look like darker parts of the normal tissues. Often they are deeply imbedded, making them even harder to see.
When a woman starts charting with the Creighton Model, there are certain signs, or biomarkers, on her chart that can indicate that she may have endometriosis. Prior to beginning charting, she may not have even realized that she had these signs, or that they might indicate endometriosis.
Here are some signs that I look for:
#1. A limited amount of cervical mucus, or no cervical mucus at all. With our system, we actually have ways to calculate and classify a woman’s cervical mucus. Without getting too deep into more biology lessons, a healthy amount and number of days of cervical mucus is an indicator that a woman’s ovaries and cervix are functioning properly. Without good cervical mucus, it is very difficult for pregnancy to occur, as it is mucus that transports sperm to the egg inside the woman’s body.
#2. Very heavy periods. Now, you might be saying, “I don’t have very heavy periods.” Something to consider is that the only period you’ve ever seen is your own. Do you talk to your girlfriends about how often they change their pads or tampons to see if your period is normal? I don’t, and I talk about this stuff every day. When we teach women to chart, we teach her exactly what level of flow she should call “very heavy, heavy, medium, or light.” Most of the time the woman just calls her heaviest day, “Heavy,” but when compared with a population of women, what she might actually be having is very heavy, or possibly even light. I did work with a woman who had no idea that she never had more than a light menstrual flow, though she had initially labeled her heaviest day as “Heavy.” We help women see if their menstrual flows are actually normal when compared to other women.
#3. Pre-menstrual spotting. Periods should be kind of like faucets. They should turn on and then turn off. Having multiple days of brown or very light spotting prior to your period really “getting going,” is associated with a host of fertility health problems, including endometriosis.
If you suspect that you have endometriosis and you’d like to learn how the Creighton Model can help you, please email me at Shirelle@InfinityFertilityCare.com . I'd love to talk to you.
The Medical & Surgical Practice of NaPro Technology by Dr. Thomas Hilgers, M.D.
By Shirelle Edghill, CFCP
It always amazes me how casually women will talk about their husband’s vasectomies.
“Oh, my husband got ‘fixed,” or “My husband got the big V.”
Sometimes I wonder how the woman would feel if the man so casually dropped such personal information about his wife’s tubal ligation or breast augmentation into conversation with his buddies.
Two years ago I worked with a couple who were desperate to have the man’s vasectomy reversed. They had chosen to have the vasectomy shortly after the traumatic pre-term birth of a baby. The man suffered from post vasectomy pain syndrome, making it difficult for him to even sit through a 90 minute introductory class without being in pain. Helping him find a surgeon to perform a reversal wasn’t the easy task that you might think it would be. Just call the urologist who did the vasectomy, right? Nope. He had to travel hundreds of miles to find a doctor willing and able to perform the surgery, and insurance did not cover it. He lived near a major Metropolitan area, yet there was not one surgeon in the area who offered vasectomy reversals. When these procedures require travel, there is also additional risk of complications such as blood clots. It’s also probably pretty dehumanizing to be sitting in a wheelchair at an airport with an ice pack on your crotch. Thankfully, he was able to have the vasectomy successfully reversed, his chronic pain was gone, and the couple chose to continue avoiding pregnancy using the Creighton Model FertilityCare System. In addition to helping the couple plan their family in a natural, healthy way, we continued to work with the couple to assess why the woman had a history of pre-term birth, exploring possible hormonal or other factors.
Upon observation, it also seems more common for more “natural minded” or “crunchy” women to see vasectomy as a more healthy option. I can see why it does seem to be a better option than hormonal contraceptives for the woman, but maybe we can all agree that having a healthy, functioning body part that hasn’t been cut and burned is just logically more healthy and natural for the person involved?
In North American society there’s a double standard that I see when it comes to men of a certain social class being expected to have vasectomies. In online forums, women will talk of a certain man’s hesitancy to have this procedure done or his pain after having it done with a tone of scorn for his apparent weakness.
“He needs to man up and get this done.”
“I did all the work of pregnancy. Now it’s HIS turn.”
“I’ll get him his bag of peas and some ibuprofen and he can lay around and watch sports for a few days.”
“Getting one from a doctor is better than getting a DIY one from You Tube” (an actual quote I lifted from a local Mom’s group I’m in.)
“My husband had a vasectomy today-cheers! Now he’s crying like a baby” -insert eyeroll emoji (also a paraphrased quote lifted from the same local mom’s group).
Go ahead. Go search 'vasectomy' in that online mommy group you’re in. You’ll see what I’m talking about.
If the situation were reversed and a man was talking about his wife in this way, or if he was pressuring her to be sterilized, most reasonable women would find this misogynistic and disrespectful. We as women would probably be extremely hurt if our man was out there posting about our pain in a facebook group for all their friends to laugh at. Or if they were online in a public forum trying to crowdsource how to convince their wife to be sterilized.
When it comes to women, there is a lot of talk about “My body, my choice.” Does this hold true for men? Is it ok with you if he is hesitant or if he DOESN’T want to cut his body? Do you fully support him in that? Or will you nag him or belittle him until he gets it done?
When my husband and I got married we stood up in front of our friends and family and promised to love each other, fully and completely. We promised to love all of one another. Implied in this, is that we promised to even love the parts of the other that might be inconvenient. He should love me when my hormones are constantly changing from day to day, when my skin is stretching from pregnancy, and when I’m a postpartum mess. Those things are all part of me. Along with my emotional and spiritual self, my body and what it can do, is ME. I am not separate from it. Biology isn’t fair. I think some women feel that vasectomy somehow evens the playing field. Nature, God, or whatever you believe in, seems to have dealt an uneven hand when it comes to reproductive responsibilities in human beings, and some might feel that vasectomy provides a level of justice to us women.
On another level, there are many misconceptions about vasectomy. One of the most common ones is that it is an easy process to have reversed. It’s not. In the words of a rare urologist who actually does these reversals, “It’s much easier to break something than it is to fix it.” There are very few physicians who are trained to reverse vasectomies. For fear of law suits over unintended pregnancies, the procedure is not meant to be reversed. It’s meant to be permanent. Insurance companies love to pay for vasectomies (babies cost money!), but they are unlikely to pay for a reversal, EVEN if there is a complication that necessitates it.
Post vasectomy pain syndrome is difficult to diagnose and treat. It is defined as more than three months of chronic scrotal pain following a vasectomy. Studies and surveys are mixed on the frequency that this occurs, ranging from extremely rare, at less than 1% and upwards of 15% in some surveys. Men who suffer from the after-effects of vasectomy may experience chronic pain that can make it difficult to function in normal life.
Another point to consider is that often couples are making the decision to have a vasectomy during an emotionally vulnerable time. Many times it’s soon after the birth of a baby when the difficulties of pregnancy and childbirth are fresh on our minds. We might be in the temporary throws of infancy, dealing with a lack of sleep or colic. But humans are terrible predictors of what we might want in the future. A vasectomy is a permanent decision to prevent a man from fathering a child. Forever. If the wife passes away and the man would like to remarry, he may not have the option of having a child with his new wife. What if that’s a deal breaker for her? If circumstances change in your own lives-perhaps you lose a child and would then consider having another child, you may not be able to. If you just decide you’d really like to add to your family, you can’t do so without a lot of difficulty.
So, for the women out there…before you jump on the bandwagon and start saying,
“Yeah, he really SHOULD get a vasectomy! He owes me one for all the pregnancy and childbirth stuff!”
Give this attitude a second thought. Is this the attitude of a wife that wants the best for her husband? Is it an attitude of love and respect? Consider that there may be ways to achieve the same end of responsible parenthood in a healthy way that respects both of your bodies.
Thank you for reading. Please email me with comments or questions at:
by: Shirelle Edghill, CFCP
I don’t know anyone who just loves family planning. Does anyone actually love being on the pill? Going to the gynecologist to have a device inserted into their uterus? Getting rods put in her arm? Having a surgical procedure? Making yet another trip to Walgreens for a box of condoms? Does anyone really LIKE doing these things?
So what about us? For us, that means using The Creighton Model FertilityCare System. Every day I check for discharges as I’m going to the bathroom, we chart them at the end of the day, and abstain during the fertile days.
Do I always love it? Nope. I am often touting the benefits of using a fertility awareness based method of family planning. I am being genuine when I am describing the benefits, but you know, sometimes it sucks. Sometimes I don’t want to check (even though it takes like 20 seconds), sometimes I get cozy in my bed, realize I forgot to chart, and have to get back up and go do it. Sometimes we just don’t want to abstain right then.
But just like most couples in our modern society, we feel a strong call to be responsible in how and when we try to bring children into the world. For us, now is not a good time. So that means avoiding pregnancy.
When I really step back and think about it, Michael and I do a lot of things that aren’t really fun, in an attempt to be healthy and responsible people. We budget, instead of spending all our money and wondering where it went. We cook at home instead of eating out. We go to church when we don’t feel like it. We make our kids eat their vegetables and we pretend to like them too. This is not to say that we’re perfect, but in general, we’re trying very hard to be healthy and responsible people raising healthy and responsible kids.
I believe that when we use things like the birth control pill, the IUD, Depo, Implanon, etc. we’re taking the easy, convenient, but not the most healthy route to avoiding pregnancy.
Those are the “Fix it and forget it,” strategies. and they all come with a cost.
Something is really lost when we make that choice. For one thing, we trade a healthy, functioning reproductive system, for one that’s been overriden by synthetic hormones. We are no longer normally cycling, with the natural hormonal rhythms that have many functions for our overall health. We also lose valuable insight into our health. We, as a society, begin to lose our knowledge of the body’s basic human functions. We begin to take our fertility and all that is connected to it, for granted. We may even begin to fear that which is normal and healthy. Additionally, (and ironically) those pills and devices that are supposed to give us the freedom to enjoy sex whenever we want, have as a common side effect, a decrease in libido. Even with condoms, most people would agree that something is lost in the sexual experience, in the enjoyment and connection, when we put that barrier between us.
What if we could plan our families in a responsible way, and we could gain valuable insight into our own health? What if we could learn to communicate better with our spouse, become better educated about reproductive health, and develop a comprehensive health record over many years? We can. With fertility awareness based methods like the Creighton Model we trade a bit of planning, discipline, and self control for all of these benefits. What if, when we’re ready to start a family, or add to it, we could just do that? Like, tomorrow? Or next week? With the more authentic family planning that fertility awareness offers, we can use the system to both avoid and achieve pregnancy, which means you don't have to make a trip the the doctor to get your IUD taken out or stop taking your pills and hope your cycle comes back right away. You just start trying. Right now.
No one likes family planning. But if we have to do it, let’s do it in the healthiest way possible.
Have questions or comments? I'd love to connect with you!
Sometimes it’s an interesting intellectual exercise to step back and ask how and why a modern practice became so commonplace. Take toothpaste. Generally hailed as a wonderful, necessary invention in our modern age, it is a relatively new practice to use it. People have been cleaning their teeth for thousands of years, but they didn’t need toothpaste to do it. As it turns out, part of the reason why it became so common was because the industrious creators of Pepsodent thought to add sodium lauryl sulfate and mint oils to their formula. Ironically, these irritate the gums and create a tingly sensation in the mouth, which make people think that their mouth is cleaner. These aren’t really necessary, but these were key ingredients that made people think they now had a fresh, clean mouth, and sales soared. Now everyone knows you need minty toothpaste in order to have a clean mouth.
Just like everyone knows you need special products to wash your lady parts so they don’t smell.
Did you know that in the early 20th century Lysol was used as a douche? Ouch! Most modern women are aware that douching is not a healthy practice, though I was surprised to find that 1 in 5 American women still douche, probably for contraceptive reasons (douches don’t prevent pregnancy, but some people still think they do), or for “hygiene” reasons. In case you aren’t aware, the risks of douching include increased vaginal infections, increased risk of STD’s, and a very serious condition known as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) where bad bacteria infect your uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. This can lead to infertility or pre-term birth among other things.
So, what’s a good feminine hygiene product marketer to do now that the gynecologists have chipped away their market with their silly studies? Of course you have to continue to imply that women smell and that without special products to “freshen” themselves, no one will want to sit near them, be their friend, and certainly no man will want to touch them. You’ll want to acknowledge the concerns of the medical community by saying your product is “pH balanced”, and if you’re smart, you’ll even use buzz words like “Natural” and “Organic.”
Enter, the modern day feminine “Freshness” products. One popular product line of feminine products offers NINE different variations for your every “Freshness” need. You’ve got washes, sprays, powders, wipes, night time formulas, and of course if you didn’t get the memo about how bad douching is for you, they still sell that but now it’s on the very bottom shelf at the store.
And how many of these should you be using?
You guessed it. None. No soaps, washes, wipes, or sprays.
What should you use to keep your vulvar area clean and fresh? Plain old boring, nearly free, water.
It turns out that our bodies are pretty smart and have built in cleaning capabilities. Using sprays, wipes, powders, or heaven forbid, douching, really throws off the natural bacterial balance in the vagina. The result is an increase of bad bacteria which can cause an odor, irritation, and infection. So then what do you do to combat that? Why, buy more sprays/wipes/washes of course! See how well that works?
One other unwanted side effect of trying to be more “fresh” is that women often end up with unwanted vaginal discharges. If you’ve ever noticed a lotion or hair conditioner type of discharge on your toilet paper or your undies, this is often the culprit. Try to switching to just washing your vulvar area with plain water and you may find that unwanted discharges naturally resolve themselves after a few weeks.
While we’re at it, you should check your period products as well. Avoid any tampons or pads that are scented.
And I can’t believe I have to say this in 2018 , but don’t buy things like lavender scented toilet paper. Did you know scented toilet paper has made a comeback? My grandma liked to buy things in bulk, so when we visited her, we were still using pink, potpourri scented TP in the 90’s. Just say no to flowery scented toilet paper.
In short, just let your vagina do what it knows how to do. You don’t need all that stuff. If you’ve cleared all the “freshening” products out of your medicine cabinet/shower and switched to unscented everything for a few weeks and you still feel like you have odor issues, it’s time to visit your gynecologist.
If you'd like to learn more about your fertility health, including how to chart your fertility cycle to naturally avoid or achieve pregnancy, we'd love to chat with you.
Today I want to talk to you, the concerned mom who is worried about her daughter. Perhaps she is struggling with painful or heavy periods, embarrassing acne, or her cycles seem irregular. I’m a mom, too and I know you just want to help her.
But what if I told you that if you put her on birth control now, that she will probably stay on it for the next decade? Would that make you pause and reconsider?
I can say with confidence that this is a likely scenario, because I’ve seen it so many times. I have this really unique job where I teach women to chart their fertility cycles using the Creighton Model. When they are getting started with this, I have them fill out a health history that includes all of their past use of birth control. I often see women who are in their late 20’s or 30’s, and when I ask them how long they were on the birth control pill (or have had an IUD), they answer 10, 15, or even 20 years. Yes, I really did have a late 30’s woman who reported to me that she had been on the pill since she was 16. Usually they started it for acne, or to “regulate their cycles,” or for painful periods. But then it just became all they knew and all they trusted when it came to their bodies. It became a way of life and they just stopped thinking about it.
So what’s wrong with this? A few things:
#1. The woman is afraid of her natural fertility and her own body. She doesn’t trust it at all. To her, it’s this scary, unpredictable thing that she really knows very little about. She is a 28 year old remembering her 16 year old body and how terrible those periods were and she’s convinced that if she comes off the pill, it will be right back to that. The pill is a crutch to help her feel like she’s in control of something that feels out of control.
#2. She’s now a 30 year old woman that literally has never had a cycle that wasn’t altered by hormones. At the initial appointment I ask, “How long are your natural cycles?” (A cycle is that length of time from the start of one period to the start of the next period) I get blank looks. Or she says, “Oh, my cycles are always 5 days long.” The woman may not even know that your cycle is not your period. The woman has no idea if she has short, regular, or long cycles because she hasn’t had a real cycle in 10 years. She has now missed out on 10 years of learning to understand her body. The menstrual cycle can now be understood as an important vital sign of health. Imagine what information we’d miss out on if we couldn’t periodically take our blood pressure or step on a scale. Not having a cycle is the same thing. What if the issue that she is currently having would have naturally corrected itself over time? It often does. Young women do tend to have more irregular cycles. To some degree, this is normal. They may have more painful periods, as they tend to have a higher amount of prostaglandins in their endometrial fluid, which can cause painful uterine contractions.
#3. The overall health risks of hormonal contraception. A recent, large scale study linked the use of hormonal contraceptives with an increased risk of breast cancer. This risk goes up the longer the woman has been on hormonal contraception. Another study indicated an increased risk of suicide in teen girls who were on hormonal contraceptives. Birth control pills are a class 1 carcinogen as defined by the World Health Organization. Do you really want your daughter to be exposed to substances that are known to do these things for the next 10 or even 20 years?
So what can you, concerned Mom, do instead? You’re doing well to take her to the doctor in the first place. Good job, Mama. You’re doing well to take her issue seriously and not shame her for being one of “those women” that constantly whines about her period. That’s my personal experience talking.
Here are some steps you can take:
#1. Ask questions. Ask your doctor WHY your daughter’s cycle is so irregular? Ask your care provider about the risks of any suggested treatments. If they tell you, “None. They are perfectly safe!” Grab your daughter and run. Ask your doctor what the cause of the pain is. Ask what treatments they have for your daughter BESIDES contraception. They are out there even if they aren’t presented to you as options. You are her best advocate and you will be teaching her to advocate for herself.
#2. If #1 is a bust, find another doctor. Find a doctor that doesn’t rush to using birth control to solve every gynecological health issue. Find one that wants to get to the root cause of the issue. Don’t women deserve better than this one-size-fits-all option we’re always given? A NaPro Technology trained doctor is an excellent choice for any woman with a gynecological health concern.
#3. Learn about your own cycle so you can teach her not to be so afraid of hers. If you’re kind of clueless, that’s ok! Now is as good a time as any to learn. If you don’t know what a luteal phase is, and about different types of cervical discharges and what they mean, you might need to read up or take one of our intro sessions so you can help your daughter. If you can get your daughter to chart her cycle, she may be able to be proactive in managing some of her own symptoms. She may start to realize that her diet is impacting her period pain, she may start to realize why she’s more irritable at certain times of the month, or she may start to see that there really is a predictable pattern to her period that she (and you) didn’t recognize before. Sometimes starting anti-inflammatory OTC medicine prior to the onset of the period can help tremendously. Charting can help her know when her period will show up every month so she can get ahead of it.
#4. Keep talk about periods and things like vaginal discharges positive! It’s not gross or dirty, it’s not “the curse,” and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Without cervical mucus and periods none of us would even be here. If there’s been no real talk at all, then it’s time to schedule that conversation with her.
I hope this provided you with some food for thought. I love to receive your comments and feedback! Thanks for reading!
Why we should stop treating painful periods and endometriosis with the birth control pill and what we should do instead.
By Shirelle Edghill, Creighton Model FertilityCare Practitioner
Last week I wrote about common medical reasons that doctors prescribe the birth control pill, and why I think there is a better way to approach treatment for things like painful periods. If you haven’t read part I, I recommend that you catch up here.
Today I’m going to address one of the common reasons that women start using hormonal contraception: painful periods and endometriosis. Pain is always something that is hard to quantify, but I’d like to talk about what we would consider “normal” as far as period cramps. Mild or moderate cramping that can be helped by a heating pad or an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen, is normal. Being curled up in the fetal position in bed unable to go to work or school, vomiting due to pain, having diarrhea during your period, passing out due to pain—all of these things would be abnormal.
In order to bring you real patient experiences with the NaPro approach to treating painful periods, I reached out to four different women who sought treatment for their painful periods, first with a non-NaPro trained physician, and later with a NaPro trained physician. I wanted to really get a feel for how NaPro is so different from the mainstream approach by talking to real women.
The NaPro Technology trained doctors first had each woman chart her cycles with the standardized Creighton Model FertilityCare System charting method. Creighton practitioners teach women how to chart in a way that will allow the doctor to fully understand exactly what she is seeing as far as how many days of bleeding she has, what other discharges she has, how long her overall cycles are, and how long her pre-ovulatory and post-ovulatory phases are. All of this information is invaluable to the doctor to help him/her begin investigating what might be wrong, and to properly time tests and procedures to the correct phase of the cycle. As a practitioner, I often will see clues on the chart that can indicate what the problems may be.
In the group of women who shared their stories with me, three of the women had struggled with painful periods since puberty. All three eventually also struggled with infertility. I also spoke with one younger, single woman who turned to NaPro Technology for painful periods. Each woman who shared her story with me said that the only treatments she had ever been offered by her mainstream OB/Gyn was the birth control pill, getting pregnant, or hysterectomy. Prior to turning to NaPro, only one of these women had been diagnosed with anything that might be causing her pain.
Each woman was from different areas of the United States and worked with four different NaPro trained physicians. Each described the lengthy amount of time that the NaPro doctor took with her during her first appointment, reviewing her Creighton Model FertilityCare chart, and discussing her health history at length.
Today, I will give an overview of some of the different approaches the doctors used to diagnose and treat these women. It would be impossible to tell you the exact treatment for “painful periods,” because painful periods are just a symptom of some underlying disease or dysfunction. In the cases of the women I spoke with, every one was diagnosed with endometriosis, but some had other underlying issues as well, including hormone problems, cysts, uterine infections, and pelvic adhesions.
I’m going to put on my teacher hat for a moment (did I tell you I used to teach third grade?), so bear with me. Endometriosis is a condition in which some of the lining cells that should be inside the uterus, migrate outside the uterus and implant in different areas of the pelvic cavity. These cells are reactive to the normal hormones from the menstrual cycle. They can attach to the walls of the pelvic cavity, the ovaries, the bladder, and the bowel. This is likely why some women who are eventually diagnosed with endometriosis also have gastrointestinal issues. Scientists really aren’t sure what causes endometriosis. Endometriosis affects approximately 1 in 10 women. There are theories that it is caused by the period “backing up” into the fallopian tubes, or that it’s really an inflammatory condition caused by an immune response. It can cause painful periods, very heavy periods, painful sex, pain with urination, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, and infertility. Endometriosis is difficult to diagnose. It can only be definitively diagnosed through a small surgical procedure called a laparoscopy. Only large areas of endometriosis, or endometriosis in certain areas can be diagnosed through a pelvic exam or an ultrasound. Endometriosis also sometimes happens without noticeable symptoms of pain. I have worked with women who’s only symptom of endometriosis was infertility.
Okay, back to my ladies. For diagnosis, what each woman described to me was a bit different depending on her circumstances and causes of the pain. But each one received extensive bloodwork, including testing for things like thyroid dysfunction and monitoring the function of the ovarian hormones. Each woman had ultrasounds and pelvic exams to see if the causes of the pain could be determined. The hysteroscopy procedure was also often used to put a scope inside the uterus and see if diagnosis could be obtained this way. Several of the women were advised to change their diets to remove processed foods and foods that might cause more of an inflammatory response. Weight loss recommendation and support was another treatment that one woman found helpful. In the case of moderate pain, a medication that can be helpful is one known as Ponstel, which has been shown to decrease menstrual pain as well as excessive bleeding during the menstrual period. Eventually, each woman in my group felt that she wanted a definitive diagnosis, for which laparoscopic surgery was performed. You can read and learn more about this technique here.
So, why are many OB/Gyns opposed to any kind of surgical techniques to diagnose and treat gynecological problems that can ONLY be diagnosed or treated by surgical interventions? This is really important to understand, because when you go to your neighborhood OB/Gyn, they will likely look at you like you're crazy if you ask about surgical options. Pelvic surgeries to treat pain and infertility were much more commonly used before the advent of the birth control pill, drugs like Clomid, and the IVF procedure. The procedure fell out of favor with the medical community because the original versions of this procedure often caused more damage than the problem itself. When you operate on the pelvis, there is a risk of what are known as “pelvic adhesions.” They’ve been described as looking like slime and cobwebs in the pelvic cavity, basically scar tissue that can create a lot of issues. They can cause pain and problems like infertility. For good reasons, this method of diagnosis and treatment was questioned as whether or not it was worth the risk to get definitive answers if we created more problems in the process. But the creator of NaPro Technology, Dr. Thomas Hilgers, has addressed this problem by developing and teaching other physicians an adhesion-free protocol for performing gynecological surgeries like diagnostic laparoscopies. Now we have the benefit of this extremely useful procedure for diagnosis and treatment, with significantly less risk. Most non-NaPro trained doctors are not familiar with these techniques, having not been taught them in medical school, and will still have the problem of creating pelvic adhesions if they do attempt to operate on a woman’s pelvis, causing more damage. One of the ladies who shared her story with me, had experienced this situation of pelvic adhesions from a previous pelvic surgery with a non-NaPro trained physician. When a NaPro surgeon went back in later, he found that her endometriosis had returned and she also had pelvic adhesions which were causing her further pain. The NaPro doctor surgically removed the pelvic adhesions caused by the first surgery, as well as the endometriosis and she is now feeling much better.
For the treatment of endometriosis, the technique that best prevents the endometriosis from recurring is known as excision-literally, the “cutting out,” of the endometriosis. Other techniques that some doctors use usually result in the endometriosis returning. The birth control pill does nothing to remove these areas of endometriosis. The birth control pill turns off the normally functioning ovarian hormones which can stimulate the areas. For some women, this can temporarily decrease their pain. There is a myth that hysterectomy can cure endometriosis, and that childbirth can cure it. In fact, some doctors tell women to try to get pregnant in order to cure the problem, which is what my friend Nicole Havrilla experienced and talks about in her blog about endometriosis.
The great thing is that the NaPro Technology trained physician would be able to use this surgical technique to diagnose and also perform the needed treatment at the same time, removing the need for two surgical procedures. The procedure is done with a very small incision, often using a da Vinci robot. During this diagnostic procedure, other abnormalities can also be corrected, specifically those having to do with PCOS or removal of pelvic adhesions from prior surgeries. Several corrections can be done all at once, and there are often several problems happening all at once.
After surgery, each woman I talked with, described having the first normal menstrual periods they’ve ever had in their lives. In the interest of full disclosure, one woman was still having pain after the surgery. Her NaPro doctor continued trying to correct this for her, and decided to have her try pelvic floor therapy. After receiving this therapy, she described the difference as “amazing.” For one woman, she was finally able to conceive children naturally. All were very pleased with the care they received with their NaPro Technology trained physicians, and described it as a significantly different approach to the care they had previously received.
Through this post, what I hope you’ll realize is that there are other options other than the birth control pill to treat painful periods and endometriosis. I hope that women will realize that both medical and surgical options have a place in women’s healthcare, just like they do when we treat any other area of the body. By way of analogy, I’ll share that I’ve had back problems for years. Two years ago, I decided I really needed a proper diagnosis in order to figure out what my next course of action should be. My doctor was able to diagnose my lower back pain as being related to my L5 disc, and she felt that physical therapy would be my best remedy. But, she did bring up surgery as an option to permanently correct it. She gave me the OPTION and I was the one that could decide if the benefits and risks were worth it. I am arguing that women need to be given all of their options when it comes to gynecological health problems. Not just the option that the doctor has already decided will be best for her.
I would love to connect with you! I can be reached at ShirelleEdghill@gmail.com . I’m also on Facebook @ShirelleEdghillFCP
By Shirelle Edghill, Creighton Model FertilityCare Practitioner
If you are a woman who has ever been to a gynecologist for just about any reproductive health related problem, I am willing to bet that the first, and probably the only treatment option you were offered for your problem was the birth control pill. Or maybe the doctor got really creative and offered you an IUD instead. Period cramps? The pill. Bleeding too much? The pill. Acne? The pill. Irregular cycles? The pill. I worked with a woman who was given the pill for infertility! The doctor told her she should take the pill for six months to “regulate her cycles” and then she should be able to conceive. Guess what happened? She took the pill for six months, got off and still couldn’t get pregnant. And now she was 6 months older and still didn’t know why she couldn’t have babies.
In an age where we see daily technological advances in science, medicine, and technology, have you ever stopped to wonder what the heck is happening in women’s healthcare? We’re getting close to a cure for Alzheimer’s, can help AIDS patients live long, full lives, we’ve seen huge advances in treatments and cures for certain kinds of cancer, but for women with any gynecological issue, we’ve got just one treatment: the pill. I would like to argue that in no other field of medicine have we seen this kind of trend toward ONE treatment for EVERY problem. One disturbing thing that I’ve heard from some women is that they now don’t even want to go to the gynecologist when they have any kind of problem because “I already know he/she will only offer me the pill.” That’s scary, folks.
If you are a woman who hasn’t been to a gynecologist in a long time, or if you’re a man and don’t know what this is like for the women in your life, I’ll give you a little case study.
Two months ago I was contacted by a woman who told me that she was an otherwise healthy woman in her mid-30’s who had always had normal periods and regular cycles. A few weeks before, she had begun to bleed heavily every day. She described it as, “I’ve been on my period for a month.”
“First it was the bleeding, but yesterday, something really scared me. I’m having really sharp abdominal pain that takes my breath way. I was at work and I nearly passed out. This just really isn’t normal for me.”
She told me of her attempts to receive treatment. She called her OB/Gyn’s office and got a nurse on the phone.
The nurse said, “Excessive bleeding? Oh, ok, we’ll call you in a script for the pill.”
She replied, “I really don’t want to be on the pill. I’m concerned about being put on hormones. My cycles have always been normal. Can’t the doctor see me and find out what’s wrong?”
To which the nurse informed her, “Well she would probably just start you on the pill anyway, no matter what was wrong. At your age, it’s normal to have weird stuff like this (except it’s not).”
The woman responded, “But my grandma died of a blood clot, and my mom has cardiac problems, too. I take blood pressure medicine every day. I think I read that the pill isn’t good for people like me. Shouldn’t I really be seen by the doctor?”
(Major back pedaling) “High blood pressure? Oh, ok, yes, well, maybe we should see you. The doctor’s next available appointment is in 6 weeks. Would you like this appointment time?”
This is typical women’s healthcare. One solution for every problem. Being brushed off. Problems that are seen as “female problems” are often not taken as seriously as other types of problems.
In The Atlantic article “How Doctors Take Women’s Pain Less Seriously,” author Joe Fassler tells the agonizing story of his wife’s brush with death due to a dangerous condition known as ovarian torsion. In the ER she was brushed off, misdiagnosed, and left to writhe in pain for hours with no answers. He states, “Nationwide, men wait an average of 49 minutes before receiving an analgesic for acute abdominal pain. Women wait an average of 65 minutes for the same thing.”
So why does it seem like all doctors take this one-size-fits-all approach to treating women’s health issues? Well, the birth control pill is a pretty good bandaid. Essentially, it turns OFF a woman’s naturally functioning cycle. Cycles can be a pesky “woman’s problem,” so if something isn’t working correctly, we just turn it off for a while. I think the woman’s reproductive cycle is very much viewed as something optional….perhaps even something undesirable. Like an appendix. It’s a switch we turn on when we want to use it and a switch we turn off when we don’t want to use it. It’s a part of the body that is seen as unimportant to the overall health of the body. The pill has become a crutch. It’s easier than actually finding the problem and trying to correct it. Sometimes it’s viewed as a less invasive way to stop the symptoms, and honestly, I think sometimes it’s a way to make women just be quiet and go away.
Over my next few posts, I want to tell you about the treatments that another group of doctors use to treat common gynecological conditions. NaPro Technology trained physicians practice a different kind of gynecological healthcare. First, women are taught to chart their fertility cycle in a standardized way using the Creighton Model FertilityCare charting system. The woman’s chart is the primary diagnostic tool that the NaPro Technology trained doctor uses to guide them in their treatment plan. To be clear, these doctors are not alternative medicine doctors. They are board certified OB/Gyns, surgeons, or family practice physicians, who want to practice better women’s healthcare. Many of the treatments that they use have actually been around for a long time, but have been modernized and updated to reflect the latest research. Many of the treatments are newer treatments that may incorporate aspects like beneficial dietary changes and hormone therapy that is targeted to the woman’s individual cycle. The focus and the goal is for the woman’s fertility health to be restored, and the evidence of this is in seeing a healthy fertility chart. That is the NaPro Technology doctor’s goal.
If you are interested in hearing about other treatments for things like unusual bleeding, PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, and excessively heavy and painful periods, I invite you to come back and read my next few posts! If you would like to contact me directly to talk about your own gynecological health concern, I can be reached at ShirelleEdghill@gmail.com . Thanks for reading!
By Shirelle Edghill, Creighton Model FertilityCare Practitioner
One morning over breakfast, I told my husband that I looked up to him as someone I wanted to be like. When I think of the ways he's grown and changed during our 19 year relationship and 14 years of marriage, I just feel like I can only hope that I've had that kind of growth. To me, it was a very natural thing to say, and I didn't think much of it. But later, it dawned on me. THIS is this secret sauce for a great marriage! When you admire your spouse like this, you become different yourself. You care what they think. You care how they feel. You are constantly trying to up your own game because your spouse is pretty freaking amazing and you don’t want to be the slacker in the relationship. Conversely, you can see the opposite happen as a marriage starts to deteriorate. When one spouse begins to lose respect for the other, you see it in the way they don't monitor their tone of voice, their body language, in the way they speak about their spouse to other people.
I think two things have continued to help us in our mutual admiration for the other. The first is that we have continued to intentionally work on having a better, stronger marriage. The second is that we have continued to actively work to be better people ourselves.
One area we've had to really work on is communication. A few weeks ago I was feeling frustrated and overwhelmed with my work load around the house. Michael began a new career about 18 months ago. With Michael’s new job meaning increased work hours and responsibility, I had taken over all the household related things that he used to do. When he took the job, we talked about how this would probably be necessary while he settled in. Now, one thing you should know is that my husband has always helped out around the house and when he’s home, he’s been there in it with me, taking care of the kids. If on any day in the last 18 months I had said, “Could you take care of a load of laundry?” he would do it if he said he would. The problem I was having was that since he started his job, I knew that ultimately I was responsible for all the laundry, or delegating that job to someone else, and that went for every household or kid related task. I was feeling overwhelmed one day because I had not specifically asked him to do the laundry while I was working on the weekend, and since he sometimes did it on the weekends, I had expected him to do it. Big mistake, those expectations. Monday morning rolls around and our 4 year old yells, “Mom, I don’t have any clean underwear!” I cringed because I did not have an immediate solution to this problem, and I was irritated that he hadn’t taken care of it on the weekend, because he had the weekend before. I could feel that my resentment over being responsible for everything around the house was growing. What I wanted to do was to complain about how no one ever helps me around the house. I wanted to send him a passive aggressive text with a picture of Mount Laundry. Maybe I would go on strike! What I did instead was to decide to think first about how I should communicate with him about this in a respectful way. This is NOT in my nature. I am naturally really impulsive when I’m angry (and in general!) and I’ve tried to work on this. I waited until I was no longer irritated and for when Michael was able to talk about it, and I calmly told him that I was feeling mentally overwhelmed. I asked him if he felt like his job had calmed down enough for him to commit to a few household tasks so that I didn’t have to have so much mental clutter. I suggested he take over the finances again and maybe cook one dinner a week.
So what did Michael do? He got his calendar out and scheduled himself to cook TWO dinners a week, he scheduled a block of time to do the finances, AND he committed to doing the laundry on the weekends. And he’s done that. We’re a month in and he’s taken care of all of those things. They are now off my mental to-do lists. He went above and beyond what I even asked him to do. And you know what that makes me want to do? The same for him! How can you not admire someone who goes above and beyond like that? That makes ME want to go above and beyond for him. I think that is what I had been trying to do by taking the home workload off of him so he could focus on his new job for a season. I tried to offer a lot of extra grace during this transitional time.
One of the biggest things that has contributed to the growth of our marriage over the last 15 years might be kind of surprising, but it has to do with the way we practice family planning. If you have stumbled on this site for the first time, I’d like to invite you to read a little bit about the system we use to plan our family without hormonal contraception, barriers, or devices. We plan our family by using the naturally fertile or infertile days in my cycle. The system is called the Creighton Model FertilityCare System and it’s good stuff.
We have this term in the Creighton Model that we call SPICE. Each letter represents an area of intimacy in a relationship.
Creative and Communicative
We teach couples to think about these areas of their relationship and discuss which areas are their strengths and weaknesses. We ask them to pick concrete things they can do to become stronger in these areas. As I've mentioned, communication was an area for us that needed work. Practicing Creighton has helped us learn to communicate about my fertility and my health in a really open way, and these skills can transfer to the other areas of your relationship. In a natural fertility awareness system like the Creighton Model, there may be times when couples choose to practice periodic abstinence in order to plan their family. This is when SPICE practice most comes into play in our marriage, and is one of the reasons I think Michael and I have such a strong marriage. During times of periodic abstinence we are intentionally working on these other areas of our relationship. We hug and cuddle more (physical), we take walks (also physical), we go on dates to talk (intellectual), we sit on the couch and talk about plans (communication), we share our work struggles with each other (emotional), we plan a vacation (creative), we go to church together (spiritual), or we have friends over for dinner that we both really enjoy talking to (intellectual). These are all things that help us to feel connected and intimate. Sometimes I think couples default to sex as the only way to be intimate, and the only way to show love and affection to one another, and this might lead to a limited view of intimacy. It could even lead to one of them feeling a little bit used. At the core of our relationship is a tenderness, affection, and respect that will hopefully be there when we're old and gray in our rocking chairs on the porch.
Our desire is that our sex life simply be a reflection of the relationship that we have the other 98% of the time.
Ok, so maybe your husband or wife isn’t in a place where they would have pulled out their calendar and committed to do all of those things. There was a time when Michael probably wouldn’t have responded in that way, and where I would have picked a fight with him the moment I became irritated. But you can start with you. You can choose today and everyday to go above and beyond for your significant other. A surprising thing often happens when you start to regularly do that. Sometimes, even if you’re just lost that lovin’ feeling, it begins to come back when you put that person's wellbeing at the forefront of your mind. They notice, they begin to feel that love and affection, and want to return it. It makes them want to be better. I would also challenge you today on this Valentine's Day, that if you do admire your spouse and desire to maybe even be a bit more like them, that you tell them that. It will go a long way.
Thanks for reading! I'd love your comments or thoughts on how you are working on being the person your spouse looks up to. I can also be reached at ShirelleEdghill@gmail.com