Yes, birth control affects mental health

“I had severe depression with suicidal thoughts. I had no libido and I got severe fatigue. I took on weight and was not able to lose it…. After stopping with the birth control pill these symptoms vanished.” —Ursula, public commenter on the FDA Citizen’s Petition for greater transparency of birth control side effects. It’s not all in your head: the Pill definitely affects mental health. I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard women share that they didn’t feel themselves—and worse, experience . . .

I Have a Wanted Pregnancy, And Yet I’ve Received Pressure to Un-Want It

I am a happy mom to four kids—three already born and one on the way. As a fourth born myself, it is a special pregnancy for me, even if one of my least favorites in the nausea department. Some of the greatest gifts I’ve received in life are my siblings, and so I’m thrilled to be able to add another for my kids. This pregnancy was not a “mistake.” So I was frustrated when I attended my latest pregnancy ultrasound and a doctor pressed me to doubt my own desire or capability to add this latest person to my family.

Whose Fault Is It, Anyway? Thinking Outside the Blame Box

Recently while walking my pandemic-acquired puppy, I heard a dog barking from inside another house. It’s a fairly common occurrence on our walks, but somehow this particular dog and this particular house threw my pup into a fritz. He wasn’t barking, but he was using all his strength to try to peel out of there. He was terrified. I knelt down to try to redirect his attention and give him a treat. Part of training puppies, I’m learning, is to normalize different situations for them and associate

My Baby Taught Me to Love My Body

How surrendering to postpartum weight challenges healed, not hurt, my relationship with my body Few things humble a woman more than some of the special gifts Mother Nature reserves for our fair sex. I am more than grateful for fertility and our ability to bring life into the world, but these wondrous powers come with unique costs. There’s menstruation and its accompanying pain and mood swings. Then with the gifts of pregnancy come the challenges of morning sickness, back pain, and daily cogniti

How I Came to View Fertility As a Delicate Gift

I’ve been thinking a lot about new life this springtime. After a long winter, this week in Cleveland, we saw our first daffodils and hyacinths. They’re always the first to show up, and they may not last more than a couple weeks, but the sight of them represents something larger—the promise of spring and warmer days to come. And a reprieve from the long wait for winter’s end. After more than four years, my husband and I are having a baby, expected this fall. When this baby’s born, our last baby

What to Do When Life Breaks Your Heart, According to Sheryl Sandberg and Prince Harry

It’s a phrase Sheryl Sandberg heard often after her husband, Dave Goldberg, unexpectedly died at age 48 in 2015. In her recent book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, cowritten with psychology professor Adam Grant, Sandberg paints a brutally honest picture of what grief looks like. “I can’t imagine, either,” she’d often reply. “But I have no choice.” Sandberg’s words reminded me of one of my own brushes with grief. “I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe was one of the s

Americans Need to Come Up with Our Own Form of Hygge

Our culture seems to be on a never-ending search for happiness. Surveys show women reporting happiness levels at an all-time low, and advertisements continue to vie for filling the happy gap if we just buy this product, try this lifestyle, make this change. It also shows in the books we’re buying. Comfortably sitting on the bestseller list right now is a book by Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. The Little Book of Hygge offers insights into the “Danish secrets