A long one...but necessary to show my point that the pill can help someone be more pro-life. This is still an exception as you will see my "exceptional" story below. We have a medical solution to the pain of endometriosis and we, even as conservative Catholics, are free to use it with specific guidelines.
Some readers may remember my three options to ease menstrual pain resulting in my decision for surgery last summer. It seemed an easy one to make at the time. I didn't want to live with the pain, and I didn't want to go on the pill. I'll take surgery please. I like using NFP so I know what is going on with my body. I know when I'm ovulating, I'm not suppressing my happy hormone that helps me do so, and I know when I can and cannot get pregnant. Let's not have that change.
However, even in my NFP classes, we teach that the pill can be prescribed for medical reasons. We can try supplements and even surgery first, but sometimes it is hard to find the cause and the pill may be the best source of relief. Starting a hormonal pill can balance out your body and hopefully even after you come off things will be better.
I chose surgery to diagnose the problem - endometriosis. I also found out that it can be caused by estrogen imbalance and cod liver oil (or other fish oil) supplements can increase that problem. Solution (treatment to prevent recurrence): get pregnant or try supplements, exercise and progesterone if necessary. Well I have tried all three (not the pregnancy part) and gotten nowhere.
NFP doesn't make life perfect and supplements don't always help. Even with my lifestyle changes, I still could be classified as having PMDD - meaning I can't function. At this point, I not only have pain but awful mood swings and anxiety attacks. By my charts, I know it is basically the week before my next cycle. It must be hormonal right? But increasing the progesterone doesn't help the emotional part and adds extreme fatigue to the mix. What is a girl to do? No pregnancy to blame the hormonal insanity on and no support from mainstream culture who would have put me on the pill 5 years ago.
If I could talk to my May 2009 self, I might advise the pill. I knew then and still know now it can be pro-life if used with periodic abstinence. I also know that my definition of pro-life includes many different things including quality of life. What can I do to make myself healthier - oddly enough that may have, and still could be, the pill. If I can't function for almost a week at a time, then it is hard for me to get outside myself and live a good example.
I don't regret my decision because I couldn't see into the future, but I would advise people in a similar situation to think about the option long and hard and not judge those who take the "easy" way out. No way is easy, and the goal is overall health. If over the counter supplements and progesterone do not help, the pill just might. I'm still reaching for that goal and I'm once again weighing my options.