When Love Didn’t Give Up – Ian and Larissa

One might say that I have been spending too much time watching videos like this over finals week but I guess if I am able to tie them into my blog then it isn’t real procrastination… right?

This video tells the story of Ian and Larissa, a couple who had been dating for ten months before Ian was in a car accident and suffered a brain injury.  The two, who had been considering marriage before the accident, decided to get married despite his injuries provided that he was able to communicate with her.  The two are now releasing a book on their marriage.

The marriage between Ian and Larissa is different from many marriages.  Larissa must help Ian with many day-to-day tasks, be the one who works to provide for them, manage his medications and and care for him in ways that he will never be able to do for her.  Ian is far more dependent on Larissa than she is on him.

But in other ways, their marriage is just like other marriages.  They spend time together, are able to communicate, go on dates, and have a relationship founded on love and faith.  Ian’s brain injury did not prevent him from being able to consent to marriage and the two are able to have a marriage that no one can deny as loving.

Ian and Larissa’s marriage is certainly one that presents a different view on marriage – one that is not based on what each partner can give to the other but the love between the partners.  There are many marriages that fall apart due to lesser struggles than the ones that Ian and Larissa face and this is testimony to the fact that marriage is work but it is worth it.

“Look Up” Spoken Word Poetry

I couldn’t resist posting this.  This spoken word poetry discusses society’s obsession with technology and the impact that it has on our relationships and what our lives would be if we would look up from our screens and engage.  While there are many ways that technology allows us to communicate with others, I believe that our relationships with our family and friends are strongest when technology is put aside and true communication is allowed to take place.

Period Practices

#NSFB: Not safe for boys.  Don’t say that I didn’t warn you.  

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Ladies, I am in no way saying that that time of the month is not a struggle.  For many women, it is a time of pain, uncomfort, and, for lack of a better word, ickiness.  But in many ways, we have it good – just hear me out.

The other day my friend and I were talking about different way to handle period cramps: midol, heating pads, pressure points, among others.  In light of this conversation, I began to wonder how women dealt with menstruation historically before tampax and Dove Chocolate.  So here is a brief timeline and some interesting facts that I found.

Timeline:

  • Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans  The egyptians used softened papyrus as tampons, Greeks made tampons out of lint wrapped around small pieces of wood, and the Romans made tampons out of soft wool.
  • Biblical Times  When women were on their periods they had to be separated from the men.  They were considered to be unpure as was anything that they touched.  (Book suggestion: The Red Tent by Anita Diamant)
  • 1831 France  Menstruation is linked to ovulation by Charles Négrier
  • 19th Century  Until the late 19th century, it was very common for women to wear home made pads if they wore anything at all.  It isn’t until the late 19th century that women began wearing menstrual pads.
  • 1870’s  Menstrual pads become commercially available.  They are reusable and held up by belts or straps.
  • 1890’s  The first disposable pads are available but are not used by many.
  • 1931 Tampons become commercially available in the United States.
  • 1937  The first menstrual cups are introduced by fail.
  • 1970’s  The self-adhesive pad is introduced.
  • 1980’s  Menstrual cups are introduced again and this time are more successful.  Also, Toxic Shock Syndrome from tampons becomes a concern for many.

Fun Facts:

  • A woman will spend approximately 3,500 days menstruating.
  • Woman may use nearly 11,400 tampons in their lifetime.
  • Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume was published in 1970.  It was the first book to discuss a girl’s first menstruation in a fictional storyline.
  • Throughout history, menstrual blood has been seen by many as sacred and thus has been used in different sacrifices, rituals, remedies, and different practices.
  • Before self adhesive pads and tampons, belts were used to hold pads.
  • Women were not allowed to work in certain industries (mainly food and opium) out of fear that during menstruation they would spoil the food!
  • For much of history, women did not wear any form of pad or tampon during their period and instead would allow themselves to bleed onto their clothes and even the floor.  The floors of factories were covered in hay to catch menstrual blood and women thought that men would find it attractive because it was a sign of fertility.
  • Women who complained of menstrual cramps were sent to psychiatrists at certain points in history because menstrual cramps were seen as a rejection of one’s femininity.
  • Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam all prohibit sex during menstruation.
  • There is a short Disney film about menstruation called “The Story of Menstruation.”  Posted below!

 

Disney’s 1946 film “The Story of Menstruation”

More information:

Modern Fairytales: Perfectly Pinterest Weddings

tumblr_lwmbgvYIJD1qztv9no1_500Every girl dreams of her wedding day.  Not only do girls dream about their future wedding, they are planning for it and sometimes even before they are in a committed relationship or near the point of their life in which they would consider marriage a possibility. Pinterest and other websites allow for girls to begin informally planning and preparing for their wedding day in a whole new way.  Almost every girl that has a pinterest has a “wedding board” where they pin different ideas for their dress, party favors, decorations, invitations, and all things wedding.  This shows an interesting shift in the thought of weddings and marriage.

Throughout history, weddings themselves have had a very different meaning. Certainly they have been celebrated in different manners and to different degrees of grandness.   However, it has always seemed that the wedding was celebrated and exciting because of the marriage that would come out of it.  Now, it seems that more girls are dreaming, planning, and longing for their wedding day instead of all the days of marriage that are meant to follow that wedding.  The wedding has become the focus instead of the intention of the wedding.

I was recently talking to a fellow student who is engaged and getting married this summer.  In passing she made a comment about how people have offered their Wedding pinterest boards to her while she is planning her wedding.  This struck me as very interesting.  Girls want to see these ideas and dreams become a reality, even if it is for someone else (at least until their own wedding).  Their own wedding isn’t even the focus for many because it only happens for one day and that might not be enough – they have ten different ideas for the invitation.

tumblr_mtjnhpgxsY1ryjwzno1_500Another potential problem with these pre-planned weddings is the fact that generally it is the planning of just one of the members who will be involved in the marriage (generally the bride).  But when the groom comes along and wants to make a few changes, will the girl who has been dreaming of all these aspects of her wedding day be willing to give them up?  In modern society, there is certainly an idea that the wedding is the “bride’s big day” and that it should be all about her so there might be some who say that it is understandable for her to be excited and to expect it to be all that she has dreamed it will be.  However, after the wedding it will not be “bride’s big day” it will be “husband-and-wife-all-day-every-day.”  And that is a reality that might not be able to be pinned on a pinterest board.

Granted, many of the girls who are making these boards may not be in a relationship or have someone that they necessarily want to marry so it would be difficult to imagine the marriage that would come after the wedding.  It is much easier for them to dream about the dress and the intricate details of the wedding that they can now.  But as girls become increasingly more attached to their dreams and hopes of their wedding day, what will happen after their wedding?  The realities of marriage and family life may seem shocking compared to their dreams of white, lace, and flowers.  The emphasis placed on fairytale perfect weddings is taking the emphasis away from the preparation and excitement for marriage itself.

Is there a danger in Pinterest wedding boards and other areas where emphasis is placed on the wedding instead of the marriage?

The Catholic Church and Homosexuality

The Third Way from Blackstone Films on Vimeo.

 

This video has been floating around my Facebook newsfeed and I thought that I would share it.  As homosexuality and same-sex marriages are becoming increasingly more accepted, the Church defends its case against same-sex marriage and reiterates it teachings regarding homosexuality.  What do you think about the Catholic Church’s stance?

Childbirth in the Modern Age

business-of-being-born_thumbDisclaimer: My friends and I are not necessarily typical college students.  One night during my sophomore year, about seven or eight girls gathered in the common room of one of our suites to watch a movie.  It wasn’t a rom com or a drama, it was a documentary called The Business of Being Born.  This documentary discussed the procedures that go into a typical hospital childbirth as well as showcased a number of natural and home births.  This was a movie night unlike any other.

For women (especially those who have not given birth) there is something completely horrifying, beautiful, and exciting about the idea of giving birth.  There is no forgetting of the fact that giving birth to a small human is no small task and that it is without a doubt very painful, yet this only adds to the interest and terror of it.

Throughout human history, childbirth has always been a dangerous and often deadly experience.  Without modern medicine, not only was it extremely painful but it was extremely dangerous for both the mother and child.  Following the birth, the mother and child were also especially prone to disease and infection.  In the era of modern medicine, however, childbirth has become much less painful and survival rates for both the mother and child have risen significantly.  Queen Victoria is known to have been under the effects of chloroform during the birth of two of her children so as to ease the pain.  Since then, the idea of “painless” births has spread and become common.

Yet, many people are going back to natural births, free of drugs and the like.  There are many different views on these natural births; some consider it to be a phase, some consider it dangerous and irresponsible, some consider it more natural and empowering, and other simply consider it as an unnecessarily subjecting yourself to more pain that necessary.  What are the positive benefits of natural childbirth?

  • Without the drugs in both the mother’s system and the child’s system, both mother and child will not be as groggy during and following the birth.  Some would argue that because they are not as groggy, it was be much easier to begin to breast feed following the birth.
  • While it has proven to be dangerous in the past because of a number of factors, the female body was built so that it could give birth and survive.  Many women who have had natural childbirths have stated that this form of birth was very empowering and made them feel more in tune with their body and the strength that it bares.
  • It is possible to have a natural childbirth in the hospital just in case anything goes wrong.
  • During labor, it is possible to walk around and move into different positions that may help speed up labor that would be impossible if one was using an epidural.
  • It is all on your own time.  The Business of Being Born addressed all of the different ways in which the medicine that is used in hospitals during childbirth speeds up or slows down the process and how often you are on one drug that speeds it up and another that slows it down, making it all rather unproductive.  There are certainly different situations in which childbirth needs to be induced but not in every situation is it necessary.
  • The drugs used during childbirth combat many of the bodies natural and good functions during childbirth such as the release of different hormones that are meant to bond the mother and child as well as help her to give birth.

Ultimately, many women say that the female body was made to be able to give birth and today’s medicine should serve as an aid in case of trouble but should not prevent the body from doing what it would naturally do.  Certainly there are still dangers in all forms of childbirth and none has proven to be extremely superior to the other but there is certainly something to be investigated when it comes to giving birth.

As someone who has never given birth, I feel as though I am unable to really understand or draw conclusions on this topic, however, it is one that I am very interested in.  Are natural births unnecessary when the option for a less painful birth is possible?  What are the effects of the drugs used during childbirth on both the mother and the child?  As long as both the mother and child are safe and healthy following the birth, do any of these factors really matter anyways?

Romanticizing the Pill

the_pill_poster2The further down you scroll on Netflix, the weirder the movies are that you find.  One day while searching for a movie I came across a movie called “The Pill.”   The cover, shown on the right, has a couple in bed with the man holding out his hand with a small pill toward a women who seems unconvinced.  As someone who is very interested in the increasing use of contraception and abortifacients, I was intrigued and had to look into this further.

The premise of this rom com is that Fred and Mindy meet and after some drinks end up in bed together.  The next morning, Fred learns that Mindy is not on birth control and, since they did not use a condom, he goes out and buys the morning after pill.  Mindy at first refuses to take it.  He gets her to take the first pill but has to ensure that she takes the second one twelve hours later so that it will be effective.  In order to do this, he fakes interest in her and spends the day with her but obviously this does not necessarily go according to his plan as he realizes that he might have actual feelings for Mindy.

Ultimately, the film romanticizes one night stands, contraception, and abortifacients stating that somewhere in between the pills it is possible to find love.  This is certainly not the only film to do so, however, it is one of the more obvious ones.  This is very reflective of many of the views of such topics in society.  Many see birth control and abortion as means of allowing couples to engage romantically without having to “suffer the consequences.”  Spontaneity is possible without worry about fertility cycles or thinking further than the next morning.  This is considered to be romantic and ideal.

But at what point does this romanticism wear off?  When one tires of dates and instead realizes that they want something more long term?  When it comes time to “settle down?”  When there isn’t much time left on the biological clock?  In the waiting room of the abortion clinic?  I don’t mean to be blunt, but there are certain down sides of this view of romance that need to be recognized.

Birth control and abortion are certainly hot topics and there is a lot more to be said about them than is demonstrated in much of the media.  However, this film and others like it certainly draw attention to some of modern thought surrounding these topics.  There are many, myself included, that reject this notion of romanticizing the pill.  These films might make it seem as though the pill allows for the beginning of a great romance, this romance lasts for an hour and a half and the consequences that follow are not shown or recognized.  These fictional characters don’t have to worry about the future but as modern people we do.

Abortion and contraception, though increasingly accepted and popular, have been around for centuries but, like pornography, are evolving into socially acceptable and even encouraged practices.  How much do people who are taking the pill know about what the pill is doing to their bodies and their relationships?  Is our society allowing us to be swept off our feet by the pill before we are able to really get to know it?