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May 2014 Publisher Letter

In April 2010, Time magazine featured the article, “The Pill at 50,” a celebratory story of this medicinal method of contraception and its correlation with the newfound freedom of women in the 20th century to choose to circumvent the limits of biological destiny to pursue other roles, goals and definitions of happiness.

The birth control pill has offered contemporary women more control over their lives, choices and relationships in a reliable and convenient way that women have not had since the beginning of time. So it was with mixed feelings that I read Kathleen Barnes’ article, “Contraceptive Pill Chill,” about the downsides of the pill, including many potential health issues and other side effects.

I had been on the pill for years, and stopped taking it nine months before I opted to become pregnant. Almost immediately, I felt different. It was as if a fog had lifted; suddenly I felt awake and clearer; the world looked brighter, and I was more intensely aware of my emotions. I just felt more like me. I have spoken with many women that describe similar experiences.

In thinking about this, I’ve observed an increasing number of messages attempting to guide young women into making the “right” choice early in life. Two recently published books touch on this. Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In for Graduates (a companion to her Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead) advises millennial generation females how to manage fledgling steps in the business world to childproof their careers. Susan Patton’s Marry Smart cautions women to “snag a good husband” in college or at least by their 20s, rather than focusing entirely on building a career; after all, once a woman hits her 30s, she is competing with women in their 20s for “the good ones”. In essence, both books negate the opportunity of adherents to naturally experience their own unique life journey, and dismiss the idea that young women can trust their instincts to make smart decisions about their lives.

In light of this discussion, I find Linda Sechrist’s May article, “Trust Your Intuition: Listen to that Still, Small Voice and Let it Lead You,” a vital counterpoint. Perhaps rather than counseling and cautioning young women on which choices to make and which mistakes to avoid, a greater help would be teaching us all to listen to, trust and follow our intuition from childhood on, enabling individuals to freely choose and fully live authentic and satisfying lives. I would have truly appreciated this type of mentoring, especially as a young adult.

Today, for better or worse, women have the freedom to at least make our own mistakes. Perhaps those cost us more than they do our male counterparts, but the ultimate point is that we now have more choices than ever before and the freedom to make them.

The meaning of the word “choice” is that it is yours to make. As always, our goal at Natural Awakenings is to provide educational information that helps our readers make their own choices.

To celebrating our intuition, our choices and our life journey,

Gabriella Buchnik Natural Awakenings Milwaukee

Gabriella Buchnik, Publisher

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