BOMA-USA Teachers must apply for Renewal of Certification every three years. In October of each year, BOMA-USA will notify each Teacher needing to renew Certification in the following year. Renewal of Certification and the BOMA-USA badge will be issued by BOMA-USA in June of each year. Membership in BOMA-USA is required for Certification and Renewal of Certification.
Please note: Our August conference will count toward renewal of certification! Those who are due for renewal of certification this year will be notified by June.
Requirements for BOMA-USA Teacher Renewal:
Business card template available!
In our continuing effort to keep our marketing consistent using our logo, BOMA-USA has a business card template available for all teachers and teachers-in practicum to use:
Simply email your contact information to Sue Ek (Sue@boma-usa.org) and she will add it to the template and email it back to you. Then, you can email it to a local print shop of your choosing.
by Sue Ek
In 1978, at a WOOMB conference in Melbourne, Australia, Dr. John Billings asked Dr. Hanna Klaus to develop something for the young people because “no one was doing anything with them.”
Dr. Klaus had just moved to Washington, D.C., and was the Associate Professor of Ob/Gyn at George Washington University Medical Center and director of Ob/Gyn education at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Maryland. As she tells the story, “In a series of providential events, Kay Ek’s sister, Mary Thormann, Ph.D., a professor of early childhood education at Marymount College (now university) in Arlington, VA, was delivering Meals on Wheels with Eunice Kennedy Shriver for their parish, Our Lady of Victory, in Washington, D.C. Dr. Thormann spoke to her of my interest in teaching fertility awareness to teens. At the time, Mrs. Shriver was the Executive Vice President of the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation for the Prevention of Mental Retardation. She became interested as premature babies were at higher risk for mental retardation, and teen mothers often delivered prematurely. I met with Mrs. Shriver, and eventually, the Foundation funded our initial research on what became the Teen STAR (Sexuality Teaching in the Context of Adult Responsibility) program.”
Early on, the program found a strong foothold in Europe. However, as Dr. Klaus explains, “Teens are open to learning about sexuality and fertility the world over.”
It’s just not an easy reach because of the limitations that come from varying factors. She cited one problem of not having enough people to promote the program. There are also disturbing setbacks that come from the gate-keepers. Their roadblocks run from objecting that the curriculum is not academic enough to fears suggesting that, when teens track their fertility, they will take advantage of using the infertile time for promiscuous activity. The list goes on.
The main challenge, as Dr. Klaus sees it, is, that, “The wider culture encourages teens to engage in intercourse ‘as soon as they are ready as long as they don’t get pregnant.’ All of the professional societies in the United States, and many internationally, are pushing this.” She added, “They seem oblivious to the tripling of sexually transmitted infections and depression in the 25 and under [age] group.”
She added, “Puberty is the time when interest in coming to terms with one’s sexuality and fertility is at its peak. Teaching teens at this time is the logical approach to fertility acceptance in one’s life. Pre-marriage is too late for too many as sexual activity and contraception have begun much earlier.” She encourages all Billings teachers to learn Teen STAR and promote it “as a primary prevention.”
As Dr. Klaus puts it, “The essence of the Teen STAR program is experiential learning of fertility signs. It is not primarily a biology course.”
So, what is involved to become a Teen STAR presenter? “Teachers are trained to deliver middle school, high school, or college level programs. Women teach the girls> Men, the boys.” The training of a Teen STAR teacher (or “Monitor” in Latin America and Spain) starts with a 35-hour teacher training workshop. A mentored practicum follows that. New teachers are supported by experienced teachers either in-person, by phone, or email, depending on the location. Then, after two years of teaching, teachers become eligible to become trainers.
Looking to the future, she says, “Thankfully, the International Teen STAR Association is well-established and led by the next generation. Materials are constantly updated to keep up with new knowledge while keeping the essence of experiential learning maintained.”
The near future will see BOMA-USA and Teen STAR sharing a conference in August in Washington, D.C. at The Catholic University of America. Teen STAR will begin meeting on Thursday, August 6, and will continue on Friday, August 7. BOMA will host its one-day Billings-specific topics on Friday, August 7. Then, the two groups will share general sessions on Saturday, August 8.
We are looking forward to announcing our exciting topics and speakers soon on our website.
by Ann Marschel
Have you heard that when the sun rises, you should also rise? Or that when the sun sets, that is when you should go to sleep? This is a common saying because of something called the Circadian Rhythm. What is the Circadian Rhythm exactly? It is our bodies’ natural response to being alert and sleepy throughout the day. In other words, we have an internal clock that runs in the background and triggers times of alertness and sleepiness throughout a twenty-four-hour period. Both men and women have a Circadian Rhythm.
Now, have you ever heard of the Infradian Rhythm? The Infradian Rhythm is a rhythm that occurs longer than a day, such as the tidal waves, monthly menstruation or seasonally changes. For the purposes of this article, we are going to focus on women and their infradian rhythm as it relates to their menstrual cycles.
Alisa Vitti, an expert in the female Infradian Rhythm, started her journey with many health problems. It was from these health issues that she had to make a choice: take lots of medication or be stuck with irregular cycles and possible infertility due to PCOS. She decided to do some of her own research and now, twenty years later, she has written two books about women’s health and has her own women’s health clinic.
Once Alisa took her own health into her hands, she found that she was not the only one dealing with these unpleasant symptoms and health concerns. In fact, research has proven that over 50% of women currently struggle with hormonal issues. That is a lot of women!
There are many factors that play into these hormonal imbalances. One factor Alisa discovered was that each woman has an Infradian Rhythm. She realized that if women would know about this and utilize the components of how their bodies naturally respond to different elements throughout their cycle, women could excel in their health rather than struggling with it.
Diet, Exercise, and Sleep
There are many diet fads out in our world today. In Alisa’s book she touches on many of them, including Paleo, Keto, and Intermittent Fasting. Overall, no matter what type of diet you are on, the Infradian Rhythm allows a woman to know what she should eat.
Each woman’s metabolism changes dramatically throughout her cycle. For the first half of the cycle, a woman’s metabolism is slower. Women don’t need as many carbohydrates. This is a time when women can cut their caloric intake and do more intense physical workouts to acquire leaner muscle mass metabolically. This is also a good time for women to get up earlier in the morning to work out.
After ovulation, a woman’s metabolism speeds up. This is the time for a woman to eat complex carbohydrates to keep blood sugar stable. A woman should also vary her exercise routine and do less intense exercise in the later part of her cycle. If a woman uses high intensity interval training the last part of the cycle, it will turn on fat storage and turn on muscle wasting. This is also a good time for women to get up 30-60 minutes later in the morning. Allowing for gentle movement when waking up and keeping the heavier workout for later in the day is the best plan. Women also need more rest after ovulation.
Overall, Alisa states it’s not the what, but it’s the when. Utilizing this knowledge of the Infradian Rhythm and how a woman’s cycle correlates with her brain and the other functions of her body will allow her to improve and sustain her health. Putting the above strategies in place will allow a woman more sustained energy throughout the month. Ultimately, it will help her utilize and be efficient with her body and how it is designed.
*Information about the Infradian Rhythm was taken from this podcast/article with Alisa Vitti https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/what-is-our-infradian-rhythm as well as this YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=166NrR5A7Ng . Alisa also has written two books titled Women Code: Perfect Your Cycle and In the FLO: Unlock Your Hormonal Advantage and Revolutionize Your Life.
Q. Tell us about your family and where you are living.
I’ve been married for almost 20 years to Jacob, and we have three children, ages 16, 14, and 10. We live in Southeast Louisiana about an hour north of New Orleans. Two years ago, we returned home after being gone for eight years. During that time, we lived in South Texas near the border of Mexico and Washington, D.C.
Q. Tell us about how you happened to convert to Catholicism and the Billings Method. How did all of that happen?
My conversion to Catholicism is a pretty long story. The short version is that I grew up in a Christian home. My father is a minister. However, I met and fell in love with a beautiful Catholic man and, staying true to my upbringing, knew that if I was going to be married to a Catholic man that I would have to become Catholic. I did it out of obedience to the word of God and in submission and respect to my husband as the head of our household. Over ten years or so after getting my master’s degree in religious education at a Catholic university and reading “Humanae Vitae” and Theology of the Body, I came to a very deep appreciation and understanding of the truth of the Catholic Church's teaching on marriage and contraception.
As for my conversion to Billings, I began my NFP journey by teaching myself a sympto-thermal method after learning the truth of how the Pill can work as an early abortifacient. When I had my conversion after reading Theology of the Body, I talked to my priest. He encouraged me to be certified in a method of NFP. I didn't even know that was a thing, and I had been through RCIA three times by then! It was 2013! The Billings Method was the one promoted in our diocese, so that is the one I chose. Even though I charted sympto-thermal, I was not interested in getting into a potential argument with anyone about methods, so I decided to go ahead with the Billings Method since that was the one promoted in our area.
Q. What inspired you to become a Billings teacher?
My priest. I had no idea there were people out there helping other couples learn how to use fertility awareness-based methods. The other thing that inspired me was I saw this was a huge need in the Church. Our culture and the Church have completely bought into the contraception lie. Once God opened my heart to the Church's teaching about God’s plan for love, marriage, and the marital embrace, my eyes opened to the reality of the contraceptive mindset and how far we’ve fallen in this area. The sexual revolution could not have occurred until the development of reliable contraception. Contraception is not a new idea; we have just never been as good at it as we are now. We are so good at, in fact, that we have forgotten the natural reality that sex leads to babies. We are so good at not getting pregnant, that we feel we have a RIGHT not to get pregnant. We feel we have a RIGHT to sex without consequences, so when the natural consequences occur, we feel we have a right to negate those consequences. Our culture views children as an unfortunate outcome of what should be all about pleasure. Contraception leads to abortion. Abortion is the final answer to failed contraception. I’ve shed many tears and prayed many prayers about this connection that few seem to make.
Q. While you’re taking some time off now, it tends to be in the blood for years and years. What would you say to encourage others to recommit to teaching?
When I teach an intro session, I get a good response, but follow-up is almost always nonexistent. My advice is just to do what is in front of you. If that means one couple, teach the one couple. I tried to anticipate what could happen in a sort of "if you build it, they will come" mentality. Nobody came. Now I do what is necessary, even if it means not teaching at all until a couple asks. Also, find others who teach. We are invigorated by each other's successes and passion. Don’t do it by yourself.
Q. For a while, you were with the St. Augustine Foundation. What kinds of projects did you work on for them?
My first project was an online course for the Billings Method, but we quickly realized that video-based courses don't turn into real clients, and without proper follow-up, method effectiveness rates decline. Next, I created a 13-week online course in sex education. This class included sections on moral decision making, sexual morality, chastity, sexually transmitted infections, pornography, relationships, and basic fertility charting. My goal for this course was to lay a foundation and promote body literacy that would give young women the tools to understand their bodies. They would know the parameters of a healthy vs. unhealthy cycles, and how their body speaks to them through their charting. With this foundation, the jump to using NFP for family planning would seem like a natural transition.
I see a really big hole in our education of women. We begin to talk about cycles and charting when they’re engaged and preparing for marriage. In this culture, it’s too late by then. Most women are already sexually active, on the Pill, or both. We’ve got to get to our girls when they start menstruating. Doing this in conjunction with a chastity course and sex education is a natural fit.
Q. Your involvement with bringing the Billings Method to the United Nations (UN) is so interesting and impressive. Tell us about that.
The WOOMB International team goes to the UN to attend the Commission on the Status of Women every March. Our mission at the UN is to educate and promote the Billings Ovulation Method worldwide. We had the wonderful opportunity to partner with the Holy See twice to promote the method. Most years, however, we host parallel events where we present the method and lately have added others who share in our mission to raise awareness regarding natural methods of fertility management. Fertility awareness-based methods of family planning are a natural fit for women in poverty and refugees in particular. Women in these situations have no access to doctors to manage contraceptive prescriptions or the side effects of those prescriptions.
Additionally, women in African countries do not want the contraceptives. A more natural approach to fertility is more in line with their culture. However, our main goal at the UN is to promote the authentic use of the Billings Ovulation Method for family planning for women all over the world.
Q. As one of our faithful monthly donors, what would you say to encourage others to give monthly? We want to boost that end of our financial base, so hearing from someone who has been committed to giving for a while means a lot.
It takes money to do the work. The more I do in philanthropy, the more I recognize the need for funding. My monthly giving is for that very reason. I see the necessity of consistent funding, and I want to be a part of the solution for that.
BOMA-USA provides education and training for The Billings Ovulation Method® which is a natural method of fertility management that teaches you to recognize the body's natural signs of fertility.