The WOOMB Directors are very grateful to those people who have offered financial support for the WOOMB African Sponsorship Fund for the Benin Conference. However, they still have a long way to go in raising funds. As Africa is a very large continent, it is likely that most delegates will have to come by air and the anticipated travel and accommodation costs are ~$1,400 per person. Please see the attached flyer and consider helping this international effort to make a difference in the lives of millions of African couples.
An Eric Genius Concert
If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, sign up for the Eric Genius performance September 28th. It promises to be an inspirational afternoon. Bring a friend because all donations go towards the BOMA medical student education initiative and Eric’s prison ministry.
Dolores Clark (left), shown with Kay Ek (center) and Marian Corkill of WOOMB (right) enjoyed learning how to make a flower necklace while visiting Australia.
Faithful Billings Trainer, Dolores Clark, Passes Away at 88
We recently received the sad and surprising news that longtime Billings trainer and former BOMA-USA Education Chair, Dolores Clark, died on January 11, 2019, at the age of 88.
As a retired nursing professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, TX, Dolores helped write BOMA’s training materials. She graciously hosted BOMA meetings in her home where Billings leadership from around the country would gather to collaborate
Dolores was generous with her time, talent and treasure. She would personally pay for her transportation and hotel expenses for the many trainings she was a part of. This included trips to Australia for international conferences. At those conferences, she had the opportunity to meet with Drs. John and Lyn Billings and Dr. James Brown. As a former Creighton Model practitioner, Dolores was amazed with the science and simplicity of The Billings Method™ and worked tirelessly to ensure we were giving accurate information to new teachers.
Her daughter, Mary Clark Robinson, Ph.D., R.N., of Fort Worth, TX, said Dolores moved to memory care in September of 2018. “It was a struggle because she did not like being there. On her 88th birthday (January 2) she suffered a major stroke. She was placed in hospice care at that point.”
Mary said, “Teaching NFP was one of her greatest sources of pride and joy, and an opportunity to live her faith and profession!” She continued, “She loved children. Having a role in helping to bring more children into the world, as a nurse practitioner, and helping fertile and infertile couples achieve pregnancy was her vocation for sure!”
If you were part of a training with Dolores, you will no doubt remember her exhortation, “Have another baby!”
When notified of her passing, Marian Corkill of WOOMB wrote, “She was a very special lady. I was only thinking of her, yet again, yesterday.”
In the early part of 2000, when it became evident that Billings teachers in the United States were not current with the latest information from WOOMB, Marian said, “She made a huge contribution to the updating of Billings teachers in the USA at a time when it was not easy to stand up as she did.” Marian went on to write via email that she and her husband have very special memories of their time with Dolores and Jim Clark and their very generous hospitality. “We remember happy times spent with them in Dallas as well as the amazing road trips, both in the USA and Australia. We are grateful for these memories and their friendship. May she now be at peace with her Creator.”
So, it is with grateful hearts that we extend our prayers asking God to grant Dolores eternal happiness for all she did for us by always defending the truth of The Billings Method™.
From October 1 to December 31, we are running a contest for the highest number of new memberships raised by a BOMA member. Recruiting can be done by drawing in new members through your list of clients, healthcare providers, clergy, family, friends, women’s/men’s groups, etc. Just think how we can enrich the lives of so many by bringing them our monthly newsletters and opportunities to participate in webinars and other events. The winner will receive a copy of the new DVD, Sexual Revolution, and the book, Estrogeneration.
Membership dues are an important way to support BOMA-USA. All teachers and teachers-in-practicum are expected to pay dues in order to be listed on our website. Of course, not all members are teachers and we welcome anyone to join us. Members receive many benefits such as our monthly electronic newsletter, special members-only webinars and soon-to-happen free members-only Zoom meetings featuring special guest speakers. Members also receive quantity discounts to our store that are only accessible through their membership.
Over the years, September has been our month for renewing annual membership dues. Although the New Year (January 1) might seem logical, we chose to avoid adding another bill to your busy Christmas season.
The board has voted to increase the price of dues to $75 per person next year, and so we are offering an additional incentive to you this year. If you would like to keep your dues at $50 per person for the next three years, you can do that by opting into our auto-renewal system. Just pay your $50 dues now, and select “auto-renew” in the link. We are also giving members the opportunity to help cover our credit card processing fees by having the option to add $1.75 per $50 dues payment. (PayPal charges us 2.9 percent and 30 cents per transaction.) While $1.75 may not seem like much, if everyone covers that cost, it will save us a great deal in the long run. And, as always, we welcome your additional donations and have set up the system with several donation levels.
If you have any questions, please email Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Craig Turczynski, Ph.D.
Two articles on hormonal contraception and mental health, published out of Denmark, have resulted in much interest and discussion among BOMA board members and staff. The studies are somewhat confusing because the results are reported as relative risk rates. We wanted to make sure you are aware of these results and are armed with what the data means.
The first article by Skovlund et al., was published in 2016 and evaluated over 1 million women for an average of 6.4 years. They measured the rate of first-time users of anti-depressants or first-time diagnosis of depression at a psychiatric hospital. They compared the rates between women using various forms of hormonal contraception against non-users, and concluded that the use of hormonal contraception was associated with subsequent use of antidepressants and first diagnosis of depression. The actual incidence was less than 1% difference between the groups (2.2% vs 1.7%) but because the number of women studied was large, the difference was statistically significant. This means that the result could be attributed to the use of hormonal contraception. Some of the other significant findings were:
Overall the study results were conclusive: the incidence of depression was 2-3-fold higher for women on some form of contraception. But perhaps the medical community is not overly concerned about this data because essentially the actual rate went from slightly less than 2% to 2-3%. What truly sprung from this study is the realization and need for a second study.
The second paper was published in 2018 by the same authors (Skovlund et al., 2018) and looked at the rates of suicide attempt and suicide in hormonal contraception users compared to never-users. There are a few reasons why this data is significant.
The number of study subjects were very significant (Nearly a half-million were followed for 8.3 years.)
Suicide or suicide attempt is a much more objective measure than depression. Either they did or did not attempt or commit suicide.
The results reached statistical significance and like the previous study, the highest risk was found among women 15-19 years of age who were using progestin only products, and non-oral implants.
Again, the paper is difficult to interpret because they report the results as relative risk rates. Using this measure, the rates averaged 97% higher for suicide attempt and over 200% higher for suicide. But if you look at the actual incidence, it is a small percentage even for the adolescent group at 2,196 suicide attempts for 786,497 person years or about 0.3%. The significance of this is that “hormonal contraception leads to 1,400 more suicide attempts and 12 more suicide deaths per 1 million people years”. Some may not think that number is significant, but I would like to point out that even one suicide death is substantial, especially when the medication is not being given for a life-threatening reason in the first place. As Hippocrates put it “abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous”. Also, suicide is the extreme manifestation of the side effect called “mood disorders.” If 12 women die from suicide and an additional 1,400 attempt suicide, many more may be experiencing a lack of wellbeing and mood alterations that go unreported. Those mood disorders lead to difficulties in relationships, family life, and work. How do you begin to measure that cost on society?
Once again, I would like to emphasize that the Billings Ovulation Method® is as effective as hormonal contraception when used according to the rules, and it has absolutely no harmful side effects.
Scovlund et al., (2018) Association of Hormonal Contraception with Suicide Attempts and Suicides. Am J Psychiatry. Vol 175, 4.
Skovlund et al., (2016) Association of Hormonal Contraception with Depression. JAMA Psychiatry. Vol 73, 11.
Q. Tell us about your family.
You might imagine this if you knew I was the only female in our family of six…loud voices, the TV blaring with the latest sports game broadcasting, the house shaking, dirty feet and faces, snack wrappers littered over the floors of each bedroom, piles of stinky laundry, and the kitchen pantry that is always more empty than full. Well, I’m here to tell you that only three-fourths of those items are accurate😊 No, in all seriousness, sometimes our life may be loud and busy, but over the hum of it all, I would not change a thing!
My husband, Michael, and I have been married for eleven years. Michael teaches second grade as well as coaches Cross Country. He is a man who brings me closer to being the best-version-of-myself every day, and I’m so thankful for him. He is funny, has ceaseless energy (he runs to and from everything), and is a dad who is truly present to our boys.
As for me, I taught school for seven years at various levels (1st, 2nd, and 4th Grade) after I graduated from college. During my seventh year, I felt a tug on my heart to stay at home, so my husband and I made it work. I never stopped teaching though. During my seventh year of teaching, I was pregnant with our third boy and went through the BOM teacher training. While pregnant, I did my practicum and then starting teaching couples after I had my son. Over the past few years I’ve taught in various capacities. This year, I will embark on a few new adventures: being a parent educator for an Early Childhood Education Class and tutoring a fourth-grade student. I also will have the privilege of teaching through a program called H.E.A.R.T. (Health Education and Relationship Training), which is offered through a local pregnancy and family center. I will teach middle school and high schoolers about healthy relationships and sexual risk avoidance. I’m super excited for these new opportunities!
Now for our boys -- Dominic, William, James, and Gabriel. Dominic is nine and loves all things sports! He also loves to read and hang out with his friends. William is seven and likes sports, playing board games and cards, and is my guy who will actually color with me. James is four and loves to play video games with his dad and brothers. (We have the old-school Nintendo system that was my husband’s when he was a kid!) He also loves to tell stories, play games, and wrestle with Grandpa and his dad. Lastly, we have Gabriel who is two years old. He is all about keeping up with his brothers and loves to mimic them. He loves bugs, going for golf cart rides at Great Grandma and Grandpa’s house, and will still let me snuggle him:)
As a family, we love going to water parks, hanging out with family members, playing games, and having family movie nights with homemade popcorn.
Q. When did you first hear about The Billings Method™? And, what was your initial impression of it?
My parents used NFP in their marriage and that is how I originally learned about NFP. My parents learned Sympto-Thermal first and then switched over to using The Billings Method™. My parents first witnessed at marriage courses and soon my mom found herself going through teacher training. She taught couples for a short time, but soon found it difficult to teach since she was working full-time and was trying to mother three small children as well.
My mom was always open about talking to my sister and me about our cycle and encouraged us to chart. She did not go into the rules about how to use BOM, but she gave us the tools to pay attention to our naturally occurring signs within our cycle.
With this knowledge of paying attention to my body and seeing how NFP worked for my parents (I am the oldest of four children), I was super excited to learn more. I then was able to hear about it again when I went through marriage prep. We had our first instruction class that weekend, and I was hooked.
I knew there and then that The Billings Method™ allowed a woman to have a wealth of information about her body; not only could it be used as a fertility awareness method, but also as a way to plan your family.
Q. What inspired you to become a Billings teacher?
My husband and I started witnessing for marriage courses after we had been married for a year. I loved speaking to these couples and giving them a glimpse into how we used the method in our marriage.
Within our marriage, we had some easy times of charting and some not-so-easy times of charting. I found myself doubting my natural signs while nursing and often needed a review class. With this slight bump in the road, I realized I wanted to learn more about the science behind the method. I also noticed that there were many women around me who had no clue what was going on with their bodies. I wanted to change that and help enlighten them. I knew I could speak to them based off of how effective it was in our marriage already, but I wanted to share more with them. I ended up attending a local training course.
Q. As you know, we need more teachers. Young couples tend to be so busy these days. What do you think we can do to attract more to teaching?
I personally think we should be doing more in schools and educating people at a younger age rather than just when they are ready to get married.
We are in the midst of many people who want to go the more “natural” route. In addition, many couples are struggling to get pregnant and yet have never been taught how to read their natural signs.
If we can start from an earlier age, there would be a high demand for teachers and medical professionals to share this valuable information with clients.
Q. As a board member and our treasurer, you’re now really in the thick of it with helping us as an organization! You’ve done an amazing job as our treasurer. How has your work in those capacities helped you understand the needs of the national organization?
I realize that BOMA is not just made up of a few people, but a whole family. We all are working together, doing our part, to help bring the message of BOMA to others. Even though we are all over the nation, we are all striving for the same goal--to provide the simplest and most personalized care in fertility education.
With this in mind, we need to support each other. It can feel like we tirelessly teach and are not making a difference but remember helping even one couple is a tremendous benefit! And BOMA is here to support you and help you as best we can. We are all on the same team and working toward that same goal.
Q. Do you have any advice for people reading this who want to become more involved but are not sure what to do?
Contact us by clicking here now. Even if you don’t feel called to teaching, there are many other ways you can get involved. Otherwise, check out our website and find a teacher in your area. Maybe there are some within your hometown? Reach out and ask how you can help. There are no wrong questions. We are here, we would love your help, and you can make all the difference with your one single “Yes!”
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.