Q. When did you first hear about the Billings Method, and what inspired you to teach it?
We started our marriage in 1981 with another method, and it was quite some time before I heard about the Billings Ovulation Method®. I was searching for an accurate method based on science. Life is busy! The simplicity of the method was a real plus.
Q. You were perhaps the first teacher in the United States to become trained through WOOMB’s Correspondence Course. Now, as Education Chair for BOMA-USA, what are your thoughts on that specific format?
The Correspondence Course met my needs. The course was not offered yet through BOMA-USA so I completed the course through WOOMB. All communication was through “snail” mail. I anxiously awaited the return of my work every month. My trainer was Pauline Feehan, developer of the course. Her feedback was effective. The material progressed in an organized manner, so I was able to absorb the concepts accurately. A real emphasis was placed on the goal of teaching the authentic Billings Ovulation Method®. Eventually I completed the work, as well as my case studies, and was certified. I felt completely supported throughout the process. Shortly after I completed the course through Australia, BOMA-USA began to offer the curriculum. The course is conducted through email and is augmented with PowerPoint presentations. I frequently video-conference with my Trainees to provide additional support and teaching. I highly recommend this platform as a choice for individuals.
Q. It seems your life choices, both as a registered nurse and as a mother who homeschooled all of her children through high school, were providential stepping stones to your work with us, particularly as Education Chair. Tell us how those two roles have been useful for your work with us.
The lifelong role of any nurse is to foster healthy lifestyles in others and to educate. Whether one is in the clinical area or using the principles in the family and community, nursing skills are valuable. I worked in cardiovascular recovery, pediatrics, postpartum, and was a breastfeeding educator. I have always been interested in preventive medicine and healthy lifestyles. Most nurses are familiar with the experience of others asking for explanation of medical concepts and being a knowledgeable resource. I think nurses are in a good position to educate and suggest referral if needed. As Education Chair, I use many of these skills listening and meeting the needs of the clients, Trainees, and Certified Teachers. The EC functions to ensure the authentic Billings Ovulation Method® is taught and communicated to others. Communication with the medical community is helpful with a background in nursing.
We homeschooled all four of our children through high school. We recently celebrated finishing 29 consecutive years of homeschooling with a trip to Rome with our daughter Christy. The amount of networking and collaboration done with others to accomplish this goal was enormous. I taught classes at the homeschool learning cooperative when asked. Our family began the first homeschool basketball team in our community. Years later it is thriving and has grown to 5 teams. Our family participated in many other pursuits, as do most families. Parents are always rolling up their sleeves to help, and we were no different. These experiences taught me how to nurture a group project. Life is full of opportunities to “stretch” and grow for all of us.
Q. How can we motivate inactive teachers to begin again?
If inactive teachers are waiting for an invitation to resume, consider this to be just that! We need you. Cultural trends are emphasizing a more holistic approach. You can make a difference in your community. Pull out the materials from your Teacher Training and begin to review. Start with the story of Drs. John and Evelyn Billings. Remember why you were called to teach. I think one of the advantages to teaching the Billings Ovulation Method® is the solid research and science which is the foundation. Look at the curriculum and remember your fascination when you first learned. Someone in your family, your church, your community wants to know this good news. Get in touch with the Education Committee and talk to us. We can help you with renewal of certification. Fr. Joseph Hattie, spiritual director of WOOMB, provides material which inspires those who teach, as does Fr. Daniel McCaffrey, spiritual director of BOMA-USA. Everyone has “seasons” in life. Perhaps you are being called to begin again. We are here for you!
Q. How often does the Education Committee meet, and what are some of your goals this year?
We have an excellent group on the Education Committee. I am joined by talented individuals. We are continuing our quarterly webinars. These are designed to keep everyone connected and have continuing education. One of our members, Dr. Montserrat Ayala-Ramirez, is heading up a Focus Group Research Project. She completed the CITI Program Course through the University of North Carolina and will beginning soon. Our Medical Seminar for nurses and physicians occurs in May (https://www.boma-usa.org/medical-seminar.html). Continuing Medical Education (CMEs) and Continuing Nursing Education (CNUs) credits will be awarded for this live online event. It is a good opportunity for BOMA-USA Teachers and Members to get the word out to providers. In the fall we are planning an Extension Course. The course is a valuable component of ongoing education. Difficult charts are studied along with an in-depth look at the Billings Ovulation Method® and Prof. Brown’s studies on the Continuum. Of course, Teacher Trainings and Practicum Supervision are always front and center.
Q. Tell us about the presentation you will be giving during the next Catholic Medical Association conference in September.
I will be giving a talk at the Catholic Medical Association (CMA) Conference in Nashville, TN titled, “Fertility Awareness Management Education in Medical Practices; Empowering Patients to Participate in Care, Simplifying the Office Visit”. I have received wonderful feedback from a survey sent to providers about the topic. The theme of the conference is “Physician, Heal Thyself”. I cannot say enough good things about the CMA and the work the organization does. Local communities can form CMA Guilds for support and education among the medical community. We are prayerfully forming a Guild in my diocese. BOMA-USA will have a table of information at the conference.
Q. What about your family? Tell us about them.
I am married to Earl. He is a professional baseball scout with the MN Twins. He is my support and strength, often accompanying me when I give talks. I am sure many of the Teachers can say this about their spouse. We have 3 grown and married sons and a daughter in college. Our six grandchildren are a joy, and we love grandparenting! One of our sons and his wife were asked recently to give a witness talk about their marriage during a Mass for married couples. How humbling it was to hear them thank us for being a good example. I pray we continue to provide a good example. Our parish priest said in his homily that marriage is one of the best evangelization tools. Drs. John and Evelyn Billings reminded teachers of the method that they are teaching a “lifestyle.” I believe this is true. It is a lifestyle of love.
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.