Taking Charge of Your Fertility (TCOYF) by Toni Weschler, MPH receives a B+. I like the book because it discusses FAM. Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) is similar to NFP (Natural Family Planing method) except during times of fertility you use a barrier method. NFP you abstain. The book is scientific and doesn't subscribe to a particular religion, which is what I like about it. I get a little uptight when religion is used to explain the science or the science to explain the religion. While I think the two aren't separate, I don't like dogmatic lessons when looking for scientific answers. But that's just me. Some people find it refreshing. I find it to be condescending.
The book discusses how to use FAM to achieve pregnancy and as a method of birth control. In addition, it goes into great lengths to discuss using FAM as a means of understanding a woman's overall reproductive health.
The reason for it being a B+ and not an A grade book is that although it doesn't contain religious dogma it does contain feminist rhetoric. Page 13 "It (talking about IUDs) is but one example of the type of medical nightmares to which many women have been subjected; history reveals countless ways in which women's bodies and those of their potential offspring have been exposed to dangerous drugs and procedures." emphasis mine. The word subjected implies that women have not been given the choice when using an IUD. This is not China; we all know that this isn't simply true.
She also bashes doctors quite a bit. Page 9 "It is unfortunate that some physicians believe and help disseminate the erroneous assumption that FAM is complicated and difficult to use." I've never had a doctor talk to me about FAM so I can't confirm or deny this statement, but I assure you I don't think doctors think that it is solely too difficult to use. There are other factors. Some women are on birth control pills anyway because of health reasons or because they do not want to deal with their monthly period. You don't use FAM while on the pill. Other reasons for not introducing patients to FAM is because some patients may find it gross to check their cervical fluid or their cervix on a regular basis. It's unfortunate that Weschler is short sighted to believe that doctors are selfish about not bringing FAM up. We live in a culture where the pill is in and alternatives are out. She needs to keep this in mind. Doctors don't work in a vacuum; they work with the public at large. Even Catholic doctors don't discuss NFP with their patients that often, but that's a whole other discussion.
She also doesn't like the use of the wheel, that device that gives you your due date based on your last period. It uses the 14th day as the day of ovulation when as she points out a majority of women don't actually ovulate on day 14. Problem is that the vast majority of women don't know when they ovulate. The wheel is standard on which to go by. Even if a woman did actually ovulate on day 14 there is no guarantee that a baby will be even born on the due date. It's only a standard of measure. We've standardized inches and miles; what's the big deal about a standard ovulation date as a tool.
And lastly, she bashes the medical terms to describe woman's reproductive conditions. She views them as being archaic and at worst crass. Problem with that is medical terms are based in Latin which has a different meaning than what they meanings in our vernacular language is. Language changes over time. Case in point: the word retard today has a negative connotation in our vernacular. It was used originally as a medical term and meant to be a "nicer" way to describe patients with mental disabilities. Unfortunately this is how language evolves. The medical community could keep changing it's terminology, but then it would change constantly. Weschler needs to keep that in mind, and instead of bashing the terms, study and include information on the etymology of the word so that patients understand that terms themselves aren't intended to be demeaning. But I think she likes to use them to convey her feminist leanings.
It's a shame that such a good book is so short sighted and a good method is being used a platform for feminist propaganda.