Friday, August 31, 2012

Embracing my womanhood!

The following post has lots of details about lady things! So you can skip it if you're uncomfortable with that, although I don't know why you would be. I wanted to document my adventures in fertility in case someone else has the same problems.

So, many of you know I've been trying to get pregnant again (I'm not pregnant, just to clarify). Recently a friend of mine told me how someone gave her Taking Charge of Your Fertility for a wedding present, and she recommended it to me. This book looks like it's going to be another one of these natural remedies magical happy times cures, but it's not. It's about helping women become more aware of their cycles and fertile times, in gruesome and useful detail. Charting your cycle is as easy as taking your oral temperature every morning when you wake up. I'd heard about basal temperature readings, but most of the commentary on it was pretty negative, focusing on how it doesn't tell you that you've ovulated until afterwards, or that it's really finicky, or that you need to take readings somewhere other than your mouth with some expensive thermometer. Well, any oral thermometer will work.

I also started using these pre-ovulation tests this month, and got a positive result. So now I know that if I have some kind of fertility problem, it's likely not something to do with ovulation. I'll know more when I finish charting/keeping track of my basal (waking) temperatures for the month, and when I visit my OB/GYN next month. It's something little, but having this insight into my own body makes trying to have a child less like weird voodoo and a little more scientific.

Another awesome lady thing I have tried is the Diva cup. It's a menstruation cup that replaces pads and tampons and only needs changing every 12 hours. It reduces waste, since it's reusable, and it's a lot more comfortable than pads. There's also very low or non-existent risk of toxic shock syndrome since it's made of silicon. I heard about it a few years ago but I was too scared to try it. But now that I've tried tampons (like why didn't I do that earlier?) and gotten married, putting a silicone cup up my vagina is a lot less scary. It takes some getting used to, but it's SO MUCH BETTER than pads/tampons.

Last lady thing: I got my ears pierced! I probably should have gone to a real piercing place instead of Claire's, but it was less scary that way. Now I'm just paranoid that my ears will get infected and I'll regret it... but hopefully now children will be able to tell I'm female, even if I have my hair up (yes this is an actual problem for me).

Also: timp cave!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

God as psychologist

I've been thinking about how I view God and religion, and I think it's different from some of my fellow LDSs. I hate it when people say "everything happens for a reason," as if everything in my life were pre-determined. That just makes me feel like I'm playing a "guess what I'm thinking" game with God. Rather, I believe that humans were designed with religion in mind, but that it's possible God doesn't have to directly act as much as some believe He does. I think of this as a possible way that things could work, not necessarily the "right" way.

I believe that some religious activities are a kind of  psychological safeguard. The act of praying daily--organizing in our minds what we're thankful for and figuring out what we need (both great things to do anyway)--may help us be happier and goal-oriented, even if God Himself isn't paying all His attention to you (which seems kind of impossible to my mortal brain). I also think that things like FHE are going to bring families together because, duh, you're spending time together. I guess what I'm saying is that God is a shrewd psychologist in my mind.

In the LDS religion, we believe the Holy Ghost guides us to know what choices are right and if God is there. I also wonder if the experience of feeling the Holy Ghost may be... a part of ourselves. I think that God could design humans to have the feeling of the Holy Ghost when our spirits, or some part of our subconscious, recognizes certain feelings. If I were God, I'd certainly want to design things to be as self-sufficient as possible.

Another way I think God is a good psychologist is through having His worshipers give service. If we're not getting paid to do something unpleasant, we get cognitive dissonance about it. Sometimes it makes us value the work we're doing even more. I think people who work a lot at the temple must feel this way, because it seems like it would feel like a very boring job sometimes (kind of related: effort justification).

I still see God as a (sometimes) loving God, but the more I think about how He's set up religion, the more it seems like He really understands human psychology. Makes sense, right?