A Moment of Appreciation for The Moment of Lift and Women's Reproductive Health Rights

I try to keep a life according to plan — my life strategy, if you will. A part of how to execute it as such is to create daily / weekly / monthly personal KPIs. One of my biggest measures for the year is going back to reading. I used to be a voracious reader. It used to be so frequent that I’d reread many of my favorite books many times. And then the Internet happened my attention span shrunk smaller than a gold fish.

And then I discovered audiobooks. I still struggle to consume audio content as spoken word. I am a lover of music but for some reason, someone narrating in my ear just didn’t resonate as quickly. I’ve been trying to finish Michelle Obama’s Becoming on Audible for a while now and as much as I love it when I can understand it, I tend to zone out in some bits. Not at all Mrs. Obama’s fault, I just get distracted a lot. I’ve put my Audible listening habit on hold until my email buzzed me I had been racking up credits. Thought I’d get the newly launched, Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates, and my listening life as well as personal and professional life is changed. I have always known how Melinda was a force unto herself and the world but wow, she was just pretty inspiring. For one, she has always stood on her own for her projects and philanthropies, and have been a shining example of how equality should be in relationships. She has traveled extensively in developing countries to seek to improve the society and contribute to economic and female success. What an inspiration.

Moment of Lift
Tradition without discussion kills moral progress. If you’re handed a tradition and decide not to talk about it—just do it—then you’re letting people from the past tell you what to do. It kills the chance to see the blind spots in the tradition—and moral blind spots always take the form of excluding others and ignoring their pain.
— Melinda Gates

As a woman, and in a developing country, too, it’s very easy to get sucked into unfavourable situations which results to a lesser tendency to succeed outside the home ie. careers, business and others. There were bountiful of issues that were tackled, mostly misogynistic issues such as: child rape, genital cutting and unpaid work. Unpaid household work is my favorite because I distinctly remember coming home one night, looking at the mountain of dishes to be cleaned, buckled down to wash them and muttered to Mike how hard it was to be a woman of the 21st century: You’re expected to keep a clean house, sparkling clean dishes, keep children (or pets in my case) alive, fed and happy AND above all these, excel in the work place, and shine and work extensively. I am very lucky to have a partner who responded with kindness to this, who told me just tell him the tasks I want him to do at home and so I can choose which ones I’d like to keep doing. But this is not always the case in other households and in other countries.

BCG Lightening Women's Mental Load

Contraceptives and Rights to Abortion

In her book, Melinda talked about how the biggest success factor of a woman was determined by her ability to control her childbirth - space time accordingly between births and determine if she wants children at all. This was the chapter that resonated to me so loudly. Growing up, I had been told over and over that the worst thing that could happen to me was get pregnant accidentally {possibly to any Filipina kid, or a guy, I’m sure #FILIPINOPARENTS}. It had been in my head all my life that even now, as a thirtysomething woman, despite not really being afraid of being a mother, more of, I am not very excited to be one, I have such insidious fear of being a mother. That’s now — despite knowing full well I am a stable woman in a stable relationship with stable resources. Still, because of this motivation not to be pregnant, I had gone through research of the best contraceptives out there, went to see my OB gyne quite regularly and ran my reproductive health decisions through her for guidance. This was a big source of my life’ s success, that I can focus on my life, my career, my relationships and my passions without getting pregnant unintentionally. Such is not the case for many women in the Philippines, who are still denied access to oral contraceptives, and are mostly limited to a) calendar or rhythm method (not very fool-proof unless you obsess about the details like Basal Temp} and b) condoms. Because this is a subject close to my heart, I am listing down available contraceptives in the Philippines below. Reminder: Best to consult a healthcare provider still! But knowing you have options is the best!

  1. Oral Contraceptives. Taken 21 days a month and can cause quite some money. Some brands I’ve tried in the past are Diane and Jasmine. These can cause some hormonal changes though, such as depressive-like symptoms or in some, acne or loss of acne or weight gain. I recommend going to the OB gyne for this to know which one is best for you. I go to Dr. Tabaquero in St. Luke’s and she is the best OB.

  2. Oral Contraceptives, Plan B. Plan B is mostly available in the US and in the Philippines, the version that exists is taking multiple pills of Trust Pills. Again, consult your OB gyne for this.

Dr.Junice Melgar, Executive Director of Likhaan tells SAS that emergency contraception, which essentially involves taking regular over-the-counter birth control pills in higher dosages 12 hours apart immediately after unprotected sex acts to prevent a pregnancy and is perfectly safe and legal.

“Like regular contraceptives, emergency contraceptives prevent fertilization and cannot end a pregnancy when the pregnancy has begun. It is information that everyone should have access to.”, says Melgar.

Emergency contraceptives may be taken five days after unprotected sex, but work best when taken immediately after.
— Sex and Sensibilities | https://sexandsensibilities.com/our-condom-broke-what-do-i-do/

3. Condoms. Very popular but also, most men are against using it. My tip is to have the talk with your partner on why this is important, or else, No Means No. Make sure you have some stock with you and don’t let the belief that the guy should always be the one to have it because if somebody gets pregnant, it’s not gonna be him. Just as well, give him enough accountability for this too.

4. Calendar Method but use an APP. I personally use Clue, and it has given me immense information about my reproductive health and helped me achieve my goal of not being pregnant so far.
5. Spermicide. I got some packs of sperm killing film when I was in the US but such things can be tricky to use or kind of interfere in the process. This can be a hindrance so ensure you have the talk with your partner.

Photo Credit: New York Post

Photo Credit: New York Post

Meanwhile, in Alabama, a bill has been passed to punish doctors who will perform abortions and can send them to jail 99 years, more years than a rape perpetrator can suffer in jail. Not only is this backward, it’s disrespectful of women’s rights to control over her body and her future. I sincerely hope that this could be reversed. Childbirth, especially unplanned ones, are the biggest risk to life of women and by being a possible precedent, this bill is creating a negative outlook for us with the cervixes.

In the meantime, let’s continue the work on redefining success for women and Filipinas. I am with great hope that one day, Filipinas and women will not be subject to tone deaf, harming laws in the future. See you at The WWW.