Marilyn Shannon urged Hillsdale women to fend for their health by cultivating a knowledge of female physiology and the tendencies of their own bodies.
Sponsored by Hillsdale College Students for Life, Shannon, a biology professor at Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne, gave a speech titled “Knowing your Body and Caring for it Naturally” to a group of 30 women Monday evening in Phillips Auditorium. She frequently referenced her 2009 book “Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition” as she reviewed the biological process of menstrual cycles and advised the attendees about habits for physical and mental wellness.
“Learn your cycle by charting at least your signs and symptoms. Take a comprehensive vitamin to improve your cycles. Be aware of the impact of bodyweight and exercise on your cycle,” Shannon said.
Students for Life President junior Kathleen Russo said the information Shannon shared enlightened her to biological facts most magazines and online publications fail to mention when writing about women’s health.
“This is a topic that really isn’t talked about. It’s a lot of things you can’t easily Google because so much of women’s health issues are fixed by prescribing the birth control pill,” Russo said. “It’s interesting to learn about a more natural approach. Celebrating fertility is an important part of what the pro-life movement does, and this is one way that we can understand how women work.”
Shannon gave a separate talk Monday afternoon in which she addressed women’s health from a broader perspective, focusing on an overview of the menstrual cycle, an examination of hormonal birth control, and a rundown of natural methods that bring on menstrual relief and management. Shannon recommended, for example, that women load their lunch and dinner plates with colorful vegetables like kale and eggplant to lighten their cycles. She also said women suffering from menstrual discomfort can find relief by taking supplements like fish oil and flax oil.
So many attended this session in the Grewcock Student Union’s formal lounge that Russo had to bring in more chairs for the attendees left standing.
“No matter how pro-life you are, no matter how much you study, there’s always something to be learned about important topics,” Russo said about women’s health. “You have to sit down and take care of your body sometimes.”
Sophomore Adelaide Holmes went to both of Shannon’s presentations and said she enjoyed learning more about her own health.
“I appreciated the lectures because it provided women with information that we often do not seek out on our own,” Holmes said. “Taking care of your body is so important for your physical, spiritual, and emotional health, but we often ignore the topic because we feel it’s faux pas. These talks helped start the conversation.”