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The Intersect: The Official Podcast of FAbM Base

The Intersect: The Official Podcast of FAbM Base

By FAbM Base
FAbM Base co-founders Emily Frase and Mary Bruno host straight up conversations about the places where the science of fertility awareness intersect with real life.
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S1 E8: From Prescribing Birth Control to Advocating Fertility Awareness & Holistic Health with Dr. Susan Caldwell

The Intersect: The Official Podcast of FAbM Base

The Sexpisodes Part 3: How These Ideologies Can Creep into Everyday Life
We couldn't finish up our Sexpisode series without giving some very real examples of how these ideologies can be brought to life, and often without us realizing it. Emily divulges about how purity culture has affected her relationship with her body image. Mary shares how one aspect of purity culture did some huge damage to her understanding (or lack thereof) of sex and how it is still having a pretty big impact on her and her marriage. Since it isn't always easy to see, we explain how damaging it is to insist that NFP can be used with a contraceptive mentality specifically for those who are infertile.  Mary and Emily get pretty vulnerable in this episode. Don't miss the conclusion of this special series and please don't forget to rate this podcast/leave a review! 
August 01, 2022
The Sexpisodes Part 2: Contraceptive Mentality & Providentialism
We continue our mini-series by looking at the ideologies that can mess with your sex life and sexuality with a deep dive into just what contraceptive mentality is and why it’s equally as devastating for sex and marriage, and relationships between men and women. Just a warning folks, this is some serious Catholic insider baseball, but it’s an ideology that has been increasingly growing among certain Catholics circles and seems to be messing more and more with our basic understanding of the truth of sex and marriage - so yea, we had to talk about it! As in the last episode, we don’t hold back about where this ideology comes from, why it’s ultimately not in line with Catholic Church teaching, and why it causes a lot of damage to marital unity and authentic expressions of sexual love. If you missed the last episode, you might want to go and catch the first few minutes for some important groundwork we laid for all these conversations. Resources discussed in this episode: Links to Humanae Vitae, Casti Connubii, the Catechism, and more Catholic Teachings about Fertility Awareness ( Counseling resources Come Read our External Resources for Fertility Awareness ( Uncharted Territory: An NFP Week Series – TOTAL W(H)INE ( Opinion | Why we need a sexual ethic that goes beyond consent - The Washington Post
July 28, 2022
The Sexpisodes Part 1: Intro & Purity Culture
Hold on tight to your headphones, ladies and gentleman, because Emily & Mary are tackling purity culture & contraceptive mentality for NFP Week 2022 in our first miniseries: The Sexpisodes! Part 1 is an intro to both ideologies, which leads into a thorough discussion on what purity culture is, where it comes from, and how this mentality can creep into marriages. We also get crystal clear about God's design for love, marriage, and sex. We're talking a lot about theology in this miniseries, but also making some very real connections to secular culture and the idea of consent with the help of a Washington Post article by Christine Emba, linked below. If you were born in the U.S., you have most likely been affected to some degree by purity culture. Dive into this juicy topic with us to find out how. Recommended links: Opinion | Why we need a sexual ethic that goes beyond consent - The Washington Post 'I Gave Consent For Sex I Didn't Want to Have' ( Links to Humanae Vitae, Casti Connubii, the Catechism, and more Catholic Teachings about Fertility Awareness ( Counseling resources Come Read our External Resources for Fertility Awareness (
July 26, 2022
Mary and Emily Chat about Mary's New Book
We’re back with an exciting off-season episode to announce the launch of our very own Mary Bruno’ s memoir, Twelve Stripes Deep: How Infertility & Other Suffering Delivered My Greatest Joys. You're getting some behind the scenes info in this episode! We go in-depth about what inspired Mary to write her story to begin with and what that process looked like. We also talk about who this book is for - definitely infertile women, but also for women who don’t carry that cross and long for a more holistic understanding of womanhood, motherhood and femininity. From Emily’s foreword for Twelve Stripes Deep: “When Mary asked me to write the foreword for her book, she said, “All the books and talks out there for infertile women are from women who eventually had a child. I want to write a book for the woman who will never have a child, and let her know there is still hope.” That is what you hold now. In sharing her own story, Mary invites women into a process where they can explore their femininity, womanhood and motherhood as the inherent gift it is, regardless of whether they ever produce a biological child. She doesn’t do this with theological platitudes, but from her own heart. She illuminates the truth of the Catholic female identity in its fullness because she has labored to discover it. Mary’s story isn’t a challenge to the Catholic understanding of womanhood and motherhood. Rather, her story shows us the narrow ways we often limit and confine the meaning of these states, which is not Catholic at all, but a reflection of our limited human understanding. Her story can remind us that the lives of the saints, though all expressions of virtue and striving for holiness, were lived in wildly different ways. This book is an invitation to see your life and your suffering, not as a curse or a cross to bear alone, but simply as a totally unique life with a unique call to love and to experience God.” You can buy Mary’s book TUESDAY, JULY 12 by clicking the link below: Twelve Stripes Deep: How Infertility & Other Suffering Delivered My Greatest Joys “In Twelve Stripes Deep Mary brings a unique and needed voice to a rarely discussed topic. It is clear that she has sought the face of Christ in all of her sufferings.  If you are feeling the nudge to read this book, do it!” -Christopher West, Th.D. President, Theology of the Body Institute Author, Good News about Sex & Marriage “Mary Bruno shares the intimate details of her struggles, yet writes with a light, accessible tone that makes you feel like you're at brunch with a friend. I have no doubt that many women -- both those who have struggled with infertility and those who haven't -- will feel less alone thanks to her words." - Jen Fulwiler, standup comic and bestselling author of Your Blue Flame “It would be nearly impossible for your doctor, close friend or counselor to delve as deep into the heartbreak of infertility as Mary does. She crumbles before you on the pages so you can experience her journey, then she leads the way to put the pieces back together - no matter the outcome. Naomi Whittaker, MD, OBGYN, CFCMC, FCI “Mary’s book is the anthem for change in women’s health care.” -Bridget Busacker, Founder of
July 11, 2022
S1 E10: Shall We Talk Method Wars, erm Choice? with Emily & Mary
In this episode, Emily & Mary dove deep into a topic that few people dare to address: method wars! Just kidding, but only sort of. We surveyed many of you to determine the theme of this final episode of season 1, and you chose a discussion between the two of us on method choice! We focused on the various things to consider when trying to find the method that will fit YOU best because you are unique and will want a method that reflects that. Our personal experiences with different methods, Emily’s experience as a coach, and Mary’s experience with different clients as a Creighton Practitioner were some great starting points that brought a lot of flavor to our convo. As far as method wars go, they don’t serve anyone well. In fact in some cases, they cause outright harm. The fact that we have these options though is what makes fertility awareness stand out as a true alternative to hormonal birth control, because the focus is for each individual woman to learn and work with her unique body and situation. It is good that we have many different methods to choose from, but sometimes having lots of options is hard - and almost feels like scrolling Netflix ACK! Fertility changes over time along with our age, intentions, and reproductive category, so choosing a method can seem like a monumental task. What factors should you consider? What are your priorities? Do you have health concerns? Are you hoping to avoid or achieve pregnancy?  In our conversation, we aimed to break down the complexity of this decision, and offer some insights from our own personal experience, and the experience of speaking with hundreds of women. As our friend Lisa puts it, “the best method is the one you’re going to use.” We are here to help you make that connection. Resource mentioned in episode:  Different Types of Fertility Awareness Methods, Which One is for You? ( User Database Archives - FAbM Base Our Collaboration with the Body Literacy Collective, Instructors ( Birth Control vs. Fertility Awareness – Mary G Bruno ( Additional Resources from Emily's Total Whine blog that can help with method choice: All the Single Ladies who want to learn fertility awareness (relevant to anyone new to fertility awareness, or those interested in a making a switch) The Postpartum Conundrum of NFP (a list of questions and considerations for choosing a method for postpartum) Which FABM to Choose? (a series of Q&As with instructors and users of 5 different  methods)
May 09, 2022
S1 E9: Collaboration vs. Competition with Bridget Busacker
Bridget Busacker is founder of Managing Your Fertility, an online, one-stop shop of fertility awareness resources for women and couples™. Bridget helps women step boldly into their womanhood by being unafraid of their cycles & bodies, embracing their reproductive health in all its glory and messiness. She’s on a mission to integrate faith & science through compassion & connection with her website, courses (launching soon!), podcast, writing, and speaking engagements. Bridget is married to David and together they have two sweet girls, where they live out the beautiful mess of NFP and marriage together every day. On this episode, we had a fun chat between friends about the importance of collaboration over competition. If you consider the missions of and, you might notice something very similar! In a culture that often encourages women to compete against each other, we strongly believe in encouraging one another because we all have something beautiful and important to bring to the table. We hope this conversation brings you the hope and support you need to do exactly what you are called to do - no matter who else appears to be doing it! Find Bridget at, on YouTube, on social media @managingyourfertility, and listen to her podcast on Apple, Anchor, and Spotify.
May 02, 2022
S1 E8: From Prescribing Birth Control to Advocating Fertility Awareness & Holistic Health with Dr. Susan Caldwell
We both learned so much during this episode with Dr. Susan Caldwell, who is a primary care physician specializing in women's health. She is a NaProTECHNOLOGY Medical Consultant practicing in New Orleans at East Jefferson General Hospital - Lakeview Clinic. More importantly, she is a proud mama of three amazing children. Dr. Caldwell practiced in internal medicine, prescribing birth control and using it herself, for many years until she began to see its effects in so many of her patients firsthand. Some of these experiences shocked her! As someone who doesn’t like to color outside the lines, it was very hard for her to make the change to restorative reproductive medicine, but she believes it is what women deserve. She explained how birth control affects the body short- and long-term, how infertility plays into that, the unique labs she assesses, and both the liberation and challenges of providing authentic women’s healthcare through charting. Her perspectives were fascinating! You can follow her blog at, and find her on IG and FB @dr.susancaldwell Here are the resources mentioned in the episode: The Upside of Infertility (, How Charting Your Cycles Could Help Prevent Breast Cancer (, Counseling resources: Come Read our External Resources for Fertility Awareness (
April 25, 2022
S1 E7: "What if I can't afford to be in the 2% failure rate of FABM methods?" with Louise Boychuck
Louise Boychuk is a Registered Nurse and Marquette Method instructor who lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She is the director of Vitae Fertility Education, a collective of Marquette Instructors who teach the method virtually and in-person. She's passionate about teaching couples about the science and research behind NFP in an approachable and easy-to-understand way. The theme of our conversation with Louise is “What if I can’t afford to be in the 2% failure rate of fertility awareness methods?” Some couples are desperate to avoid pregnancy, and with good reason. Louise discussed how Fertility Awareness Based Methods can be customized for the individual in this situation, when to consider a method switch, and the importance of a good instructor fit. The desire to avoid pregnancy falls somewhere on a spectrum that ranges from great need to “we’ll see what happens.” We talked about the effect of mindset and how abstinence plays into these important decisions. Louise also broke down PCOS for us in a way that we could understand and explained how Marquette and other methods approach charting the woman with complicated hormone patterns. It was an absolute joy to have this chat with Louise and we hope you enjoy it! Make sure to check out this FREE resource she provided for all of our listeners: Straight Talk About NFP Effectiveness (
April 18, 2022
S1 E6: Body Literacy for Girls and in the Parish with Christina Valenzuela
Christina Valenzuela is the owner of Pearl and Thistle, LLC, where she provides education and support programs to help Catholics share the "Language of the Body" in their families and their parishes. She has been a certified instructor in the Boston Cross Check method of NFP since 2013, and her parent-daughter cycle and period education program, Cycle Prep, was a finalist project in the 2021 OSV Innovation challenge. Christina is a good friend of ours and we had a blast chatting about her inspiration for both of the programs she has developed - Cycle Prep for girls and their parents (now also available in Spanish) and an NFP ambassador program for parishes. She led us in a robust and enlightening conversation about the “Language of the Body” as it relates to the Theology of the Body, and as it applies to each individual woman - not just within the context of sex. We even explored what truly makes a couple fertile, and it isn’t simply their ability to procreate. Enjoy the show! You can find Christina at, @pearlandthistle on IG and Facebook
April 11, 2022
S1 E5: A Priest's Perspective with Fr. Justin Braun
Fr. Braun is the pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, a bi-lingual parish in the northeast corner of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas. He was on the ground level of launching Bishop Joseph Strickland's St. Philip Institute, where he has served in various roles since 2017. Fr. Braun regularly serves as Chaplain to engaged couple retreats for marriage preparation, as well as being a retreat and conference speaker for marriage enrichment. In this interview, Fr. Braun explained why it’s important, and even in the business of a priest, to know and talk about fertility awareness when he is not sexually active. He gave his response to those Catholics & non-Catholics who take issue with some of the really hard teachings of the Church (like the ones on IVF and birth control) and gave us some insight into how he counsels couples struggling with family planning issues, IVF, miscarriage, and infertility. You’re going to appreciate his answer. Finally, he gave a very specific challenge to his brother priests! You don’t want to miss this! You can find Fr. Braun here: Department of Family Life - St. Philip Institute (, Sacred Heart Catholic Church - Texarkana, TX (, & on Facebook @Justin Braun or @Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Texarkana
April 04, 2022
S1 E4: Menstrual Stigmas and How to Change Them with Jamie Murphy
In today's episode, Emily goes solo chatting with Jamie Murphy about some of the craziest things she's read about menstruation and ovulation, how these stigmas persist and negatively affect women, and what we can do to change the narrative. It's a fun, informative conversation we hope you enjoy! Jamie Murphy is a fertility awareness educator with a passion for educating women about their bodies. She believes everyone should have the tools necessary to be confident and knowledgeable about their fertility and her mission is to help FAM users become autonomous and empowered. Jamie is a full-time toddler mom, part-time SymptoPro educator, and in her leftover free time you can find her reading and writing about menstrual activism and anthropology. Follow Jamie on Instagram @followingmybody Books referenced in the episode: The Woman in the Body  Blood Stories   Is Menstruation Obsolete? 
March 28, 2022
S1 E3: Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy with Drs. Emily and Jenny
Dr. Emily McElrath is the owner of Dynamix Physical Therapy in Mandeville, LA., specializing in orthopedics and pelvic floor physical therapy. Dr. Jenny Porter specializes in pelvic floor physical therapy for men, women, and children with bladder, bowel, sexual, and pain dysfunctions. She also specializes in pregnancy and postpartum care. In this episode, we dove deep into what pelvic floor physical therapy is and how it uniquely addresses postpartum care, endometriosis, painful intercourse, vaginismus, hormonal birth control, and even male infertility! If you’ve heard that it involves “internal work” and that has made you nervous in the past, don’t worry - it isn’t always needed, and if it is, it is the goal of these therapists to make you feel as comfortable as possible. Drs. Emily and Jenny address this concern sensitively and explain how it is licit, if needed. Find Drs. Emily and Jenny here:, FB Dynamix PT and Wellness, IG @dynamixptandwellness Find a PT near you by using either of these links. Make sure to call first and ask if they have a PT who specializes in “pelvic floor.” Find a Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioner Near You Find a PT (
March 21, 2022
S1 E2: Life Before, During & After Birth Control with Taryn Delong
Taryn DeLong is an editor and writer and, most importantly, a wife and mother. She is the managing editor of Catholic Women in Business and a contributing writer to Live Today Well, Natural Womanhood, and, as well as other publications. Taryn was certified to teach FEMM in 2021 and teaches it to women and couples at a pregnancy center in Raleigh, North Carolina. One thing that is so interesting about Taryn's story is that birth control improved her symptoms, and did it without adding unwanted side effects. So why did she stop using it and how did the transition from this common drug to fertility awareness & restorative reproductive medicine go? In this very interesting episode, Taryn answers all of these questions and gives us some insight into how some birth control users perceive those of us who promote fertility awareness. Find Taryn at Instagram: @tarynmdelong  Twitter:  Facebook: @EverydayRoses. Also on LinkedIn.
March 15, 2022
S1 E1: Welcome to "The Intersect" with Emily & Mary
In this episode, Emily and Mary share their stories like you’ve never heard before. With new details and new perspectives, they engage in a raw conversation about their personal experiences, which is what has brought FAbM Base to life. This led into various side-discussions about the state of women’s healthcare, transvaginal ultrasounds, having the freedom to be authentic about our feelings, pro-woman vs. pro-birth, suffering, therapy, discovering self-awareness, non-judgmental listening, what you can expect from this new podcast, and so much more. At one point, Emily said “We’re here to talk about fertility awareness and yet we have tangented onto so many different things. And that’s really important to call out because that’s what fertility awareness does - it’s not just learning your fertility because your fertility doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It is affected by, and it affects, everything in your life…” Welcome to “the Intersect!” We hope you enjoy hanging with us and can’t wait to do it again next Tuesday!
March 07, 2022