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Managing Your Fertility

Managing Your Fertility

By Bridget Busacker
Have you ever wondered if it's possible to live in sync with your cycle? Do you struggle with a negative mindset around your period? Are you wondering if it's possible to be feminist and anti-birth control?

We're going to explore these questions and so much more in the Managing Your Fertility podcast because this is about helping YOU live a whole and full life. I'm your host and guide, Bridget Busacker, joining you in the journey of exploration related to women's health care, feminism, and fertility awareness.

Are you ready?? Let's get started!

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09 - Sarah Rooney: Period Positivity & Mindset Around Your Cycle

Managing Your Fertility

13 - John Capistrant: Loving Your Spouse through NFP
How do you love your spouse during times of abstinence? What does chastity look like in marriage? How can husbands stay supportive when practicing NFP? Bridget talks to her friend, John Capistrant, about the joys and struggles of using Natural Family Planning (NFP) in marriage and how to love your spouse when NFP feels hard and challenging. They talk about what it looks like for husbands to love their wives, especially when NFP is an integral part of marriage, and how to be a supportive spouse when NFP requires abstinence. Additional resources discussed: Is NFP Just "Catholic Birth Control"?: Catechism of the Catholic Church #2337 Holy Sex!: A Catholic Guide to Toe-Curling, Mind-Blowing, Infallible Loving: Good News About Sex & Marriage (Revised Edition): Answers to Your Honest Questions about Catholic Teaching: Interviewee bio: John is a Catholic husband and father. He and his wife, Katelyn, celebrated their 5th wedding anniversary in July. John teaches middle school language arts and religion at Community of Saints Catholic School in West St. Paul, MN. John enjoys sports, doing escape rooms, watching classic films, making people laugh (especially his 1 year old son, Anthony), and playing strategic board games.
November 9, 2021
12 - Dr. Sarah Bartel: How to Strengthen Your Marriage & Sex Life
Do you want to have a healthier marriage?  Are you wondering how you can incorporate intimacy into your marriage?  Does sex feel more like a chore, but you want it to be more enjoyable?  In this episode, Bridget sits down with Dr. Sarah Bartel, a moral theologian and mom of five, she and her husband of twenty years created the Cana Feast virtual marriage ministry to help bring the benefits of marriage retreats to more couples. She is passionate about helping women understand their bodies, specifically body literacy around reproductive health, and helping couples create healthy, holy marriages. Bridget and Sarah discuss what it looks like to cultivate a healthy marriage, why NFP is so helpful to women and couples, and why sex isn't the "dessert" of marriage, but an integral point of connection and intimacy together. Additional resources discussed:  Familiaris Consortio: Holy Sex: A Catholic Guide to Toe-Curling, Mind-blowing, Infallible Love: Cana Feast Blog - Joy Filled Catholic Marriages: FREE Communication Virtual Retreat: Couple's Prayer Guide: Interviewee bio:  Sarah Bartel helps married Catholics grow closer to God and closer to their beloved at A moral theologian and mom of five, she and her husband of twenty years created the Cana Feast virtual marriage ministry to help bring the benefits of marriage retreats to more couples. She co-edited A Catechism of Marriage and Family Life for CUA Press. She hikes, reads Jane Austen, and has adventures with her family in the Seattle area. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook @canafeast and @drsarahbartel.
October 26, 2021
11 - Cami Berthiaume: Fertility Awareness in Everyday Life
What's it like to live out Fertility Awareness (FA) in everyday life?  How can Natural Family Planning (NFP) help your marriage?  What can we do to broaden the conversation around FA/NFP?  Bridget sits down with Cami Berthiaume, Digital Content Coordinator for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Fertility Awareness Advocate, to talk about what it's like to live out FA/NFP in everyday life. She shares more broadly about why FA/NFP is so valuable for women and how her own personal journey led her to become an advocate for holistic women's health. Cami also shares the realities of living out NFP in marriage and why couples need more support to thrive (not just survive) in this space. Interviewee bio:  Cami works as Digital Content Coordinator for the Archdiocese of St. Paul's Office of Communications, which encompasses her role as Producer for Practicing Catholic - a radio show collaboration between the Archdiocese and Relevant Radio 1330AM. Her love for authentic evangelization also led to the creation of her side business, Cookies by CJ: a custom cookie business catering to celebrations of the Sacraments, and all events in between! Cami married her high school sweetheart, Ryan, in the summer of 2019 and her love for women's health stems from her own deep dive into the world of NFP during their engagement. When she's not baking cookies, you can find her visiting new breweries around the Twin Cities, hosting game nights in her tiny apartment, and volunteering with the youth ministry and Confirmation programs at her parish (not simultaneously). You can follow Cami on Instagram @cj.berthiaume and @cookiesbycj1.
June 15, 2021
10 - Christina Valenzuela: Starting Fertility Awareness Conversations Sooner
When should women learn about their cycles?  How can we start these conversations sooner and make it age appropriate?  Can cycle awareness help overall body positivity and health literacy?  Bridget chats with Christina Valenzuela, Fertility & Cycle Educator and Founder of Pearl & Thistle, to discuss age appropriate ways to talk to young girls about body positivity, periods, and cycles and the program she's put together for parents & daughters to attend together: Cycle Prep. In this conversation, they explore age appropriate ways to address cycles and sex, barriers to changing the narrative, and ways we can make impact in women's health care by starting education at younger ages. This episode is particularly helpful for parents of young girls, but it's not limited to moms and dads. Women who are interested in learning about how they can make waves in this space will love this episode, too!  Additional resources discussed:  Pearl & Thistle: Cycle Prep: Interviewee bio:  Christina is first and foremost a wife, and mother of four children ages 11 to 2. She is also a fertility and cycle educator, trained in the Boston Cross Check method of Natural Family Planning since 2013. Through her business, Pearl and Thistle, she equips Catholic families and parishes with resources to learn, appreciate, and support one another in reading the language of the body. Christina holds an undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Theology from the University of Notre Dame, and a master's degree in theology from Harvard Divinity School. She is also a life-professed member of the Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic. 
June 8, 2021
09 - Sarah Rooney: Period Positivity & Mindset Around Your Cycle
Are you wondering if it's possible to be at peace with your period? Do you struggle with body positivity?  Is it possible that a mindset shift could positively change your relationship with your body?  Bridget sits down with Sarah Rooney, wife, mom, and entrepreneur with a passion for helping women and families, specifically around fertility and reproductive health. Sarah is a FertilityCare Practitioner with a particular passion for women's health, focusing specifically on mindset and self image. She believes that working on our mindset can greatly impact how we see our bodies, love our bodies, and, ultimately, see our periods as our greatest superpower. Sarah also has a Peaceful Period Challenge taking place in June 2021 that you don't want to miss! Link to sign-up below. Additional resources discussed:  Peaceful Period Challenge: The Woman School: Seeing Red: The One Book Every Woman Needs to Read. Period.: The Fifth Vital Sign: Master Your Cycles & Optimize Your Fertility: Mairead Suthoff: Cycle Syncing to Maximize Your Workouts: Megan Faller: How to Align Your Cycle with Your Schedule: Interviewee bio:  Sarah Rooney is a wife, mother, and entrepreneur with a passion for helping women and families. With all of her own infertility and cycle issues, and her heart for authentic women's health, she has been helping hundreds of women and couples as a FertilityCare Practitioner and women’s health educator for over 10 years. Seeing how much our mindset and self image are key to our health and wholeness, Sarah has been also guiding women as a Woman School Strategist in their transformation to becoming who they are called to be, with the tools to live the best versions of themselves. You can find Sarah on Instagram @familywellnessinspired and on Clubhouse @sarahrooney.
June 2, 2021
08 - Emily Frase: How to Talk About & Prepare for Sex When You're Engaged
Should you ramp up intimacy before marriage?  Is lube okay to use?  How do you combat purity culture when you've been raised with "sex is bad before marriage"... and now you're married and terrified?  Emily Frase is BACK! Bridget and Emily sit down to have an honest conversation about sex, commonly asked questions about the wedding night, and confusion about intimacy (thanks, purity culture). This episode is geared specifically towards engaged couples and addresses questions specific to those who are engaged and nervous about having sex, what it looks like to actually practice NFP in marriage, and how the heck to learn about sex when Dr. Google can be a freaky place to search.  Additional resources discussed: Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) #2237:  Real Talk: Honeymoon Sex: Holy Sex!: A Catholic Guide to Toe-Curling, Mind-Blowing, Infallible Loving: Good News About Sex & Marriage (Revised Edition): Answers to Your Honest Questions about Catholic Teaching: Theology of the Body in One Hour: Theology of the Body for Beginners: Rediscovering the Meaning of Life, Love, Sex, and Gender: Interviewee bio:  Emily Frase is a south Louisiana native living in northern Virginia with her husband and two toddlers. After receiving her bachelor's degree in architecture, she went on to work in the nonprofit world in DC for five years. She founded the blog in 2018, where she shares her deep passion for living all aspects of the Catholic faith in a joyful and honest way, especially marriage, motherhood, NFP and fertility awareness. She is the co-founder and president of the nonprofit organization FAbM Base, a new fertility awareness database coming soon. She has been featured in FemCatholic, Theology of Home, Vigil Magazine, Letters to Women podcast, and The St. Philip Institute. 
May 25, 2021
07 - Elizabeth Marcolini: Clean Beauty & Its Impact on Fertility
Is the movement towards clean beauty products a gimmick?  How do you start cleaning out your cabinet of personal care products?  Why does what we put on our bodies impact our fertility?  Bridget chats with Elizabeth Marcolini, Entrepreneur, NYT Best Selling Author, and Executive Director with Beautycounter, to talk about her personal journey to swapping out her products for cleaner alternatives and what motivated her to make the change. They share their own mishaps and struggles with switching to clean, apps they recommend for cleaning out your products, and practical tips for making changes that are budget-friendly. Elizabeth shares some of the reasons why she works with Beautycounter and what research ultimately made her decide to work with Beautycounter to make a difference in women's health care and personal care product journeys.  Additional resources discussed:  Beautycounter: The Never List: Environmental Working Group Skin Deep App: Think Dirty, Shop Clean App: Hermosa Study: Toxic Chemicals Finding Their Way into the Womb (2010): Interviewee bio:  Elizabeth Marcolini is an Entrepreneur, NYT Best Selling Author, and Executive Director with Beautycounter. Elizabeth holds a Masters in Theological Studies from the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Dallas. She was also a John Jay Fellow, an Alliance Defending Freedom Areté (A-RAY-te) Fellow, and has spent many weeks in Africa doing educational mission work, with a specific focus on faith formation. Her greatest joy is being a wife to her husband, Matt!
May 18, 2021
06 - Mairead Suthoff: Cycle Syncing to Maximize Your Workouts
Is it possible to sync your cycle to your workouts?  Can you maximize your workouts while honoring your body?  Do you hate your period and think it gets in the way of your workouts?  Bridget sits down with Mairead Suthoff, Certified Athletic Trainer & Certified FEMM Instructor, to talk about the specifics of cycle syncing, if it's real, how it works, and how women can use this information to have better workouts and overall health. Mairead offers coaching sessions and trainings to help women understand their cycles and maximize their workouts through her business, Lumina Health Services. Her work is incredible and so needed in this space! If you're wanting to avoid "pushing through" a workout and actually enjoy your daily exercise/movement activities, this is the episode for you!  Additional resources discussed:  Lumina Health Services: Dr. Stacy Sims: Ted Talk w/ Dr. Stacy Sims - Women Are Not Small Men: How to Optimize Your Workouts to Your Menstrual Cycle: WomanCode: Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source: ROAR: How to Match Your Food and Fitness to Your Unique Female Physiology for Optimum Performance, Great Health, and a Strong, Lean Body for Life: Interviewee bio:  Mairead Suthoff is a certified athletic trainer and a certified FEMM instructor. She thrives in inspiring women to chart their cycles. Her business, Lumina Health Services, teaches women how to chart for health, body literacy, cycle syncing, and family planning. Her background in sports medicine makes her particularly passionate about helping active women achieve cycle health and sync their workouts to the phases of their cycle. 
May 11, 2021
05 - Alex DeRose: Feminism & Birth Control
What does authentic, holistic women's health care look like?  How can we embrace our bodies as women - including our reproductive system?  Can we change conversations around birth control and feminism?  In this episode, Bridget sits down with Alex DeRose to talk about her experiences as a NaProTechnology-trained nurse practitioner and how her views of women's health were deeply impacted by the women she served in her nursing career. They talk about her research in her Master's program, the need for increased knowledge for women about their reproductive health, and being honest about the side effects and impact of hormonal birth control on women's overall health. This episode packs a punch and isn't meant to carry all the answers, rather it's a conversation to get you thinking, researching, and learning how you can be empowered by your health and recognize the power of knowing yourself - your body - to make waves in women's health care. Additional resources discussed: NaProTechnology: Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement: On Not Using Contraception Postpartum: Knowledge is Power: How Learning about Fertility Empowered Me: The Different Stakes of Male and Female Birth Control: Interviewee bio:  Alex DeRose is a Family Nurse Practitioner & Fertility Care Practitioner turned stay-at-home homeschooling mom to four sons. She's passionate about empowering women with knowledge for fertility awareness, joyful encouragement and the dignity of motherhood. You can find her work on her blog, Joy Mama Blog ( and on Instagram @alexandriaderose.  
May 4, 2021
04 - Kelly Breaux: Navigating Loss
Bridget sits down with Kelly Breaux, co-founder of Red Bird Ministries, to talk honestly about the struggles of pregnancy and child loss, resources needed, how the Catholic Church can better support women and couples, and what to say to a friend who's experienced loss. This interview is so beautiful and Kelly shares her own story of loss and how it impacted the ministry she and her husband founded to help women and couples navigate loss with tangible resources. They really focus on integrative, whole person support, so that individuals don't feel isolated or alone in the journey of healing.  Additional resources discussed: Red Bird Ministries: Hiding in the Upper Room: How the Catholic Sacraments Healed Me from Child Loss: Saints for Slackers Podcast: Couples grieving the loss of a child now have support in this new ministry: 10 New ministries you should know about: Interviewee bio:  Ryan and Kelly Breaux gave birth to a set of twins in 2005, a son Talon and a daughter Emma Grace. Talon died after 15 days with Emma Grace joining her brother in Heaven three years later.   Their lives were propelled onto a personal journey of both discovery and recovery after battling a decade of darkness in their marriage. By the grace of God, their marriage was saved. Through the Sacraments of the Catholic Church, the Breaux’s found healing and restoration.   Through personally experiencing the loss of a child and through their own  suffering, the thirst of bringing those who suffer back to the light and to the Lord grew.  Therefore, they looked to Mother Teresa  (patroness of Red Bird Ministries) for passion and inspiration to serve  those who are suffering, specifically through the loss of a child. In the gift of restoration, they felt called to help others navigate the pain and unexpected challenges that come from the loss of a child, and through their first divine vocation of parenthood, Red Bird Ministries was born. Red Bird Ministries was named by Altheia as the top 10 ministries to know in 2020! 
April 27, 2021
03 - Megan Faller: How to Align Your Cycle with Your Schedule
Did you ever think you could align your cycle with your work schedule?  Have you ever wondered if you could maximize your productivity with your cycle instead of fighting it?  This episode is for you! Really, for every woman!  Bridget sits down with Megan Faller, Cycle & Productivity Strategist, helps women align their cycles with their schedules to maximize their daily routines to help grow businesses, goals, roles with ease. You can work with Megan 1:1 to align your cycle with your schedule or you can take group setting courses, too!  Additional resources discussed: The Aligned Cycle: Dr. Stacy Sims: Alisa Vitti: How to Optimize Your Workouts with Your Menstrual Cycle: Should Women Be Entitled to Period Leave? These Countries Think So: Interviewee bio:  Megan Faller is a Menstrual Cycle & Productivity Strategist and Founder of The Aligned Cycle. As a Certified FertilityCare Practitioner she spent years helping women understand their bodies and chart their cycles so they could make important decisions about planning their families and scheduling medical procedures. Then she stumbled into using the power of her cycles and hormonal waves to schedule her work.  Now she helps other women put their cycles to work for them, so they can make an impact and grow businesses with flow and ease.
April 20, 2021
02 - Emily Frase: Honest Conversations about Holy Sex
What does it mean to have "holy sex" and what does that actually look like?  How can you create a thriving, healthy sex life with your spouse?  Does the Catholic Church hate sex and only celebrate babies?  In this episode, Bridget chats with Emily Frase all about sex, tackling the theological, historical, and, most importantly, the practical. Emily and Bridget delve into an honest conversation about what it means to have holy sex with your spouse, answering commonly asked questions and identifying the need throughout their conversation that honest, reverent conversations about sex are so important to create cultural change and impact on a micro and macro level.  Additional resources discussed:  Theology of the Body: Theology of the Body for Beginners: Humanae Vitae: Holy Sex!: A Catholic Guide to Toe-Curling, Mind-Blowing, Infallible Loving: Good News about Marriage & Sex: You can follow Emily over on her personal Instagram account at @totalwhine_ and her business account, @fabmbase. Interviewee bio:  Emily Frase is a south Louisiana native living in northern Virginia with her husband and two cherubs. After receiving her bachelor's degree in architecture, she went on to work in the nonprofit world in D.C. for five years. To her delight, her background in creative problem solving and working with politicians prepared her perfectly for her current full-time job managing toddler tantrums. She founded the Total W(h)ine Blog ( in 2018, where she shares her passion for living all aspects of the Catholic Faith in a joyful and honest way, especially marriage, motherhood, NFP, and fertility awareness. She is the co-founder and president of the nonprofit organization FAbM Base (, a new fertility awareness database coming soon.
April 13, 2021
01 - Emily Harpole: Feminine Genius & Fertility Awareness
What is the feminine genius?  How does fertility awareness tie into the feminine genius?  Why should women lean into their feminine genius?  In this episode, Bridget chats with Emily Harpole about the feminine genius and how it relates to fertility awareness. Bridget & Emily delve into living lives of wholeness and integration to better understand who we are as women in order to help us embrace our bodies and cycles.  Additional resources discussed:  Letter to Women:  Mulieris Dignitatem: Theology of the Body:  Theology of the Body for Beginners: The Culture Project International: Seeking Excellence Podcast: You can follow Emily over on her Instagram account, @emily.marie.glorify.  Interviewee bio:  Emily Harpole is from Denver, Colorado and is a 2019 graduate of Benedictine College where she studied Theology, Evangelization/Catechesis and Political Science.  She spent her first year post-grad as a missionary with The Culture Project where she spoke to middle and high school students about the dignity of human life and the richness that comes from living a life of sexual integrity. She loves ministry, especially in the realm of Theology of the Body and fostering healthy relationships, with a special place in her heart for encouraging young women.  Emily uses her Instagram account @emily.marie.glorify to reach out to other young people and currently works as the scheduling coordinator for Sarah Swafford and Emotional Virtue Ministries.
April 5, 2021