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With one in four Australian women on the oral contraceptive pill, few are aware of the link between the pill and mental health conditions.

With more than 100 million women worldwide and one in four Australian women taking oral contraceptive pills, new research is showing a strong link between the pill and mental health decline.

Researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York have conducted a study examining the brains of women taking oral contraceptives.

Research found that women taking the pill had a significantly smaller hypothalamus volume compared to those who weren’t taking this form of birth control.

The hypothalamus is a small region of the brain located near the pituitary gland responsible for producing hormones and regulating essential bodily functions such as moods.

Dr. Michael Lipton, head of the study, concluded that a smaller hypothalamic volume was also associated with greater anger and showed a strong correlation with depressive symptoms.

Depression affects twice as many women as men and it’s estimated one in four Australian women will experience depression in their lifetime.

Since the 1960’s, this tiny hormone-packed tablet has been treated as a miracle pill admired by women who now have the power to plan their periods and pregnancies.

With depression being one of the most predominant and devastating mental health issues in Australia, the prized benefits of the pill no longer outweigh the newly discovered evil it can create.

So what exactly is the pill?

The oral contraceptive pill is a tablet taken daily that contains both estrogen and progesterone hormones. It works by stopping the ovaries from producing an egg each month, preventing it from being fertilised.

The pill is used for many different reasons including; pregnancy prevention, improving acne, making periods lighter and more regular, skipping periods and improving symptoms of endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

While the pill has many benefits for women, research suggests that it can be linked to causing mental health issues, a detrimental side effect that doctors aren’t telling patients.

Evidence from a large Danish study on links between oral contraceptives and low mood rings alarm bells as 23% of women on the pill are more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant compared to those who aren’t.

The study also found that depression was diagnosed at a 70% higher rate amongst 15 to 19 year olds taking the pill and women between the ages of 15 and 33 are three times more likely to die by suicide if they have taken hormonal birth control.

Medical practitioners are quick to point out the less harmful physical side effects of taking oral contraceptives, yet seem to fail to mention the psychological damage it can trigger to a women’s mental health.

The praised pill has seen doctors handing it out like candy on Halloween to every women complaining of cramps, blemished skin or wanting an ‘easier’ option for birth control.

While medication should only be prescribed when medically necessary to patients, the pill is being prescribed routinely and by default from doctors.

So why are the mental health side effects of oral contraceptives being hidden from unsuspecting patients who are being prescribed them?

Dr. John Littell, a family physician, explains that the side effects of the pill are not often told to patients as they are seen as not important.

“Physicians in training during the past thirty years or so have been taught to find any reason to put women on some form of contraception without mentioning the possible risks associated with these methods.”

This is alarming news as Dr. Littell also mentions that when talking about the side effects, doctors are trained to see them as less of a concern than the overarching “problem” of pregnancy.

“The pill is often prescribed without any sense of hesitation from the prescribing physician, stating risks are viewed as less important than encouraging the woman to take it,” Dr. Littell explains.

Many women are now breaking free from the synthetic hormone cocktail being put into their body daily that is mixing with their emotions.

With research telling us what the doctors won’t, it’s no surprise why the most common reason women now change or stop taking the pill is because of mental health side effects.

Articles written by women titled “Why I’ll never take the pill again” and “My nightmare on the pill” explore firsthand the impact this pill has on women and the decline of their mental state.

Psychologist Sarah E. Hill suggests that almost half of those who go on the pill stop taking it within the first year due to intolerable side effects, with the main one reported being unpleasant changes in mood.

“Sometimes it’s intolerable anxiety, other times it’s intolerable depression, or maybe both simultaneously,”

“Even though some women’s doctors may tell them that those mood changes aren’t real or important, a growing body of research suggests otherwise,” Hill states.

Digital media brand The Debrief has launched an investigation linking mental health to the pill, surveying 1,022 readers between the ages of 18 and 30.

93% of women surveyed were on the pill or had previously taken it and of these women, 58% believe that the pill had a negative impact on their mental health.

45% of women experienced anxiety and 45% experienced depression while taking oral contraceptives.

43% of these women sought medical advice about their mental health, and over half the women believed that doctors did not take their concerns seriously.

With studies revealing the truth and doctors trying to hide it, the alarming facts point to a deadly pill polluting the brains of innocent, unsuspecting women.

While the oral contraceptive pill still remains the most popular and accessible form of birth control in Australia, it should be taken with caution and use should be monitored daily to prevent the occurrence of harmful side effects.

 

Christmas can be a stressful time of year when trying to find the perfect presents! These crowd-pleasing gifts are sure to put a smile on the faces of your nearest and dearest. From your tiny tot to your partner, our Christmas Gift Guide has you covered this festive season.

Baby

Buying for bub is lots of fun, but there are so many options out there. This year, get them something that will keep them entertained and stimulate their growing brains.

Fisher-Price Zebra Walker – $54.99

The Fisher-Price Learn with Me Zebra is a designed to encourage those exciting first steps. The zebra is also full of hands-on activities for sitting babies. It has everything from the alphabet to songs and phrases to help with language development. Available at Kmart, Big W, Target, Myer, TRU and fisher-price.com

Fisher-Price Beat Bo Junior – $14.99.

With bright lights, playful tunes and silly dance moves, this cute product is perfect for keeping the little ones entertained, and will help them boost fine motor and thinking skills. It’s great entertainment for on the go and for making tummy-time fun. Available at Target, Kmart, Big W, Myer, TRU and fisher-price.com

Best Christmas Present Ever 2017. $32.95.

A beautiful bub is the best gift of all, so deck your gorgeous new bundle in this cute-as-pie little number. Available at Unique Baby Boutique. uniquebabyboutique.com.au

Musical Clacker Keys. $10.

Every parent knows kids are mesmerised by jingly, jangly keys. These three bright and colourful keys allow your baby to satisfy their curiosity, but also can help to provide some relief once their first teeth come through. One key is a teether;  one is fun to clack and the third has a button for sounds and music. Available at Target.

Toddler

Little Belle night lights -$149.95

These beautiful night lights will provide a comforting glow for little ones at night – and will be a gorgeous feature in your child’s room. Made with hand-painted brush strokes, each of the night lights are inspired by the imagination of young children. Available at little-belle.com

 

Beginner Jigsaw Puzzle – $23

These cute and personalised 6-piece jigsaws are the perfect first puzzles for your little one. These are made from quality material, high resolution colour, and have clear-gloss coating so these puzzles will last. This bright and fun collection of jigsaw puzzles is a great treat for your toddler this Christmas. Available at tinyme.com.au

 

Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Servin’ Up Food Truck – $149.99

Playing shop and restaurant is something kids have loved doing for generations. Keep your little one busy with customers and prepping orders in this play food truck. This helps to introduce toddlers to things like sizing and sequencing, advanced vocabulary, manners, taking turns, but makes it fun with lively songs, sounds and phrases. Available at Target, Big W, Myer, TRU and fisher-price.com.

 

Fisher-Price Zoom ‘n Crawl Monster – $49.99

This is a fun toy for sit-and-play. This toy also help with language with 15 phrases and fun songs. This is a fantastic toy to encourage your little one to get up and get moving. Available at Target, Big W, Myer, TRU and fisher-price.com.

BRIO – My First Take Along Set – $149.95

This brightly coloured play bag is filled with the first tracks in an expandable magnetic train set. It’s perfect to take along when you’re travelling or visiting. It’s fun to use and easy to store, which we all know is very important with a toddler. Both are available at Childsmart.

 

Crocodile Creek Play Ball – $12.95

Balls are a great way to have fun with your toddler and help them learn motor skills.

 

Kids Aged 3-5

Perfect gifts for the fun, energetic 3-5-year-old that will come in handy during the Summer holidays.

Star of the Unicorn Bike – $69

A bike is a timeless gift your child can grow with. Give your child a bike to remember with this cute unicorn inspired bike that makes it easy for you to follow behind with a convenient handle. Available at Kmart.

 

Cotton On Kids

There is always a good excuse to get dressed up during the festive season, and your kids are no exception! We love the sparkly Iris Tulle Dress ($39.95) matched with the Amalfi Jelly Sandal ($16.95). And imagine how dapper your little boy will look in the Kenny Polo ($16.95) and Jerry Loop Back Short ($34.95). A range of adorable party wear is available from Cotton On Kids.

Crocodile Creek Tritan Drink Bottle in Jungle Jamboree, Backyard Friends and Hedgehog- $14.95

A fun gift and something that you can take into the new school year! These coordinate with other Crocodile Creek products such as the Crocodile Creek Backyard Friends Backpack – $29.95

 

The Elf on the Shelf 

The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition is a magical story, explains how Santa’s scout elves help him manage his naughty or nice list. Each beautifully-illustrated children’s hardback book comes as a part of a keepsake boxed set including one of Santa’s scout elves, whose job is to watch the kids during the day and report to Santa every night. Available from booksellers including Myer, Dymocks and independent stores.

Glimmies – $7.99

Glimmies are collectable star fairies that magically light up in the dark. They make a cute little stocking gift for the little ones. Available at shop.funtastic.com.au

 

Crocodile Creek Bear and Friends Floor Puzzle – $24.95

All the Crocodile Creek floor puzzles have a slightly-recessed lid that makes the storage box easy for little fingers to open.  Available at childsmart.com.au

 

Kids Aged 6-9+

Young kids can sometimes be difficult to buy for because their favourites can change so suddenly. Thankfully, so many items these days come with colour options or are customisable. Just pick your child’s current favourite craze and there’s sure to be something to match. This is also a great way to get your kids useful gifts. If you know something they love, finding necessities like clothes and school supplies that they will get excited about will be easy.

Mokuru 

The latest wooden toy from Japan, designed to test your balance and concentration skills. It’s as simple as tipping the wooden piece over gently letting it flip and catching it between your fingers. Available at Kmart

Kmart so slime DIY slime factory kit – $29

Keep your child occupied for hours by helping them create their own toys.

 

Globber My TOO FIX UP- $120 

A scooter is a fantastic gift choice to get the kids out into the fresh air and sunshine. The kids will love the choices of the cool colour combos of this scooter and how comfortable it is to ride (featuring three adjustable height positions). Parents will love that this scooter has a reinforced fixed structure and can handle up to 100kg – finally, something that is built to be as tough as your kids!  Available at globber.com.au

 

Spin to Sing – $39.95

If your child is a fan of The Voice or The X Factor, they will love this fun sing-along game. An app uses music from your smart phone, and there is a 5 star judging system and jeopardy cards to add a hilarious twist. Available from childsmart.com.au

 

JBL Headphones

If you have a music enthusiast, they will love these wireless headphones, which can carry a wireless connection up to 15 metres away and have easy-to-operate controls. They have a long battery life and quick re-charge time. JR300 Junior Headphones -$39.95; JR300BT Bluetooth Wireless Junior Headphones – RRP 69.95; Junior Headphone – $49.95. Available at jbl.com

 

Springfree Trampoline

Designed with your child’s safety in mind, this trampoline will provide hours of bouncy outdoor fun. Boasting over 15 years of research and development, Springfree advances and exceeds safety standards, while also encouraging kids to get outside and get active.

This is suitable for a range of ages and both girls and boys. It is a perfect gift if you have more than one child, or for your child and their friends, because the kids can all enjoy it together. Available at springfreetrampoline.com.au

 

Simon & Schuster Dork Diaries Box Set, 10 books -$49

Encourage your child to develop their reading skills with this hilariously entertaining series. This is a popular book series that your child will devour. Available at Kmart

 

Smiggle

Smiggle products are great gifts because they are cute and customisable, so the kids will love them. They might even get kids excited about school with their range of learning supplies. Some great picks this season are:

DIY Hardtop Pencil Case – $22.95

Smiggle’s hardtop pencil case is a classic favourite. It has all the classic hardtop trimmings including internal mesh pockets and pen holders. Let your child’s imagination go as they create a unique design. It comes with markers for your child to use. They will love taking this to school.

Smiggle Studio Art – $34.95

A great gift for creative kids – this gift includes heaps of markers pencils and paint pallets and brushes.

Smiggle Gift Pack – $16.95

This cute set of glam products, including lip glosses and hair chalks, is a perfect stocking stuffer. All available at Smiggle retail stores.

 

Mums and Dad

The focus of Christmas is often on the kids, but it’s a fun family holiday for mum and dad too. Here’s some thoughtful gift ideas for the grown-ups!

Personalised Ladies Watch and Ring Stand by MijMoj Design – $84.44

This beautifully handcrafted solid oak ladies ring and watch stand, can be personalised with a special message to your Mum. This is a gift she is sure to adore this Christmas. Avaliable at MijMoj.

 

Duchess Necklace by Merci Maman – $175.86

The Duchess of Cambridge was spotted wearing the Merci Maman necklace. Since then, mothers all around the world are copying her look! This gorgeous necklace makes the perfect personalised gift for Mum this Christmas. Avaliable at Merci Maman.

 

Personalised Soft Leather Travel Gift Set by STOW – $810.75

Stow’s best-selling jewellery case is combined with two charming trinket boxes. Make it even more special with beautiful monogramming; creating a beautiful bespoke gift. Available at Stow.

 

The Finest Facial Mask Duo – $60

Let your loved one get stuck into the multi-masking trend with this beautifully presented Expert Facial Mask gift set. Available at The Bodyshop.

 

White Musk Small Gift Set – $30

Introduce your mum to the fragrance sweetened with notes of pear, for a deliciously fruity layer that fits effortlessly with the iconic floral blend with this gorgeously presented gift set. Purchasing these gifts from thebodyshop.com.au helps support the Peace Play Project.

 

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Key and Phone Holder

This stylish personalised phone holder, with an adjoining change dish or key bowl, is a lovely wooden gift for keeping everything together when Dad walks through the front door. All available at giftslessordinary.com.au

 

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Feminism is a loaded word in today’s society yet it’s crucial to approach it as ‘gender equality’ to your kids before they hear it as anything else.

Below are 6 tips for raising little feminists who believe in the diverse representation of women and uniform rights for all.

1. Start a conversation

First of all, sit your kids down and open with the direct line, “Have you ever heard of feminism?” If they are young, chances are they haven’t and you can start with a clean canvas. But if they have, let them say what they think. Then direct them towards the ideals of gender equality, such as anybody’s right to voice an opinion regardless of sex or be open to the same job promotions if they are doing well at work. Ask, “But isn’t this a lot like what feminism aims to do?” And voilà. You have your starting point.

2. Give it a clear definition

Make sure your kids understand that feminism is not ‘man-hating’. It means the economic, social, political and personal equality between boys and girls. This means they will be paid the same for the identical job, possess the same opportunities to pursue different interests and share the same right for their bodies to be respected. It means freedom to discover and express personal identities without limitations like ‘boys don’t cry’ and ‘ladies don’t do that’.

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3. Show real-life examples of sexism

An inevitable part of parenting is heightening your child’s awareness of our society and its many problems. Try starting small with fictitious examples such as, “If Bob picks two apples and Jane picks two apples, don’t you think they should be paid the same?” Or, “Bob likes playing with toy trucks. Jane likes it too. Do you think they should play together?” Then expand these to real-life examples your child has experienced or possibly will in the future

4. Be a role model

Use your own home to teach real gender equality – nothing impacts your child more than their personal environment. Share household chores between different sexes of the family, like having dad cook and mum do the dishes. Let everybody have a fair say during discussions, such as whereabouts the family’s next vacation should take place. Practice empathy during situations of conflict to highlight how everyone’s opinion is valid and valuable.

5. Defy stereotypes

Choosing your own clothes, hairstyle or the colour of your bedroom is a kind of empowerment crucial for self-confidence. Defy stereotypes by letting your son have longer hair or your daughter wear shorts. Promote positive body image and show them to respect how other children choose to express themselves by only saying stuff they would want to hear themselves and not touching others without permission.

6. Monitor their entertainment

Finally, be aware of possible sexist values embedded in everything your child is watching or reading. Do not underestimate this! In Thomas the Tank Engine, depictions of female trains often fall along the lines of, “Wise and older Edward always had good advice for Emily, who really is a very nice engine but who can be a bit bossy.” Instead, choose books and family movies that have a healthy depiction of both male and female heroes such as Disney favourites Frozen and Moana or TV show The Legend of Korra.

 

How many hours per day does your daughter spend on Facebook? Instagram? Snapchat?

A new study by BioMed Central has revealed that the use of social media impacts the well-being of girls much more than boys, with the well-being of those aged ten and over deteriorating in particular.

The study uses data gathered from youth questionnaires carried out over ten to fifteen years in the UK. Social media interaction is determined by two main questions: “Do you belong to a social website such as Bebo, Facebook or MySpace?” and “How many hours do you spend chatting or interacting with friends through a social website like that on a normal school day?” Well-being, on the other hand, is measured in relation to happiness concerning six domains of life: friends, family, appearance, school, school work and life as a whole.

We’ve summarised the confronting results for you below:

  • Black African/Caribbean adolescents have better well-being at age 10 compared to White British adolescents
  • Both Asian males and females show a greater increase in happiness with age when compared to their White British counterparts
  • Overall, social media interaction increases with age and decreases happiness with age for both males and females
  • For females in particular, well-being deteriorates with greater use of social media at age 10 and this trend is sustained throughout their teenage years

 

The study discusses possible reasons to explain the findings above:

Asian and Black African/Caribbean adolescents chat less on social media compared to their White British counterparts.

Adolescents from households with lower education or income levels tend to interact more on social media.

Males prefer to game instead of interacting on social media.

These results are striking, especially in their similarity to the social media environment in Australia.

Reasons for this link between social media and wellbeing is also examined: the paper claims that use of social media naturally produces ‘risk factors’ such as social isolation, low self-esteem, increased obesity and decreased physical exercise.

Perhaps the greatest consequence can be summarised using the slang term FOMO: fear of missing out.

The paper states, “While social media allows for interaction between people, it is still a sedentary activity that can be done in a solitary environment. Conversely, social media are often used in group settings. Whether done in isolation or with friends, there may be risks to using social media, which could lead to poorer physical and mental health in adulthood.”

So next time you see your daughter mindlessly scrolling through her phone, take a second look at her and wonder, “Are you feeling okay? Are you happy? Do I need to take that phone away from you?”