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I have had a dark brown discharge for the past week with no period. What could cause this? I called my doctor and they can't get me in until next week. I had a two cysts on my ovaries but they were removed in March. Could the discharge be related to that? I've also been sexually active. Needless to say my mind is racing as to what the problem could be.

Hello and thank you for your question. Dark brown discharge can occur before a period or during the last few days of the menstrual flow. Most commonly, this dark brown bleeding is related to a hormonal imbalance, specifically of progesterone. This dark discharge can occur occasionally, but if it is a constant finding it should be addressed. I doubt that the cyst removal in March is related to your current brown discharge, especially if your periods since March have been normal. Since you're sexually active, you should either take a home pregnancy test or have an in-office pregnancy test when you see your doctor next week. Of course symptoms such as abdominal pain, fainting, heavy vaginal bleeding, or any other serious symptom should be addressed at once. There is one method of NFP, The Creighton Model, that includes the availability of specially trained doctors who can address hormonal and other issues without the use of the birth control pill. You might check out Good luck with your visit next week!

Since my abortion, my periods have been extremely heavy and painful. Is that normal?? I had my abortion four months ago.

Thank you for your question. When pregnancy is interrupted suddenly, as it is in abortion, a woman’s hormonal pattern is also suddenly changed. In a miscarriage, the pregnancy hormone normally drops slowly as the pregnancy fails, and a woman’s body has time to adjust to this hormonal shift. When a woman is not pregnant, her monthly cycle is a delicate balance of estrogen and progesterone as well as other hormones that regulate ovulation and menstruation. It is not unusual for a cycle to be “different” after an abortion, as it can take up to 6 months for the body’s hormonal pattern to be re-established. While some women have heavier periods after abortion, others may have lighter periods. What is key is how “heavy” your periods are. After an abortion, if any of the baby’s tissue has been left behind, heavy bleeding can result, usually fairly soon after the termination. In that case, heavy bleeding is most often accompanied by pain and cramping. Your periods should return to what is normal (normal for you) within a few months. But if you have any concerns, you should visit your OB-GYN provider. What one woman considers heavy bleeding might not be thought of as heavy by another woman. “Heavy bleeding” during a period is often defined as soaking a pad every hour. Also significant would be the passage of large clots. Physical care after an abortion is important—so is emotional care. I’m sorry that your life circumstances led you to have an abortion. Our bodies are very sensitive not only to our hormones but also to our emotional states. Please pay attention not only to what your periods are telling you but also to what your heart is saying—and if needed seek help not only for your body but also for your soul. I hope your concerns are resolved soon.

would a non-believer benefit from retreats? Also she says she is very over her abortion

and it was about 15 years ago. Thank you. Helene

helene canotas

Hello and thank you for this important question. There are really two parts to your question, and I’ll answer the second part first. Her abortion was many years ago, and she feels she is “very over” it—however, I’ve seen women who feel the same way, who, even long after their abortions, wake up one morning and suddenly feel the full impact of their decision and their loss. This might be triggered by many things—a woman seeing a child who would be the age of her aborted child, for example, or perhaps reading something or talking to someone. Some women say they are “over” their abortions as a way of denial, consciously or unconsciously. There are women who never seem to grieve over their abortions, but in my experience more women, sooner or later, do begin to experience sorrow or guilt.

Would a non-believer profit from a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat? I think so, if such a non-believer would consider attending a retreat—it might be that the most difficult thing would be encouraging her to go to the retreat in the first place. Once there, I believe she would profit. Women are always free to leave the retreat if they are uncomfortable. Some women make many attempts to attend a retreat, scheduling one and then not attending, or attending and leaving early. Often it takes bravery and security and the passage of a lot of time before we can face past actions, even if we feel we are “over” the emotional impact of those actions. What you might do is simply continue to offer love and compassion, and plant a seed, suggesting a retreat. Let the Holy Spirit do the rest. Best wishes, and I hope the woman you speak of might consider a retreat and there find peace and support.

My daughter wants to go into woman studies as a nurse, and I cautioned her about the pill and our catholic faith. She is in college and she is being pulled by the culture, she told me that in her class that there is nothing wrong with the use of the pill. I told her she was wrong, I told her to read Pope John Paul writing's on the culture of Life vs culture of death. Can you also point me to some other web sites that supports the Catholic view as apposed to the culture's view in regards to all method of birth control, and I will send her the Catholic way of natural family planning. My daughter was rasied in catholic school, and we practiced the faith as a family but my x husband was too much into the culture and my kids have been pulled toward the culture of the world. The Lord had to bring me to the Desert of AZ in order to find myself and to be put together with like minded catholic's like myself. I have asked for pray for both my childeren for both are being pulled by the culture. Thank you and God Bless

Hello and thank you for your question. Your dilemma is one that is all too common today in Catholic families—children who are being convinced by the world around us that contraception, abortion, and same-sex activities are “goods and rights” of the culture rather than things that can rob individuals of the joy and peace of heart we have been promised by our Faith. Alas there is no simple answer, but I hope I can point you to some good resources. It’s very important that you meet your daughter “where she is” and find out why she believes contraception is “okay.” Try to dialogue with her—sometimes a slow process but one that bears more fruit than confrontation. You may know of the website of “One More Soul”: They offer a wonderful CD by Dr. Janet Smith called “Contraception: Why Not.” Especially if your daughter wants to be a nurse she will appreciate Dr. Smith’s in-depth examination of chemical contraception. Other excellent sites that discuss the most highly researched method of NFP, the Creighton Model, are the following:;; If your daughter has the chance, she might try to attend a Creighton Model Introductory Class. I worked in women’s health for over 18 years before learning about this excellent method of both avoiding and achieving pregnancy, a method based on a woman’s individual cycle and hormone pattern. It is much more effective than either the pill or IVF for avoiding or achieving pregnancy—and it’s safe. I would strongly suggest that your daughter look at the Creighton information. Traditional GYN training bases all treatments on a “cookie cutter” version of a woman’s cycle, and yet each woman’s cycle is unique and can vary widely. Most who champion “the pill” and other contraceptive methods have little understanding of any alternatives and, unfortunately, little understanding of or appreciation for fertility as a gift, not an illness that must be suppressed! Another excellent resource is Although this site is for those with same-sex attractions and their families, it has links to resources that give practical and effective suggestions on how to talk with children who have gone away from the Faith, no matter what the issue. I wish you good luck, much perseverance, and great patience. The Holy Spirit works as He will, and He will look after your daughter.

I'm not sure if I am posting this in the right forum. I am writing to make you aware that on the above-mentioned website, there are 4 abortion-related forums: "medical abortion forum", "abortion pro-choice forum", "abortion pro-life forum", and "abortion debate forum". If you browse through these forums, you will notice many women who are seeking abortions, and also many women who have had abortions and regret doing so, and also post-abortive women who claim they do not regret their abortions. I am hoping your organization may possibly reach out to these women. Thank you for all you do.
Romilda Bevilacqua

Thank you for this information and also for your support of Rachel's Vineyard's important work! I will take a look at the website! Many women do say that they have not been affected by their abortions; some of those women, however, find that later in their lives they do recognize that past abortions are causing grief or other emotional symptoms. I've also found that while many women do know about Rachel's Vineyard's, they may not yet be ready to attend a weekend retreat. With time and grace they often find the courage to attend and find great healing. Thank you for your help in this ministry!

A co-worker asked the question...whether abortion was safer than child birth (are there statistics to show)



Thank you for this question, which doesn’t have one definite answer, I’m afraid. Both abortion (surgical or medical) and childbirth have risks. The risks are often related to the status of the individual woman in question, her overall health and her age. Also, most of the studies that claim abortion is “safer” are not looking at major risks alone, such as death, but also including minor risks, such as urinary tract infections, which would most often be experienced by a woman during nine months of pregnancy rather than by a woman pregnant for only a few weeks before having an abortion. For some women, carrying a baby to full term may pose certain risks, both major and minor; for some women, having an abortion might carry certain risks, both major and minor. The recent research that claims abortion is “safer” than childbirth has for the most part been done by Guttmacher, which is the research arm of Planned Parenthood—and so they have a vested interest in proving the safety of abortion. The Guttmacher study did not take into consideration the long-term risks of abortion, which can include infertility, depression (and all the problems associated with depression), grief and many other physical and behavioral issues. In summary, both abortion and pregnancy can pose both major and minor risks, but overall, both are considered “safe.” The risks of both abortion and childbirth vary according to many factors: the health (both mental and physical) and age of the woman; the procedure in question (surgical or medical abortion; natural uncomplicated vaginal delivery, difficult delivery, or C-section); whether the risks are major or minor; and the long-term effects of the procedure in question. I hope this helps further your discussion with your co-worker. Of course, the major risk of abortion isn’t addressed by these studies—that’s the risk (the certain risk) of the death by purposeful destruction of an unborn human being.

Im not proud to say that l had an abortion a year ago,went to confession a month after.lm a proud catholic and l no wat l did was so wrong.lm now engaged gettin married in 3months time.we have been trying a child 4 e past 6months bt no luck.l had my abortion at a hospital with the abortion pill bt after 4weeks of abortion l had sex again and was afraid to get pregnant so l took the morning after pill will this affect me in the future.thank you in advance

Thank you for your question; it is not unusual for women who’ve had abortions to worry about future fertility. Although it’s impossible for me to say with any certainty, I don’t think that having the chemical abortion a year ago, followed by the morning after pill four weeks later, would necessarily interfere with your fertility now. What is more likely is that the chemical abortion followed by the morning after pill disrupted your normal menstrual cycle and affected your hormonal pattern for several cycles. Now it’s been a year, and your cycles have most likely returned to whatever is normal for you.

Fertility depends on many things. If a couple try for a baby for one year and are not successful, then they need to begin looking into why they are not becoming pregnant. It is possible for many things to interfere with a woman’s fertility: physical or hormonal factors as well as stress and other emotional issues.

I’d suggest that you wait until you are married to try for a baby. I’d also suggest that you consider attending a Rachel’s Vineyard weekend, especially if you have any lingering sorrow or anger over your past abortion. Sometimes those emotions can interfere with a woman becoming pregnant again. If you’d like to learn more about your fertility and how to track your cycles to discover any hormonal problems, take a look at these websites:;;

I hope you have found the man who will be a good father to your future children; I hope your wedding is beautiful and that you will raise your children within a loving, secure home, and I hope that you find the peace of heart and health of body that will help make these things possible.

La relación entre el aborto y el cáncer de seno y perder a el ángel custodio y la bendición de Dios y la oración no escuchada por Dios por ese pecado.

María Bernarda Peñaloza

Hello. I'm sorry that my Spanish is not very good, but I do understand your question. Yes, there is some relationship between abortion and breast cancer and there is more research being done in this area; but I do not think we ever are abandoned by our guardian angels, even when we sin or do wrong. The good Lord is always ready to forgive us, to heal us, and to welcome us into His heart. Women have abortions for many reasons; often women do not choose abortions but are forced in to having them for one reason or another. And we can never judge another person. We may condemn a man or woman's actions, such as abortion, but we can never judge that person's intention or degree of sin. We must love others as God loves us and always be ready to open our arms and forgive. I hope that you will be blessed and that God will bring you peace of heart.

Hola. Siento que mi español no es muy buena, pero entiendo su pregunta. Sí, hay alguna relación entre el aborto y el cáncer de mama y hay más investigaciones que se realizan en esta área, pero no creo que alguna vez han sido abandonados por nuestros ángeles de la guarda, incluso cuando pecamos, o hacer el mal. El buen Dios está siempre dispuesto a perdonarnos, para sanarnos, y para darnos la bienvenida en su corazón. Las mujeres tienen abortos por muchas razones, a menudo las mujeres no eligen abortos, pero se ven obligados a disponer de ellos para una u otra razón. Y no podemos juzgar a otra persona. Podemos condenar a un hombre o una mujer, acciones tales como el aborto, pero nunca se puede juzgar la intención de esa persona o el grado de pecado. Debemos amar a los demás como Dios nos ama y siempre estará listo para abrir los brazos y perdonar. Espero que sean bendecidos y que Dios te traerá la paz del corazón.

I believe I recieved an abortion without my consent or knowledge when I was 15. I was a ward of the province , meaning the government was my guardian. The only reason I found out was because the counsellor assigned to me was frusterated with me because I didnt like her and gave her a hard time and she blurted it out one day. When I said WTF??? she got embarrassed covered her mouth and said she was mixing me up with someone else and dropped it. I do recall, I had previously been told that I had an appointment at the hospital. They gave me a pill and I was out for I dont even know how long and I dont remember anything else or what they did to me. There was no " treatments" or reason for the visit that I recall when consious. I am appalled that the government was behind this even though I was a child I dont think it gives them the right, and obviously they dont either or it wouldnt have been secret and covered up!

Hello and I'm sorry for the delay in responding. I too am apalled to think that you may have been subjected to a forced abortion without your knowledge or consent. I don't know where you live or what your age or circumstances are now, but you might want to investigate this further to uncover answers. There are lawyers in every state who will take on "pro bono" cases, meaning they will not charge for their services. This is not only a moral issue but also a health issue. I hope you will find some answers. May God bless you and bring you peace.

In repsonse to your answer the other day. As part of trying to heal I have talked to more than one pastor about my abortion, however I found this little help as many pastors also do not understand the impact of abortion. I have also shared this among fellow christians some have been very helpful in my healing yet many also don't know the impact it has caused. I feel as if most of my healing has been self healing. There are times when it seems iam completely healed but iam still hurting and am at a loss as to what to do next. Iam unable to attend the upcomming retreat weekend in New Zealand due to study, work and the travel cost. I do hope you will be holding more retreats soon. as this could just be the final thing I need. If there are any other ideas you have towards healing i would love to hear them. I look forward to ministering as a Nurse and you are right that the truth needs to be spread. And who better to do than someone who has been there.

Hello again, and thank you for your response. I think that healing takes place over time, and often in fits and starts—we think we are healed, think we have overcome our grief and then, suddenly, we are back where we began. I think that what you are doing, have been doing, are all part of the process. Talking to pastors, even if they can’t understand totally, and talking to Christian friends are good things, good ways to reach out to others for support. But you are correct. Sometimes someone who has been there is the most helpful of all. That’s one reason why the Rachel’s Vineyard retreats are so effective. I hope that another weekend will be schedule in your area soon, or that you will find a way to arrange your schedule to attend the one coming up. In the meantime, the best way to find the peace you are seeking is to pray. Pray to the Lord and empty your heart to Him; ask for healing and peace; ask for the strength to help other women in ways that you were not helped. Some other suggestions: women might seek professional counseling after abortion; some women find relaxation techniques helpful; one other thing you might consider is to do some sort of penance—to give up something or to do some special acts of kindness to others as a sign to God that you are aware of the burden you are carrying and that you want to let Him lift it from you. This might be some small thing—giving up sweets for a month—or something more lasting, like volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center. Grief after abortion is very complex. It sounds to me as if you are on the road to healing, even if it is a long and winding road. God Bless you and God Bless your future work in nursing.
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