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A gorgeous and powerfully vivid collection of essays written by Emilie Pine has won the An Post Book of the Year for 2018.

Notes to Self sees Pine writing on a variety of important moments in her life, including sexual assault, fertility problems, sexism in the academia sector, feminism, depression and addiction.

Published by Tramp Press, the book has been widely read around Ireland since it's publication, and has deeply resonated especially with women nationwide who relate to the stark and emotional work.

Emilie tweeted her joy at hearing the news, writing on Twitter: "Delighted and honoured to win Book of the Year 2018….Thank you to everyone who voted."

She also paid tribute to Tramp Press for commissioning the work, which tugged at the heartstrings of Irish women and men nationwide with it's brutal and visceral honesty.

The An Post Irish Book of the Year 2018 was handpicked by a public vote from a list of category winners which were recently announced at the An Post Irish Book Awards.

The esteemed prize boasts previous winners such as John Crowley's Atlas of the Irish Revolution, written with Donal Ó Drisceoil, Mike Murphy and Dr. John Borgonovo, Solar Bones by Mike McCormack, Academy Street by Mary Costello, The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan, Belinda McKeon's Solace, Staring at Lakes by Michael Harding and Asking For It by Louise O'Neill.

Chairperson of the An Post Irish Book Awards Maria Dickenson said; “Emilie Pine’s Notes to Self was one of the great stories in Irish bookselling in 2018 and I’m delighted that the voting public has chosen it as the An Post Book of the Year."

"The power and honesty of Emilie’s essays have captivated readers, and it’s truly gratifying both to see her talent rewarded and to see an Irish publisher like Tramp Press receive this well-deserved recognition," she continued.

Readers of the book couldn't put the engrossing work down. David McRedmond, CEO of An Post, commented on Emilie's wonderful win,

“2018 was a huge year for Irish writing and no book illustrates better why An Post is delighted to sponsor the Irish Book Awards: Emilie Pine’s book, a challenging read, is deeply human and Irish, emotional and clever. An Post thanks all the voters for engaging with the Awards in such large numbers.”

The An Post Irish Book Awards celebrate and promote Irish writing to a wide range of readers, bringing together a massive community who are passionate about writing. Readers, authors, booksellers, publishers and librarians unite to recognise Irish talent.

Congratulations to Emilie on her deserved achievement, we can't wait to consume her next piece of beautiful and fearless writing.

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Being a millennial in the time of skyrocketing housing prices and a questionable social obsession with avocados is difficult enough – and for many women, having children is a distant concept. 

However, many people start to feel the pressure to reproduce from their own parents. 

According to a new survey by BodyLogic, women aged 31 to 36 feel the most heat to have a child, with 62% reporting that their own parents want them to start a family. 

38% of women ages under 25 also get that expectation from their family – compared to 19% of men in the same age bracket.

The only age at which men were more likely to feel pressure to become parents was over 40.

The peak for both genders is the early 30s, with both men and women feeling the pressure in the aforementioned 31-36 age bracket. 

Fertility is a very personal aspect of our bodily health, and it differentiates person to person. 

If you're worried about your fertility, you're definitely not alone. The study found that 63% of women worry about their fertility.

Among millennials, 72% expressed a desire to have kids in the future. 

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Fertility is a very personal aspect of our bodily health, and it differentiates person to person. 

If you're worried about your fertility, you're definitely not alone. A Body Logic study found that 63% of women worry about their fertility.

Among millennials, 72% expressed a desire to have kids in the future. 

Women in the study were found to be substantially more likely to worry about being able to conceive than men.

More than 6 in 10 women were worried they might not be able to have kids; however, just 1 in 10 women between the ages of 15 and 44 actually have difficulty getting or staying pregnant.

'There's no 'right time' to have a baby,' Karen Morton, gynaecologist and obstetrician at Dr Morton's, told NetDoctor.

'This is a simple truth. In my antenatal clinic I see women of 25 having their fourth child and women of 40 having their first.' 

Social and economic trends have also contributed to a delay in women having their first child.

According to the Infertility Fears study, these trends have caused a steady rise in the average age of motherhood.

'2016 marked the first year on record in which women in their 30s had more babies than women in their 20s.'

Among all women surveyed, the most common cause for concern was not getting a regular period.

For men, only a third reported worrying about being unable to conceive. 

For male respondents, the most common worry was that they might not produce enough sperm to impregnate their partners.

 The average father of a newborn is now 31 years old.

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It has been a roller coaster week for Jessie J, that's for sure.

The singer first revealed devastating news during a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London where she told fans that she was told she couldn't have children.

She said on stage, ''So four years ago, I was told that I couldn't have children, and it's OK, I'm going to have children, trust me. When the doctor told me, my reaction was, 'Oh hell nooooooo.''

''I wanted to write this song for myself in my moment of pain and of sadness. But, also to give myself joy and give other people something that they can listen to in that moment when it gets really hard."

Since then, her fans have been showering her with love and support, and Jessie too to Insta to thank them for their encouragement and kind words. 

The 30-year-old took to Instagram stories to say that, "The love and support I have received has been overwhelming. I was told 4 years ago I won't be able to have children. I was also told I would need a hysterectomy immediately and to be put on medication."

Jessie also revealed that she "refused" the procedure.

She continued, "I'm off all medication through natural medicine and diet change. I haven't given up hope. I am doing all I can to make it happen the best way my body will allow."

Then the singer crafted a beautiful message about motherhood and her own plans for it.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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She wrote, "My journey is just one in millions that exist. I stand with you ladies. Strong in our emotional pain. To turn it into joy."

She continued, "I will be a mother. As will you. I believe in miracles. But if it doesn't happen naturally. Then that wasn't meant to be the journey. But a mother is within all of us. That inspires everyday. We are strong! Time will tell."

She concluded with, "Thank you for your kind words. Truly. It has been scary to be so vulnerable. But it's real.''

We are in awe of her sharing this painful but hopeful story.

So many women experience fertility issues and if we all stand together and talk candidly about them, we can help each other.

Fair play, Jessie. 

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We all know that shift work can have a negative impact on some ones social life, but the working lifestyle could also have an impact on male sexual health. 

Shift work and its associated sleep disorders may actually significantly impact a man's sexual and urologic health, researchers from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston have found. 

According to MedPage Today, non-standard shift workers were more likely to have lower urinary tract symptoms including prostate issues.

'Non-standard shifts have been shown to be associated with increased risk of hypogonadal symptoms and sexual dysfunction,' said Will Kirby, MD.

The issues associated with the shift work also included lower levels of sperm density, motile sperm count, and testosterone levels, which could lead to a lower sex drive and lead to difficulties having children. 

The study included 2,487 men who completed questionnaires that assessed their work schedules.

Of the shift-working men, 37 per cent had these issues, along with excessive daytime sleepiness and difficulty sleeping, the authors said in a presentation at the American Urological Association annual meeting.

'That was a surprising finding for us,' said Will Kirby, MD.

'We believed the total motile count would decrease with less sleep.'

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In 2016, American singer Halsey was diagnosed with endometriosis, a disorder in which the tissue that usually covers the inside of the uterus grows outside of it.

The condition is very painful, and can sometimes lead to infertility. With this in mind, the 23-year-old has chosen to freeze her eggs.

"Doing an ovarian reserve is important to me because I'm fortunate enough to have that as an option, but I need to be aggressive about protecting my fertility, about protecting myself," the New Jersey native shared on an episode of The Doctors yesterday.

"Reproductive illness is so frustrating because it can really make you feel like less of a woman," Halsey said.

 

Perth, you are a bunch of babes. @donslens

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"There's a lot of times when you're sitting at home and you just feel so terrible about yourself. You're sick, you don't feel sexy, you don't feel proud, you don't feel like there's much hope. And so taking these measures, so that hopefully I can have a bright future and achieve the things that I want to achieve by doing the ovarian reserve is really important."

Discovering she had endometriosis in the first place was 'bittersweet' for the 'Bad at Love' singer.

"It was the relief of knowing that I wasn't making it all up and I wasn't being sensitive and it wasn't all in my head," she explained, "It also kind of sucked to know that I was going to be living with this forever."

The chart-topping artist said that her demanding touring schedule intensified her symptoms and made 'the experience a little bit worse'.

A few months after her diagnosis, the songwriter discovered she was pregnant and suffered a miscarriage onstage. She discussed on The Doctors how the harrowing experience made her get 'aggressive' regarding her treatment.

"Before I could even really figure out what that meant to me and what that meant for my future, for my career, for my life for my relationship… The next thing I know I was onstage miscarrying in the middle of my concert," she recalled.

"The sensation of looking a couple hundred teenagers in the face while you're bleeding through your clothes and still having to do the show. Realising in that moment I never want to make that choice ever again of doing what I love or not being able to because of this disease. So I put my foot down and I got really aggressive about seeking treatment."

Halsey has now undergone surgery and received an IUD, which she said have made things better. 

Her story gives hope and comfort others living with endometriosis.

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These days most of us have grown so attached to our phones that being without them almost feels like missing a limb.

We even sometimes sleep near our phones, and it is so tempting to have your mobile with you for some late night Facebook scrolling.

However, this habit is unwise and even unhealthy, warns the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

The CDPH issued a statement about the dangers of the radio frequency (RF) energy that our smartphones emit. Some scientists are worried that RF energy damages human health.

"Although the science is still evolving, there are concerns among some public health professionals and members of the public regarding long-term, high use exposure to the energy emitted by cell phones," stated CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. 

Cell phone manufacturers seem aware of these concerns. As the Daily Mail notes, Apple includes a notice about RF exposure in iPhone's settings, though their RF emissions fall within the US's safety standards. 

Dr. Smith continued, "We know that simple steps, such as not keeping your phone in your pocket and moving it away from your bed at night, can help reduce exposure for both children and adults."

With mobile phone usage on the rise, the CDPH warns that long-term, frequent use of cell phones could lead to brain cancer, tumours of the acoustic nerve (necessary for hearing and maintaining balance) and salivary glands, lower sperm count, inactive sperm, headaches, and learning difficulties. 

However, they clarified that these links are not definitive. The CDPH notes that RF energy is 'not as powerful or as damaging to cells or DNA as some other kinds of electromagnetic radiation, such as X-rays or UV rays from the sun'.

If people want to reduce their RF energy exposure though, the CDPH recommend keeping your phone away from your head or body by using speakerphone or a headset when talking on the phone.

The CDPH urge people to sleep with their phones several feet away unless they are off or in airplane mode. 

They also advised that people send texts rather than speak on their mobiles, as you are more distant from your device then. Carrying your mobile in a bag rather than your bra or pocket also helps to reduce RF energy exposure.

You should distance yourself from your phone when it is downloading or streaming large files, when you are in fast-moving vehicles, or when you have a low cell phone signal (as your phone puts out more RF energy then to connect to a cell tower). 

As well, 'radiation shields' and devices claiming to reduce RF energy or radiation from your phone may actually increase your RF exposure, as your phone emits more RF energy to get past the barriers.

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New research from scientists at McGill University in Quebec, Canada shows that a large number of childless women tend to have been born to older mothers.

The data analysed came from 43,000 women. 

Strangely enough, the Human Reproduction-published study found fathers' ages had no significant effect on whether or not their daughters had children.

One important point to note, though, is the fact that scientists cannot prove if this correlation is due to whether these women struggled to conceive or if they consciously chose not to start a family.

"We had no knowledge of whether childlessness was intentional," the researchers noted, though they said that this link between childlessness and being born to an older mother was 'consistent'. 

However, the authors of the study still noted that 'evaluating the influence of maternal age at birth on offspring fertility is a public health priority'.

Peter Nagy, from the Reproductive Biology Associates in Atlanta, told the Guardian that age is something women planning to conceive should keep in mind, saying: "A mother’s reproductive age is important not only for herself but it will determine to a certain extent the chances of her daughter or daughters being infertile.

"When we are treating patients close to the age of 40, we are helping them get babies but, at the same time, these children will have a higher risk of becoming infertility patients."

The idea that a woman's fertility is related to her mother's health is not new.

Past studies have suggested that a woman's fertility can be predicted by the age at which her mother went through menopause. 

A 2012 study published in Human Reproduction found that levels of anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) and antral follicle count (AFC), both positive predictors for ovarian reserves, dropped faster in women whose mums experienced menopause earlier. 

This means that women whose mothers had menopause at an earlier age may struggle to conceive.

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She’s been busy hosting the MTV European Music Awards and focusing on her thriving pop career.

At the age of 26, Rita Ora isn’t planning on settling down anytime soon.

During an appearance on Australian show Sunrise, the 26-year-old revealed that she has made one very serious life decision.

The Anywhere singer shared that she has frozen her eggs.

Her doctors believed that it was the right thing to do as the former The Voice UK coach is healthier than ever before.

She revealed, 'He said you are healthy now and it would be great, why not put them away and then you never have to worry about it again.'

Rita admitted that she trusts his judgement as he has been her family doctor for a very long time.

 

From the sofa, to the car, to the @mtvema red carpet 

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The chart-topper has always wanted to have a big family, but she’s not ready for motherhood just yet.

She understands that she is quite young to freeze her eggs. The average age of women who freeze their eggs is 35.

'I’m 26. I know some people may be like, ‘that’s so young,’' said the America’s Next Top Model presenter.

Rita acknowledged the fact that people might think she’s over-reacting, but she believes that freezing her eggs was the best thing to do. She stated, 'I just wanted to be safe.'

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A new study has found that women who drink a moderate amount of red wine a week are more fertile than those who don't.

Now, depending on your life stage/ desire to start a family, this could be a good or a bad thing, so take from this what you will.

For the study, scientists at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, surveyed 135 women between the ages of 18 and 44.

Each participant was asked to keep an alcohol diary, noting the type of beverage and the amount of units they consumed each month.

Researchers also conducted regular ultrasound scans on each of the women in order to determine how many remaining viable eggs they had.

Results showed that those who consumed red wine on a regular basis had a better ovarian reserve, even when other factors such as age and income were taken into account.

Scientists believe this could be due to an antioxidant called resveratrol, which is a key component in red grapes, cocoa and blueberries.

However, these result should be taken with a pinch of salt as researchers say the fertility benefits are only enjoyed by women who drink moderate amounts of vino (approx. five glassed per month).

Speaking to The Times, Adam Balen, chairman of the British Fertility Society, “This is an interesting study, albeit with a small sample size which means that it doesn’t reach statistical significance.”

“However, the exposure of the developing foetus to alcohol may cause irreversible developmental damage, so alcohol consumption should be less than six units [roughly two large glasses of wine] per week for women wishing to conceive.”

Cheers, ladies.

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At a time when women feel pressure to prove themselves in countless areas of their lives, it’s no surprise that many of us fear we’re falling short.

Whether it’s in the workplace, at the gym studio, on the social scene or with friends and family, we live in a society where women feel compelled to tick every box – an unattainable undertaking which ultimately leaves many of us in a state of stress or anxiety.

According to a recent survey conducted by MummyPages.ie, these concerns are by no means the reserve of the present, but, in fact, cast a shadow over the woman’s future, with more than half of young Irish women worrying about their chances of conception.

The research, which was conducted in conjunction with the advanced fertility supplement brand Proceive, reveals the worries facing women trying to get pregnant right now, and the steps they’re taking to improve their chances.

With many women admitting they spent most of their twenties actively trying to prevent conception, the statistics born of the study illustrate the sharp 180 many women do as they reach their thirties, as friends and family remind them that the biological clock is ticking.

82% of women surveyed take daily folic acid supplements in preparation for pregnancy while 53% have lost weight to boost their chances of conception.

62% have cut out or cut down on alcohol to help their chances of getting pregnant while 38% are taking fertility enhancing prenatal vitamins and 37% are exercising more.

Commenting on the findings, Proceive’s nutritionist, Gaye Godkin  said: “Egg quality can be enhanced if they are released into a healthy nutritious environment.”

“Fostering a good diet and ensuring that you are taking the essential nutrients can positively affect the health of your eggs and subsequently the developing foetus.”

“One in three Irish women expect it will take them six months or more to get pregnant. And while a lucky 40 per cent will get pregnant in their first three months of trying, a further third of our mums will still be trying after 12-months,” she added.

Reinforcing the importance of a healthy lifestyle, Laura Erskine, spokesmum for MummyPages.ie, said: “The idea of making new food choices that have the optimum conception inducing vitamins and minerals through diet and supplements is one which is embraced today.”

“A prenatal fertility supplement such as Proceive is designed to support the nutritional needs of the body when trying for a baby and can be taken by both womenand men, which is good news for 1 in 10 women who are worried that their partners health may affect their chance of conception.”

Laura added: “Losing weight, taking prenatal vitamin and mineral supplements, reducing sugar, caffeine and alcohol in their diets, and avoiding stress will all help the baby making process – and having regular sex too of course!”

The study, which harnessed the opinions of almost 200 women, was conducted in June 2017.

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There is an app for everything nowadays, from planning your weekly budget to scoring your next date, but would you trust an app with your fertility?

Natural Cycles promises to utilise science to advise you on when you are or are not fertile at various points in your monthly cycle. 

The app promotes a non hormonal method of contraception, and judges whether you are fertile or not.

 

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So, how does it work? Well, you measure your temperature first thing in the morning before you get out of bed.

'This reading is an indirect measure of your hormone levels and the information the app needs to effectively analyse your cycle and calculate your red or green day.'

The app was devised by a couple called  Elina and Raoul Berglund for their own use, but they soon wanted the method to be accessible to all women. 

 

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'The couple was unsatisfied with what they found and both to having been active for many years in research in physics, they decided to apply their knowledge in advanced mathematics and data analysis to develop a solution to meet their needs.'

'An algorithm that accurately detects and predicts ovulation and fertility.'

'In the beginning, they used the algorithm for their own purposes but soon realised that this was a huge unmet need amongst women and decided to develop a mobile app.'

The goal was to create a contraceptive option without any of the side effects of chemical methods. 

As the app gets to know you body better through your temperature readings, it is more accurately able to predict your most fertile days in real time. 

However, if you are someone who experiences changes during your cycle, or you're not the most regular, then this app may not be the best option.

 

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The app is definitely a welcome development for women seeking a hormone-free method of contraception.

However, it may be more suited for women who are actively trying to get pregnant, to know when they are most fertile to aid with family planning. 

 

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