In episode 218 of The Just Checking In Podcast we checked in with journalist Melissa Fleur Afshar.

We came across Melissa through an article she wrote on Newsweek about the contraceptive pill entitled ‘Did My Pill Cause Cancer?’ Women Describe How the Pill Changed Their Lives’.

In the article she speaks to women and medical experts about the physical and mental impact of the pill on these women and its wider health implications.

In this episode we discuss Melissa’s journalism journey and breaking into the industry without having the family connections.

For industry issues, we discuss the challenges she’s felt when receiving feedback on her articles and the vulnerability of that exposure.

For Melissa’s mental health, we discuss a tumour that her mum developed when Melissa was 17-years-old and the impact that had on her. Thankfully, the tumour was benign and was removed successfully.

Melissa’s father was also diagnosed with Dementia in early 2023 and we discuss the emotional toll that’s taken on her and her wider family in caring for him as the disease affects his mind and behaviour.

We finish by discussing her own negative experience of the pill, which she took from the ages of 24 to 25 and which sparked her interest in writing the Newsweek article.

We explore why it made her feel ‘lost’, provoked an existential crisis in her and led her to eventually come off it.

As always, #itsokaytovent

You can read Melissa’s Newsweek article in full here.

You can follow Melissa on social media below:

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Music: PatawawaStrange


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