Why Fertility Awareness?
About a month ago, I was officially given the green light to start teaching fertility awareness through SymptoPro. Although I’m still a teacher-in-training (which means all of my clients’ charts will need to be given to an advanced instructor, just to check my work), I’m excited about planning local and virtual classes for women who want a natural, organic alternative to pregnancy avoidance or achievement.
Despite what you may hear in most women’s health clinics, the fertility awareness method is an EFFECTIVE way of tracking fertility signs and can be used as a method of contraception either alone or in combination with a barrier method (like condoms). It’s also great for those trying to get pregnant, but I’m not at that point yet haha.
The fertility signs you track when using this method are: cervical mucus, basal body temperature, and cervical position. So why would anyone want to take the time to examine her cervical mucus, take a daily temperature reading, or better yet, try to figure out what position her cervix is in today?
Well, that depends on her goals and what stage of life she’s in. Since I’m a newly married woman in my late 20s, and my blog is geared towards women between the ages of 25-34, I’ll focus on that stage of life by telling you a little bit about my story!
I started using the sympto-thermal method of fertility awareness almost two years ago. Although the impetus for learning was because I was about to be received into the Catholic Church and knew I didn’t want to use artificial birth control anymore, this decision really started long before that. I took an Anthropology of Sex class in undergrad, and there was a section on the male and female reproductive system that taught me so much about my body. Soon after that I went off the Pill for the first time since puberty and I started to notice signs that let me know where I was in my cycle (i.e. that mucus that sometimes ends up in your underwear…you know what I’m talking about).
This was also around the time that period tracking apps were getting really popular. I think the first one I used was literally called “Period Tracker.” It was simple - all I did was input the dates of my period and it told me when I was likely to ovulate and start my next period. I ended up going back on the Pill because I started having sex again. But I kept up with the app (even though I now know charting when you’re on hormonal birth control isn’t super reliable). But I remember noting the times that I had sex, since I’m a nerd like that and LOVE tracking pretty much everything.
What’s funny is that I still didn’t know much about my body and fertility even though I was becoming more aware. For example, I would try not to have sex around my predicted ovulation day, but…umm…what about the days leading up to it and right after? I had no clue I should have been avoiding those times, too. (You didn’t know that either? No worries - if you hang out with my long enough you’ll learn!)
Flash forward to me becoming Catholic. I asked my best friend (who is Catholic) what she did, since she had been married for about two years and seemed to successfully not be constantly pregnant. That’s when she told me about the sympto-thermal method. (She also told me about the Billings method, but she said she didn’t really like it). My friend also suggested that I read the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. I immediately checked it out from the library, and as I read it I had flashbacks of how excited I got about tracking my period in college. And thus began my obsession with fertility awareness.
Yes, I took the plunge in this journey because I am Catholic. Which means during my fertile window I abstain if I’m trying to avoid pregnancy. But if someone else chooses to use fertility awareness with a barrier method, that’s they’re choice and I won’t stop them. So I hope any woman reading this (Catholic, non-Catholic, non-religious) will think about learning more about fertility awareness from me.
Being able to understand how my fertility changes in a cyclical fashion is so fascinating and liberating. I feel empowered by having information about my own body. Fertility awareness has given me the freedom to make informed choices. And since my husband and I have discerned that we want to have at least a year in our marriage without children, fertility awareness has taken away the feeling that “the pill” (or any hormonal birth control) is my only option. And whenever we are ready to start a family, my husband and I will have the knowledge we need to improve our chances of conception.
My goal is to give every woman the opportunity to learn as much about fertility awareness and fertility related health topics as she wants to learn. What you do with that information is then up to you!
But hopefully you’ll consider hiring me as your fertility awareness educator. ;) Learn more about how to do that here!