I decided to go off of birth control early in my marriage and start using fertility awareness method because I did not like the way it made me feel. I had headaches, was irritable and retained water. But more then that I did not like the idea of using hormones as a long term method of birth control. I wasn’t comfortable with the known health risks and was concerned there could be additional side effects to my health that I did not even know about.
Almost ten years ago friend let me borrow her new copy of Taking Charge of your Fertility by Toni Weschler. I think I bought my own copy the following week. Within a few months most of my friends had bought the book too. We were all comparing our charts and embarrassing our husbands by talking about types of cervical fluid. Another friend recommended a software program for charting called Ovusoft. It made charting even easier. I think now you can chart everything on your smartphone.
The greatest challenge to using fertility awareness for me was building confidence with it. My husband trusted me but still at times felt a little uneasy. However, while learning if we weren’t entirely certain we used a backup barrier method. Within a few months I was much more confident. It helped having other women who used this method to talk to. I really got to know my body and where I was in my cycle. I liked the confidence that came with understanding how my body works. Another advantage was that when we wanted to conceive I was already familiar with my fertility signs and did not have to learn how to chart while TTC. We were blessed to conceive in our second month of trying. I know it isn’t always that easy. We also used it when trying for our second child.
We continued to use fertility awareness until recently when we decided we were not going to have anymore children.
I do not always chart but I still pay attention to my fertility signs because I like to be aware of my body. I often work with women in my practice who are trying to conceive. I am glad that I have had the personal experience of charting and checking my own fertility signs so I can help my clients get to know their own bodies and become more confident in their process.
Interested in learning more? Check out the workshop at www.chicagowomenshealthcenter.org