Q: How did you get involved in teaching the Fertility Awareness Method?
A: “When I “became a woman” at 13, my mother gave me a musty book entitled “The Ovulation Method of Birth Regulation” by Mercedes Arzu Wilson. I flipped through it, noticed a lot of black and white photos of what looked like snot (but was really cervical fluid) and put it back on my shelf for the next ten years. Then in college I was quite strapped for money, as many of us are. To make a quick buck, I signed up to be an oocyte donor, which required that I inject myself with hormones and undergo a procedure to extract the dozen eggs I produced. During this time I learned quite a bit about the hormonal intricacies of the female reproductive system. Feeling quite good about myself and my contribution to the world’s gene pool, I donated again the next year. However, this time I was hyper-stimulated and felt the physical pain of an extreme hormonal upset. A mere three months later, I was surprised to find that I was pregnant. I always had horrible reactions to birth-control hormones, so I was relying on the “pull out and pray” method – which ended in (surprise!) a pregnancy. This got me thinking – maybe I should know a bit more about my body. After my child was born, I immersed myself in learning about how my body works. As I became more aware of my own cycles and rhythms, I became an evangelist among my friends – teaching many of them how to chart their signs and own their fertility. From there, it became a natural extension to offer it to people outside of my circle of friends.”
Q: Can you tell us briefly what it is?
A: “The Fertility Awareness Method is simply observation of what your body is telling you. By noticing and charting your body’s temperature and cervical mucus (the stuff in your underwear), you can know how to avoid or attempt conception.”
Q: What are the benefits of using this method for birth control?
A: “The biggest benefit is the avoidance of foreign hormones and all the side-effects that come with them. Besides that, though, there’s a huge empowerment in really knowing your body and what to expect from day to day. And if a woman does choose to conceive, she doesn’t have to wait until the birth control pills are out of her body. Hormonal contraceptives can take up to a year to cease their effects.”
Q: What are the disadvantages?
A: “This method is not birth control in itself. You still have to choose to either abstain or use barrier contraceptives during the fertile portion of your cycle. Self control is a prerequisite to full birth control.”
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share?
A: “Understanding your fertility through this method is crucial when trying to conceive. Women can identify potential problems in their cycles and address these early to achieve pregnancy without aimlessly “trying” for a year or more. It gives her knowledge of any deficits and arms her with information to take to her doctor. It can also help diagnose thyroid issues she may have. For those trying to conceive, I teach several methods to increase the chances of conception and even how to select the gender of your baby with an 80% rate of accuracy.”
Holly Barhamand is a birth doula and a fertility awareness method (FAM) trainer. Here is what she told us.
“Things are busy in the Barhamand household. In fact, it looks like our household will be growing! (and because I practice FAM, I know there’s an 85% chance it will be a girl!).”
Guest Blogger – Holly Barhamand – http://www.hollyhelps.us