Since recommencing menstruation, I have been charting using Taking Charge of Your Fertility as a tool. It is the most amazing thing - to be totally aware of what is happening "down there". There is no more mystery; I know what is happening, and why; I understand my own anatomy better; I feel more awe for the system and design of the female body.
I am amazed, and pleased.
It also makes me so mad that I didn't discover the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) earlier. When we were married, the intense desire to NOT get pregnant trumped any interest in learning about other methods of birth control. I didn't care - and I didn't know any better.
[For the record, my mom did warn me about oral contraceptives, but I didn't listen...and what a bummer that was.]
So instead of letting my body "be", I submitted myself to a steady stream of hormones which tricked my system into thinking it was pregnant month after month. It was only after having my first baby, taking the progesterone-only pill (POP) that I started wondering, "What is this stuff anyway?!" I had no idea what I was putting in my body.
And, worse, after ovulating this past weekend, I was saddened to realize that I have only ovulated perhaps 4 times in the past decade. I can hardly believe that, looking back. It's disgusting. I missed out on so much! [and I'm not talking sex here...get your minds out of the gutter...I'm talking knowledge and understanding and appreciation.]
It is especially blindingly pitiful with the knowledge I have gained in just one cycle. Things could have been so much different. I take comfort in the fact that things can be different going forward; knowing what is happening with my body and being in control of my own fertility feels very good. No more "what if...?" or "I don't know...!" I'm in charge. I know what is going on. I am not a victim to circumstance. I can appreciate the design and amazing machine that my body is.
That being said, thanks to charting and practicing awareness, I am realizing that my body is like an old car, a cold engine turning over, trying to get warmed up and ready to roll. She's trying to get back into the swing of it, ladies! Things have been very strange, like the first flow that was more like spotting, a 23 day cycle, and then bleeding again 2 days after ovulation, etc., but I am aware. It is so nice to have the shades off my mind's eye.
Many women use FAM, but for those who don't, it involves 1) taking your waking temperature every morning, 2) observing cervical fluid, and 3) observing cervical position. With these three keys, you can unlock the mystery of natural birth control (or, as it were, pregnancy achievement).
I definitely recommend reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility - I have been referencing it every day for a month. It is fabulous. What a resource!
[Incidentally, I ordered this book for our local library and it hasn't been on the shelf since it arrived. Yesssss. High demand.]
And finally - looking back, I dearly wish I would have known all this information as a teenager. Everything would have made so much more sense! I wish I would have known about The Keeper then, too. But, like my Mom says, "What's done is done." All I can do is move forward and be thankful I discovered FAM at age 31 and not 41, with another decade of confusion under my belt.
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