Originally published November 9, 2013
It’s all good and fine to go on about learning to love my body and empowering myself to learn about my reproductive health, but how’s a woman to actually go about tracking her fertility? Remember that the goal is to NOT get pregnant?
To be honest, learning the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) is a work in progress. And, I’m still progressing. I’ve been off hormonal birth control for about four months, and I’m still using condoms every time. I’m learning to trust my body.
There are three ways of tracking your fertility: taking your basal body temperature, (your body temperature when you first wake up) looking at changes in your cervical fluid (think cum, but for the lady-folk), and the position and texture of your cervix. (Today in 2018 there are apps that can help you with tracking fertility signs. Learn which apps are more likely to track accurately.) So, I’ve gotten real intimate real fast with my body.
Now, I’m going to break down the first sign (tracking your temperature) as best as I understand, but let me just say that if you’re actually considering trying out these shenanigans, you should read this book, and go to this website. These people know way more than I do.
The first way of tracking your body’s cycle is taking your temperature first thing in the morning. I mean, like, first thing. Like, you can’t get out of bed before you do this because you’ll mess it up. The great thing about this sign is that it’s really easy for your partner to be involved. My husband helps out by sticking the thermometer into my mouth at the first sound of the alarm (Okay, maybe after one snooze…). I lay there half asleep while he does all the work. Loving it so far, dear reader? Thought so. I downloaded this form to help me keep track of it all. I started with only this sign because feeling up my cervix seemed intimidating.
Let me just say that those that said that it takes 21 days to form a habit are liars. Maybe if the habit was drinking wine or watching The Bachelor. It took me two months to get into the swing of tracking my temperature! It’s pretty interesting though; your temperature is relatively low (about 97ish degrees) during the first phase of your cycle, and then it shifts up a few degrees after you ovulate, or release an egg. When this happens, USE THE CONDOM! Control the births!
Now that I have the hang of it, it’s pretty great. Using the chart helps me see how long my cycles are. My first charted cycle was 36 days from the first day of one period to the first day of the next (long, but still normal, ladies!)! I would have had a complete pregnancy scare/heart attack had I not seen the shift in my body temperature! How empowering is that?
I’m at the point now where I’m loving feeling the changes in my cervix (look forward to that next post, y’all). I’m loving not putting hormones in my body, I love involving my partner, and slowly but surely, I’m learning to love my body.