“No words can express the helplessness, the sense of personal desecration, the despair which sinks into the heart of a woman forced to submit to maternity under adverse circumstances, and when her own soul rejects it.” - H.C. Wright.
Birth control is a primarily a woman’s concern. Most of the methods available that promise to protect her from unwanted pregnancy have adverse side effects that are harmful to her health. Although women are fertile only a few days of the month and men are fertile everyday, women are the sex held responsible for contraception.
It can be frustrating to navigate the various forms of birth control. So many of us are dissatisfied with the options available. For example, the Pill suppresses the natural function of the endocrine system, builds dependency on external hormones, and can cause you to be attracted to someone you wouldn't be attracted to if your own hormones were the ones behind the wheel. Yikes.
The prescription Mirena glorifies the idea of altering your menstrual cycle to have only four periods in one year. The IUD can cause pelvic inflammation. Condoms made of latex contain parabens. Chemicals for your genitals, anyone? These known toxins can not only cause irritation but can also leave your sacred-self susceptible to infection.
Good birth control must be effective and safe long-term.
Have you heard of the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) ?
FAM is commonly (and ineffectively) introduced in middle school disguised by the name ‘Natural Family Planning’ (NFP). Do you know any seventh graders interested in family planning? This is why most of us don’t remember FAM nor believe it can be an effective method of pregnancy prevention.
FAM is commonly associated with religions that abstain from most forms of contraception. It’s no wonder most people find ‘natural birth control’ a laughable mystery. What’s more is that FAM isn't taught to us in school because it’s seldom taught to OB/GYNs in medical school.
“It is amazing to think that women who practice fertility awareness method are often more knowledgeable about their own fertility than gynecologists who are trained to be experts in female physiology.” says Toni Weschler author of Taking Charge of Your Fertility. .
The Fertility Awareness Method, when taught correctly to women, will dramatically reduce the mainstream dependency on harmful and experimental contraception. This is also another reason why FAM is not more widely known: It’s not profitable to the medical industry. Why teach the women a life skill that would emancipate her from the dependency on reproductive medical intervention? Whether you are sexually active or not FAM will give you the tools, information, and power you need to make the best informed decisions for you.
What is FAM?
FAM is the practice of tracking and charting the three primary fertility signs of your body. When you understand how to determine when you are fertile you will know with confidence whether you can become pregnant or not on any given day of your cycle. Fact: you cannot become pregnant when the conditions are not right.
As young women we are often led to believe that bleeding is the main event of our cycle. We become more familiar to disposable feminine products than we do to our own fertility signs. We must learn the signs of ovulation if we are to understand how to prevent or plan a pregnancy. Think of FAM less as birth control and more of a necessary life skill.
What are the 3 primary signs of fertility?
1. waking temperature
2. cervical fluid
3. cervical position
The following information I provide is not meant to teach you how to use FAM. It is meant to be a great intro to this essential information. Further and recommended resources include: Taking Charge of Your Fertility and/or The Garden of Fertility.
Without getting out of bed, take your temperature every morning at the same time. This might be the hardest part for you. Once you get into the rhythm it will be second nature. Some women set a temperature alarm on their cell. I highly recommend downloading the app Kindara for your phone. It makes charting beautiful and easier than ever.
Your cervical fluid changes consistency and color throughout the month. Fertile cervical fluid is stretchy (can stretch from finger to finger without separating) and closely resembles an egg-white. This is alkaline cervical fluid that sperm can live in. At other times during the month your fluid is creamy. This is an example of cervical fluid that sperm cannot survive in.
The position of the cervix changes throughout the month. Ever had sex one day that was super painful and a few days later there was no pain? When you’re ovulating your cervix is in a high and open position and at other times during the month it is low and closed. You can feel the ‘mouth’ of your cervix with your finger and notice the difference. Check out this photo below.
How do I chart?
Charting is simple. Every day collect your body’s data. Take your waking temperature, check the position of your cervix, and note your cervical fluid consistency. Then, take this information and plug it into your Kindara app or printed chart. After a few cycles of charting you will understand your body in an entirely new way.
Where can I get charts?
Is FAM for everyone?
No, it’s not for every woman. It requires maturity, discipline, and consistency. Regardless of whether or not it is the method you rely on to prevent (or plan) pregnancy, all women would benefit tremendously from learning and practicing FAM.
Where can I learn more?
The Garden of Fertility, Katie Singer
Taking Charge of Your Fertility, Toni Weschler, MPH
A Message for the Men:
Men, please keep your procreative juice unless you and your partner are 110% ready for parenthood. Imagine a planet where boys and men are taught that their semen is their vitality, their life-force concentrate? What if men knew that by withholding their semen that they would maintain youth, build strength and endurance, and feel increased creative power? Sounds like my kind of planet. Ladies, have your men hold their fire and practice birth control with you. More on this to come...
May the force be with you,