A few posts back I mentioned this book I'm reading. A commenter suggested I talk a little more about it, and I think that many of my friends would find this information helpful even if they never care to read it. I know this topic is totally different that anything I've posted about before, but for a few days I've been feeling like I need to share this information. So- brace yourself! :)
To be honest, I'm a little infuriated with myself for not learning about this stuff earlier. I could have saved myself from years of outrageous mood swings, random hot flashes, suppressed libido (sorry, it's gonna be one of those brutally honest posts..) and even depression.
I discovered this book on a blog that I follow, on this post of hers. The title of her post caught my eye because lately my husband and I have been learning more about the meat-industry and all of its artificial-hormone horrors (but I won't go into that right now...). We haven't stopped buying meat from the store, but we've definitely cut back and I now choose the "organic" labeled meat when I can. Anyway, one of the first sentences was the one that grabbed my attention the most. It read:
"I was recently baffled to learn that one oral contraceptive contains the hormonal equivalent of eating 3,431 lbs of hormone-injected beef. Every day!"
I sat there in shock, my jaw dropping. First of all, I felt disgusted with myself. I've been on the "low-dosage" pill for years. Secondly, I felt right away an impression to read further. This was actually something that's weighed heavily in my heart and mind for quite a while. I kept feeling like there had to be a better way to avoid pregnancy than all of the modern forms of birth control, but since I was scared to death of getting pregnant again I kept taking it, night after night.
Now, birth control is totally a personal choice. And I'm not judging ANYONE for what method they choose. But, for me, I knew there needed to be a change. I could feel that the pill was changing me, affecting my every action and mood. I had dismissed the thought over and over again that it was actually the pill, but upon reading that post I knew that "low-dose" meant nothing.
After I read through her entire post I followed the link to this woman's story. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that natural family planning was not only MORE effective than birth control, but also that it was practically FREE and totally convenient to my busy mom schedule. At that point I was all in.
I bought the book and from the day it arrived my life was changed forever. I couldn't get my nose out of it--it was just SO informational and interesting. I have learned so much about my body and why it does the things that it does. I can't believe that I thought I knew about gynecological health before...this book was so eye-opening! And the great thing about it is that there is something in it for everyone- whether you are trying to avoid or achieve pregnancy, or you want to understand why you menstruate then ovulate like clockwork each month, or if you have an unresolved fertility issue. It covers everything. And it breaks it all up in chapters-- I've actually only read two chapters (the ones regarding using NFP).
IN A NUTSHELL:
The birth control method discussed in the book is the Fertility Awareness Method- or FAM- and its the most comprehensive form of Natural Family Planning- or NFP. The way it works is that you track THREE fertility signs each day. The third sign is actually optional and I don't do it, but the first two are the most important and they alone let you know when you are fertile. On these "fertile days" you can choose to abstain or use contraception. It's usually a span of 5-6 days. So, for me, its totally worth it to not be on the pill every day.
I'll go ahead and answer some questions you might have right now... :)
What are the three fertility signs?
Waking temperature, cervical fluid, and cervix position. The first two are vital.
When do you check them?
For temperature, I check it orally every morning. It's important that you temp at the same time every morning, before you get up to do anything. For cervical fluid, I check every time I go to the bathroom and it takes me about .2 seconds. And for cervix position, I don't check this one but it would be best to check before you get in the shower or before you go to bed.
How do you keep track of them?
Every day I chart each sign. The chart is in the book and I just made copies of it, one for each month. It's an easy to understand chart and it helps you see how your cycle progresses. I keep my chart in the nightstand, along with a pen and my thermometer.
Does doing this every day gross you out?
Not at all. At first it was a little weird but it soon turned into more fascinating that gross.
My husband is an integral part of this method. We chart my cycle together and it's brought us closer as a couple. Often he'll nudge me when my 7 am. alarm goes off, and then stick the thermometer in my mouth. We talk about my cervical fluid daily (way more than I ever thought was appropriate), and it helps him understand when we're "good" and when we need to be careful.
Since going off of my pill the difference has been like night and day. I am happier. I enjoy being a mom more. Crazy mood swings are a thing of the past. I appreciate my body and how it works. My relationship with Jonathan is about 10x better. I could go on...it's truly an answer to many emotional prayers.
I hope that at least one person who reads this can look into it and be benefited in some way.
If anyone wants to know more, feel free to FB message me. I love sharing this method with others who may feel as desperate as I did.
And if you're still "iffy" about it, just read these book reviews. :) And don't be afraid to try something new! I've only been doing this for a few months now and already the charting has become habit.
love you all!