8 Things You’ll Learn About Your Body Through Fertility Awareness That Aren’t Just Birth Control
There are so many misconceptions out there about fertility awareness methods (FAM). Those of us who practice it know this best, and sometimes it feels like we spend more time justifying FAM to people than we do talking about its advantages and benefits.
The truth is, there are so many advantages and benefits of fertility awareness that aren’t even fertility-related, for you and your own body and even your partner. Here are just a few things you might discover or learn on your fertility awareness journey.
Body Literacy Takes Time (but All Good Things Do)
Probably one of the most difficult parts about mastering fertility awareness is that it takes time. You won’t learn your period or your cycle overnight, but the good thing is, practice makes perfect and patience goes a long way. There’s nothing more satisfying (if you’re a nerd like me) than looking back over months’ worth of data and seeing everything that a female body — your body — is capable of doing for you, and what it is actively doing for you on a daily basis. Body literacy is an amazing feeling, even when you’re just starting out.
Getting Your Period Is a Good Thing
How many times have you heard from a friend or even have a doctor suggest that it’s okay not to get your period? Our periods are now thought of as an inconvenience more than anything else, even though they’re a vital indicator of our reproductive health.
Your period gives you insight into your hormones and acts as a natural cleansing process.
Whether your cycle is 28 days or 50 days long, whether you love it or hate it, getting your period is actually a good thing, and we should stop treating it like it’s not. For one thing, if you’re sexually active, it acts as an indicator that you’re not pregnant, and additionally, having periods gives you valuable insight into your hormones and can even act as a natural cleansing process for your body. There are ways to manage painful periods, so don’t despair if that’s your main reason for avoiding one. Periods are good, ladies. Repeat it until you believe it.
FAM Can Be Used by Any Woman
Women who don’t use birth control (or even use natural contraceptive methods) are, for whatever reason, seen as traditional or backwards. After all, with modern science and the sexual revolution on our side, who would actually choose not to take hormonal birth control and live their lives free of hassle?
Tons of women, as it turns out. FAM is 99% effective when used correctly, and you don’t have to be religious to use it. The great thing is that it can be completely individualized and tailored to your needs and wants, no matter where you are in life. You can be married or single, trying to conceive or trying to avoid conception to use it. Since our cycles are indicative of our overall health, fertility awareness can reveal underlying reproductive health issues, like PCOS and endometriosis, that you can address at any time and in any phase of life. This is especially handy if you’re really thinking about what you want in life, and planning for those goals.
Your High School Sex Education Class Was the Tip of the Iceberg
Most of us probably didn’t learn about fertility awareness in sex ed. And you probably didn’t learn about ovulation, cervical mucus, and basal body temperature either. Or about the connections between our period and things like stress, diet, exercise, and other organs of our body. There’s so much more to our reproductive health than just our ability to get pregnant or avoid pregnancy, which is often seen as the only facet of fertility.
You probably didn’t learn about the connections between your period and stress, diet, and exercise.
The female body is truly incredible in what it can do and how it functions day-to-day, and that’s something you’re not going to learn in middle school or high school health class.
You Can Use FAM in the 21st Century
FAM probably seems like the contraceptive method from olden times, but thanks to technology, fertility awareness has never been easier or more accessible to practice. There are special, hyper-sensitive thermometers you can get to help you get the most accurate basal temperature reading, and tons of customizable apps out there to help you monitor your daily symptoms, your period, and the presence or absence of cervical mucus. Just make sure that you find the one that works best for you and your goals.
You’ll Become Familiar with Your Cycle
Have you ever felt surprised when your period showed up unexpectedly, or even waited for it to come with no appearance? Learning your cycle can be hard — whether you’re a by-the-book bleeder or a free spirit menstrual-wise. Fertility awareness makes you as familiar as possible with your cycle, which means that you won’t be surprised or unprepared the next time your period rolls around.
You won’t be surprised or unprepared the next time your period rolls around.
Your Period Isn’t the Main Event of Your Cycle
Your period probably feels like the big event of your menstrual cycle. It’s so noticeable, it’s kind of hard not to feel that way. But your period actually isn’t the big event — it’s ovulation.
Learning when you ovulate, preparing for it, and noticing its markers are actually the foundations of FAM, with ovulation being the climax of your cycle. It’s when your body releases an egg for fertilization, and it’s the indicator of whether or not you’ll actually have a period depending on if that egg is fertilized. Ovulation may be less noticeable at first, but it’s an essential function of your body and one that definitely needs more exploration if you’re not familiar with it.
Sex Is a Bigger Deal Than You Realize
With FAM, sex becomes a much more noticeable part of your day-to-day routine. Whether you’re trying to conceive or if you’re trying to avoid conception, depending on if you’re using a barrier method or abstaining from sex altogether during your ovulation window, sex and intimacy can play a much bigger role in you and your partner’s lives when using fertility awareness.
You can involve your partner in your decision-making and daily habits.
Better yet, you can bring your partner into your practice and involve them in your decision-making and daily habits. FAM can be a great collaboration between you and your partner, and regular, healthy intimacy can be just as accessible when using fertility awareness compared to other birth control methods.
FAM works at little to no cost, doesn’t use artificial hormones, is non-invasive, and is still highly effective, among other things. On top of these added benefits is the surety that you’re getting closer to your body and becoming more knowledgeable in the process, which is an advantage no other contraceptive method offers.
FAM is one of the most empowering decisions a woman can make and with all of these advantages, there’s never been a better time to start such an exciting process, no matter your goals. If you want to begin your fertility awareness journey, read our book recommendations here.
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