Here are my worst charting “moments”:
1.) The first 2 years when I wanted to use fertility awareness but didn’t because I was too scared.
2.) After I started to get into the swing of charting and learned more about everything I could see on my charts I started over scrutinizing everything like crazy person.
I want to address these both (which are both really common) so that you will know if you are making charting your cycles too confusing and/or hard.
Let’s start with the first. If this is you, you might have read a book like Taking Charge of Your Fertility or downloaded an app thinking you’d like to use fertility awareness as birth control. BUT, the enthusiasm was a bit short-lived. You had all of the best intentions in the world but then you started thinking about it and realized fertility awareness just wasn’t right for you right now. Maybe because you didn’t want to wake up at the same time every day to take your temperatures. Maybe because someone told you it’d be a bad idea. Maybe you started charting and gave up after the first cycle (or before the first one was even over) because or something simple like forgetting a few days.
Whew! It’s all very overwhelming, isn’t it?
The thing is, almost always it’s way more overwhelming than you make it out to be in your mind and that’s because of a little thing called psychological blocks. I wrote a decent amount about this in a previous newsletter, which I will have to publish to this blog sometime soon, but I’ll let you in on the important pieces:
- A lot of people are so indoctrinated into our birth control culture they have a hard time adjusting to a birth control method that they have ultimate control over.
- We don’t trust our bodies. We think their broken and need to be medicalized. Even if you don’t “think” this you might subconsciously.
- Any kind of trauma, especially sexual trauma, can make focusing on distinctly feminine parts of you HARD.
- Worry about your hormones being imbalanced and not wanting to really know what’s going on.
With all of these things you can logically think they aren’t problems and you do want to use fertility awareness, but subconsciously they can create HUGE blocks.
The next way that you might be making charting too hard is after you already start. You might have started charting to use it as birth control but not feel 100% confident yet (or know you want to get pregnant in the not-too-distant future and see something that might indicate a hormonal imbalance), or you might be charting for hormonal health reasons.
When this is you it’s really easy to over-scrutinize your charts. You might look at them everyday (or multiple times a day) and ask what every single jump or dip in a temperature means.
You might look at one simple thing in a chart that can mean a hormonal imbalance, but not all of the other things that are fine (not to mention whether you have any noticeable symptoms or not).
This can be crazy-making for a couple of reasons. If you are just trying to use the method as birth control looking at your chart on a daily basis doesn’t really work. Even if you did have a temp rise it may just be a random high temperature and you don’t really know until you have a couple more (annnnd, it’s not relevant until then, either, because you have to have a couple high temperatures before you can consider yourself infertile).
There are many things about charting that are like that. It’s all about patterns over time.
Judging your hormonal health from just one chart instead of a couple? Not a great idea.
Trying to figure out the exact day you ovulated as soon as your temperature jumps up or your cervical fluid dries up? Not gonna happen.
Patience can be key here. If you go crazy over every little detail you will be left feeling confused and overwhelmed, but if you just keep and trust that everything will work out it usually does (maybe with a little help from you ;)).