As I discussed last week, fertility awareness is a pretty simple practice that can be overcomplicated because basics are skipped. One basic is making sure that you are psychologically prepared and accepting of the method. Without that, the littlest thing will feel insurmountably hard.
Today, we get to basic #2: education.
What is the last skill you learned that was really important to your life in some way?
Some examples might be your education for your job or even learning to drive a car.
In both cases, you may have had frustrations along the way, but you probably took learning (and learning well) very seriously.
Fertility awareness, just like these other important things you have learned, is a life skill that isn’t to be taken lightly. Learning it may be difficult and confusing at first, but getting the right guidance and help will ensure that you are doing everything right and you lessen any frustrations you may have along the way.
But for some reason you might treat fertility awareness like it is different. The normal course of action is googling around, finding an app, and/or reading a book and hopefully finding some people to ask some questions to. But here is why you should not do this:
- Fertility awareness is involved. You certainly can read a book about it and get a lot of information, but for most people you will still be confused for a good deal of time afterwards. This is because it’s almost impossible to explain everything your body could do in a book.
- All fertility awareness efficacy studies with good efficacy have women learning the method with a teacher AND following up with the teachers to make sense of everything they are learning. Is it as effective to learn from a book? Scientifically, we have no idea.
- Not everyone is the same. Most people who learn the method learn their own body and can not answer questions for you about your body.
Fertility awareness isn’t impossible, or even super hard, but it does take a concentrated effort when you are first starting out, and not getting qualified help with your confusions hurts you.
You have to value yourself enough to get that help.
I can very much understand the pull of doing it all yourself. For one thing, I like to DIY. For another thing, why spend money if I don’t have to?
But there are some things you shouldn’t DIY. You wouldn’t build your whole house without the necessary knowledge and qualifications, so why do you treat your body like it is less important and something you can just wing?
If you are having any questions and frustrations with fertility awareness, it’s not technology that is going to solve the problem. Most of the time it’s going back to the basics and getting a good education in fertility awareness.
Filling the gaps with technology sounds enticing. Having an app help you figure out when you are fertile or infertile, having a hormone monitor let you know when you might get pregnant, or even getting an integrated thermometer because fertility awareness is still feeling overwhelming and hard for you. Nothing about these things is inherently bad or wrong, but using them as a substitute for a proper education is doing a disservice to yourself.
With a good class and/or 1:1 with a teacher you will have the basis to understand what is specifically going on for you and what’s happening in your body. You will not only understand that well and have the best birth control efficacy you can get (and a better understanding of anything that might be going on with your hormonal health), but you will also feel much more empowered and liberated from other outside sources.
Ultimately, it’s about your long term comfort and ease using this method, and starting out with the basics (addressing any psychological blocks and getting an excellent education) will get you to the place you want to be faster than using technology as a crutch. Technology is great as a tool, but when it is used as a supplement for something you can do better yourself it makes your charting practice worse, not better.