One of my favorite things about all of the fertility awareness technology is that it gets fertility awareness into the hands of people who would have never otherwise been exposed to it.
For example, how many people who menstruate DON’T have a period tracker on their phone? Look it up in the apple store or google play and your are bound to come across apps that include fertility markers like cervical fluid and basal body temperatures.
Not only that, but there are fertility monitors that monitor your hormone levels, app integrated thermometers, and more now coming out at an alarming pace to help you track and record our fertility signs.
I think that’s pretty awesome!
But here’s the thing: I wonder if it’s what you truly need.
Fertility awareness isn’t difficult. Most people can understand their fertility signs easily in the first few cycles charting. It can be a bit more difficult when coming off of hormonal birth control, breastfeeding, or dealing with a hormonal imbalance, but overall it’s very simple.
But like anything new to you, it takes a bit of work at first. It’s like driving, it seems really difficult and like it would never become second nature at first, but then it does and you can’t even really comprehend having so much trouble with it when you started out. How did you fail the drive test, again?
So why are we so enticed by this technology if it’s not helping out much and can actually be worse, in some cases, for your overall relationship with charting?
There are a couple of different things that you need to address in order here. First one: Psychology.
(We’ll cover the next thing you need to address next week).
Since you aren’t brought up believing that you can control your fertility, learn how to read our body, and control what you do with your sexuality at all, you think that fertility awareness sounds insurmountably hard and that you can’t do it without a hi-tech gadget. I get it.
When you have a good education in fertility awareness, one of the biggest benefits is feeling totally liberated. You have the knowledge and power to control your own fertility. If you feel reliant on all kinds of tech you don’t have that same liberation.
But if you feel like you can’t handle that liberation (which is what you’ve been taught for your entire life), you won’t feel confident relying on yourself to provide your birth control method.
That’s why one of the primary things you should be analyzing when it comes to fertility awareness is your psychology around it. Don’t worry about all the frills and things you may need. You don’t! At least not yet.
First things first: Your psychology. Let’s dig deeper here…
How the hell do you trust your body enough to use it, particularly for birth control (also, if you are trying to GET pregnant, how do you trust your body enough to be able to help you conceive successfully without intervention)?
It’s funny because I made a video for my HER fertility students introducing the whole program but also introducing them to them to the bumps they can come across when it comes to actually feeling “ready” to use the method. Not just skills-wise, but psychologically.
I think this is important to start with because it’s so fucking common to be TERRIFIED of using the method, even when you really (really!) want to.
Logically, it’s not usually a huge jump because you can see from scientific peer reviewed studies that it’s effective, but what about our massive social conditioning telling us our bodies are not to be trusted, we’re irresponsible to not be on hormones or an IUD for birth control, or that we are forgetful and can’t possibly be serious enough to use a birth control method well that can be disastrous if you don’t use the method correctly? Yeah, that seems to trip people up.
I’ve written about this once before, talking about how we easily talk ourselves out of things (even subconsciously!) because we are afraid.
But WHY are we afraid? And what makes actually learning fertility awareness and/or using it way more of an ordeal than it should be?
There are a few things that I’d say are often to blame…
- Being afraid that your body doesn’t work/isn’t to be trusted.
- Being worried about witnessing your fertility and/or hormonal health (but what if my body doesn’t work how it’s supposed to? I’d rather not even know how screwed up it is).
- Not wanting to focus on the distinctly female parts of your body (particularly if you have ever been a victim of sexual abuse).
- Social conditioning telling you you can NOT take responsibility for your own birth control and hormonal health. (similar to #1).
It’s definitely good to address what kinds of blocks you might have in any of these areas if you are wanting to learn about fertility awareness but hesitant to take the next step or have already learned the method but can’t seem to stick to actually using it.
Going easy on yourself is probably the best bet. Along with acknowledging that one (or multiple) of the above issues might be a problem for you, just be easy on yourself while learning the method.
For instance, instead of being interested in using the method ASAP, telling yourself you are going to try charting as an experiment may help you feel less afraid of the commitment to the work and the idea that you are getting into something you aren’t capable of.
If you think it might be hard for your because you are worried about hormonal health or fertility, keep in mind that charting your cycles, while it will reveal any issues you may have, it will also help you resolve those issues with much more ease.
For some issues you may realize that it uncovers something that you want to bring to a therapist or counselor, or spend some time and personal work on them, before you are able to use the method.
Remember that socially as women we really aren’t ever given the message that our bodies are good and are supposed to work, just that they are a hindrance and break a lot. So if you are coming up on any resistance know that you are not alone.