If you have been thinking about trying the sympto-thermal method of fertility awareness but are afraid for one reason or another, this is for you.
First let’s rewind about 5 years and check me out when I was first taking in this information.
I read a book. I loved it, but I thought it was going to be too difficult to keep up. So, I promptly made half of a chart and then stopped when I went away for a weekend.
About a year later I start coming around again and realize that this is worth it and not too hard. I start charting for real, but do a really bad job charting. I am embarrassed of my early charts.
And now? Here is my utterly messy but super easy to maintain chart:
This month my thermometer broke on my cycle day 12. That is the absolute worst timing if you are relying on your temperature to tell when you ovulate and when you are fertile. I had two random high temps with the breaking thermometer and then switched thermometers to one that probably reads lower than the one I used before.
My cervical fluid is definitely not typical. I tend to have more than most people. What you have everyday is considered your “infertile pattern” meaning you have it even when it’s not associated with any increase in hormone levels. For me, what I have everyday will stretch a little bit.
When I first learned the method that confused the hell outta me, because I thought that anything that had stretch to it was considered “egg-white cervical fluid” (psst… This is why I recommend learning with an instructor instead of a book, otherwise you might take forever understanding this stuff like I did).
Eventually, I realized how to read my own cervical fluid and notice variations in my own body instead of comparing my cervical fluid to certain boxes it “should” fit in.
Myths and truths about using the sympto-thermal method of fertility awareness
1. Myth: Taking your temperature everyday is hard.
Truth: It really isn’t, and if your temperature gets messed up you can deduce your fertility by other means.
2. Myth: Checking your cervical fluid will be confusing and time consuming
Truth: You check your cervical fluid when you go to the bathroom and it takes an extra minute if that, and that is only for part of your cycle. It can take a bit of time to really understand your cervical fluid, but if you work with an instructor instead of out of a book you will get it much faster.
3. Myth: I can’t chart everyday.
Truth: I am a seriously disorganized person. If I can do it, you can do. It just takes a bit of habit forming.
4. Myth: It will be too hard to deduce when I am fertile.
Truth: In the beginning it is definitely a new skill you need to pick up, but you will get to know your body well and what it does and how it reacts in different circumstances and it will end up being like second nature to you.
5. Myth: It doesn’t work with irregular cycles.
Truth: You aren’t counting days, you are checking the signs your body is giving you and seeing what is currently up with your hormones.
6. Myth: My charts have to be perfect to figure out what’s going on.
Truth: See above. Obviously not.
It ends up being as simple as knowing anything else about your body, such as when you are hungry or need to use the bathroom. It may take some time, but you will have a life skill and amazing body literacy because of the time you spent.