The only forms of birth control are hormonal or to abstain altogether.

Truth is…there are other options including those that help better understand my body.

I didn’t plan to write this today, but reflecting on this area of my life was fitting being that it is International Women’s Day.

On April 20th of last year, I experienced a Fifth Vital Sign class about reproductive health. It was this class that opened my eyes to the realm of making informed choices about my body outside of pregnancy. You’d think that because I’m educated on childbirth I’d be educated on my own general reproductive health. This is false…and sad if you ask me. It still boggles my mind that I know how to have a baby but don’t know much about everything around making a baby. I mean, I know that when sperm meets egg, fertilization happens and a baby is made, but what happens before an egg is fertilized, or what happens if it isn’t? Sure, I know what menstruation looks like—some times it looks like murder—and feels like, but I didn’t know more than that. Now, I’m excited to report that I am coming up on two weeks of tracking my cycle, and already have learned so much.

After deciding that I was done growing my own children, I was forced to face the difficult decision of what birth control method I was going to use. I say it’s difficult because there are numerous options to choose from, and it is overwhelming. Without the necessary support, it is easy to make a hasty decision and choose an incompatible option.

I am grateful for the friends I have met on social media for they have been the ones who have strengthened my belief in my decision-making when it comes to my reproductive health. These amazing women have stood in solidarity with me, holding space for my being during some of my most trying times, and have been great resources as I journey this path to self-discovery.

The method I have decided to try out is Fertility Awareness. The linked blog lists a few situations why a woman might choose to use this style of birth control…

“1) You want to postpone or avoid conceiving a baby and don’t want to use hormonal, invasive, barrier, or permanent methods of birth control.
2) You DO want to have a baby and would like to plan intercourse for the optimum time to conceive.
3) You have long or irregular cycles and want to figure out what the Deuce is going on with your body.
4) You would like to gain a greater level of body awareness.
5) You are Catholic and want to use the only method of family planning approved by The Pope himself.” (Kindara.com)

Looking at the list above makes me realize that there is more than one reason why this method may be the last method I decide to try. With the exception of situation number 2, they all apply to me. (I’m partial on number 5, but that’s a post for another day.)

Basal body temperature, cervical fluid, flow of menstruation, cervix height, openness, and firmness, you bet there is a learning curve that has been frustrating and liberating at the same time. With the help of fertility awareness, I am confident that I will accomplish my goal of knowing myself better than any of my healthcare providers ever will.

These are exciting times for me. I am no longer a rookie mom (not saying that I’m experienced) and am on my way to a new level of consciousness. I invite you to travel this new journey alongside me…if you haven’t gotten tired of traveling all the others with me.

Cheers to self-awareness and being your own primary healthcare provider!

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