Women don’t want to move backwards. We want to move forward, into a time of knowledge and education, into a time where we can combine research and technology to find the best possible birth control option that works for us and our bodies.
Birth control is not a one size fits all thing. What works for me might now work for you. We don’t have cookie cutter perfect cycles, and that’s OK. That’s part of having a cycle. The exciting part, the empowering part comes from learning about your unique cycle and what you can do to work with your body to control your fertility in a way that fits with your life.
So, while you’ll probably never hear me promote hormonal birth control options you’ll never hear me say that women shouldn’t have the option to choose them. Just like women should have the access to the actual information about FAM.
Today I want to go over some misconceptions about FAM as well as some common FAM mistakes.
So, what are some things one might hear about FAM?
+ that it’s too hard
+ not effective enough
+ inconvenient (can’t have spontaneous sex)
+ we’re not smart enough to use it correctly
+ all FABM’s (fertility awareness based methods) are lumped together
+ media confuses it with the Rhythm Method
It’s one of my main frustrations but the media regularly confuses FAM with the Rhythm Method. Which if you’ve learned anything about modern forms of FAM you know it’s very different. FAM has a perfect use rate comparable to the pill, but because all FABM’s get lumped together it takes the effectiveness rate down, because the Rhythm Method is often included in that.
Seriously, if you go Google "Rhythm Method” right now, in the top right corner will pop up “Fertility awareness, also called: The Rhythm Method”.
(Internal Scream) It’s not the same thing!
Whenever you hear people (who know what FAM is) talk about it they’re usually talking about a combined method (like the Sympto-Thermal Method) where you track your basal body temperature, cervical fluid and optional cervical position on a daily basis and apply that to the rules of the method to determine where you are in your cycle and fertility.
The Rhythm Method is based on the length of your cycle. Oh and assumes everyone has a perfect 28 day cycle and ovulates on day 14.
Let’s move on to the “too hard”, “too time consuming” part of FAM.
It does take a few cycles to learn, but once you know the information it doesn’t take more than a few minutes each day. Seriously I’m more in tune with and educated about my menstrual cycle and fertility now (not to mention more diligent and safe) than I was when I was taking the Pill.
As for “spontaneous sex” people really need to widen their definition of what sex is. There are a lot of lovely sexual acts that don’t involve actual intercourse (penis in vagina), and these should be a part of your repertoire anyways. Plus there are condoms and other non-hormonal barrier methods available for those 6-7 days you have to avoid unprotected sex.
Alright, let’s talk about some mistakes.
+ not taking temperature consistently
- not taking it at the same time
- not taking it first thing when you wake up
- lounging in bed for awhile before you take it, even though you haven’t actually gotten out of bed
- not taking it every day
- not taking it with a BBT thermometer
+ not following the rules/not learning them
- don’t just read a few articles online
- at least read a book like Taking Charge Of Your Fertility
- best to then back that up with taking a course (online or in person)
+ not learning an actual method (creating a Frankenstein method)
- i’ve had a few people comment on stuff saying FAM is crap, but then they go on to explain some frankenstein method that they’ve concocted
- you should learn how to correctly take your BBT and check your fluid, choose a method and learn the rules to that method, and follow them
- ovulation test strips should not be a part of your birth control plan
+ perfectly OK if you’re trying to conceive
+ and if you’re curious
+ apps are great, but you should learn the rules and implement them yourself rather than relying on what the app tells you
- it’s best to choose an app that doesn’t have fertility prediction because they might sway your thoughts against what your signs are actually saying
+ I’m currently using Kindara, which allows you to input all of your data into a chart, draw a coverline, etc.
- unless it’s an app like NaturalCycles, Daysy or LadyComp that has the algorithms, data and research to back it up
- What I’m saying is don’t rely on predictions in simple period tracking apps as birth control
+ calendar methods, methods that don’t use fertility signs
- don’t guess when your fertile phase based on past cycles
- it’s not about the number of days, it’s about taking your temperature and fluid every day to calculate fertility
+ only casually tracking temperature
+ don’t underestimate the importance of cervical fluid (it’s the greatest indicator of fertility and where you are in your cycle)
+ it is much more telling to me than temperature is
+ temperature only tells you when you’ve ovulated and when you’ve started a new cycle
+ using a temp-only method after you have realized you can’t track your fluid is one thing. But I think women should be learning how to and tracking both if they can. Especially at first
Phew! Ok I know that’s probably a lot to digest, and I may have gotten a little ranty at times, but hopefuly you get the gist.
You are smart enough to safely use FAM if you so desire.
It’s based on science, not some hippy, woo woo seance.
Normal people like you and me use it.
Do you use FAM? Have you considered it? Let me know down below.