This my friends could quite possibly be the most personal post I’ve shared with you yet. I’ve been contemplating writing this for months.
Mom, aunts, cousins, if you’re out there, please be aware that this post will include the following words, and others you may not want to know about me: sex, birth control, condoms, God, periods. Hmm, anything else that’s deeply personal?
Okay, now that that is taken care of, let us begin. First, the purpose of this post is to inform you of a natural alternative of birth control. Most people instantly think of The Pill, or the patch, or the shot, or IUDs. I want to tell you about another option, The Fertility Awareness Method. It’s my hope that if you’re wanting to get off “The Pill” (or any other birth control option) and are seeking a more natural method to prevent pregnancy, that you may find comfort in knowing that it can be done.
The Sexiness of The Pill
Though I will be specifically referring to the oral contraceptive, this post absolutely could be applied to other forms of birth control, including but not limited to the patch, shots, IUD’s.
When The Pill was introduced in 1960, women were liberated! They could now enjoy the act of intimacy with their partner without fear of becoming pregnant. For the economically disadvantaged, most with already large families, this pill was the answer to many prayers. Unfortunately, the consequences of this pill are far-reaching and will likely never be understood.
The Pill claims to do many things, here are just a few reasons women take it:
- It will shorten my periods.
- My menstrual cramps will be manageable.
- My acne will clear up.
- It will help me lose weight.
- I can know when my period is coming.
- And the obvious, likely most common, I don’t want to get pregnant.
As a Pill user of 10 years, most of those reasons were considered when I started taking the pill. At the time I did not understand the potential risks of taking the pill, nor did I consider nor probably care about the possible long-term side effects either. I also was not aware nor likely concerned enough to care about other options. Back then, it was condoms, The Pill, or pregnancy.
I am very grateful for the friend who introduced me to Fertility Awareness Method (FAM). We won’t get into a ton of detail about this method today, that’s for another post, but if you’re interested in natural birth control, you’re in the right place.
Fertility Awareness Method
The first big principle of this birth control method is getting to know and listening to your body. If you approach your doctor requesting more information about this method, she will likely look at you as if you have two heads and offer to print an 80-page document on “natural family planning”. Trust me, I know. Spare yourself the waiting time and humiliation.
She will probably also tell you that your body is on a 28-day cycle. Your doctor is very likely wrong.
In medical school, they do not discuss the variances in women’s cycles, they assume that most women have a 28 day cycle. After 7 months of charting, I have yet to have a 28 day cycle. I’ve had a 27 day once, but I’ve also had a 32 day more than once.
Your cycle will be different than your best friends. And your cycle will be different than the previous month’s cycle.
FAM can be used to plan a pregnancy and also control it. Knowing your body and when you’re fertile is only one of the benefits of using this method. Some choose to still use condoms during their fertile cycle, while others may avoid having sex altogether for that stretch of time.
Using the FAM to prevent pregnancy is scary, I get that. Trust me, I was on The Pill for 10 years!! Getting off the Pill can be just as liberating for you as it was for those women getting on it in the 60’s.
Why did I personally get off the Pill?
About a year into my marriage, I knew I wanted to get off the Pill. Not necessarily to have a baby, but for other reasons. I had been on my journey toward natural living for awhile, avoiding processed foods and just beginning to look into the things going on my body. It didn’t make sense to me, I was so careful about the food that I put into my body, but every morning I was ingesting this tiny little pill and thinking nothing of it.
I had become immune to taking the Pill. Honestly, it was so normal. After 10 years, it became part of me, I would wake up, put in my contacts and take my pill. My desire to live as naturally as possible began convicting this seemingly small act.
The other big reason I gave up The Pill was because my trust in the Lord was deepening. I felt as if I could be preventing something that God may have wanted for us. My husband and I both agreed we were not ready to have children. We just weren’t (and still aren’t) there yet. You know, if God had other plans, he could have gotten us pregnant even when I was taking the Pill!!
While we knew we weren’t ready for children, getting off the Pill was one more way we could put our trust in the Lord and his plan for our marriage. For me, taking the Pill each morning had become a barrier between God and myself. It was like I was taking that little pill, holding it up toward Heaven, and saying, “Lord, I’ve got science on my side, you can’t beat that!” Maybe that sounds silly to you, but it’s how I felt.
If the Pill has become your security blanket, I’m here to tell you that you have options. Real options that work. If you can remember to take a pill every day, you can very easily get the hang of FAM. I was intimidated at first, and I hope if you’re looking into making this transition, I might be of some help to you.
Until my next post, I recommend getting this book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility is an excellent resource for those seeking to educate themselves and possibly use the FAM. The author addresses many topics including things you should know about your body and why you probably don’t. Understanding and recognizing signs of fertility and helpful charts that will give you a better understanding of how to practically use FAM.