Trusting My Body

I’ve had a rough time with birth control over the years. I always forget the pill (Peanut is proof of that). The shot made me bleed for literally 3 months straight. The ring made me nauseous. Now I’m pretty sure that my IUD is giving me acne worse than a teenager (and I had none while growing up) along with some other symptoms I’m not going to get into (that may include my problems with keeping my milk supply up in the past?).

I thought that I had exhausted all of my options. I thought that hormonal birth control was all there is. I thought I would just forever have this battle with birth control until the day that I’m done having babies and get my tubes tied. So naive.

I found out about Fertility Awareness Method when I started looking into planning our next pregnancy. You may or may not actually know it by that name. That lady on such-and-such sitcom that’s taking her temperature and then telling her husband “I don’t care that we’re fighting, I’m ovulating so have sex with me!” (so sexy, eh?) That’s Fertility Awareness Method.

Little did I know, it can also be used as a birth control. If you watch your signs, you can tell when you’re fertile and either not have sex during that time or use some sort of barrier birth control. Speaking of barrier birth control, there’s more than condoms. Looking around the Mothering Dot Com message boards (and starting a thread) and a lot of women were recommending a diaphragm. What a cool idea!

I’m still figuring out the whole FAM method and I’m reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility, so I don’t have a lot of information on that. I just feel like a lot of women weren’t even told there are other options than hormonal birth control. I specifically remember having a chat with my OB (before Peanut was born) and him telling me that I’ll just have to get in the habit of remembering the pill or I’ll have to abstain. Ha!

Just know there are a ton of other options out there. Check out the Family Planning section of the MDC forums if you want more information. Read Taking Charge of Your Fertility for exact steps in how to do the FAM. Know it’s possible to do FAM if you have a nursling that wakes you up in the night, so long as you make the right modifications. Know that there are other options than hormones.

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18 thoughts on “Trusting My Body

  1. As someone who has struggled to get pregnant for 18 months now, TCOYF is a goldmine of information. You’re right – it’s a great book to help with both contraception and conceiving – or if you’re like me, to know that you’re not crazy, that something IS wrong with you, and to know when to go to the doctor to get help.

    Assuming we get pregnant someday and want to hold off on #2, I wholly intend to NOT go back on birth control and use FAM instead. It’s a pretty great concept!

    • Yeah, I plan on using that after our next one. Part of the reason I got my Mirena out though is getting my body ready for another pregnancy, so I don’t want to put another IUD in at the moment.

      • That makes total sense. I have the copper one and like it. Had it for over a year (about a year before I started my period again). Good luck with #2!

    • I once considered the copper one too, but somebody told me that if you use it it’s like an abortion every time you conceive, whereas with the hormonal IUD you don’t conceive in the first place. It scared me.

  2. It’s also known as Natural Family Planning.

    And it’s pretty easy to do. It was our method of “birth control” for six years. Then we decided to have kids and we were able to plan out the birth of our daughter down to the month. Now that my period is back postpartum (woohoo lactational amenorrhea – there’s a reason it begins with the word ‘amen’! Haha) we’ll be using Natural Family Planning again!

    I just did it my way for a while. But there’s also the Creighton Model FertilityCare System – they give classes and charts to help you keep track of everything. Creighton model follows your cervical mucus which is what we used pre-baby. I’m not keen on the temperature method as I find that with breastfeeding, my temp rises and falls depending if she’s nursed all night or not. Strange, huh? Anyways, take a peek into the Creighton Model and see if there’s a teacher for it near you.

    • Natural Family Planning is the name for it if you don’t use a barrier method while you’re fertile, but rather just don’t have sex at all.

      As for your temperature rising if you nursed at night, are you getting at least 3 hours of sleep in a row before temping? That’s my biggest issue with it. Also, look more at the pattern than the individual days. So unless your temp is rising significantly, it should still help. I plan on relying mostly on CM, but temping will be nice for knowing if I ovulated and what not. I like the idea of the Chreighon Model, but I don’t like the idea that you have to take a class. I like reading books on my own more—especially since we won’t be using this method for long before TTC.

      • Thanks for pointing out that FAM is NOT the same as Natural Family Planning – that assumption is a big reason that the Fertility Awareness Method has gotten such a bad rap for not being effective. NFP is based on the assumption that all women have 28 day cycles with ovulation around CD14 and 14 day LPs – which is definitely not the case. I, for example, ovulate between CD19-30 and have 11-13 day LPs (and my CM isn’t consistent enough to ever use just that to know when I’m ovulating).

        I guess my point is that if you’re a woman, I STRONGLY encourage you to read the book and educate yourself about FAM. It’s such important information for women to know about their bodies – I wish they’d teach it in school around the time of first menses!

      • Actually FAM and NFP are the same thing. You’re describing Rhythm Method.

  3. Oh, and the diaphragm? I think it’s a pain in the behind. I had one for about a year and used it off and on. It just wasn’t that “fun” taking it out and cleaning it after having sex. Haha.

  4. I skimmed that book after going off the pill to try for Brayden, but all I really did to up my chances was watch my CM. I’m sure it helped though, because it only took us 2-3 cycles, depending on how long it took the pill to get out of my system. As for the IUD, I have the non-hormonal one and I’m so happy with it. I’m surprised the midwives at the U (I’m assuming you saw them for postnatal care) didn’t stress it- my midwife did because it would definitely not mess with breeastfeeding or my hormones, while the Mirena would.

    • I did go to the U for my postnatal care and I’m surprised they didn’t explain the difference between the hormonal and non-hormonal one too. It makes me sad that my birth control is probably the reason why I struggled with breastfeeding supply on and off for the first year of Peanut’s life.

  5. When I started being sexually active, I thought the pill was all there is, too. I mean, I knew about other kinds, but I thought the pill was the standard and so you just did that. I did not like the way it affected me, so I haven’t used it since before having my daughter. My periods came back with 5.5 months postpartum after her birth- and we decided to just experiment and find out how long I would stay infertile (short luteal phases). Turns out I got pregnant at 18 months and that was good spacing for us. This time, though, I want to wait longer. I had hoped that tandem nursing would push my period back longer, but nope. 5.5 months and it was back! ARG. We’re looking into other forms of birth control for the time being, because I really really really don’t want to get pregnant right now. I need to go find my basal thermometer.

    • How do you get your basal temperature with two nurslings? I’ve been trying to and I’ve entirely missed the last couple days because Peanut has been waking a couple hours earlier than normal.

  6. Three months after I started taking the pill I had a horrible allergic reaction. After going to a DO to figure out the problem, she reccomended non-hormonal birth control, since that’s what my body was having a hard time with. There are lots of options out there! The one I chose was a copper IUD: no mess, no remembering, and the most effective. After I had my LO I decided to do FAM. I love it. I’m surprised at how no one has ever heard of non-hormonal options. NO ONE. It’s frightening.

    • We’d rather alter our bodies than know them. It’s quite sad really.

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