Shortly before we were married I went to the “lady doctor”. It was my first time to do this, and in addition to getting a full workup she gave me a prescription for The Pill. Of course these days there are many version of The Pill and the one I was on was a low dose one that required me to take it at the exact time every day. Then things got ugly. It turns out that The Pill and I are not destined to be good friends. I have always been a relatively stable person, if a bit prone to crying when I watch sad movies. This changed when I was on The Pill.

I became anxious and moody, struggled with depressive thoughts and feelings, and my libido went out the window. My poor fiancé! Recalling those days, it is a testament to his character that my husband married me at all! Shortly after the honeymoon I began researching other options. Somewhere, somehow, I came across something called Fertility Awareness Method (FAM). FAM is a sympto-thermal method of birth-control.

Chances are, if you have been trying to conceive for very long, you have stumbled across the term “charting”. That is what FAM is. Basically, by taking your temperature every morning (at the same time) and monitoring things like cervical mucus (one of the worst terms ever) and even cervical position, you can determine several things: when your body is most fertile, when ovulation has occurred, whether your cycle is regular or not, and even if your body is performing well enough to get pregnant at all.

Example Chart

“I was so glad to know what was going on with my cycle.”

When I began using FAM it was to prevent pregnancy. My dear husband and I agreed that I would stop taking The Pill and that we would use FAM in cooperation with condoms to avoid pregnancy until such a time that we were ready to conceive. The failure rate is comparable to other common forms of birth control (when used correctly, of course), and the best part is that during infertile days you can have sex bare. That’s right, I said it! Totally and completely naked, no condoms, no nothin’! Clearly this worked well for us, as we successfully avoided pregnancy for over two years. The cruel irony is realizing now that we probably could have avoided ANY birth control.

When it came time to try I was so glad to know what was going on with my cycle. On months when my cycle was a little longer than usual I was able to avoid unnecessary pregnancy tests and anxiety with the knowledge that I had ovulated later than usual. And, joy of joys, charting is supposed to make it easier to conceive! So you can imagine my distress as perfectly timed intercourse led us nowhere, month after month after month.

So I am curious: For those of you who have been trying to conceive for a while, did/do you chart? And has this made a difference in how you handle the two week wait each month?

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