Hi. My name is Raychel Muenke and I am a new member of the Kindara team. I joined Kindara because as a doctor of psychology, I care deeply about women’s health. I am also a mother of 4 amazing children (in my completely biased opinion). My fertility journey began well before I had ever heard about Kindara, and I have known both the challenges of conceiving as well as the challenges of avoiding conception.
Many years ago, I had a difficult time conceiving my first child. After two years of trying I was still not pregnant. I reached out to an Ob/gyn who promptly suggested a pharmaceutical intervention. I didn’t believe that was the right step for me at the time so I started looking into other reasons why I might not be conceiving. Was it possible the birth control shot (Depo-Provera) was taking longer than expected to leave my system? Did I need to gain some weight to help balance out my cycles? Did I just need to “relax” like so many people unsolicitedly shared with me? To be honest, I don’t know exactly how I conceived the first time because I didn’t really know a lot about my body.
Following my first child, I had two more children quite easily. I started having abdominal pains after my third child including terrible gas, bloating and cramps. I saw general practitioners and was told I needed to see a gastroenterologist because I likely had irritable bowel syndrome. I decided to see a trusted gynecologist friend to see if it could be anything related to my reproductive system. She found two large cysts on my left ovary, and we believed my symptoms were more likely from the cysts than from the digestive system. In trying to remove the cysts, my entire left ovary had to be removed (those suckers were huge). At 35 years old and with only one ovary the doctor suggested it was unlikely I would ever conceive again.
As someone who does not like to be told what I can and cannot do, I had some serious feelings--angry, sad, happy, relieved, disappointed. At any given moment my feelings could be strong and, potentially, diametrically opposed to what I was feeling just one minute before. I feel incredibly fortunate and happy to have conceived one more time. My children are wonderful, kind, needly little monsters that I am thankful for every day.
After deciding 4 children was as much as we could lovingly handle, my husband and I discussed how to avoid having more. The pill is not an option for me because my body reacts so negatively to it. In the end, he volunteered to have a vasectomy. I carried the children and he wanted to do his part (side note: I love being married to a feminist!).
All of this living happened before I had ever heard of Kindara, Fertility Awareness Method, the Symptothermal method, etc. Now that I work for Kindara, I wonder what different decisions I could have made if I had known all of my options.
“I believe in the power of education. I believe women should have control over their fertility. I believe that women’s health is a subject for all humans because it affects all humans.”I joined Kindara to help spread information so that your story can be one of informed, scientifically-based choices so you can make the best decisions for yourself. Now, I use Kindara and Wink to understand more about my cycles as I move towards perimenopause. I have less fear of the changes to come in my body because I am coming to understand my body. My story of family planning began and ended before I knew all of my choices. Please share your story so we can continue to learn and grow together and educate those who are still making and yet to make their family planning decisions.