This story was submitted to Kindara by Meredith M.
I first discovered the Fertility Awareness Method in 2012 when I started looking into alternatives to hormonal birth control. I had been on birth control since I started college six years before, and that coincided with when I started getting migraines. As the years went by, I started getting them more and more frequently until by 2012 I was getting two or three per month. My boyfriend is into natural alternatives to traditional medicine, and so upon seeing these side effects he suggested I look into something different. We had been practicing withdrawal for a couple years on top of the birth control, so he wasn't troubled with the idea of not using hormonal birth control.
I needed more convincing at first, so I did some research and found that FAM actually has a high success rate when used correctly. In addition to this, I learned so much more about my body than I thought possible. You would think that being female for twenty-four years would mean you know pretty much everything when it comes to female bodily functions, but I found that is definitely not the case. This knowledge empowered me to trust my body in a way I hadn't before. I knew some friends who had gotten "accidentally" pregnant on the pill, so even though I was on the pill and I tried to remember to take it at the same time every day, I was always anxious about getting my period. Being young and in college, I did not want to start a family then and even right out of college, I certainly didn't have the finances to afford a baby.
After reading as much as I could about the Fertility Awareness Method, I went out and bought a $9 basal thermometer and went off birth control. The few girlfriends I told thought I was nuts, but in general I just kept the knowledge to myself and every month that went by without needing to run and buy a pregnancy test was little victory for me. Each month that I finished on my chart was more evidence that it works. Now that I know how my body functions and I'm able to tell exactly where I'm at in my cycle, I'm much more relaxed. Also, since coming off of hormonal birth control, I can definitely tell subtle differences in my body before ovulation and afterwards. This has helped me in many ways, one of them being that my yoga practice has become more informed as a result of me feeling more in tune with my body. I also didn't realize that my sex drive was that much affected by hormonal birth control, but coming off of it, it has definitely improved!
It's now been two years since I've gone off birth control and I couldn't be happier. I wouldn't go back after this, and having conversations with girlfriends now, I share with them that this does work. I also appreciate that if I did get pregnant, I now have much more information about my cycle and when I could have conceived, which is more than most people have when they pee on a stick.
After a year of charting on paper, I found that charting on my smartphone was easier and more convenient by far! Kindara has been a great way for me to look through my charts, put in notes, and also to keep them handy whenever I travel. Looking forward to many more years on FAM!