With the celebration of our 5 year wedding anniversary yesterday, we also celebrate our 5 year FAMiversary!
I wanted to share my story of how I came to find the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) which turned out to be one of the best discoveries of my life.
It was Christmas break during my last year of college. I was 20 years old and the love of my life proposed to me after singing one of my favorite songs. After all the celebrations subsided, the wedding planning began! Choosing things for my wedding turned out to be quite easy for me. Venue, check! DJ, check! Photographer, check! Contraception… hmm, that was a trickier decision for me.
Some of our engagement photos. We were babies!
Initially I assumed I would just get on the pill like every other girl I knew. I had been on the pill briefly a few years prior to help with my acne, but I hated how the pill made me feel. I really didn’t want to start our marriage with that same down feeling.
I thought my only other option then was to use condoms for the rest of my life… nope, didn’t want to do that either.
I felt stuck.
Then, my family friend told me she practiced Natural Family Planning (NFP, another term for FAM**) and was successfully avoiding pregnancy. I was skeptical. I thought Natural Family Planning was what women used before the pill was invented, you know, what my catholic Irish great grandmother used and had 8 kids. No thank you!
Being only 21, the thought of getting pregnant so young terrified me. I wanted to get a good job after college, spend quality time with my husband and travel before we had children! Whatever kind of contraceptive I chose, it had to work!
Then I was enlightened.
I was confusing NFP with the outdated Rhythm Method, which is not reliably effective. NFP, on the other hand, was scientifically proven effective because you actually learn how to read the fertility signs your body gives you.
In a nutshell, the Rhythm Method or Calendar Method involves looking at a calendar and your previous cycles to make your best guess of your fertile window and ovulation. Although this can be helpful information, this is not a complete, or reliable practice.
My friend told me that with NFP you know exactly when you are fertile because it teaches you how to read and interpret your two primary fertility signs, basal body temperature and cervical fluid. On average, women are only fertile one week out of their cycle but all women’s cycles can vary, so the key is to learn how to interpret your unique fertility signs, and then use protection during your fertile phase. Hey, now I was intrigued! But… if it was so amazing, why had I never heard of it before? And since I’d never heard of it before, where was I to go learn how to do it?
My friend shared the basics of NFP, but then I was on my own. I searched to find all the resources I could on it… which were not many. I found a few blog posts, a Catholic online course, and a book of testimonials my mom gave me (thanks, Mom). Even though we were not Catholic, we were desperate for more information, so my fiancé and I signed up for the Catholic online course. It ended up being super informative! The course was a series of videos that he and I watched together. The information was laid out quick and easy to understand, going over the science of how our bodies work and interviewing couples with their testimonials (The inspiration for the video course I am currently creating!). With that, we felt informed, equipped and confident that this was the right choice for us for birth control!
After we made this big decision, we still had a very big obstacle to overcome. Read about it in part two of this blog post: FAM Naysayers, Misconceptions and Myths.
**We practiced NFP successfully for two years before I discovered the term Fertility Awareness Method (FAM). Basically the biggest difference is that NFP is associated with the Catholic Church, whereas FAM does not have a religious association.
Would love to hear from you! If you practice FAM or NFP how did you find out about it?
Want to learn more about FAM, visit my FAM page.
Still hung up on previous myths and misconceptions about natural birth control? Download my FAM Myth Buster Guide to find out the truth!
And be sure to join my Facebook FAM Learning Community where I will be posting resources and Facebook live videos teaching about the female cycle, hormones and fertility. This is a safe space just for women where you can get your questions answered and be in a community of other likeminded women.