Tracking your cycle with a fertility awareness method (FAM) is a daily practice of paying attention to and tracking your fertility biomarkers.
When first learning how to chart, there is a little bit of a learning curve as well as a period of adjustment while charting becomes a new habit.
In today’s blog post, I’m going to dive into how to adapt your daily life to the new practice of fertility awareness as well as tips to help charting become a daily habit.
1. Add on slowly
Adding too many new habits at once is a recipe for failure, and will just lead you to feeling overwhelmed. Try starting slowly and add one new habit per week. It may also be helpful to add new habits onto existing practices, like checking your cervical mucus when you’re already going to the bathroom.
2. Make use of reminders
As you start paying attention to your biomarkers, it’s especially important that you consistently track your cervical mucus and take your temperature. Visual reminders (like a sticky note beside the toilet or the mirror or having your thermometer beside your bed) are surefire ways to help you remember to chart. A more direct reminder is something like setting a daily reminder on your phone to nudge you to input your cervical mucus observations into your charting app.
3. Be gentle with yourself
It takes an average of 66 days for a new habit to become automatic, so be gentle with yourself.
Give yourself self-compassion if you sleep in and forget to take your temperature on the weekend.
You will learn to read your chart with some missing data, so missing days isn’t the end of the world. Know that around ovulation is when you will want to really focus on your tracking.
It’s also perfectly okay to take a break from charting. Once you’ve got some habits under your belt, you may want to take a break from taking your temperature during your period, for example.
4. Find an accountability partner
Ask your significant other to remind you to check your mucus or input your data into your chart. They will appreciate being involved in your method of birth control! If you don't have a partner or don't have an interested partner, try making a friend who practices fertility awareness, or one who wants to learn!
For accountability, you can also follow fertility awareness accounts or connect with other people who use FAM, whether in person or virtually. Facebook groups around fertility awareness-based methods or the Tempdrop Facebook group for Tempdrop users (or this one for interested users) are great ways to find a FAM accountability buddy! Lastly, working with a fertility awareness educator will give you accountability as well as clarity in your chosen method.
5. Remember your motivation
Why did you decide to start charting? I’m sure that your decision was made out of a lot of thought and consideration. It could have something to do with pregnancy or health goals, body literacy, or so many other personal reasons.
Charting with fertility awareness, benefits your health as well as your relationship.
Write down why you made your decision to start charting and have that as a visible reminder and refer to it often. Your own motivation to continue charting will be fueled by this reminder. It's okay to take a short break too, though.
6. Make it enjoyable for yourself
When choosing a paper chart or an app, think about what will be most enjoyable for you to fill out. Do you have a creative, pen-to-paper personality? You may enjoy a paper chart that sits beside your bedside so you don’t forget to input data at the end of each day. Are you a little more drawn to apps and technology? There are many different charting apps available that bring charting to your fingertips. My new favorite app is the Read Your Body app, which syncs directly with Tempdrop - another way to make charting easier. The Tempdrop app (Android and Apple) also allows you to chart everything manually now!
And speaking of Tempdrop, if you’re struggling to remember to take your temperature each morning, Tempdrop takes one step out of FAM charting by taking your temperature while you sleep so you don’t need to remember to wake up at the same time each morning!
You've got this!
Eventually, fertility awareness will become like second nature to you.
Confirming ovulation and completing a chart gives you such a sense of satisfaction, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll get excited about your chart and look forward to inputting data!
Nathalie Daudet is a social worker and FEMM instructor based in Winnipeg, Canada. She discovered fertility awareness after searching high and low for a non-hormonal method of birth control. After learning the magic of fertility awareness and the gift of body literacy, she decided to pursue formal fertility awareness training and share the knowledge of fertility awareness with women looking for a natural birth control option. Fertility Awareness Project is the hub for Nathalie’s FEMM classes in both group and individual formats, online and in person in Winnipeg. If you love this post and would like to thank Nathalie, shop Tempdrop with Nathalie's unique referral link.