Just a heads up, this blog post today is not for the faint of heart. This post speaks truth; “Me no conversate with the fake.” – Schoolboy Q. Also, for all our male readers, this piece is about the wild woman which includes that special time of month aka Menstruation. So please share with the women in your life who might find this blog post helpful and/or check back tomorrow for something else that has nothing to do with this topic.
Skipping ahead to last year and Heading into my 30s I wondered if I still should be on birth control, knowing my husband and I are not wanting kids. I knew there had to be a way for me to know when I was fertile, so we could avoid the baby making business.
I did some research and found the best book ever that every female needs to read whether you want to get pregnant or not:
Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide To Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement and Reproductive Health by Toni Weschler
After reading this book, I think it is insane that we still put young females on hormone therapy, aka birth control, without allowing them to read this book, learn about themselves and allow their bodies to first develop. When I was 14 I was put on birth control because my period wasn’t consistently coming. In the end looking back , who cares that I wasn’t getting my period? There was possibly more than one reason I wasn’t getting my period on a regular basis: I was super athletic, active, skinny, wacky teenage diet, semi-stressed and side note I was not sexually active in high school- so I was not using birth control to make me infertile which is exactly what it was doing.
Either way, heading into college and becoming sexually active , I remained on birth control for 15 years from age 14-29. Looking back Birth control from ages 14-21, I never really experienced late night throwing up episodes. However, heading into my mid-twenties, yes, there were nights that I can attribute the throwing up to some late night partying, but there are too many times to count where I would wake up and have to rush to the bathroom to relieve my stomach ache and it was not alcohol related. The hormones in the birth control were jacking me up and causing random nausea episodes that were becoming more frequent, but also hard to predict. So last year I said bye bye to the BC and have never felt better. I am learning more about my body and how it works than ever before which is kind of embarrassing as a 30 year old, but better late than never.
In the book , Weshler Teaches 5 important rules that have stuck with me – if you DO or DON’T want to get pregnant – READ the book and learn the rules for yourself. These are not directly from the book but key take aways from my brain to yours:
(1) Period Around No need to frown during the first 5 days of your cycle. You are not fertile you are on reboot mode – get down if you ain’t afraid of the mess.
(2) After 6 go for it. 6PM that is and only if you are dry and nothing is lingering in your undies that would suggest fertility aka your ovulation aka the stuff in your under wear you have been confused about since you were 11. (That is female baby making juice if you still can’t figure it out)
(3) PULL OUT PEOPLE AND/OR PROTECT YOURSELF FOO – during your fertile window you reduce your risk of pregnancy by 80% if not more, BUT make sure your partner knows what he is doing and you can trust him.
(4) Monitor your fertility in 2 of 3 ways – Way #1 Start Charting (Take & Record Waking Basal Body Temperature every damn day, ( I use the Life app to record temperature and track other important life stuff from weight to nutrition to sleep to sexual activity, etc.); Way #2 – check cervix (I don’t do this one but read the book if you are interested in fingering your self in the morning to find your cervix position to know your fertility) and Way #3 Be Mindful of Ovulation (meaning when did that egg drop into me undies). To find your Peak day you will see a big shift in temperature the day you ovulate (egg-white like substance), it might take you a couple of months of charting but you will start to see this day eventually , after the third day you are no longer in your fertile window and safe to have sex without risk of making a baby.
(5) Learn your Fertile window and do or don’t have sex during these 4 critical days – read the book but the basics are – 4 days out of the month you can get pregnant if you allow semen to enter your vagina and find where the egg awaits mid month during ovulation. The day the egg drops is called the Peak day which is a low temp day and every day after your temperature should be 3/10ths above your coverline temperatures aka waking temps of the prior 6 days. The following days are your fertile window and after those 4 days your fertile window has passed. After these 4 days, temps can be high or low and if you have no signs of fertility aka (white stuff in your undies) after 6pm each day, than feel free to Fuck and have a good time. No risk for pregnancy these other times of the cycle/month*****. PLEASE NOTE: I am not a doctor and you are an adult; please take this advice at your own risk, but please do some research on your own and definitely READ the book to learn more, still confused talk to the Doc. I also know if you are coming off birth control or drink a lot of alcohol this can affect your temperature and ovulation so please be aware of your body and the signs it gives you – learn your cycle it is the best chance at understand yourself and your fertility.
Fun Fact: If your temp remains high for 16 days after ovulation and you and your partner had sex before this time , and your period did not arrive – there is a chance you are pregnant). Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
After being off birth control for one year one thing i have noticed is I have mini hot flashes @ 30 years old. I talked to my acupuncturist about it and she said that my endocrine system is down regulating at night and it is relearning how to work since it has basically been held hostage by the birth control for the last 15 years and not needed to work or supply me of my own hormones. So embrace the hot flashes , it is my hormone system learning how to work.
So another test to off grid living as a woman was I knew I needed to find the most eco-friendly way to handle the flow every month and most feminine hygiene products create too much waste, from the packaging to the plastic applicators. And the more research I did I found they contain chemicals from fertilizers sprayed on the cotton crops. WTF? So go organic or get a menstruation cup? I got the diva cup. But, there are tons of choices for different shaped women, plus, no more waste, and it can withstand the trials of off-grid living. Also, did you know a male doctor invented the tampon? Menstruation was never meant to be soaked up by a cotton swab but intended to flow and rejuvenate the female body for the coming month.
A seasonal test to off-grid living in the winter is frozen water – I deal with my female issues by being patient and just getting it done. Plus you can’t care about a dirty kitchen when the cold spells strike, we use paper plates and shower at my parents house. (Thanks mom and dad – helping me since 1987!) Also, I am very lucky to have an amazing husband who handles the off-grid toilet system we have going on @theboomstead. If you are curious about it , take a look back at this article.
Overall, living off-grid as a woman is awesome. Living off grid has taught me about F.A.M. (Fertility Awareness Method) – making me a healthier, patient and more mindful woman. Plus, living off-grid allows me to get back to the wildness we all seek and has made me super appreciative of everything. Obviously, you don’t have to live off-grid to use F.A.M.; if anything we need to be teaching this to young women so they can be more aware of their fertility and be more in control of their lives.