There is a lot of talk right now about women making their own choices for their own reproductive health. I figured that instead of discussing all of that, I would just discuss me. This is a blog about me, so why not, right? The choice I made was a long time in coming, a bit awkward to begin with, and I'm sure will involve some more fun awkward moments to come. It could have been worse on the awkward scale, but it should have been better.
The road to my choice started a couple of years ago, when all my friends were getting married, and I got to listen to endless discussions of all things wedding and marriage prep. One thing that was consistent in that was that the couples were choosing some form of natural family planning (NFP). It was not uncommon to have a friend say, "I thought my cycle was normal, but I realized some things were not exactly where they should be." I wondered what, if anything, might be abnormal about my own cycle. I was curious to find out some elusive day when I finally might be preparing for marriage.
Then I got started with this whole blogging thing, and before long found this whole group of Catholic IF bloggers (that would be "infertile", and if you think my use of initials is bad, try following their blogs!) If you don't want to learn lots about cycles, whether they be normal or abnormal or somewhere in between, don't go read those blogs. While I have never envied what my friends are going through, I did notice that there were certain things that they were finding that were affecting overall health, not just their ability to have children. One common one is thyroid problems. I have a history of thyroid problems and something still seems a little off to me in that regard, so I kind of wished I could know how charting helps to figure all of that out.
Then I was noticing some things that I thought might be changes in my cycle, but I had no way of knowing for sure, because I'm single and don't chart. Why would I chart if I'm single?
Finally I decided that there is no reason that I can't learn a few things as a single person. Yeah, sure, the class is billed as a way to learn how to achieve or avoid pregnancy, and any health benefits are sort of listed as secondary, but that's okay. And, yes, it's fun when they tell you what the cost is "per couple" (also the cost per single person, in case you were wondering). However, when I emailed the local instructor, she was kind enough to treat me as normal. Apparently I am not the only female out there who has no current prospects of marriage, but just wants to know more about her health.
There really wasn't any point (in my mind) for me to learn anything other than the Creighton model. Many other NFP models are good for the signs of fertility, but typically people that need to learn more about their health end up having to learn Creighton anyway. Actual fertile and infertile times are a moot point for me right now, but reproductive health and the way that connects with my overall health are very relevant. So, Creighton it is.
There you have it. My choice for my reproductive health is to learn something about it. And to chart it for a while. That way I can see if things are as normal as they seem, or if something is off. I want a good 6 cycles or so to get a baseline for me so that I know what is or is not normal in my own cycle. Then if I decide to stop charting for a while, I will at least have a better handle on where I am.
Also, the awkwardness came in the form of the group introductory session, in which I felt like a weirdo, even though there was only one couple there. Particularly in the part where we were waiting for the talk to begin. I did not feel at all awkward during the actual session and discussion. I guess after reading all kinds of IF blogs for so long, they didn't even come close to anything that seemed awkward or out of the ordinary! I just think that it shouldn't be awkward to be a single female at that class. There really is a lot about reproductive and gynecological health, and it should not be billed as being just for couples. (Again, the instructor was great about making it about all of the above, but all of the printed info for the class assumed that you were a couple only wanting to learn about when to have sex based on whether you want to achieve or avoid pregnancy.)
Thanks to all that have been willing to openly discuss things about their cycles (both in person and those that blog), so I could realize that there was more for me to know right now, as well as making so that it does not seem weird to me to discuss these things!
Brief update: I wrote this quickly last night to blurt out my immediate thoughts after taking the class. But the point in sharing it (besides that it's a blog and oversharing is part of the standard template) is that there may be others out there that have thought about learning more, and I want them to know they aren't the only ones. I also figured I should probably add a link or two so you could actually learn something if you are so inclined! To learn more about Creighton specifically, you can go here. To find a teacher in your area, go here (left side of the page).