I’ve been promising for years to share my experience with natural health care, particularly around the choice as a woman to become pregnant or not. This is a huge topic for which I proclaim my 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech, only speak from my personal experience, and do not give medical advise.
With the current climate in the United States, there is a backlash against women’s rights, including health choices protected by federal law. I could write volumes about the why and political strategy behind legislating women’s bodies…an extension of the “property” right bias of the US Constitution, interpreted to include not only land, real estate, and tangible personal property, but people (women, children, slavery), animals, and the environment. Notice there are no laws regulating men’s bodies or their fertility.
“My body is my sacred temple and I choose how to worship and with whom to worship.” — Katrina Wynne
I am currently 60 years old, post-menopausal, and have a lifetime of natural health experience and knowledge, as well as a certificate as a Natural Health Educator. I have always cared for my own health with a diet of mostly organic foods, no medications (legal or illegal)…not even aspirin, and utilizing natural supplements, naturopathy , homeopathy, chiropracty, and traditional Chinese medicine (herbs and acupuncture) for my well-being.
My preference for natural health care extended to my personal hygiene and fertility management. For example, I have never used birth control pills, a popular fertility option that entered the medical prescription market and was heavily promoted when I was in my late teens/early 20s.
Natural fertility management does not necessarily work for everyone. The key components for success are communication, commitment, and discipline…qualities that I have and continue to practice.
When I became sexually active I did a great deal of research on traditional natural methods for managing my fertility, including coitus interruptus…withdrawing from intercourse before ejaculation…yes, no fun. This is not a fail-safe technique due to the timing issue and leaky sperm possibility, but using a condom helped reduce this risk.
The technique I had the most success with is generally called the Rhythm Method, a calendar-based way of tracking my ovulation cycle. The book that was most helpful to my learning about my biological fertility clock is called Lunaception by Louise Lacey. I studied my monthly “moons” and clearly knew when I was not fertile (impregnable), as well as when the time may be optimal, when I could more successfully become pregnant. My average menstrual period was three days (don’t hate me gals…it was short and painless, could be due to my healthy lifestyle). I would add four days on each side of my ovulation day as the fertile zone, which allowed me a great deal of freedom and peace of mind for the remaining 20 days. Additional testing to establish the fertile days included taking my temperature and checking my vaginal mucus.
This was my basis for natural fertility planning. Below is a sample of my annual “Moon Calendar” where I kept track of my monthly menses in resonance with the ancient wisdom of Lunaception.
In 1982 there was a month when my period was late, just as I was getting ready to fly out of the country for my 6-month bicycle and camping adventure through Western Europe. As you might imagine, I was quite nervous about leaving the country not knowing if I were pregnant or not. My boyfriend and I were at the end of our 3-year relationship and having a child was not in our future. As an herbalist, I went to my natural medicine cabinet and started drinking pennyroyal tea for I knew it to be a natural abortive, if taken soon enough and at the proper dosage. Again, I can not give you medical advice and recommend you consult with your health professional. In my case it worked perfectly as I began my menstruation upon arriving at the airport 30 minutes before my flight’s departure time…..whew.
Last, a natural habit I practiced that was support for my menstrual days was the use of organic cotton feminine hygiene products. I preferred not to use tampons for I wanted my yoni to breath. Most of the time I would use reusable washable organic cotton fabric panty liners that snapped around the crotch of my undies. When traveling, I would take with me organic cotton disposable panty liners that have a sticky side that attached to the panty crotch. I used Natracare, but there are several choices on the market these days. In both cases, I wanted a breathable, non-chemical choice to protect my health. Why organic cotton? For me it was in line with my organic agriculture values, but these days a major consideration is that most commercial cotton is GMO cotton. That is another huge topic….ugh…
By the way….for my crone friends, I’m holding onto my reusable panty liners for a time when I may develop a leaky bladder…just in case. Of course, the better solution is to continue my daily Kegel vaginal floor exercises to keep things firm through every stage of my life.
So, as the grandmother or crone passing on her experience and wisdom, I hope there is information here that can support you in exploring your own natural options for better female health. Please do your research, listen to your body, and always honor your boundaries and choices.
Shared with love and light…
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