Several months ago, fellow friend and FertilityCare™ Practitioner, Liz Escoffery wrote a post for my blog about sticking to your observational routine.
This week we are discussing charting our fertility and I thought it is important to review our observational routine. We cannot effectively chart our fertility and gain insightful knowledge about our fertility health without a good observational routine.
The observational routine may look different from one woman to the next depending on the fertility awareness method she is using. Observational routines for fertility can be like learning a new skill. You need to keep at it and not give up. It can take some time to develop effective habits.
As humans, we are creatures of habit. Routines are good and ensure that we get those things done that we have committed ourselves to.
As a FertilityCare Practitioner by profession, Liz encourages her clients using the Creighton Model of FertilityCare System to make good observations so they can reliably know their days of fertility and infertility.
The woman or couple can then use that information to achieve or postpone a pregnancy or monitor reproductive health. All methods and charting apps require observations including things such as cervical mucus, sensation, luteinizing hormone (LH), temperature, and/or cervical position.
Here are some tips to help you stay motivated with your observational routine:
- Keep your motivation for charting always in sight.
If your goal is to achieve pregnancy, put a picture of a positive pregnancy test on the bathroom mirror. If you want to improve your health and cycles, select an image of when you felt your best (Wedding Day, finishing a race, celebrating a major milestone).
If you are postponing pregnancy, you could post a picture of someone who needs your prayers and offer up the sacrifices that come with abstaining during the fertile time for that person.
- Set phone and/or calendar reminders.
Do you set reminders in your phone to pick up milk at the grocery store or to drop off clothes at the dry cleaners? Reminders in your phone or paper calendar can be a great way to make sure you observe when you need to.
For the Creighton Model, my clients are instructed to observe before and after using the bathroom. For some people, they are in too much of a rush to urinate by the time they arrive to the bathroom. I advise these clients to set their phone to go off every two hours reminding them to go to the bathroom whether they need to or not.
This way, observing is not a hassle because the need to urinate is not urgent. If incontinence is something you struggle with, consider reaching out to your doctor or a pelvic floor physical therapist.
- Find someone who can hold you accountable.
Married, engaged, and dating women- this is a great chance for the man in your life to be involved with the charting process. Ask him to remind and ask you if you have observed that day and be sweet when he does it. This can even be done via text message.
Single ladies- perhaps you have a close friend or sister who is also charting or who knows you well who can encourage and motivate you. Ask that person for help and offer to help her accomplish a goal she is personally working toward.
- Do not let the sun set on your blank chart.
I personally keep my chart on a clipboard in a basket next to my nightstand. Some of my clients hang it on their private bathroom door and others keep it on their home office desk. Wherever you choose to keep yours, be consistent so it never gets lost.
When you travel, put your chart in a reliable compartment of your suitcase or in your purse. It may be helpful to have a ritual that incorporates the chart like praying and charting together with your husband at night or charting while drinking a cup of tea before bed.
Develop a location and ritual that works for you and make charting each and every day a priority.
- Oh, the places you’ll go!
There is no harder time to observe well than when you are in public, in a new place, or out of your ordinary routine. It may seem intense, but I encourage my clients to invest in a pen light keychain for those dingy bathrooms with poor lighting so they can still make observations.
Pack a small roll of toilet paper in your purse so you are always prepared and have no excuse to skip an observation.
- Reward Yourself.
Have you stuck with your goals and been able to report 100% observations overall or 100% with a particularly challenging observation for at least 2 weeks? It is time to celebrate. Treat yourself to something that you seldom get, but really enjoy like a pedicure (even if you do it yourself), a fancy coffee drink, or a girl’s night out with a friend.
Observing and tracking your signs of fertility does not have to be a chore. Remember that each observation is for the sake of your health, well-being, and your family’s future. The years of fertility do not last forever, so resolve to improve your observations today for better health tomorrow.
Liz Escoffery, FCP is a FertilityCare Practitioner in Indianapolis, IN. She earned a BA in Political Science from the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN) and is currently pursuing a MA in Theology at St. Meinrad. She is married to her husband Bill and they have an 18-month-old son, Teddy and another child due in April 2016.