What do you think one of the very first steps is in natural parenting? A natural birth maybe comes to mind. How about we go back even further than that though! I think natural parenting starts with natural family planning. This is not to say that different forms of birth control are wrong, not at all, just that there is a good reason to know about natural family planning, knowing your body.
Natural Family Planning is based on religion, taking that part out of it however it is a valuable tool in helping you take control of your fertility and not leave it to chance, though of course nature sometimes has it’s own plans and there is always room for human error.
So what is natural family planning? In my words it is simply knowing how to track your own fertility, with that information you can make what ever choice is best for you and your situation.
Charting is a fantastic way to get to know your fertile cycle. Many women already mark the first day of their cycle down. This goes much further however. One of the best known ways is to chart your morning temp and by watching it jump can tell you when you have ovulated. It does not however tell you when you will ovulate. A good method of telling when you are fertile is by doing a ferning test each morning consisting on a drop of saliva placed on a glass slide to dry for about 5 minutes and then looked at under a microscope. When you start to see a ferning pattern you can expect to be fertile then or soon. Once you see full ferning you will ovulate in 1-3 days. This requires a microscope. You can get cheap little ones for this purpose though online! Another way to see when your ovulating is you buy ovulation sticks that you pee on each day like one would a pregnancy test. This method though can be a bit tricky with lines that can be darker or not or the same darkness for days on end. I am partial to the ferning test obviously. Other things can help you figure out if you are fertile. One being the cervical fluid, when it is like egg whites chances are you are ovulating or your cycle is about to start. Another way to tell is by the position of your cervix, it is high during fertile times!
This is all just an over all summery and each of these topics. They are all worth researching. If course a cycle that is not regular adds a lot of other issues to NFP.
In the end, you can know all about your fertility but if you fail to communicate with your partner it can all be for not. The best made plans of mice and mothers?
As the mother of girls I will be teaching my daughters about NFP and making she they have the things they need in order to track their own fertility. Of course I will also teach them about all the other options as well but I think this is something every female should know and something that few health education classes teach.
Listen to your body, it tells you what you need to know. Listen to your spouse, that helps too! :)