Who’s Afraid of Fertility Awareness? How to Tackle Your Fears about Using a FABM
Fertility Awareness Based Methods (FABMs) are often described as an empowering way to track your fertility and reproductive health. But, for some, learning to use your chosen method and learning to chart your observations can feel overwhelming and can bring up fears about making a life-changing mistake. While it’s quite normal to have fears related to recording your observations and tracking your fertility, they don’t have to hold you back from experiencing the benefits of natural family planning.
As a psychotherapist, I can offer a few simple strategies that can equip you to successfully address your fears about using a FABM and turn them into an opportunity for empowerment. You needn’t let fear stop you from learning a fertility awareness-based method!
Write Out Your Fears
It can be really helpful to make a list and write out all of your fears about using a FABM. This is a strategy I recommend to my clients when they find themselves stuck on “the hamster wheel of worry,” where you just recycle the same worries over and over again in your mind. For example, you might find yourself running through your list of fears of using a FABM while standing in line at the coffee shop or folding laundry. When you allow your worries to run like an endless loop, it feeds the fear and increases its intensity.
The good news is that it’s possible to get off of the hamster wheel and out of the fear rut! There’s something about writing down your fears that helps to stop the endless loop of worries, and helps to empower you to address those fears. And it really is as simple as it sounds: Make a list of all of your fears no matter how small or insignificant they seem. If it’s something that’s holding you back from learning an FABM or charting, it’s worth writing down.
Once you’ve written down your fears, take them one by one and try to identify a resource or expert that will help you address that fear. For example, if one of your fears is being afraid that you won’t be able to confidently interpret signs of fertility, causing your FABM to be less effective in preventing pregnancy, a potential solution would be to contact a FABM instructor. That way, you have someone whom you can work with closely, especially in the beginning, to help you feel more confident and comfortable with charting. Or, if you are worried about remembering to enter your data each day, a solution would be to set reminders on your phone, or to use the reminder feature in whatever app you are using. No matter what your fear is, there is very likely a resource or an expert who can help you successfully address that fear.
It may also be helpful to remember that modern Fertility Awareness Based Methods have proven effectiveness rates, many of whose typical effectiveness rates are between 90-98 percent in preventing pregnancy, which are comparable to the Pill. Key to achieving these rates of efficacy, thereby boosting your confidence and quelling your fears about using a FABM, are being trained by a certified FABM instructor to be sure you’re following the method’s rules effectively, and keeping in touch with your instructor when you have questions.
Communicate with Your Partner
Some women are worried about what their partner will think about the change in lifestyle that comes with fertility awareness. If you’re concerned your partner may not be on board, read these tips for when your husband is not on board with NFP or prepare some quick responses to NFP doubters. One of the reasons couples who practice fertility awareness report having better love lives is because of the closer communication required.
When we’re worried, we tend to isolate ourselves. You may find yourself feeling tempted to keep your fears to yourself instead of sharing them with your partner. But this often backfires and only serves to make our fear worse because we feel so alone with our fear. Communicating your fears to your partner can not only help you feel less isolated, but it can also help you effectively address those concerns as a team.
By sharing your fears with your significant other, you can support one another and, in all likelihood, grow closer together through the process. That’s an added bonus!
Surround Yourself with Support
And finally, remember that you are likely not alone in your fears. Learning a fertility awareness-based method and feeling confident in charting can seem overwhelming, especially at first for many individuals. Don’t be afraid to reach out to trusted friends for support. There are so many communities both online and in person that can offer support as you learn a FABM. Just knowing that you can ask your questions and verbalize your fears in a safe and supportive environment takes a lot of the power out of some of the fears you might be experiencing. When you join a FABM community, you not only benefit from being supported as you learn to chart, but you are also able to support others in their journey.