Fertility is a word that is associated with conceiving a baby or not being able to conceive in the case of ‘infertility, but for me, the word became very powerful even before I started to think about pregnancy.
I am sitting here 6 months pregnant, looking back on my journey of understanding what fertility means and realise it had little to do with pregnancy and more to do with general health, well-being and the creativity deeply rooted in the menstrual cycle.
In a previous blog ‘wombliness’ I describe my initiation into menstrual cycle awareness. This was the start of my own fertility awareness. How can we be aware of how fertile we are if we do not understand what our periods and the subtle changes we face every day? What is fertility anyway? Does it mean that we only need to know fertility signs if we are trying or not trying to get pregnant?
When I googled fertility- the first page was filled with ‘boost your fertility & ovulation’, ‘fertility treatments’, or ‘trying to conceive’. But looking up the definition –To be fertile is also about being ‘fruitful’ and ‘productive’ just as much as the ability to have children.
In this blog, I want to leave the ‘conception and pregnancy’ issue aside and focus on what it meant to have a ‘fertile life’ . How can we start to grow anything (babies, businesses, creative projects) if the soil is a bit tired overused and lacks nutrients?
By charting your own menstrual cycle, you can see when you have the most energy, when you are most productive or get frustrated in your activities. You can find the days in your month you are most creative, days when you have profound ideas and dreams. Learn the days that you need to hibernate from the world and turn off the smug Instagram posts that make you feel inadequate ( also the same posts and people might have inspired you earlier in the month). By charting every day you can start to see patterns evolve over the months and years.
so before we start looking at our physical signs of fertility I found it more beneficial to understand what state my menstrual cycle was in an emotional, energetic level and what impact did that have on my health and lifestyle.. was my life ‘Fertile’?
What I learnt over the course of a year or so that I was pushing when I should be pulling, getting frustrated when I wasn’t creative or things weren’t working, tired when I needed to get things done. I wasn’t productive or fruitful in lots of areas of my life- so how did I find balance?
It was the really listening to what my body and energies needed.. the awareness brought a clarity of knowing the days of the month that I needed to rest more, or noticing the days I was getting frustrated where in my cycle was I? This is what the root of fertility and cycle awareness was for me. From here I could start to take action- to find a more harmonious attitude to my cycle and lifestyle. Now everyone is different, but from a person experience in practising myself and teaching cycle awarenss, I have learnt that the body wants to be listened to! when there is struggle, pain or irregularity there is part of us that need attention and love.
I learnt to balance my cycles, to become more regular, notice when things were out of balance and question ‘what have I done this month that was different’ I learnt that pain is a sign not to ‘put up with’ and is a symptom of imbalance. Now as I nurture my very own ‘creative project’ I learnt really how fertile my life could be!
Here are some ideas to start you off charting your cycle. download the free chart from www.andreawhite.co
Day one is the first day of you Period. my chart goes up to 30 days if your cycle is longer you may need ti improvise or add onto another sheet. otherwise only chart to the last day before your period. (i.e if you have a 28-day cycle you will leave spaces 29 and 30 clear and start a new chart on day one.)
ideas to add your chart.
ENERGY LEVELS- tired, high…. mmehh
MOOD- happy, low frustrated?
PRODUCTIVENESS get lots done?, procrastinating
CREATIVITY lots of ideas, can’t think straight?
THOUGHTS & DREAMS what is on your mind what is worrying you? what comes up?
PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS If you want to also focus on the physical aspects of your cycle, think about your menstrual blood, notice days, how long you are bleeding, heavy or light? cramps or headaches.
This is a small chart, don’t feel you have to keep in between the lines, you can also start to shorthand and continue these ideas in a journal if you need to write more.
of course, this is just the start of understanding your own fertility and cycle, so here are some more resources to help you deepen your understanding. keep watching for following blogs and more in-depth ideas for fertility awareness and trying to conceive.