Books about reproductive health, Fertility Awareness, and Natural Family Planning

More about Katie Singer

Garden of Fertility Book CoverHonoring Our CyclesIn her books, The Garden of Fertility (2004) and Honoring Our Cycles (2006), Katie Singerintroduces Fertility Awareness (also called Natural Family Planning).With these methods, a woman who charts her temperature and cervical mucus can know when she is fertile and infertile. A woman who charts her fertility signs can also know whether she is ovulating or miscarrying. You can learn remedies for problems like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and fertility.

F E R T I L I T Y   S T O R I E S:
O n d r e a ' s   s t o r y   o f   c o m i n g   o f f   T h e   P i l l

I went on The Pill with my first boyfriend, when I was eighteen. I was uncomfortable with sex--and didn't want to talk about it. I felt pretty disconnected from myself. I was date-raped when I was sixteen. My second boyfriend was more interested in getting to know me. He asked a lot of questions, which I really liked. But he was also trying to figure himself out. He thought he might be gay. Then I met Tom. We had an amazing physical connection, which seemed to wipe out the need for an emotional or mental connection. Just holding hands could send us into waves of really sweet feelings. I got swept away. After knowing each other for just a few weeks, we moved in together. All of a sudden we were sharing a dog, a bathroom, and groceries.

We did everything together. Unless I was with Tom, I didn't see my friends. I was twenty. We had sex every day. >

I feel now like I got programmed into thinking we needed that much sex. I wanted to please Tom, and then because I was on The Pill, I was available that much. Ninety percent of the time, I had a great time when we were making love. Sometimes, I just wanted to get it over with. Sometimes Tom could get me to feel l ike I wanted it.

Then we took a Fertility Awareness class, because my mother really didn't like me being on The Pill. Tom and I had been together for two years at that point. I was fuming when we walked out of the class: we wouldn't be able to have intercourse every day unless we used condoms?!! But Tom was really interested. He's very health conscious, and he said, "I love learning things with you. Let's try it." I was really taken by his interest--actually I don't think I would have gone off The Pill without his support.

For the first two weeks, we didn't have any sex. We bought some condoms with spermicide, and the spermicide bothered me; and I didn't have a diaphragm or a cap. I ovulated in my first cycle off The Pill, and when I realized that, I was thrilled. I felt almost like a veil had lifted--I had a taste of connecting to my body. Then I got a cervical cap. For about a week, it was great. We went back to sex every day. But then I got a raging yeast infection (probably due to an allergic reaction to the spermicide), and that was followed by a really intense bladder infection. For about four or five weeks, we had almost no sex.

We started to break apart. Slowly, I started asking myself, What's happening here? What connects us besides sex? My body was screaming at me, loud and clear, that I needed to claim my own space. I decided to take a job that would take me out of the country for two months. I kept charting, and when my infections cleared up, we got condoms without spermicide.

There were only two weeks to go before I left, and by then we were having raging fights. To m felt angry when I wore clothes he considered sexy out of the house. He didn't want me taking the job in Europe. The strange thing was, we were still having great sex. Then we had another raging fight, and the next night, when I knew I was in my fertile phase, the condom broke. I took the Emergency Contraceptive Pill--and that made me more furious. I was sick of putting junk in my body.

In Europe, I charted all but a couple of weeks when I didn't have my thermometer with me--and I loved knowing what was going on with my own body, and having my own space. I started to see that I mingle pretty deeply when I have intercourse with another person. If I do it every day without a break, I get too enmeshed with him. A haze lifts when you go off The Pill, when you're not available for sex every day of your life. You start discovering yourself.

Now, if I want sex with Tom, I ask, What does my body say? And what do I feel? Those two things aren't always compatible, but I've learned to honor them both. I don't think I'll ever go back on The Pill. I love having a way to check in with myself every day. I like that my sexuality is mine to decide. And I like that it's connected to my fertility, which feels bigger than me somehow.

[Click here to see photographs of women's cervixes during the menstrual cycle and while on The Pill]