Our period really is a vital sign and our menstrual cycle holds so much information about us.  For those of you unfamiliar with the idea of charting your menstrual cycle, it’s really the theme of the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility.  Fertility Charting has so many benefits including knowing when you’re fertile and when you are not, if something is irregular about your cycle and recognizing what’s going on with your body.

I had the opportunity to ask Jessie from Pen + Paper Fertility about charting your menstrual cycle and fertility signs and here are her responses to the questions I asked:

  1. How did you get started with all of this?
    Well, I guess long-story-short – that’s a really good question and I ask myself that daily! Seriously, 5 years ago I *never* would have guessed that at the age of 28 I would be designing and publishing a Fertility Awareness charting journal for my fellow FAM’ers. I was originally wanting to create a large A2 or A3 wall planner that people could use to chart their menstrual cycles, but it just somehow organically morphed into more of a journal, and then I started filling it with all sorts of things like adult colouring pages, quotes, moon phases, year planners, temperature rounding guides, breast self-exam guides and more. Things kinda got out of hand! Haha. I think when I have time I will revisit the idea of a large, artistic wall planner style tracking tool, but for now I’m well and truly down the rabbit hole with Pen & Paper as a journal!
  2. Why do you opt for paper charting over using an app?
    It’s kind of ironic, but at this point I’m still half using Kindara, and half charting on loose sheets of paper! And the reason for this is that my house is full of so many samples as I move through the design process – but I don’t have my own final copy yet! In general though, paper charting introduced me to the benefits of journaling as a mindfulness practise. It also helps you to feel a *lot* more connected to your cycle. I genuinely believe that sitting down and drawing out your chart as it progresses every evening is both therapeutic and educational!
  3. What has been your personal experience with using the Fertility Awareness Method?
    Overwhelmingly positive, would be the short answer! I use the Symptothermal Method of Fertility Awareness, as outlined in Toni Weschler’s “Taking Charge Of Your Fertility”.  The knowledge and insight that I have gained into my own body through the simple act of observing my cervical mucus and basal body temperature is astoundingly empowering. There really was a steep learning curve when I first started out, but I’m glad I didn’t give up. Four words that sum up how my Fertility Awareness journey has made me feel, would be:

    1. Free
    2. Independent
    3. Educated
    4. Informed.
  1. Why would you recommend FAM and paper charting?
    That’s easy! I recommend Fertility Awareness because once you start, you will never look back. You can’t “unlearn” the incredible knowledge that you will gain. Knowing that you don’t need to pump yourself full of artificial hormones to avoid pregnancy? Literally the best feeling ever.
    And why would I recommend paper charting? That one’s easy too – it’s not only incredibly gratifying, but it connects you to your cycle in a way that no app ever will. Consciously writing out your data onto paper helps in two scientific ways –

    1. The area of your brain associated with learning works far better when you write things down
    2. The area of your brain associated with remembering works far better when you write things down

It’s essentially a no-brainer!

  1. When will Pen & Paper be available?
    I get asked this all the time! And it makes me so happy knowing that people are genuinely excited to get started with paper charting. At this point in time, I am hoping to have Pen & Paper ready for purchase within the next 3 months at the latest. Fingers crossed!
  2. How will we know when Pen & Paper is finally available?
    You can either follow my progress on Instagram @fertilitycharting, or you can head to my website www.penandpaperfertility.com and sign up for email updates!

We had a terrible time trying to get this Instagram Live working, but what we did get was so good!

Have more questions about charting your menstrual cycle?  You can message me here or comment below!

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