Your inbuilt health report card!
In the hustle bustle of life, disconnection from one’s own body is inevitable. Have you ignored pain and aches in the body unsure about the root cause? Or accepted periodic energy dips and pushed through your days feeling scattered and foggy in the brain? You tell yourself that there is nothing you can do, and that this, is YOUR normal.
You are not alone. This is a shared reality among many of us. Our bodies are constantly sending us messages. When we understand, or can “read” the messages our bodies are telling us, we can learn to appreciate and take care of ourselves. This concept is called body literacy. Without an understanding, these messages can feel surprising, confusing, overwhelming, or even scary.
Keep reading to find out the small, yet life-changing practice that helped me to build an intentional and healthy relationship with my body.
Whatever medical issue you are facing – from a muscle pull to anaemia – have you noticed that doctors never forget to ask these two questions – “when was your last period?”, “do you bleed regularly?”. This is because YOUR period is a health report card! Many forget that menstruation is not just the 4-7 days of bleeding. The menstrual cycle is an intelligent system working 24/7, 12 months a year for the well-being of your body (refresh your 9th grade biology here! ???? ).
Tracking means to simply note down when your period starts and ends, and how long your menstrual cycle lasts. Your previous cycles and period length helps you predict and be prepared for your periods every month. Expecting to bleed and intentionally welcoming its arrival is an empowering and rewarding practice that you must try! Practically speaking, you know when to carry around period products (we would suggest cloth pads… Just saying… ????), expect period cravings or mood swings.
PS: Keep in mind that this method is not accurate enough to prevent pregnancy.
To learn more about menstrual tracking, read our blogs about menstrual cycle tracking. Part 1 of our 2 part blog series explains what cycle tracking is and why it is important. Part 2 takes you through the basics of how to track your cycle.
Charting is a more comprehensive method. It requires you to collect actual data from your body: basal body temperature (recorded using a digital oral thermometer), cervical fluid (a.k.a. white discharge) and cervical position (optional!). The combination of these techniques are called sympto-thermal methods or fertility awareness based methods. It is smarter, requires more commitment and is very accurate compared to tracking. It can be used to predict ovulation, prevent pregnancy, understand hormonal imbalances and more deeply understand your physical, emotional and energy ebbs and flows etc.
If this sounds as exciting to you, as it does for me, keep reading to expand your knowledge on body literacy. You can learn more about menstrual cycle charting from this blog written by Susana, our graphic designer, who quit the contraceptive pill and started charting her cycle. Her journey of how this method helped her to take responsibility for her contraception without chemicals (also led to other insights and benefits!) is nothing short of inspiring!
By Pranathi, Ambassador Coordinator