Charting: A Not So Simple Education in Female Cycles
I admit that this is odd...
I mean this article to be addressed to my own gender and not to those who usually would be searching for this subject. I even understand that, in writing this, I stand the risk of being castigated for any undersight, oversight, or any other error. I have been curious about this subject for a very long time. I have an aunt who has never been able to have children. Those who have deigned to comment on it, I would have happily throat punched were I old enough. All things considered, however, I channeled my interest in matters of this kind into more meaningful avenues. Yet again, when I married, I found that this issue is one of greater interest then to just my blood family. I admit disgust at how this subject divides most women of any age. It is strange that women who have never faced infertility can't seem to see the plight of those who cant avoid facing it. These matters aside and all of the pain this subject represents on the back burner, I would like to speak somewhat about a marvel I tripped across that seems to help women support each other when faced with this issue. This marvel is the minstrel chart or fertility chart.
At "fertilityfriend" I found the chart. For math geeks like me, ok not so much like me, the concept of charting data holds a certain fascination. Some people new to math or science, for that matter, seem to consider charting anything to be a onerous task. As you go on in math and statistics you realize that charts are in general the way you get a "big picture" view of any data set. It changes the data into a picture that gives some understanding of the subject in general. Usually charts don't tell you enough. The problem usually is a matter of human error and or neglect. A chart is only as good as the data entered into it. Some may mock those who enter everything into their chart but I must applaud it. What you don't enter may make the difference between understanding something and being in the dark on that same subject quite stark.
Again I feel like I am slightly off topic. Women who are faced with issues concerning conception of offspring find that charts are quite useful. I, when I found fertilityfriend.com I was fascinated and amused at the same time. I was able to triumph with people I had never met when I learned that their charted data signified that they had succeeded. My heart bled when I found out the contrary. All because of a chart, I was able to understand what a woman who uses them is going through and that, for my analytical mind, was a matter of some interest. I admit that I feel it stronger then I have stated but there you have it. I stalk charts and find glory and heroism there. They are stories, however, that will never grace a book and perhaps that is just as well.
I am sure there is a more technical term for it then a menstruation chart. I am a man, so I allow myself the ability to be stupid in the regard and replace technicality with frankness. It is easier for me to communicate with my masculine abilities and in that fashion might be forgiven. Quite simply put, it is a chart that starts on the day after the end of a woman's period and measures body temperatures at rest on a daily basis. A singer chart usually ends until the next period starts unless the person actually has born a child. It seems that the science of the chart goes out the window at that point in most cases. Oh well, I cant help but be happy for the mother to be who has that happy flight of fancy.
The theory behind why women chart has to do with the bodies natural rhythms. As a woman cycles through, her base body temperature rises and falls. Many things can effect this temperature. Risky behavior (drinking, smoking) can make the base temperature spike down or up depending on what is being attempted. Sleepless nights and colds amongst other reasons can cause shifts as well. An outsider might not be able to tell what made the difference any one night unless the woman is honest enough to note it. The woman charting, however, can usually tell you with some accuracy why though. There are certain dips and spikes that a woman charting expects. If all goes well there is a general form to a chart they like to see. Without putting up a chart and confusing the issue it isn't something I will go into here but I may write latter on the specific ups and downs as I gain permission to show someone's chart and its interpretation. Suffice it to say that if you go on to fertilityfriend.com there is a tutorial that will take you through various chart factoids and how to look at a chart.
In saying the above, I make a slight addendum, which is that there are books a plenty on infertility, charting and so on. Unless a women, however, of her own free will is willing to talk about her personal journey, no woman should be held up to such scorn as happens amongst those blessed with children without issue and no man aught to attempt such an exhibition without permission. So while it might happen on occasion that some woman does write about herself, most of the heart breaks I have seen in my study of infertility Charting won't be told.
This being understood, and respected here causes me to bring up that, aside from body temperatures, other things are noted. Moods, Ovulation tests, pregnancy tests, medications, minerals, vitamins etc. are also noted. At fertilityfriend.com the basic annotations can be done for free. Seeing them in full color is reserved for those who pay a nominal monthly fee for the data upkeep and so forth that comes with the site. Considering the data analysis that goes with it it is my opinion that the fee is worthy of the service. I have been informed that a wide variety of people use this cite to chart their monthly realities.
In my endeavor to understand the Chart, there was a social group that helped my understanding of the serious import of the chart more then any other I came across. I allow in this that my social propensities once I find a stable source of information ends there. If I may be so bold as to mention and thank the frankness of the TTCAL group for that understanding then I do so now. TTCAL stands for Trying To Conceive After a Loss. If explaining this for the general understanding of my readership embarrasses or offends in any way I apologize.
From my association with one of its number, I have gained a great respect for the problems that those who chart face. Like most sciences of this kind, usually need is the mother of invention if you will pardon the reference. To be frank, one doesn't chart if there is no cause for concern. To define cause I must state that anything that a woman may not understand or may extend past their feeling of rightness usually is cause enough. This being said, I have often marveled in my male ignorance, yet avid curiosity and analytical thinking, at how my questions about how the data for charting effectively were answered. The methods that women go through in order to collect that data speak to the determination that many of them feel in committing to conceiving a child. I think I will leave that there for the moment, even the article.
In stating that I see charting as glorious and heroic, I have been asked if I actually believe that. Simply put, I do. Those who chart methodically and faithfully put more into self analysis then most people put into any subject. Theirs is a grim task and often meat with tears for their reward. They hope as do I that their charts will unlock for them an understanding of what their bodies are doing so that they might be masters over their situation. As it is written, he (or she) who conquers themselves are greater then a King who conquers a city. I honestly believe that. It is too easy for a writer like myself to be called out in a lie. As to the glory, womanhood has a special place in my heart. They who would be mothers are creators to match or best any scientist living. Their glory if they would harness it and culture the result is greater then any artist or inventor in existence. It is therefore in the spirit of this heroism and glory that I will leave you in contemplation. Adieu for now.