To the village of women who surround me and those who are far away, I want to share something close to my heart: Trust In Your Body: You Are Your Own Doctor.
I was reminded of this recently when I went for my early dating ultrasound. I’m currently pregnant with my second child and I have a long history of irregular periods. Of course that means that I should have no clue or knowledge of my cycles because of this.
I know my cycles so well, I can tell the day I ovulate whether it’s on day 14 or day 40.
The reason is because I’ve been practicing the Fertility Awareness Method for over 10 years and have learned the subtle, yet distinct cues, of my body. For the first 5 years I took my temperature daily, but now I just follow my cervical fluid, sense of body temperature, breast tenderness, any mild abdominal twinges, and my gut instinct.
Any doctor I share this info with usually dismisses me and this pregnancy has proven no different.
A couple of weeks ago I went for my dating ultrasound with my husband and my 4 yr old son. I was pretty excited to see the little bean. Especially after dealing with a couple of weeks of morning sickness, seeing a baby there is the best reward I can get for some of the blergh I’ve been feeling.
The ultrasound technician introduces herself and asks when my last menstrual period is. I tell her March 30th, to which she announces, “Okay, so you’re just over 10 weeks pregnant”.
I reply, “Well, I just want to let you know that you won’t be seeing a 10 week old fetus in there.”
She looks as me curiously, “Why?”
“I believe I ovulated late, so the baby will be quite a bit smaller than that.”
She listens and acknowledges.
“Can I make a prediction at how far along I am?….. I’m 7 weeks and 6 days pregnant.”
Now I get a blank stare from her and she says, “In all my years of doing this, no one has ever given me such a detailed guess before. That’s quite a bit off from 10 weeks, so in all likelihood that may not be correct.”
I laugh and explain to her that I chart my cycles and think I have a pretty good understanding of my body so I’d really like to guess and see.
She begins her work and immediately says, “You’re right, this definitely isn’t a 10 week old baby”.
I hear lots of clicking and see her moving the instrument around my abdomen. After a few minutes I hear my husband laugh and say, “No wayyyy”. The computer is starting to calculate a date.
The ultrasound tech says to hold on as she does a few more measurements.
7 weeks and 6 days pregnant
“I can’t believe you knew!” my husband exclaims
“Wow, I’ve never seen that before. You’re right.” the ultrasound tech says “What is it that you do again?”
I explain the fertility awareness method and that I’ve been using it as birth control for over 10 years to get off the pill. She replies that they’ve been taught not to trust methods like that since they are not reliable.
I immediately felt a flash of sadness. Sadness that women are taught to not trust their bodies.
Our medical model says there’s no way a woman’s knowledge of her body is as reliable as the pill, the patch, an IUD, a condom, etc.
I experienced an inner victory that day (besides seeing little bean) because I do have a deep knowledge of my body, despite having some highly irregular menstrual cycles. I feel a sense of power and authority over my body above anyone else.
And I want all women to feel this and know this. You are your own doctor. You know your body better than anyone else.
At The Village, we honour this. We are acupuncturists who facilitate your healing; we are not the healers. You are. We want you to tell us what your body needs and we will help you achieve it.
I want to hear from you; when have you known your body better than your doctor.