With Thanksgiving in sight and Christmas just around the corner, the holiday season has officially begun. This is often a time of whirlwind preparations, shopping, traveling, making memories with family and friends, and general good cheer. But it can also be a time of busyness and stress. If you practice natural family planning, all of these distractions can mean interruptions in your usual charting routine. Though observing and recording your fertility signs only takes minutes a day, those minutes can be hard to come by in the bustle of the season. Here are some things to keep in mind that may help with your charting in the coming months.
1. Charting is not a chore.
If taking your temperature, noticing your cervical mucus, and writing down your observations feels like one more thing on your growing to do list, it's easy to let it fall by the wayside to make way for more urgent things.
Instead, try to enjoy charting as a special daily ritual, like drinking your morning coffee. This is a bit of you time, something you are doing just for yourself and your spouse, that comes first before any of the craziness of the day. Enjoy those few minutes lying in bed with the thermometer in your mouth; not to think about what needs to be done that day, but instead reflect on your blessings, or just breathe deeply. And those few extra minutes in the bathroom checking your mucus? Enjoy them as a welcome escape in the middle of your day. No matter where you are or what's on the agenda, your body is still speaking to you about your fertility. Pause, listen, and be thankful for the brief reminder to care for yourself in the midst of everything else.
2. Your chart may look a little different than usual.
Especially when traveling, our routine can be quite different during the holidays than the rest of the year. Expect and embrace the change, but don't forget to chart carefully! If you sleep in, write it on your chart. If you have an extra glass of wine before bed, write that down too. If you change time zones, make a note. And don't be surprised if your fertile window is later than usual; stress can sometimes cause delayed ovulation, and that's okay. As long as you are diligently recording your fertility signs, you can still safely avoid your fertile time if you are avoiding pregnancy.
3. Relax and have a sense of humor!
Despite your best efforts, you may miss a few days charting. You may check your mucus sign only once or twice during the day, or your temperatures might seem hopelessly erratic. Don't stress! Understand that a chart with gaps or missing information might lead to a bit more abstinence than usual if you are avoiding pregnancy, so keep communication with your spouse open. If you are trying to conceive, your efforts may be foiled by sharing a hotel room with the kids or Uncle Gary snoring in the next room. So keep talking to your spouse, and be patient. Share feelings and frustrations. Laugh about it. Sit back and enjoy the season, because that's what it is, a season. Focus on other ways to build your relationship, make memories, and reflect on the meaning of each holiday. January will come and you will settle back into your normal routine before you know it, and maybe even before you're ready!