Body Literacy: Fertility, Pregnancy, and Beyond
Understanding how your body functions can help you to be able to make fully informed decisions
in connection with that information. Many people don't receive education on how the body works reproductively, aside from health and sexual education from middle school and high school unless they seek further learning. And people of childbearing age today most likely had shame based abstinence-only sex education, that doesn't go into much detail about full reproductive choices. This is where body literacy comes in.
Path to Body Literacy: Observe - Record - Understanding
Body literacy is most commonly associated with charting signs of fertility, but the most important element of body literacy is that it can help you to make connections in relation to other parts of your overall health and wellness. In order to observe, we must make time and attention to our bodies, and record those findings for patterns. Finding patterns will help you to link your body and needs with your self-care and health-care choices.
Ways to support body literacy for your body and/or within others.
Menstrual Charting -- for those who are not pre-pubescent, pregnant, or post-menopausal, menstrual charting can be a really effective way to connect with your body using cervical fluid, waking body temperature, and hormonal ebb and flows. This information can give you details on how your menstrual cycle is connected to the rest of your body, as well as indicate ways to avoid or achieve pregnancy.
Journaling -- journaling your body literacy journey is also a way to practice daily self-care to take a moment to be fully in your body and take the time to listen to your body. Journaling your observations of energy level, interest in productivity, and emotions can help you to notice patterns.
You can check in with your body while you're also doing centering exercises like meditation, self-hypnosis, or yoga. This can help you to read and interpret what you body is communicating to you.
Non-menstruating Allies -- people who don't experience a menstrual cycle can be there for their loved ones by supporting and doing their best to understand the immense hormonal shifts that people with a menstrual cycle can experience during a full cycle, during pregnancy, postpartum, lactation, and during menopause.
During Pregnancy body literacy can look like
noticing energy bursts during the day, discharge, or when you are noticing nausea. Body literacy while pregnant is important to note while caring for yourself during pregnancy, as well as an additional way to care for your babe during pregnancy. Journaling about your experiences with body literacy during pregnancy can also mean keeping track of new pregnancy sensations you notice (like discharge, energy levels, nausea, etc..), and another way to remember details to talk to your midwife or doctor about.
Resources that might be helpful: