One commenter on my Progesterone post mentioned that she loved how Toni Weschler's book taught her that there is so much more to the female cycle than just menstruation. I also loved this about the book. I explained to my husband that I agreed with Weschler's assessment of our society's current ways of teaching women about our bodies. I know I looked at menstruation with fear and shame as a young girl. In fact, when I told my mother about my first menstural period, she congratulated me and told me it was wonderful. I thought that was awkward. It didn't feel wonderful to me because I was never taught what was so wonderful about it. I plan to have it be different for my daughter.
When one of my peers asked about it in the class about puberty at school, we were told that the non-blood secretions from the vagina were "bacterial discharge"--sounds nasty. How I wish we could have been taught by someone who knew the truth--that the white/clear stuff is actually a fluid produced by the cervix in response to normal hormonal changes during the cycle. Of course, going into specifics about how observing it for pregnancy achievement or birth control would not be appropriate for this age group, but now seeing the ignorance of those who were supposed to be teaching us about our bodies, I can't help but feel a bit betrayed.
For some great suggestions and links about celebrating your daughters becoming women, see The Menarche at Bellies and Babies.
I also wanted to share a few links for some great online resources about fertility charting:
The Beautiful Cervix Project offers some cool pictures to supplement study of Fertility Awareness. It started with a woman using FAM for birth control sharing the photos she took of her cervix each day of her cycle, documenting the changes in it along with the other fertility signs she charted. The site has now expanded to include many different types of cervix pictures.
And here are a few sites that currently offer free charting software: