May 27, 2020
By Anisha Patel
Editor’s Note: Many women find fertility awareness-based methods (FABMs) empowering, and Sara is one of them. This interview with a user of the Marquette Model is part of our series that highlights the variety of FABMs available to meet the needs of women and couples. Anisha Patel, a second-year medical student, conducted this interview as part of a two-week online elective with Dr. Marguerite Duane, executive director and co-founder of FACTS.
Sara’s twenty-month old played and giggled in the background as we talked about her family’s experience with fertility awareness-based methods. Sara and her husband had utilized the Marquette Model for two years, but their experience with FABMs dated back to before their marriage of thirteen years. Although she was familiar with these methods, she was not interested in pursuing them until college. Having had a negative experience with hormonal contraceptives while younger, Sara suffered through side effects, including depression, that impacted many aspects of her life and urged her to look for other options. This exploration of FABMs continued, and she learned about different ways to analyze cervical mucus and the various technologies and tools available to women to assist with charting.
As Sara familiarized herself more with the Marquette Model, she found it was an attractive option, as it provided another perspective and some objectivity through the Clear Blue monitor.[i] Sara found the mucus-only method to be rather inconclusive following the return of fertility postpartum. She felt the Marquette Model took the pressure off relying solely on her interpretation; sheliked using a monitor that provides a more objective analysis. Sara utilized FABMs to both achieve and avoid pregnancy and relied on these methods successfully throughout her four pregnancies!
Empowered by FABMs
Sara felt empowered by using FABMs, as she developed a more sophisticated understanding of how the female body works. Even though the periodic abstinence can be a challenge, using FABMs helped this couple focus on different ways to show intimacy and love for each other. They later realized their moments of intimacy became more meaningful, and the anticipation was a welcome addition to the relationship. Using FABMs also fostered better communication with one another.
An Openness to FABMs
Sara noted she lives in a community that appreciates holistic and natural approaches to healthcare, and this has allowed her to share more of her knowledge of FABMs with others. She has been fortunate to share this knowledge with her coworkers and classmates. Working in the medical field, she has been able to educate those around her, and many of her colleagues have incorporated natural methods into their practice. Sara’s experience in training to become an FABM instructor has allowed her to learn more about other cultures and the variety of communities that are attracted to natural methods of family planning.
Insights from a Medical Student
I have gained an immense education in FABMs and have a better understanding of the Marquette Model after my interview with Sara. Additionally, I have understood the experience of the patient with the physician and, in some cases, the lack of understanding among medical professionals when a patient declines or refuses contraceptives and prefers a natural method. I have also gained a better understanding of the motivations a woman or couple may have when pursuing FABMs. This interview helped me consider ways of being more flexible and open to the variety of patients I will see.
[i] Bouchard TP, Fehring RJ, Schneider MM. Achieving Pregnancy Using Primary Care Interventions to Identify the Fertile Window. Front Med 2017;4:250 10.3389/fmed.2017.00250.
Author Bio: Anisha Patel is a second-year medical student at Georgetown University School of Medicine. She enrolled in the FACTS online selective with Dr. Duane to enhance her knowledge of natural family planning methods. She is interested in pursuing a specialty that focuses on the health and wellbeing of women and looks forward to incorporating her newfound knowledge while educating her colleagues in the medical community.
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The Female Cycle as the 5th Vital Sign
This presentation highlights the health of the female cycle and how the fertility awareness chart can aid in the diagnosis and management of common women’s health concerns.
Thursday, June 4th, 4:30 pm EST
The Signs of the Female Cycle Explained
Designed for a general audience, this presentation reviews the science of charting a woman’s cycle and discusses benefits of using FABMs to monitor health, and how to choose the method that may be best for you!
Wednesday, June 10th,12:00 pm EST
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