Options beyond hormonal birth control with Fertility Awareness Project
In my conversation with Nathalie Daudet, we talk about what the fertility awareness method is and why it is so important for women to have a connection with their flow cycle. The more knowledge of our body the more we feel empowered during our cycle and confident as we walk through life.
Nathalie Daudet is a fertility awareness educator, menstrual cycle coach, and the founder of Fertility Awareness Project. She discovered fertility awareness and cycle charting after searching high and low for a method of non-hormonal birth control. Although birth control works for some, the additional hormones do not work for everyone and there is more control in diligent tracking of your period to properly avoid pregnancy.
Fertility Awareness Method often is confused with the rhythm method of 14 days after your period, ovulation begins. No cycle is a “regular” cycle and sometimes ovulation does not occur or it is delayed. This is where the diligent chart tracking of your ovulation cycle is able to outshine the rhythm method, by being able to effectively know when you are ovulating and when you are not. Therefore, when to use protection or not at all.
Fertility Awareness Method is the education all menstruating women have been needing. There is an answer if your mood wavers, there is an answer if you’re experiencing cervical mucus, and there is an answer if you’re glowing one day and not the next. It is in your ovulation cycle and your education begins now.
- Fertility awareness method is a way of observing fertility and knowing when you’re ovulating
- The window of when pregnancy is possible and when pregnancy is not possible
- Cervical mucus can tell you a lot about where your body is in your cycle
- Common misconceptions around fertility awareness and why
- The difference between the rhythm method and the fertility awareness method
- Knowledge of our body and its cycle strengthens women’s intuition
- Debunking the “regular” cycle
- Downsides to birth control
Nathalie Daudet is a fertility awareness educator, menstrual cycle coach and the founder of Fertility Awareness Project. She discovered fertility awareness and cycle charting after searching high and low for a method of non-hormonal birth control, since then over 200 people worldwide have learned to chart their menstrual cycle for birth control with her online course, Cycle Love. Her passion lies in sharing the magic of cervical mucus, ovulation, sex and cycles, she lives with her partner in Winnipeg, Canada.
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- Ultimate Guide to Cervical Mucus with Photos
- Cycle Love
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Tonya Papanikolov 00:04
Hi, welcome to the rainbo podcast. I'm your host, Tonya Papanikolov. Rainbo and I are on a mission to upgrade humanity with fungi and expand the collective consciousness. This podcast builds a virtual mycelial network of bold, open minded thinkers and seekers. I chat with experts, thought leaders, healers, scientists, entrepreneurs, spiritual teachers, activists, and dreamers. These are stories of healing, human potential and expansion, tune in route and expand and journey with us. Hi, hope your day is off to a beautiful start. And I invite you to take a moment to think about one thing you're grateful for. And just hold that in your heart for a moment. For me, I'm feeling grateful for a vulnerability and the way that that creates really cool ripple effects. And when you're vulnerable, it gives people permission to be vulnerable and show them and show you their true self as well. And so I'm grateful for that practice, to be open and to see the world respond with openness. So today's episode is with Natalie, from the fertility awareness project. It's a really, really interesting conversation that we have and I think super, super important. Natalie Daudet is a fertility awareness educator, menstrual cycle coach and the founder of the fertility awareness project. She discovered fertility awareness and cycle charting after searching high and low for a method of non hormonal birth control, and since then, she has helped over 200 people worldwide learn about their learn and chart their menstrual cycle for birth control, with her online course cycle of her passion lies in sharing the magic of cervical mucus. Wow, we love that. ovulation, sex and cycles. She lives with her partner in Winnipeg, Canada. And it was a really awesome episode. And I mean, I wish I had access to this information as a teenager. But we basically go through some big things around birth control. And I share my journey about how long I was on a birth control pill for and when and why I just started to get off, decided to get off. And we talk about what the fertility awareness method is. And we talk about why it's so important for women and menstruating folks to have a connection with their flow in their cycle. We talked about if it actually works, does this actually work? For those who are wanting to prevent pregnancy? Just Is this an effective method? And we talk about options beyond birth control, this idea of a perfect cycle, does that even exist? Spoiler alert, it doesn't. And we go into all sorts of interesting topics around just like empowerment, around knowledge of our bodies, and how this information has just been so inaccessible for women, and really, the challenges that exists there, and the inherent empowerment that comes with this practice of tracking your cycle, and getting to know what is happening in your body and when and how we're designed to flow. It's part of our nature. So let's dive into the episode. And if you know anyone you want to share this information with I highly encourage you to spread it share this episode with somebody who is thinking about getting off the birth control pill who wants to know other alternatives, maybe their doctor has also recommended that they be on it or not be on it. And they're just they're curious. You know, I really like I said, I wish I had access to this information. I wish I knew where to find it. And so if you know anybody that you can share it with, I think it would be valuable, so that we can start disseminating this knowledge and showing women that there are options that work and that are viable, beyond hormonal birth controls. Hey, hi, Natalie.
Nathalie Daudet 04:23
Hey, Tanya, how's it going?
Tonya Papanikolov 04:25
It's going really good. I'm very excited to chat with you this morning about this very important topic. Yeah,
Nathalie Daudet 04:35
I'm really excited to chat with you too. And you said that you came up with birth control, do you chart your cycles?
Tonya Papanikolov 04:41
I do so so I spent a while actually like going through and getting really intimate with my cervical mucus when I was first learning and so now that part is a little bit more intuitive. So I'm not trying that piece. But it was so amazing to help me. Help me like in process of when I was transitioning away from birth control, but I've been charting them. Yeah,
Nathalie Daudet 05:05
I That's awesome. Yes. Yeah. I
Tonya Papanikolov 05:08
was curious to ask you to what we'll we'll dive into it. But maybe I'll just share a really quick anecdote about how I got into this. Because as we were chatting, I was like, this was so long ago for me, and well, not so long ago, but it was in 2015. I was at ih n, which is a nutrition school. And we had one of the sisters from the red tent sisters come in, they're no longer around. And I kept getting these like, little intuitive hits that I needed to get off my IUD. And I was one of those people who had really bad migraines. And so when I was a little bit younger, I was at a Planned Parenthood getting a prescription for the pill. And she was asking me, she was the first nurse that really asked me about my headaches. And she was like, oh, no, tell me more about them. Like, what are they like? And they were really bad. They were like, or migraines. And she was like, Okay, so I'm not going to fail. We're not going to put you on birth control anymore. I'm so grateful for that person. Yeah. And she was like, you're actually going to go see a neurologist, and we're going to check this out. I was like, at the time, like, What do you mean, you're not gonna fill my birth control pill. And then I got an IUD put in shortly after. And that was kind of like the beginning. But a few years later, I started getting these intuitive hits. I was in nutrition school, I really wasn't familiar with my, with my cycle in so long. So I kept getting this intuitive hits to get off my IUD, but what would I do, and then the sister from the rich and sister came, and she's like, well, one person in this room was going to win this, just these methods, system, fertility awareness method, and I was like, wow, that's I'm gonna win this. And I want it and it was kind of like my, this the journey into tracking my period, and just such a more intimate understanding of this, but I cannot wait to dive in with you today. And I would love to hear about how you landed here. And what brought you to this line of work?
Nathalie Daudet 07:06
That's yeah, absolutely. And that's super cool that that's how you found out about fertility awareness. And the Justice method was through like a giveaway and a workshop. I feel like, when I first learned about fertility awareness, it was also like a similar time. So it was in 2016. And I was wanting to like, I was looking at methods of birth control. And I was like, I really want to feel responsible, like, I want to do something if I'm going to have sex, but it just doesn't feel like being on medication is like something I want to do. I like want to be mindful about what I take. And the only resources that I could find were like library books, and some stuff on the internet, but it just like, wasn't really super, like mainstream or anything. So I went to my nurse practitioner, and asked her about a diaphragm. And she said, like, oh, I don't know, if we're gonna be able to fit you for one. And I don't know, like, we can try to get it. But I just don't know, have you heard of fertility awareness method. There's like a course you can take in the city. And so that was my introduction to fertility awareness based methods was going to this workshop, similar to probably what you learned. It was the method was called Serena. And it was an hour and a half workshop. And my, my boyfriend and I went together and I had never really learned about ovulation. I had never really learned about cervical mucus, it was so so new to me. And I remember just feeling so baffled that I hadn't learned this information before. Just simply knowing that I ovulated each cycle and that happened without me knowing it felt really enlightening and really powerful. And yeah, it kind of started this trajectory for me of becoming super passionate and interested in all things fertility and ovulation and cycles, and wanting to have and create a resource that more people could if they were thinking about fertility awareness, it would just be a lot easier to access that information, which is what I've really tried to do and yeah, it's it's really cool to see now how on Instagram and Tiktok, and even when you google fertility, awareness, there's just a lot more information that's easily accessible. And a lot more people can feel like they have this as an option. You know, you don't have to go on birth control if they don't want to. There is another there is another option. Wow.
Tonya Papanikolov 09:48
Yeah, that is really exciting to see the I mean even just like in I don't know if you're, if you've seen any of this, but like in meme culture, there's like groups of people that are now picking up on this whole idea and men specifically, that women shouldn't be on the birth control pill and like altering our hormones in this way, which is awesome. Yeah. Because when I, when I was a teenager, like I just went on the pill for no reason I wasn't sexually active. I didn't have act like I literally don't know why, because my friends were doing it. So it's really, it's awesome to know that this is out there. And can you tell us just for people who this is their first time hearing about fertility awareness method? What is that? Exactly?
Nathalie Daudet 10:30
Yeah. So the fertility awareness method is a way of observing your fertility and using that information to avoid pregnancy or optimize conception. And there are a lot of different methods under the umbrella of fertility awareness based methods. So like you mentioned, just east that's one method of fertility awareness. I learned in Serena There are also tons of other methods of fertility awareness that track different ovulation markers. So the most commonly known fertility awareness based method is this simple thermal method. And there are methods even underneath that kind of branch of the central thermal method. So in that we track basal body temperature and cervical mucus. And as we approach ovulation, our cervical mucus becomes essentially more sperm friendly. And it changes as our hormone levels change when we get close to ovulation. So we track that to know when ovulation is approaching, and then basal body temperature will rise very slightly after ovulation when progesterone rises. So we track both of those things in the simple thermal method. And for avoiding pregnancy, we can really have this deep sense of awareness of where we are in our cycle and when pregnancy is possible, and when it's not possible. And so we really have this, like active participation in our fertility and in everything that's happening in our bodies throughout the cycle. Because for so many of us, I mean, for myself, before I learned fertility awareness, I was really aware of my periods, it's hard to not pay attention to your periods. And then you've learned that there's so much that happens between one period and the next. And it's happening regardless of whether you're paying attention to it or not. So fertility awareness is simply about observing what is going on, and then changing your behavior, either. I mean, some people will abstain or use barrier methods or perfect withdrawal in the fertile window. And then you can, you know, enjoy unprotected sex when ovulation isn't possible, because there's no egg to fertilize. So a lot of people are surprised that the fertile window is so short. And the egg once it's released will live for 12 to 24 hours. So we have a lifespan for sperm to stay alive up until that point. But really, we're only fertile for a short period each cycle. So when you think about taking a lot of people are like, you know, I'm taking this medication every single day to prevent myself from getting pregnant. But really, there's just like a short time each cycle where consumption is possible. And it's really cool once you start tracking ovulation like to know when that's happening. And to really have that like deep sense of awareness in your body is pretty empowering. And pretty fascinating when you first like, confirm ovulation and your temps rise. And you're like, Oh, this is happening. And I can track it. So not only can you use it to avoid pregnancy, but it really is a great tool to track your overall health and well being to to find out whether you are ovulating or not. And if if you have like irregular cycles, they'll find that typically ovulation is delayed or you might not be ovulating at all. And so you're just kind of tuning into those signs.
Tonya Papanikolov 14:03
So fascinating. And what are some what are the tools that somebody would be using at home? So you have a thermometer? Do you is are you doing, like pen and paper journal? Or is there an app that I mean, I know there's tons of apps now. But what do you suggest?
Nathalie Daudet 14:19
Yeah, there are so many more apps now out there. And I love that you brought it up because a lot of people will be familiar with tracking their periods and in a cycle tracking app that might give you an estimated ovulation date. But those are kind of like modern forms of the rhythm method. So they're really just kind of guessing when you're going to ovulate based on the idea based on your past cycle length, but also based on the idea that you'll ovulate at the same time each cycle which for some people who have really, really irregular cycles might be the case for a long time, but there's no guarantee that ovulation is going to happen at a certain time and if you've been In a stressful season of life, or you, you're experiencing health issues for whatever reason related to your cycle, ovulation can occur earlier or later than it typically has. So with fertility awareness, we use a tool called the cycle chart. And this is a lot different than like a period tracking app. So basically, it's a place where you can record the ovulation data that you're getting and the fertility data that you're getting. And that would be things like basal body temperature, cervical mucus, and in some cases, and other methods will have hormone urinary hormone tracking, as well. So there are quite a few apps out there, you want to find an app that allows you to mark everything manually in the chart, like, read your body is the app that I really love. And it allows you to mark your things like it's called the cover line, and the temperature shift. And the peak day, there's all these like markers in the chart that we're going to use to interpret all the information that our body's giving us. So an app that allows you to manually mark things. And then yeah, if you're using the central thermal method, we use a basal body thermometer. So some people can find them at their drugstore, their local drugstore. But Amazon has a lot of options for basal body thermometers, and they can be pretty affordable, like 20 bucks, get you a basic thermometer, that works just fine. And typically those basal body thermometers will go to two decimal places. So it'll be different than a fever thermometer. And then the other tool is a method that you want to learn. So you can self teach the fertility awareness method, a lot of people you might have heard of the book taking charge of your fertility. A lot of people are familiar with that book. And I'm actually like, my laptop has propped up a bit because it's like this thick. It's a good start. It's definitely kind of hard to read. And there are other self teaching options out there. There's a sense a plan handbook. And then if you don't want to self teach, working with a fertility awareness educator is another way to learn the method. And also like if you're switching from birth control, you want to feel really competent, and in the fertility awareness method. So working with an educator is one way to like, build your competence and just know that you're doing things, right.
Tonya Papanikolov 17:24
Absolutely. And I think too, like it's such a new practice. And I think the cervical mucus part is so interesting. I remember for me just having somebody to talk to but like, Am I doing this right? Do I like, do I wipe I forgot today, all of those things kind of come up and you're, you get really intimate with your cervical mucus. It's really incredible.
Nathalie Daudet 17:45
Yeah, cervical mucus is really cool I get about cervical mucus, a lot of people are like, oh, like, what I'm gonna have to touch my cervical mucus. And not necessarily like you can use there's some methods that encourage you to like, like, just these will probably tell you to really stretch and catch the mucus, but other methods like billings will just tell you to observe what you see on the toilet paper and on your underwear. But I think certain communities is cool, because it's kind of like this elusive discharge that we just live our lives experiencing. And you don't really know how to understand or decode or read our mucus. But it's yeah, it's telling days you're like,
Tonya Papanikolov 18:28
what like, why today? Why is there so much? Yeah,
Nathalie Daudet 18:31
yeah. Are you feel wet? Or you feel like you've gotten your period? And that's just cervical mucus? Yeah. Yeah.
Tonya Papanikolov 18:38
It's so cool. Yeah, I just I do highly recommend somebody learning work with an educator, to really Yeah, solidify the understanding. And I'm kind of curious, what are the common myths like somebody who might be feeling hesitant? Or like, Does this really work? I don't plan on getting pregnant for another 1015 years. How can I rely on this?
Nathalie Daudet 19:00
Yeah, there's definitely a lot of a lot of misconceptions or Yeah, like you said, people will kind of have this, like idea that fertility awareness just doesn't work or that they might have heard of it as like their grandma or their mom using it and getting pregnant. Or they might think that it's like the rhythm method. And there's kind of like this undertone in fertility awareness based methods because a lot of the methods and the research come from Catholic organizations and Catholic research and funding and there are more secular, kind of modern fertility awareness based methods, but a lot of people when they think of fertility awareness, they kind of think of like their grandmas natural family planning method. Yeah, so I think that's the reason why there are some misconceptions. I think people can also kind of loosely chart with Berto awareness, or self teach or kind of like half chart, and then that's when you hear about people getting pregnant. When you're using the method really diligently and you've learned a method of fertility awareness, or you've worked with a fertility awareness educator, it's actually a really effective method, there have been studies that have shown that one method of fertility awareness is as effective as the pill, when used correctly, and the thing about fertility awareness and effectiveness is like, if you think about the pill, or the IUD, I mean, the pill has a little bit more of like a user element to it. But the IUD is just in, there is nothing that you need to do, aside from making sure that it doesn't fall out and changing it over when it's time to ensure effectiveness. Whereas with fertility awareness, you're a very, very active participant in your contraception. So if you take risks, or you are not charting super diligently, then your effectiveness is going to decline. And if you're really committed to avoiding pregnancy, you're going to be really diligently charting. And you're not going to be taking risks, because you're gonna know like, oh, yeah, I'd be ovulating soon, or I just ovulated. And so the method is really effective. And it's also in your hands, effectiveness is really kind of up to you. And so I find a lot of people who are really anxious about coming off the pill. And they're like, how am I going to trust fertility awareness, like, I just don't feel like I can, and they learn the anatomy and the physiology, they learn about how ovulation works, and they're like, actually, I feel so much better. Because I know where I am. In my cycle, I'm not guessing I'm not completely in the dark, like I would be on the pill. I actually know every day, but the likelihood of pregnancy is gonna be so that information can use a lot of the anxiety around it. So that's like one that's one really big, that's one really big myth is that fam isn't effective. And then another one is that fertility awareness is the same as the rhythm method. And the rhythm method essentially guesses that we all have a 28 day cycle and ovulate on day 14, which is really not the case very few people have 28 day cycles. And ovulation is a really fluid event. So it's not predicted. There's no way that we can predict ovulation happening. And just because that happens on one day, on day 14, one cycle doesn't guarantee that it'll happen at the same time the next cycle. So the rhythm method is a pretty ineffective way to avoid pregnancy. And also it can be kind of the slippery slope of like, assuming that we're gonna ovulate at a certain time. And then that not actually happening. And so with fertility awareness, we're tracking in real time and ovulation is happening for our bodies. And I'm someone who has irregular cycles, and I have PCOS. And if I wasn't tracking ovulation, I'd be still in the dark of where I was in my cycle. Because sometimes ovulation happens on day 15 And sometimes it's like, day 100 chat like yeah, or Yeah, yeah, so it's just really important to have this like curiosity with your cycle and that's what Yeah, so fertility awareness I feel like really brings because you're not guessing or predicting you're reacting to what's actually happening in your body, which
Tonya Papanikolov 23:42
is super cool. Yeah, absolutely. And I think to just like, like that it just gets you like fired up and I'm sure for you to that like we've kind of been in the dark on this on like the most fundamental aspect of like, of our hormones our power our like, just just to think that like, you know, we've been so subdued in this knowledge for so long, is like
Nathalie Daudet 24:09
hurts. Yeah, it really does not feel to I think I really see it when I like read comments of people who are so brand new to like, they'll come across my Instagram page. And this is the first time that they're learning what ovulation they're learning about cervical fluid. And the fact that we live in this day and age with all of this access to information and we have this knowledge, it's researched. It's evidence based, it's not something that is like underground, like it's, it's known, and yet still people don't have access to it and they're not taught this information. And it's almost like we've been told that we are not smart enough to learn about our bodies and that we're not smarter Not to track what's happening in our bodies. And that this is like kind of advanced. But when you learn it, it's so, so simple and common sense and it makes like, everything makes sense that it truly does not fail to baffle me like how little we know about our bodies and like, I read this really, really great book recently called the Jain obscura. I don't know if you've heard about it, I
Tonya Papanikolov 25:28
have, I've heard the name, but I've never read it. Okay, it's
Nathalie Daudet 25:31
like adding Thank you would love it. It's like, it's a science book, but it's probably the most like captivating science book I've ever read. And it just talks about this like gap and understanding about female anatomy and hormones that like, I think there has been, too just like, a real misunderstanding about women's bodies, and science and history. And like only recently, we've discovered and mapped fully the anatomy of the clitoris like in in our lifetime. And so it's like if those things Yeah, of course, things are still coming out and like still be researched and are still not fully understood. It is no wonder that we are kept in the dark about our bodies. And for so long women's bodies have been treated like small men's, you know, like the same but smaller or like less than. So like, why would there be anything to learn about ovulation? Like it's yeah, it's not as like, it's not important?
Tonya Papanikolov 26:36
Yeah, oh, my gosh, I would love to read that. And like, it got me thinking too, as you were just describing, like this connection that we can have with our bodies that like I was having a conversation the other day about? And I got this question recently, like, how do you increase or foster intuition? And it's like, well, you're gonna get really intuitive and I didn't have this answer. But after having this conversation with you, it's like, I feel like part of this, like, very, very subtle understanding of your body. Because soon enough, like, was enough time, you're gonna get to know your cervical mucus, you're like, you know, you might even feel when you're ovulating, maybe maybe not. But like, there's going to be these subtleties that develop in the body in the in the nervous system, that is a direct experience that can relate to intuition and really increase intuition for us, which is, also there's really cool science about that being related to our womb, and how we, as women, have this, in effect, a superpower, because of this, like room intelligence that we possess. And I think that that's, yeah, it's it's so empowering.
Nathalie Daudet 27:46
I love that you Yeah, I love that. You put that into words. I think when we learn about what's happening in our bodies, it is like we are tapping into and awakening to this intuition, because it's something we innately have felt our whole lives, and suddenly we're able to put words to it, and we're able to observe it. And it kind of affirms our own experience of our bodies and our own experience of our cycles. Yeah, it feels really intuitive. And it feels really true. And it really feels like we can kind of back get back into a flow of like our true nature almost. And like, I think that's why a lot of people find fertility awareness for a specific reason, like avoiding pregnancy, and then it blossoms into this deeper understanding. Because then suddenly, we can really be aware of how we feel throughout the cycle and how that shifts, and how it impacts our relationships and our work and our mood and just like our bodies, and it just opens the door to so much more understanding of our, our beings and of our bodies. And it's really truly so powerful, especially when it's like brand new and you're just like what did not know this existed?
Tonya Papanikolov 29:11
Yeah, I think we also have like so many people in like, you know, call it a wellness space. And a lot of anybody that's like interested in optimization. There's a lot of men that are leading those conversations around like biohacking or however you want to, like, identify that conversation. But it's like it really just is such a different, different conversation. And a lot of these things just don't apply to us and we can try them out because I'm all for experimentation, experimenting with a way of eating or intermittent fasting and all these things, but I think we have to just remember that hearing people with who can speak to hormones in a woman's body is also like it's really, really valuable. There's a difference in how our bodies work and and how that is attuned to nature and like the nature of there being a flowing cycle happening with us. Yeah, it helps me a lot when I kind of started to be like, Oh, I don't think intermittent fasting works for me. And oh, actually, like, that doesn't resonate like that coming from this person who's extremely rigid and like that works for them and their bodies. But um, I think yeah, just like, hearing different voices in the space is so important.
Nathalie Daudet 30:27
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I think we do have different needs throughout the cycle. And those like biohacking, whatever you want to call them, people who are like really preaching, biohacking, and like, pushing your body in different ways, I think we really miss this like crucial piece around the cycle. And like you said, around how there is a difference in our hormones and how we show up. And once we realize that we have times in the cycle where we feel more vulnerable, or we feel more confident, or where there are physiological differences in like building muscle and metabolism, and immunity based on where we are in this cycle, we have so much more compassion for ourselves, and we don't feel like we're falling for it. Because those messages can make us feel like ah, for not showing up in this certain way. Or if, you know, it just doesn't feel good for me. And people are saying it's good for me, then we do have so much more compassion and grace for ourselves. And like, I've found that especially in like the premenstrual phase, the time from ovulation till my next period, I do feel like really wild woman II and like really fiery. And this part of me for so long, I like really turned away from and really felt like, I didn't want it and I didn't want it to be a part of me and like, this isn't who I am. But there's so much wisdom in being that woman that like society is just like, doesn't want and doesn't want to see or turn towards. And it's been so transformative to really like, embrace that part of myself. That's just like, No, that's just like, so, like raw. And in this culture, we're very discouraged from sharing those parts of ourselves. And so it's been really empowering to track my cycle, and just get to know who I am in all of the phases of my cycle, and like, welcome all of it. And, and, yeah, you really do feel great in certain times of the cycle, and the others you don't, but you understand that, like, everything is cyclical and everything, there's a time for everything, there's a time for resting, there's a time for really showing up and being extroverted and like being on our a game. And we can really just like take everything as it comes when we pay attention to it.
Tonya Papanikolov 33:04
Absolutely. I love that. Thank you for sharing that. It's so easy. Like, I think for everybody, we all have this basic need to belong and fit in. So a lot of our lives, we might kind of like have this dance with like this, you know, need for approval and approval seeking behavior. And it's so natural, and it's so normal. And, you know, I've been thinking about this recently, a bit and like, I love the way that you see somebody that's just being themselves on purpose, and so wholly and fully and how liberating, that is for everybody around them, to give them permission to also be their most unique, but natural, kind of like magnetic self as well. And that that kind of just spreads like wildfire where we all get this permission to be like oh, yeah, like, this is okay, this is exactly who I'm supposed to be right now. And today in this moment. And just like feeling a sense of, yeah, competence in that grace in that okayness for the bad days, all of it. And I just love the way that it's I love seeing other women and folks embodying that and the permission that it gives all of us to.
Nathalie Daudet 34:20
Yeah, that's just like, welcomes in all experiences of life. And we realize that we're not alone and how we experience life, how we experienced the cycle, and we all have to suffer alone when we realize like, not like everybody goes through those times. Yeah,
Tonya Papanikolov 34:36
one thing I wanted to touch on with you briefly is you mentioned this regular cycle air quotations and they're not really being such a thing as a regular cycle. Can you tell us a little bit more about that? Is there a desired cycle length that we're kind of aiming towards, like a 26 to 30 day range or? Yeah, what's your take on that?
Nathalie Daudet 34:59
I think My take is definitely influenced by my own experience of pretty much throughout my entire life charting my cycle, I don't remember what it was like before I started charting my cycle. But my cycle has just been like so all over the place. And I find like when they share about it on social media, or with the folks in my newsletter list or my podcast, like, people are so comforted by the fact that as someone who is in the field of reproductive health and fertility awareness, like I don't have a regular cycle, and a lot of people, once they start charting will find that their cycles are not super normal. And this might be a fluctuation of a couple days between cycle to cycle, or it might be, you know, months where someone doesn't ovulate. So I mean, there's like an optimal, I really hesitate to put like an optimal thing on it, because I think there can be a lot of like judgment around not having this perfect cycle. And at the same time, there can be signs of hormone imbalance that we do want to address if someone is having an irregular cycles. So if you are someone who is consistently not ovulating every cycle, and you'd have to track with fertility awareness to know that, but if you're having consistent recurring cycles where you're not ovulating, that is definitely a red flag that you want to figure out why you're not ovulating. And there are certain life circumstances that coming up birth control, sometimes there will be like a little bit of rockiness at first before your hormones, figure out what they're doing. And also like postpartum too is a timer. It's natural for ovulation to be delayed. But if if none of those things are happening and you're having absent ovulation, that would be a sign that maybe there's something underlying happening, like PCOS, for example, or elevated prolactin, like, there's a lot of reasons that could be going on. If you're having a variation of a couple of days from cycle to cycle that is totally normal. And I think that myth of the 28 day cycle really persist when people are like, Oh, my goodness, like, my cycle was 30 days last cycle, and it's 32 days, this cycle that is totally normal. And what that means is that ovulation is delayed by two days, if you're having a 32 day cycle, as opposed to a 30 day. The normal cycle length from the school that I trained with infertility awareness is 24 to 36 days. But that doesn't really tell us about when ovulation is happening. And typically, we want to have 11 to 16 days from ovulation till the next bleed and that's called the luteal phase. And that tells us about cycle health as well. And progesterone, how so 24 to 36 days cycle length. But really, we want to look at that luteal phase. And we want to see at least 1111 days if not more. So yeah, it definitely is kind of like a bit of both where we want to just remember that we're humans and not robots, right? Like, we're not going to have a dental cycles every single time. But also, if we're having just like really, like frequent out of the ordinary really long or like shorter than 24 days or longer than 36 days. And ovulation is frequently not happening, then that would be a sign to maybe investigate and figure out why that's going on. Yeah. Yeah, that's
Tonya Papanikolov 38:37
so helpful to hear. And, yeah, I think that is just I'm so happy to hear that. And it's it's a new take that I think we need to remember and know.
Nathalie Daudet 38:49
Yeah, and like the other problem too is like, unfortunately, AV people go to their general practitioner or their, you know, family doctor. Most cycle related issues are responded to with a prescription of hormonal birth control, because unfortunately, that is the status quo for most reproductive health issues. And like I talked about the research is like really behind, and women's health and hormones, and all those things. And so you really have to be an advocate for your own health and you if you don't want to be on birth control, and you know, some people that's like a quality of life thing and that is the best option for them. But if you've been on birth control and you're not wanting to go back on birth control, if you go to your doctor, chances are that is going to be the recommendation if you are not ovulating if you have really long or short cycles. And there are like a lot a lot a lot of resources out there like Laura Bryden is one of my favorite go twos around like evidence base and holistic approaches to reproductive health issues and like really investigating beyond just prescribing the pill. And, like, that's something that I experienced too. When I went to my doctor I was having, like, after the pandemic, I was having, like, non existent cycles. And she was like, Yeah, you know, if you don't want to get pregnant, you know, you can go on the pill. And I like, even in that moment, with everything that I like, knew, I was like, oh, like, it's hard to say no, in that situation, when, when you're faced with that kind of like, in that setting. And I kind of had to ask, like, you know, I want this specific test done. I want to try this. And like before we talk about hormonal birth control. So it's tricky, it's really tricky to navigate. And at the same time, I'm aware that when people are charting your cycles, often there can be like, a lot of anxiety around when things aren't like, exactly perfect. So it's just good to be mindful that like, yeah, we're not seeking this like perfect 20 day cycle. And when life happens, you might have some, like, temporary disturbance to your cycle. And there's some times where, like, you know, it is good to investigate and find out what might be happening. Yeah.
Tonya Papanikolov 41:20
Do you feel comfortable talking about what are what are the downsides to the birth control pill? What are the risks associated? And what's the harm with not getting your period for years and years and years? Yeah,
Nathalie Daudet 41:35
so I think I want to preface it with just saying that, like, for some people, birth control is the best option for them. And for whatever reason, either, you know, they're experiencing some significant health challenges that their birth control pills, like really improving quality of life, or they just don't want to chart their cycles and learn fertility awareness. And I totally, I'm not a believer that everybody is a good candidate for fertility awareness, either. I think, though, what what we're really lacking is informed consent around hormonal birth control, often, like you said, people go on when they're teenagers. And like, when you're a teenager, like, Are there conversations about the side effects and risks and effects to mental health, especially for teenage girls who go on birth control. And when you go to your provider, and say, like, you know, I'm experiencing this symptom, like you had an experience where a doctor was like not, we're not going to put you back on the pill. But a lot of people are like, Oh, this symptom or side effect that's known about birth control isn't actually the thing that's that we're concerned about. It's like, due to something else, like we're not looking at birth control as the reason for that. So I think that's definitely something that people are kind of starting to become more aware of when we're on hormonal birth control. The synthetic hormones are overriding our naturally produced hormone. So in a cycle, your pituitary is going to communicate with your ovaries, to tell them to produce estrogen and progesterone. And those hormones are progesterone and estrogen, our hormones are naturally produced when we experience a cycle. And when we're on hormonal birth control, we're not experiencing the rise and fall of those hormones, the communication between the brain and the ovaries is just like, disconnected. And our hormones are chemical messengers that are responsible for so much more than reproduction. Yes, they facilitate the release of the egg at ovulation, and menstruation and everything that happens in the cycle. But they're also responsible for things like maintaining our bone, brain and muscle cells. They're very neuro protective, they promote sleep, and relaxation, they are beneficial for our entire bodies, our organs. And so when we override our hormones to prevent pregnancy for the short time, each cycle, there are side effects that occur and we don't experience the benefits of our natural hormones. Things like bone density, because we need estrogen to build our bones. Those are things that they've found are diminished when we're on birth control. There's also for some people, not everyone, and this will also depend on your chemistry and how you react to the different birth controls that some people will find that they experience mood effects on different types of birth control pills. And there are also effects on like our actual genitals and like there, there have been studies that have shown that you know, you experienced some slight shrinkage of your clitoris when you've been on birth control, and just like all of the things that we do See our hormones are natural hormones kind of develop and progress and maintain those are all impacted by the birth control pill. So a lot of people are told that when they're on the pill, it's like being pregnant. But really, how I've heard it explained is it's more like you're in menopause, you're not having the rise and fall of hormone cyclically, you're kind of having like a daily rate rise and fall from the synthetic hormones. So your body is not experiencing menstruation, like it would if it was ovulating, you're having a withdrawal bleed, the sugar pills or whatever you're having kind of like a withdrawal bleed from, not from ovulation, but from whatever's happening with the with the hormones. That being said, a lot of people when you talk about birth control, they're like, Oh, my goodness, like, I went on this, and I want to come off. And I didn't know when I went on, is my body ever gonna recover? And the answer is yes, like your body is resilient. And when you come off birth control, there might be a period of time, a short period of time, where your cervical mucus needs to remember how to estrogen needs to communicate with your cervix, and your cervical mucus needs to kind of recover. And ovulation needs to remember how to come back and your period length and quality, it will eventually return. So it's not like all hope is lost, you can get back to how your cycles work with support. So yeah, I don't want to like fear monger. Yeah, on the pill, because so many people have worked on it.
Tonya Papanikolov 46:39
Yeah, I know. I was I've kind of careful with that question, too. But that's so helpful. And such a wealth of information. It really does. Just like I think, I come back to this piece around how, how if we have this, like really deep rooted understanding of ourselves, our capacity for self compassion is just so big, because you know, what's going on? And you can understand the like intricacies of the body. And, yeah, you're such a wealth of knowledge. Thank you for sharing so much. This, it's, it's really incredible. I have a couple more questions for you. How can people find you to work with you to go deeper?
Nathalie Daudet 47:21
Yeah, absolutely. I run a course called cycle love. And that is where I teach people to try their menstrual cycles for birth control. So I work with all my clients within that course. And it runs a few times each year. I share a lot on Instagram, and I have a podcast, fertility awareness project. And all this info is on my website, fertility awareness, project.ca. And you can also find me on Instagram at fertility awareness project. And then I also have for people who are wanting to like learn more about the ovulation cycle and about how to get started with fam and links to thermometers and the book that I was talking about and all that it's in fam fundamentals, which is a free course that I've created. And that's just fertility awareness. project.ca/bam-fundamentals.
Tonya Papanikolov 48:12
Amazing. Okay, that's so great and helpful. And I always ask all guests, if you can share an intention, a wish a prayer with our audience, what would it be?
Nathalie Daudet 48:25
I love that. Mm hmm. We're in November. And there's a lot of darkness around us. I've noticed the feeling of darkness and people that I've connected with and also just the physical darkness. So my wish is that people take care and find others that they can connect with so that they're not alone in this darkness. And that we can find kind of a deep rest and recovery and rejuvenation in this lower season. And then this dark season.
Tonya Papanikolov 49:05
Thank you. So beautiful. I feel that deeply. Rejuvenation the rest it is like all I want and I just wanted to share with you so I like pick a card every morning. And about maybe 15 minutes before jumping on our podcast. I literally pulled the womb, which is so beautiful and I don't pull this card often. So the second is like really extremely magical. But I just wanted to read this, about the womb so that the nest, the belly, the origin, everything has an origin story. The womb archetype asks us to contemplate the beginning beyond the beginning, the mother beyond the mother. In a world that often negates the power and necessity of feminine principles. This card returns us to the warmth, tenderness and sacred intelligence from which we came it is the card of receiving not achieving, of accepting love from the mother of all of us. She is the life giving force that forgives and cherishes even the most wounded and desperate soul. No matter how lost you are, the womb awaits your return to help you heal and grow. This card is a call to keep things simple, to return to be reborn in the name of love. The womb is everywhere. It is beyond gender beyond time. We are within it and it is within us.
Nathalie Daudet 50:32
Goosebumps what is the perfect car like it is?
Tonya Papanikolov 50:36
So, so perfect. And yeah, just like contemplating our planet, our universe having a mother is like, yeah, it's all a creative force. And I love that this conversation. But it really inspired me to get back to being really diligent, actually about like all of the pieces in in fam. And I hope that yeah, it does. So for others listening. And yeah, thank you so much. I really, really, like so grateful to have you doing this work and spreading this knowledge and empowering folks. It is just it's so it's so important. So thank you.
Nathalie Daudet 51:15
Thanks for having me. And I'd love to Yeah, I'd love you to keep me posted on getting back into charting that's really makes me happy. And I hope, I hope that this inspires, I hope this inspires people to dip their toes into the world of cycle dragging, like there's so much but really what it comes down to is paying attention to where you are in your cycle. And if folks want to find out where they are in their cycle, right now you just find remember your first date, your most recent period, and that's day one of your cycle, and then count forward from there. And whatever day you're on today is what day you are of your cycle. And really it is just about paying attention to what happens on each day. And it can be as simple as that. And so it doesn't need to be this like big overwhelming thing. You can just start right now by finding out where you are. Yeah.
Tonya Papanikolov 52:05
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you with deep gratitude. Thanks for tuning into this episode. If you liked it, hit subscribe and leave us a review that is always very appreciated. Mushrooms transformed my mind and body. And if you're interested in bringing medicinal mushrooms into your life and health journey, check out rainbow.com for our meticulously sourced Canadian fruiting body mushroom tinctures. Until next time, peace and peace out friends.