There are many topics dear to my heart, but this is one that is particularly important to me. A few years ago, I would have loathed even the idea of sharing anything related to that little three letter word–sex, in case you didn’t guess–but I realize now that everyone has a message about sex: right or wrong. Let mine be a message of truth in the midst of deep misunderstandings in our culture.
What’s small, pink and round all over?
You guessed it: it’s the birth control pill.
Up until a few years ago, I had a common view on birth control. I assumed that when I got married and became sexually active, I would hop on the Pill, let it take care of everything, then hop off when we decided we wanted a baby.
That’s what people did, right?
Right. [That is, until I was engaged and my husband-to-be challenged me to think deeply about my convictions. Read more about that journey here. ]
He felt uncomfortable with the negative side effects he’d heard about the Pill, and was opposed to the idea of putting artificial hormones into my body. “You can’t be serious! I don’t want to get pregnant right away!” I argued.
Once upon a time, I’d heard of an archaic form of “natural birth control” and I was always the first to make fun of it (can you say “honeymoon baby”?). It was for those crunchy, tree-hugging type of people; the kind who don’t use microwaves. No way. Not for me.
Around the same time, a good friend began to tell me how she and her husband had decided to go off the Pill. She babbled in excitement over this new method they were using, how it taught her what her body was doing each month in its normal, healthy cycle. So after I’d calmed down over the obvious injustice that was being done to me, I employed this friend to give me the lowdown on Natural Family Planning.
I cannot tell you how glad I am that we did not go on the Pill.
I learned so much about my body while learning NFP and now, I not only recommend it to everyone, but I can honestly say that practicing NFP has changed the way I view marriage, sex and children.
Fast forward four years and two beautiful babies later. While I’ve seen how NFP can be a very effective form of birth control, let’s just be honest: IT’S WORK. I’m still getting up at night to nurse the baby, my cycle is erratic, and my brain is twice fried from two babies in 18 months. I’m a tired momma, and exhaustion doesn’t lend well to detailed charting.
If you’re a busy person like I am, you’re probably thinking, “I don’t have time to chart! I can’t rely on myself; I’ll be pregnant in a month on this method.”
Enter my new best friend. She’s a tiny computer that sits on my nightstand. Every morning, she dutifully wakes me from my slumber, takes my temperature, and remembers the information for me. She does all the hard work.
This device is called the Lady Comp.
What is it?
The Lady Comp is a hormone free method that simply reveals whether a woman is fertile or not. It made by a German company, and is only just gaining traction in the States. She has been tested and found to be 99.3% effective-about the same as the Pill!
How Does it Work?
Every night I set my alarm via the Lady Comp. When it beeps the following morning, I stick the little blue wand into my mouth; it takes about 30 seconds to read my temperature. Every woman’s temperature will spike at ovulation (the few days in the month when she can get pregnant), so the Lady Comp is watching closely for this temperature change. As she takes my waking temperature every day, she learns the pattern of my body in order to predict when I’m fertile. The more temperature readings she takes, the more accurate she becomes.
The Lady Comp communicates with three lights: red, yellow and green. A green light indicates “go for it!” while a red light says “better wait!”. If the device is uncertain, or hasn’t learned the user’s cycles yet, it will display a yellow light.
What are the Cons?
Obviously, I have to remember to take my temperature. If I get out of bed to use the bathroom, pick up a crying baby, or take a drink of water, the temperature reading will be skewed. I’ll admit that it was hard to remember to take my temperature at first–my morning brain being rather foggy–but it’s becoming a habit now.
Yes, there will be red light days. This means 1) abstinence or 2) barrier method. This may seem difficult to you. But remember: you will also be working with the healthy, natural rhythm of your body, not using a pill that goes against your body’s normal cycle.
Why have you never heard of the Lady Comp?
Perhaps it’s because we don’t know we have other options. When I first heard of the Lady Comp, I called my insurance company to ask if they would cover the device. Their response: “What’s that?” They assured me they would be happy to cover the Pill or an IUD, but were not open to hearing about another option. I argued that this device, though a pricey upfront cost, would quickly pay itself off. They would not hear it.
I have been using the Lady Comp for two weeks, and so far have had only red and yellow lights. This is to be expected, as she has not yet “learned me.” According to the manufacturer, the Lady Comp must be used through a few cycles before she will begin to predict my fertile days. Time will tell if she can fulfill her promises.
I’ll be back in a few months to give you all an update on how the Lady Comp is working. Perhaps this will prove to be a reliable option for those like me looking for a less invasive form of birth control.