John Billings died the other day. Not many know who he was, but I do. And I truly appreciate him. Because of John Billings, eggs of mine that I did not care a whit about remained unfertilized. And one egg that I did care about – well it developed into my lovely daughter. Billings promoted a natural method of birth control that some critics claimed was akin to the rhythm method and barely effective. But a version of Billing’s technique sure worked for me. Using Billing’s method, a woman observes and charts the changes in her vaginal mucus. That mucus goes through rather noticeable shifts throughout a menstrual cycle. I used a method called Sympto-Thermal, which along with tracking the changes in mucus also requires you to record your basal temperature every day. Yup – a woman’s temperature when at rest fluctuates throughout her cycle. For about four years, I kept a daily chart of my observations – tracking the changes in my basal temperature, my mucus, and other physical changes. I became quite adept at analyzing the information and identifying when I was ovulating, when I was about to, and when the coast was clear – those times (brief and fleeting) during which I could make love without the use of birth control and have no fear of getting pregnant when I didn’t want to. And that gave me a certain amount of power. I could decide to abstain from sex, use birth control, or have sex without protection at no risk. I was not a big fan of the pill, IUDs, diaphrams, condoms, or contraceptive jellies and creams, etc. And I liked my sex au natural. But that comes with certain risks I wasn’t always willing to take. Or, as I did with my daughter, I could also look at the chart and say to my husband, “If we make love today, we’ll probably make a baby. Wanna?” We did. And my beautiful daughter was conceived. Observing and charting the changes you go through during a cycle is time-consuming – and you have to be dedicated. But I gained a far more intimate knowledge of my body than I had before, a true understanding of how my cycles functioned – and the ability to decide when, and if, to use birth control.
So thank you John Billings. I’ve had a lot of really awesome sex because of you!
Labels: birth control, family planning, John Billings, truly awesome sex