Reading some forum boards on getting pregnant has led me to question how women ever managed to get pregnant without charting.

Apparently no one just has sex until they make a baby anymore.  Much, much more preparation is required: First, you track your period for a few months to find out how long your average cycle is.  Then you start taking your temperature as soon as you roll out of bed in the morning.  Maybe you check your cervical mucus (and just think about how much fun is involved there!).  You keep track of all that so you can figure out when you’re ovulating, that way you don’t waste sex on days when you’re not fertile.

Additionally, you must read Taking Charge of Your Fertility and sign up with Fertility Finder.

If you don’t do these things, then your first post on any of these forums will be inundated with variations on a theme: “Read TCoYF!  Start charting!”  “That ovulation tracking ticker you’re using is useless.  You have to go to FertilityFinder and get one of theirs; just click on mine!”  “TCoYF!!”  “Chart!”  “TCoYF!”

After floating around a couple for a while, I started to get concerned.  What if we’re doing it wrong?  If I don’t chart, does that mean I’ll never manage to get knocked up?  If I don’t read the conception Bible, I mean Taking Charge of Your Fertility, will I fail at conception?  How did women have babies before the Internet?

(At that point I had a flashback to Catholic high school and irreverently thought, “Oh, that’s right, they used Natural Family Planning!”)

Then I got pissed.  You mean to tell me that I spent all those years in college worried that if I didn’t use condoms AND birth control pills I would inadvertently get pregnant when all I had to do was chart?!?!  Because obviously all these women must be right: You cannot possibly manage what our biology is designed to do — perpetuate the species — without a thermometer and a sheet of paper.  That would have saved me so many sleepless nights!

Okay, sarcasm off for a moment, the whole thing did give me some second thoughts.  Are we doing it right if I don’t chart?  These women couldn’t all be wrong, could they?  I mean, they care enough about getting pregnant to get together for a support network and to share resource ideas, so they have to know what they’re talking about.

So I stopped by FertilityFinder and signed up.  I played around with their ovulation calculator (don’t worry, I’m not about to share the results; that’s a little too personal, even for a blog about becoming a parent) for a while out of curiosity.  I checked out TCoYF’s website and perused its advice.

In the end, I still felt vaguely uneasy, but I realized that if thermometers, mucus checks and ovulation charts were necessary for the perpetuation of the species, we would have died out a while ago.  I do think I’m going to keep track in case we end up having trouble down the line, but I don’t want this to become a chore.

Last time I checked, making a baby starts out being about sex, and sex should be fun.  Charting seems to be the antithesis of fun.  I’m pretty sure it’s in the thesaurus as an antonym of “fun.”  And I have enough in my life that is the exact opposite of fun already; I don’t need to add another.