Our lovely friend Kate, who wrote “Getting Knocked Up with NFP” has some words of wisdom to share with Khloe Kardashian.
Hi, I know you don’t know me. I won’t pretend I watch your show on the reg, but I will admit to the occasional indulgence. Our lives have always seemed so different. Me with my college debt and my teaching job, you with your naked photo shoots and ‘Taking Miami.’ Today I realized that we’re not so different, you and I.
For one, we are the same age. We are both 28 – an age that is at once terrifying (so close to thirty!?!?) and full of promise. We have survived our twenties, our frontal lobes are fully developed, and we are emerging as mature (uh, most of the time), intelligent women, in stable relationships, with a bright future ahead of us.
For another, while we are supposed to be at the height of our fertility, we are flummoxed and frustrated by our bodies. You see, I am no stranger to annovulatory cycles. I don’t know how much attention you’ve been paying to the mysterious signs and signals of your awesomely complicated system, but I do know that I and millions of others saw a doctor tell you that you didn’t ovulate. I saw the expression on your face and I think I know a little of how you feel. As much as I loved the freedom of childless singlehood, to hear that my body wasn’t working correctly hit me like a punch in the gut. In my head I knew that my femininity is not defined by my ability to procreate, but emotionally I still felt like I was a failure – a dud - because my body wasn’t doing something I felt was inherent to being a woman.
First of all, it’s ok to be upset. It doesn’t make you less of a feminist to want children, and it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person if you want children who are biologically yours. Second, I’d wonder what method the doctor used to determine when you were supposed to ovulate – every woman is different, and that perfect 28-day cycle is as rare as somebody who’s actually “just naturally thin.”
Next, I want to suggest something which has worked for me and thousands of women like me – like you – who turned their energy toward starting a family, and learned to their dismay that their bodies were not cooperating. Have you ever considered trying Natural Family Planning? Hold on, hold on, I know what you’re thinking – skirt-wearing, bible-quoting, long-haired women with twelve kids a la the Duggars, right? Ok, no. To quote a friend (and a founder of this site) NFP is not a one-way ticket to Duggarville.
No, in fact NFP isn’t even inherently religious. Religious people (like me) use it, but in reality, NFP is an evidence-based method of understanding your fertility, which is supported by medical studies. Essentially, it’s just paying attention to the signs your body gives you about ovulation and fertility, and using those signs to either postpone or achieve pregnancy. It was enormously helpful for me after my diagnosis with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and thinking that my husband and I would never manage to get pregnant (if you are so interested, you could read about it).
Using NFP and working with a doctor who understands a woman’s body and respects our complex systems, you can get an idea of what’s going on & when. Just because you do not ovulate on day 14 does not mean you are not ovulating. Just because you do not ovulate every cycle does not mean you are not ovulating. And just because you are not ovulating regularly & reliably right now does not mean you never will.
There are so so many things that go into keeping your system running, from diet and exercise to vitamins and stress. Working with a doctor who understands that, and isn’t interested in masking the problem with hormonal contraception (I suggest a NaPro doctor, personally) you can and will untangle the frustration & contradiction of a cycle that doesn’t make sense, and you can and will become healthier & more confident. I know that it works because at this moment, a baby I thought could never exist has been persistently kicking me under my ribs all morning.
Lastly, I want to leave you with this: your fertility doesn’t dictate your value. You are a beautiful, confident, capable woman (for what it’s worth, you are my favorite Kardashian sister, mostly because you come across as the most real & sincere) and you will be a great mom, whether your children match you biologically or not.
So, even though I do not know you, and even though you have many more privileges & opportunities than I will ever know, I will be praying for you. Struggling with fertility sucks, it doesn’t matter who you are. And seriously, check out NFP. It helped me more than I ever expected.
Good luck & God bless!