I had my last period two years and two months ago. You see, I had a baby 17 months ago and have breastfed, co-slept, not given my boy a dummy (and followed all the guidelines for exclusive breastfeeding) and it’s take me 17 months to get a period again. However, what is so exciting for me is the fact that after 17 months I could predict my next period to the day it arrived. No guessing game, no surprises. I knew.

You could say it was just luck, but this is not the first time this has happened to me. After my daughter was born three and a half years ago, it took my body 13 months to have a period again and that time I could pinpoint it too.

I was told many years ago by not one but many women that charting your menstrual cycle is effective until you have babies. Then, because of breastfeeding, it’s not. Well, I can honestly say that charting my menstrual cycle and knowing how to listen to my body enabled me to know when my period was coming. It also taught me so much during the post-partum time. I could see in this post-partum phase when:

  • My body needed extra nourishment
  • My body was struggling to find its hormones again
  • My body had figured out how to ovulate again
  • I was experiencing the highs of ovulation (which resulted in an increased sex drive and being able to really race the boys on my mountain bike)
  • I had food cravings that I needed to follow to help this process
  • My body had really remembered how to produce estrogen
  • My body finally experienced the hormone progesterone again (I nearly killed my mom-in-law)

Charting your menstrual cycle isn’t just a means to avoid falling pregnant (I can guarantee you now pregnancy is not on the cards again for me). Charting is so much more than that. It is finding this relationship with the magnificent body you were given.

Only a woman who hasn’t had a period for a very long time can tell you how she actually misses it. Experiencing the changes over the past two weeks of the wonderful sensations of energy, drive, motivation and then the move towards the time of rest, recuperation and nesting (yes I just cleaned out my cupboards) was just wonderful.

I happened to be enjoying the holidays with my kids a week ago and one of the best moments was waking up to coffee and a rusk (something I never eat – the joys of being on holiday), sitting on the stoep at the holiday place I was staying at and listening to the Olifants River. Just perfect for the phase my body was in.

Charting is just being in tune with your body.