My period was late.
I wasn’t too worried yet though. It was only four days late. I had a pretty regular cycle but every so often, my hormones would go crazy and delay my period. I hadn’t been one of those girls who could automatically figure out her cycle length. In fact, each period had been a surprise for the first decade that I had them. I literally had the same reaction every month. I’d have a horrible three days where I’d eat my weight in dessert and snap at friends constantly. Then I’d be minding my own business in the middle of the day and suddenly feel the telltale sudden discharge. I’d make a dash for the closest bathroom, and as always, there was a bloody spot on my panties.
“No wonder I was so annoyed and bloated! Ugh, my period is here!”
This happened every month without fail.
After ten years of this charade, I decided to take control of my menstrual life and downloaded a period tracking app. This was extremely helpful to know when to brace myself with tampons and painkillers, but it also taught me something else that I didn’t know at the time. Safe Days. I learnt that these were the days in your period cycle that you couldn’t get pregnant. I was in my early twenties and sexually active and found this information intriguing. I mean, I was having protected sex, but there had been slipups which had led to me taking the morning-after pill. I thought it would be nice to have two weeks a month that that wouldn’t be a concern.
Yes, sexually transmitted diseases were a thing that was equally important to prevent but I was young and stupid. What can I say?
No risk during your period?
So yes, back to my period. Seven days had now gone by and I started to do an analysis of my sexual activities in the past month. I had only had unprotected sex one time. Once. And I had been on my period, so I never took a morning-after pill.
My period tracker had clearly said that during my menstruation, I was definitely not fertile and could not get pregnant.
Three more weeks passed.
I was now extremely tense; my period had never been over a month late. At that point, I started browsing the Internet searching for facts around getting pregnant whilst on one's period. That’s when I learnt that although unlikely, it was dependent on a woman’s ovulation; the length of time sperm can live in one's vagina and a number of other factors that could lead to pregnancy.
Panic and uncertainty
I immediately began to panic. Why in the world was I having unprotected sex anyway? Was it really worth the stress and potential baby in my womb? I couldn’t imagine having this conversation with my parents. I didn’t even like the potential father anymore and was planning to break up with him. The only thing left to do was to go to the hospital for a pregnancy test. I wasn’t even trying to take an at-home test since at that point I was fairly certain I’d conceived a period baby and needed a doctor’s confirmation.
Five hours later, I learnt that I wasn’t pregnant.
Natural family planning isn’t as sure as one may think. The terms and conditions that may apply are endless. So the only natural family planning I’ve upheld since is: naturally taking my birth control pills and naturally ensuring my partners always have a condom ready.
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