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Have a question for you... I was contacted by a woman practicing Billings method who is breastfeeding. Baby is 9 months old (I think, She left me a message but a priest filled me in on a bit when asking to give her my phone number). Anyway, she has said her cycles prior to baby were a bit irregular and now she is always having discharge. Since they are TTA, she is experiencing long periods of abstinance and it is taking a toll on their marriage. What advice can you offer? She is working with a Billings instructor and learned the method with help.
I should say that I was approached because I teach STM and she was advised that possibly adding other fertility signs to her mucus observations might help with the length of abstinance.... Do you think that there is really anything I can offer her? I am not THAT familiar with Billings but I have always thought that it was a bit easier to use postpartum than STM....
Thanks for any info! I will be calling her back this afternoon and might be able to offer additional details then.
If she's already working with an instructor, I think having input from a second one from an entirely different method might actually just confuse her more. She can certainly add in temperatures if that would help, but it won't alleviate any abstinence while she waits for ovulation to occur. For that, she needs to figure out if the ongoing discharge she's observing is her Basic Infertile Pattern. If it is, she doesn't need to be abstaining all the time. A good BOM instructor should be able to evaluate that with her. No offense, but a second opinion on her chart might be more helpful if it comes from another BOM instructor. Maybe the one she's working with doesn't have much experience or something?
The second thing to remember is that there can be more abstinence than usual during the return of fertility no matter what method you use. The patches of fertile CM start happening, they start lasting longer and coming closer together without many infertile days in between....and that usually just means it won't be long until ovulation finally occurs again! It can be hard though.
I think it's critical for instructors to recognize the toll that abstinence can take and do everything possible to make sure that the couple isn't abstaining more than is actually necessary by mistaking infertile discharge for fertile CM. But there are times when everything possible has been done and the couple just needs an understanding ear. The most helpful would be just to share your own personal experience if you can relate to being frustrated with PP abstinence. Just so she knows she's not alone ,that others have been there too! Maybe put out some feelers to see if they were given some unrealistic expectations about the amount of abstinence that would be involved and gently talk to her about those expectations. Most importantly, assure her that this time will pass and it will get easier!
See, I don't know if her instructor is any good or not especially post partum when it is especially challenging... You mentioned some of my same concerns in that the only thing I think STM could do is help confirm ovulation if she is unsure about that. But if her issues are all pre-o then the only other possibility is the cervix sign as additional information, but not enough to base things on. From what I know of Billings, I would assume that determining her BIP is the key to this. While I am VERY aware that post partum can be trying as far as abstinance she mentioned in her voicemail abstaining 20 days.... Because I have never been able to breastfeed, I am not sure if that is extreme abstinance or not... Any thoughts?
Also, would you mind if I directed her to you here for more information? Maybe another Billings instructor could help a bit?