In our Real Women: Real Experiences series, we’ve interviewed real women around the world about their birth control experiences. In the second of the series, fourfiveoh.com got together with Chanty, who is an Anthropology student from Berlin. Chanty is currently writing her Master’s Thesis on the topic of natural birth control, focusing on the production of knowledge and the relationship to one’s own body. To find out more about Chanty’s thesis, or to get in touch, check out her Instagram Let’s Talk About Cycle Tracking
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Four Five Oh: Hi Chanty, thanks for taking the time today. Can you talk us through your contraceptive journey?
Chanty: Well, as for probably many, my journey began with my first gynaecologist’s appointment. My gyn recommended me to take the pill from the very beginning on as it would “help my cycle to normalise”. She also told me that for young girls there was the “mini pill” and there would be nothing I’ve to worry about. I had bad issues, physically and psychologically. After about 8 years on the pill, I had an IUD (Jaydess) for about 6 months. I´m not against hormonal birth control it just did not work out for me. Now, I’m using natural birth control, more precisely a fertility monitor called “Daysy” (NFP/FAM).
Four Five Oh: How have you usually accessed information about birth control?
Chanty: By my gynaecologist. But I did not feel well informed. Also by my friends. But best decision was to inform myself via books, internet etc.
Four Five Oh: What would you recommend women to do, in order to ensure they’re on the method of birth control that is best suited to them?
Chanty: First of all, as it did not count for me for many years: Inform yourself and try to understand your own body and what is going on in it!
(Four Five Oh Tip – check out this article for some recommendations on getting to know your body)
Four Five Oh: What myths or misinformation do you think there are surrounding birth control?
Chanty: The pill does not help your menstrual cycle to normalize or sync. When you’re taking the pill, the bleeding you have is no menstruation. Your birth control method has to fit you, not vice versa: If you’re not feeling okay with it, look for other options!
Four Five Oh: What birth control method are you currently using & how are you liking it?
Chanty: Fertility Tracker (Daysy) and I’m loving it!
Four Five Oh: Tell us about your masters thesis topic – how did you come to the idea, what are you hoping to discover?
Chanty: For many years I thought there are just options for me that do not fit me. If I tried to ask my gynS(!) for “other methods”, they told me there is nothing reliable out there. That is not correct… So I started my journey by research and a very personal decision: Fertility Awareness Method. It was an incredible feeling for myself, to understand my body so much better. That is the motivation behind my thesis in the first way. On the other hand, as I´m studying anthropology with a focus on medical and digital, I´m curious how this field´s concepts can make me understand more. I hope to discover how women negotiate their own feelings and longings in the facing of birth control. Especially as, so far, many are disappointed or have experienced bad things on their birth control journey.
Four Five Oh: What have you learned so far about cycle tracking that you didn’t expect to learn?
Chanty: Cycle tracking seems to me to be a tool that brings me back to my own body. After almost one year I have the feeling that I would not even need to track anymore, as I can read and recognize the tiniest changes in my body. (I would NOT recommend to do this of course, neither would I only trust my intuition;))
Four Five Oh: How would you suggest women can get started in learning more about their cycle, their fertility and their bodies?
Chanty: Read! Talk! Celebrate your womaness! There are some incredible books out there. (For example, The Women Code has changed me a lot).
Four Five Oh: What do you think/hope contraception will look like in 20 years time?
Chanty: Well, at this point, my inner feminist voice shouts out: Equality! I counted 25 options for female birth control. And 1 for male. That is absolutely absurd for me. And I hope that there will not be so many contraceptives on the market anymore that are in the public discourse at any point because it is just noticed after many years that the side effects are that tremendous.
Four Five Oh: And finally, what do you wish you knew aged 20 about your body that you know now?
Chanty: Dare yourself to trust yourself and to listen to your inner voice.
Wise words from Chanty- we wish you all the best with your Master’s Thesis- and look forward to the results! Do you have an experience to share? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or Share Your Experience directly on our website.