While we no longer use the moon to track our menstrual cycles we all use some sort of system to count the days up until and in between our cycles. Some of us use the inside flap of the pillbox, others our daily calendar, still others a website or phone App.
As a woman not on the pill, I need to be intentional about tracking my period. But even if you are on the pill it is important that you are intentional about recording how you feel each day to ensure you have a healthy relationship with your uterus and self.
I believe that all women can benefit from keeping a period journal or calendar.
For a few years now I have been using the menstrual cycle tracking service mymonthlycycles.com. However I have to admit that even with the help of this service I am not consistent with recording my symptoms or period start dates. (This inconsistency may explain why the system tracks my cycles to be 48 days in length).
I try to update my records but find myself getting frustrated at the way symptoms are categorized and the overall inaccuracy of fertility readings. I feel that my frustration is the result of the system being set up to reflect “normal” cycles.
Yes, my online account is personalized, but in the end it is just a system of codes that cannot be expected to track or explain why I ovulated on day 24 this month instead of day 18 like last month. I need to get comfortable with the idea that tracking my fertility is not about averaging out a day, but more so about understanding how my body works and what my uterus is trying to tell me.
I want to try a little experiment… or maybe this is the start of another research project.
With mobile technologies tracking your period has gotten even easier. You can carry around the device that tracks your every feeling, mood and bleed. Although I find our reliance on technology to be quite disturbing, I wonder if this new reliance may be a positive thing for my relationship with my uterus.
Over the next three months I am going to commit to faithfully using five different period tracking Apps on my iPod. I will share my experience through blogging and the new dropsofscarlet twitter page. By sharing my day-to-day experiences and critiquing each application I hope to show how these mobile Apps influence our menstrual cycles and women’s relationship to technology.
The list of Apps are as follows:
I hope that you will join me on this experiment and that we can have a conversation about these applications. You may want to pick one or two Apps to follow or may want to try all five. Regardless I think it is important that we explore today’s innovations centred on menstrual health so that we can understand the effects mobile applications have on our cycles, our relationships and the perception popular culture has of menstruation.