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Cycle charting for natural contraception, body literacy, and conception

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About Atchie

My name is Atchie Bernstein (she/her/hers) and I was born and raised in Huichin, unceded Lisjan Ohlone territory, also known as the East San Francisco Bay Area. Some of the fancy titles I have include, licensed occupational therapist (OTR/L), holistic reproductive health practitioner (HRHP), and a certified fertility awareness educator (FAE).

But really, I'm just a human walking this life with all of you, dedicated to serving our collective sovereignty across the womb continuum and beyond! I have always had a passion for service, which has presenting differently over the years as I’ve journeyed toward finding a path with which I resonate most strongly. When I eventually arrived in the fertility awareness space, I could not have felt a stronger YES and a sense of urgency that this information needed to be more widely available and accessible. I am so passionate about sharing this knowledge with anybody and everybody wanting to discover more about their bodies and empowered as cycling beings

When I am not diving into the exciting and endless content that is fertility awareness, cycle charting, and holistic health, I am an avid outdoor enthusiast and live for moving my body and relaxing in nature. I can also be found snuggled up with a ball of yarn and a crochet needle on frequent occasions.

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What is FAM?

FAM stands for Fertility Awareness Method. FAM is a method for observing and tracking biomarkers (biological signals) that our bodies produce naturally to determine our fertile window (Hint: its only 6 days per cycle!), determine times of infertility, and also to understand our dynamic hormonal health patterns. When learned with a fertility awareness educator and practiced accurately, the efficacy rates for avoiding pregnancy are up to 99.6%. FAM can be used as a non-invasive and side-effect-free contraception, a tool for achieving pregnancy on your own terms, or as a practice to understand more about your body and how to feel your absolute best (pssst....periods aren't supposed to be painful AND you can achieve pain free periods!). Whatever your changing intentions may be, fertility awareness is an incredible tool for achieving complete sovereignty and empowerment as a cycling being!

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What lead me to FAM?

My arrival FAM was not a linear one. My FAM journey can be traced all the way back to my 14-year-old life when I was first prescribed “the pill” to treat excruciating and unbearably long and heavy periods. Although my mother had reservations about these medications, many of my peers used it for the same reason, and we didn't know what else to do.

After several periods of uncontrollable bleeding causing me to miss school, sports, and socializing with friends, not to mention the laying-on-the-bathroom-floor-freezing-and-sweating kind of pain, my mom scheduled me an appointment with an OBGYN specifically to consult about starting the pill to treat these symptoms. I remember being told I would be given a “low dose” option so I would have minimal side effects. Deep down I always had a feeling that the little pill I was taking every day might be harmful in some way, but my peers never expressed these concerns openly and, since it was significantly improving my ability to participate in normal teenaged/young adult activities I always just brushed off the apprehension… Until I saw a naturopath in my early 20s for a physical injury.

This practitioner advised, after looking at a blood panel, that hormonal birth control could be negatively impacting many other systems in my body and my overall health. I decided right then to get off the pill.

At that point, though, I also had a very practical need to not have an unwanted pregnancy so I purchased a natural birth control app that used my basal body temperature (my temp first thing in the morning) and an algorithm to tell me when I could and could not get pregnant. I always used other methods to prevent pregnancy while using the app because I never fully trusted it, however the app did allow me to broaden my vocabulary to be able to investigate more about natural forms of birth control.

It wasn’t until I used that app that I knew of words like “sympto-thermal” and “cervical mucus” and “basal body temperature”. Through social media rabbit holes resulting from my new expanded vocabulary, I eventually found FAM and learned that temps and an algorithm alone cannot tell me in the moment if I could or could not get pregnant, AND sometimes the algorithms are wrong! I was tired of putting my health and fertility in somebody else’s hands (a doctor or an app) and became determined to take this power back. Now, here I am, in the FertilityFAM. You're always welcome to join!

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30 minute session to discuss your interest in cycle charting and fertility awareness, what goals you have as it relates to your reproductive health, and how Atchie might be able to support you along the journey.

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