Teaching Fertility Awareness and Wireless Tech Hazards Around the World: An Interview with Katie Singer
by Jill Allatta
Since the mid-90s, Katie Singer has taught and written about Fertility Awareness, an evidence-based form of natural family planning. Katie advocates for menstrual cycle health. She has worked in Amish, African, Guatemalan and other communities. She has also become a leading spokesperson about reducing our use of electronics to reduce energy use and exposure to electromagnetic radiation (EMR).
Katie's first book was a novel, The Wholeness of a Broken Heart. Her nonfiction books include The Garden of Fertility, Honoring Our Cycles, Honoring Our Cycles in Africa and An Electronic Silent Spring.
The Garden of Fertility is my number one recommendation for women who want an introductory gauge of their gynecological health and to know when they're fertile and infertile. The book's straightforward information about charting fertility signals alternates with useful, personal stories. Reading the book gave me so much encouragement: I could understand my body's signs. I could practice Fertility Awareness.
Katie and I had two conversations at her home in northern New Mexico; we finished our interview by email.
Jill Allatta Can you tell me how you first became drawn to Fertility Awareness?
Katie Singer I never wanted to take the Pill, and I wasn't crazy about spermicide. After nearly ten years of wanting to learn Fertility Awareness, I found several independent teachers and two Catholic organizations that offered classes. I studied with all of them. From my first chart, I fell head-over-heels in love with the menstrual cycle and natural family planning.
One of the Catholic organizations offered a training program. But they wouldn't accept me, because my partner and I weren't married. I didn't understand that. So I called a Catholic woman who'd written a book on natural family planning. She said, "Sex is sacred. It's not a recreational activity. Marriage makes it sacred." I respected this woman; and still, my partner and I did not feel moved to marry. All of this--including charting my cycles, noticing the difference between male and female fertility, deciding consciously whether to open to conceiving--inspired wonderful conversations with my partner and people all over the world who want to know how to read their bodies.
Jill What was your training like?
Katie I studied with a handful of people--and then I started teaching. My students rarely had healthy or predictable cycles. They had questions about their charts that I often couldn't answer. They wanted to know how to encourage healthy cycles when they came off of the Pill or Depo Provera. They wanted to strengthen progesterone levels, how to ease menstrual cramps or clear PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome) without pharmaceuticals. When I asked about their diets, many of them told me they relied on soda and chips and canned tuna. They didn't know what nutrient-dense food is or how to cook it. They didn't know we need vitamins A and D, and that these are in butter and cod liver oil. They often fell asleep with the TV on, which can disturb the endocrine system. I learned about the work of the Weston A. Price Foundation, which promotes nutrient-dense diets. I learned about the work of Louise Lacey, who found that sleeping in total darkness except around ovulation can restore healthy cycling.
Jill You put all of this together while you taught Fertility Awareness?