FAE: Leilani Wong Navar of Your Cycle Days

Leilani Wong Navar is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist with a Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine. She treats patients at Meridian Wellness Center. When she educates women on optimizing their reproductive health, she incorporates Chinese Medicine knowledge as well as other traditions of dietary and herbal therapies.

 Leilani (she / her / hers) has been using Fertility Awareness for more than 10 years, through many reproductive phases: as a single woman, in a committed partnership, while breastfeeding, and as the married mother of young children. She's certified as a Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner by Justisse Healthworks for Women. She's been teaching the Justisse Method of Fertility Awareness and counseling women on its use since 2006.

Leilani (she / her / hers) has been using Fertility Awareness for more than 10 years, through many reproductive phases: as a single woman, in a committed partnership, while breastfeeding, and as the married mother of young children. She's certified as a Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner by Justisse Healthworks for Women. She's been teaching the Justisse Method of Fertility Awareness and counseling women on its use since 2006.

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What was your intro into the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM)? 

A naturopath taught me Fertility Awareness for birth control when I was 18. I had asked several doctors and holistic medicine practitioners about natural birth control and had heard only, "abstinence," "condoms," and "the pill's not that bad," so when I learned about Fertility Awareness I was surprised, and thrilled! I knew right away I wanted to teach it one day.

What program did you train with to become a Fertility Awareness Educator (FAE)? What were 3 highlights of that experience? 

The Justisse College. 3 highlights were:

  1. Learning about holistic reproductive health approaches and how they connect to all other aspects of health

  2. Learning about the history and current social context of birth control (fascinating!)

  3. Practicing the Justisse Method approach to see clients through their whole learning process.

What is one feature of the female body that amazes you? Can you explain more and tell us why?

The connection between the Heart and the Uterus; so many of us have felt the intimate connection between our hormonal cycles, our menstrual periods, our fertility, pregnancy, and childbirth -- and our minds, emotions, and interpersonal connections.

In Chinese Medicine, there's a direct "Heart-Uterus" connection that I think can shed some light on this. We treat menstrual cycle issues by addressing the "channels" through which Qi and Blood flow. Any of the channels can be involved in a menstrual cycle issue, but often it has to do with a channel that directly connects the Uterus and the Heart.

In Chinese Medicine, the Heart not only pumps the Blood, but also houses the Shen (spirit or consciousness), and is associated with Joy / Overexcitement / Anxiety / Lack of Joy, and is also related to Connection with others.

At its best, the Heart is free of excessive distractions and desires so that it can hear the "music of the Heavens" and drum out the beat for the whole body to follow.

All of this is important for female reproductive health -- have you felt it?
 Artist: unknown (please tell us who made this so we can credit!) 

Artist: unknown (please tell us who made this so we can credit!) 

What do you wish all females knew before their menarche?

Your cycle is terrific! And so are you. Getting to know yourself and what happens throughout your cycle can help you be happier and healthier.

What is your favourite health-related book/podcast/resource and why? 

I truly cannot pick just one. In the realm of female sexuality, I just read and loved, Come as You Are, by Emily Nagoski. I love this book.

If you couldn't get it and I had to sum it up for you, I'd say:

"There's nothing wrong with you. Everything about your magnificent sexuality is normal, and a lot of it is pretty well-understood. You can indeed love, heal, and explore your own sexuality as it is, and have really satisfying sex."

But it's an easy book to find, and it's worth reading the whole thing. Emily Nagoski is a fun writer to read, and her insights are golden.

Do you have a focus in your practice?

Using the Justisse Method for natural birth control

 

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To get in touch with Leilani and learn more about her offerings, visit her website: 

yourcycledays.com

or find her on facebook: 

facebook.com/yourcycledays/

 

FAE: Ashley Hartman Annis

Ashley Hartman Annis is working towards a world in which everyone can access unbiased, comprehensive education about sexuality, fertility, menstruation, birth control, pregnancy, labour, birth, abortion, & miscarriage.

 Ashley (she / her / hers) is a certified Fertility Awareness Educator through  the Association of Fertility Awareness Professionals  and has been teaching classes on menstrual cycle charting since 2013.  She is currently finishing her long-overdue BA in Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Wisconsin and also expanding her knowledge around birth, miscarriage & abortion support, and sexuality education.

Ashley (she / her / hers) is a certified Fertility Awareness Educator through the Association of Fertility Awareness Professionals and has been teaching classes on menstrual cycle charting since 2013.  She is currently finishing her long-overdue BA in Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Wisconsin and also expanding her knowledge around birth, miscarriage & abortion support, and sexuality education.

What was your introduction into the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM)? 

A broken condom, Plan B, a cheap Basal Body Temperature thermometer, & Taking Charge of Your Fertility

What program did you train with to become a Fertility Awareness Educator (FAE)? What were 3 highlights of that experience?

Grace of the Moon with Sarah Bly 2012-2014.

  1. I not only solidified how to teach this information, but my own practice as well. 

  2. I'm connected to a fantastic (and ever-growing!) community of other graduates. 

  3. Being able to live and travel and move around the country and still be part of this grounding training program

What is one feature of the female body that amazes you? 

I know there are lots of different types of female bodies, but in *my* particular type of female body, I can't get enough of my cervix. It's amazing to look at and to think of all the different things that have and can come through it. It's sort of this amazing / weird borderland between this world and some other magical place.

What do you wish all females knew before their menarche?

I wish that uterus-having people could completely delete from their brains & bodies any feelings of disgust around their blood. 

What is your favourite health-related book/podcast/resource and why?

To be honest, right now my favorite health resource is just being outside. I've been receiving way more from just taking quiet walks (without my phone / podcasts / books!) than I have from anything else right now. That being said, I'm really geeking out about The Doulas: Radical Care for Pregnant People by Lauren Mitchell and Mary Mahoney these days.

Do you have a focus in your practice?

Using FAM to avoid pregnancy (which includes conversations around barrier methods, othercourse, withdrawal, masturbation, etc.) and abortion / miscarriage care.

To get in touch with Ashley and learn more about her offerings, visit her website: 

ashleyhartmanannis.com

About the Fertility Awareness Educator Spotlight Series

The Blood Cycle Community aims to facilitate a period paradigm shift by transforming how we think about menstruation, our bodies, and our cycles! We've become an official Ally with the Association of Fertility Awareness Professionals (AFAP) because these professionals are all working towards educating and empowering people to better understand their bodies as well.

Far from being the ill-reputed "rhythm method", Fertility Awareness Based Methods (FABMs, sometimes FAM) are observation-based methods grounded in science. From AFAP's website:

 

"Fertility Awareness enables people to understand their cycles and their fertility, for pregnancy prevention, pregnancy achievement, and for reproductive health and sexual well-being. Fertility Awareness is a powerful tool that can change lives for the better. When learned thoroughly and practiced correctly, it can be highly effective."

 

The FA Professionals in AFAP have all been trained and certified to teach and develop their own practice in helping their clients with diverse goals. Over the next several months, BCC will shine a spotlight on one of these Fertility Awareness Educators in the form of a Q&A to help you get to know them better! Many of these practitioners are available for consultation and also offer e-books, courses and workshops. We encourage you to take a "deeper dive" after each brief Q&A and explore their websites and social media pages. Reach out to them if you have questions!