What your mama didn’t tell you about getting pregnant
Holly Lo & Dawn Calvinisti
This is an unedited transcript.
Hi. Welcome to MomDaze, a beautiful collective of mamas and experts, sharing wisdom, inspiration and life hacks to support us on this journey through the hazy days of motherhood.
Welcome back to the MomDaze podcast. I’m your host, Holly Lo. And we are continuing our conversation about all things fertility, the things we knew the things we didn’t know. And of course, as we do every month, we’ve got our What’s your mama didn’t tell you episode happening today. So welcome back to my beautiful sister Dawn, we are going to talk a little bit today about our cycles. Again, I know hang in there with us. We’ve talked about them now for a couple of episodes. But it’s important that we get this message driven home, I really feel strongly about understanding our cycles is going to be very, very important. On top of that, I know Don has some great ideas and insights on working with your cycles. So that’s what we’re going to need to focus on a little bit too because we haven’t touched on that. So when it comes to understanding our cycle, we’ve talked about the logistics of it. Our cycle steps stage one, stage two, stage three, stage four, follicular phase luteal phase, our ovulation are menstruation, we’ve got the system down. But what’s happening with the rest of our body, what about, you know, our energy levels, our moods, our, you know, emotions, all of those things, business working out, there’s a connection to all of this. So that’s something I want you did talk a little bit about today, because you’re way more in tune to that. And I’m still learning how to match some of these rhythms up for myself.
Yeah, I think this is so much fun. On the last time I did in February, we had a naturopath on and she really dug into this, and I loved it. So then I started exploring even more, I have already been doing a little bit for myself and my oldest daughter. And then for this coming summer coming up. Same thing, I have somebody else coming on talking about it in a different way. And so I have even more insight. And so I’m excited to share some of this with you guys. So the cool thing apart about our cycle and working with it is our cycle naturally helps us understand that it’s normal for us to feel tired at certain times, it’s normal for us to feel extra hungry at certain times, it’s normal for us to feel like really ramped up and you know, on things and really focused, it’s normal for us to feel, you know, really creative at certain times. And so it’s kind of cool. If you actually use that knowledge, as you’re scheduling out your month, you have a much more fluid month, it feels a lot more like you’re working with it. So like you don’t feel as frustrated or like, oh, I have to do this. And I’d feel like this because you know, oh, I’m going to feel like this at this point. So maybe schedule it differently. So I think that’s a cool part that we can talk about and actually setting up those four weeks of your, of your basically weeks of your cycle.
Yeah, and I think that’s I think that’s important because I do the same thing I say the weeks because when you’re kind of looking at a four week, month, or whatever that looks like, that’s important, because when you are shifting through your schedule, I plan out usually the first Sunday or the end, you know, today of the month is the last day of this month. And I do plan through it and go okay, what’s happening next month, what do I have on the calendar? That’s already there, maybe. But then I can look ahead even to the the next month and I we’ve talked about tracking and actually, you know, journaling in apps or however you want tracking your cycle. And I can now pull up in my premium app and go oh, okay, brown that time and that week is my is my period. And I know how I’m going to be feeling. Do I want to plan a barbecue with 20 other families? No, I just do not right. So I can I can look at invitations from people, I can look at events, I can look at my business, you know, commitments and go, even if I am committed to something, my expectations might be a little different. Right? That makes sense.
Yeah, yeah. So I think like if, if we can walk through it in a way, and this is this is how it was just recently said to me, and I like this. So if this resonates with you, then, you know, great, but we talked a little bit more about it being think of it being different seasons. So we’re going to talk about the very first part of your cycle being the day that you start flowing enough that you have to wear a pad or a tampon or whatever it is that you use, or a copper or whatever. So that first seven days from that point on, we consider that to be spring. So although you know although the first maybe two or three days, you might have a little heavier flow or you might feel a little more like I can’t actually do a whole lot because I might leak or I might just feel like a little on comfortable, it doesn’t mean that you actually mood wise are feeling that way. Like usually there’s some relief from that week before in the mood as soon as the period kicks in, right, so that is actually a really good time to think of it as new beginning. So what does spring mean? For eating, it means like nice leafy greens, light things, things that make you feel fresh, and, you know, make your body feel like you’re not heavy, which makes sense, right? Because that’s when you kind of feel like, oh, everything’s all around the pelvic area right then. So eating lighter, it also means like exercising in a way that’s lighter at the beginning, right? So going for walks, doing some yoga, you might do strength training, but it would be like low weights, maybe higher reps, or a little bit of Pilates, like just lower things. And then when it comes to like, your life, your that’s when you’re thinking like, I’m getting ready, right, it’s spring I’m planting. So I’m doing things that I enjoy doing. Because I know seven days from now I’m gonna be full in, I’m going to be creative, I’m going to be ready to do more. So starting to get that process in place, but obviously not having 20 people for for a barbecue.
But maybe knowing yourself too, like I know, there’s women who have no problem being sexually active during their their period. And I’m like, I only come close like, right, you’re like if I let you hugged me, right, like, so i Everyone has their own rhythm and their own kind of feeling. Some people are, you know, I think being, like you said about eating, I think that’s a really great tip. Because those days leading up, when we’re having that shift of hormones before we’re about to shed that lining, and everything starts to shift. It is like winter. And I think that’s a great comparison is that feeling of like, oh, everything’s socks, I can’t wait for spring like all those feelings, that is emotionally and kind of physically how your body is feeling that we do tend to carb up a bit, we do tend to crave more, you know, things that we maybe don’t normally eat. But then as you head into the week, or the four or five days of your period, having some of those fresher foods, the lighter things, I love that suggestion, because I know for myself personally, I can kind of get into this, like, Oh, I just ate like crap for three days, or I ate, you know, I had faster than I don’t normally eat, or I had chips yesterday, whatever. I Mazal just keep eating like that for the next few days. Because I feel blah. And yeah, if I do eat well, if I do pay attention to that, and I do eat fresh things, and I do have some of the lighter foods, I feel way better. Like it has a dramatic impact on your period, comfort as well, you know, eliminating dairy during your period, you know, if you eat it the rest of the time, you know, going easy on your carbs during that week, whatever, can definitely have an impact on cramping. You know, we’ve learned that and bloating and that sort of thing. So I think those are Yeah, that’s great. Good suggestions. Yeah.
Yeah, and I think the nice part is, as that week is ending, we tend to feel pretty decent, as you know, things are petering out. And so again, like we can start to think about doing, you know, if you’re somebody who works out, or if you’re somebody goes for walks, you can go for longer walks, or you can do something, it’s more rapid, or that takes a little more energy. And same thing with like giving your mind and mood, you tend to start being more focused and you’re able to be more creative. And so into that second week, it’s summer, like you’re full on in that in that real week, right after everything is slowed down. And I think that’s a, that’s a fun time, if you really plan that, that I think that’s funny because we, you know, when you think of your journal or your calendar, or whatever that you put down, like my now has, like I have a little star, they you know, week one real soon as it starts. And then a week later, I immediately go ahead and put two and put three input for and I might actually adjust a little bit of what I’ve put down in my, in my agenda, because I know now precisely what I’m going to probably be like, as far as energy level and focus and creativity and all of that. So that second week when it’s summertime then it’s like lots of variety of foods, right? enjoying all the fresh different colors of food. You know, light grains like quinoa or things that are you know, again, not not heavy sitting in the in the valley, but just enjoying all the abundance, right that we would have in summer. And at the same time, that’s when we have the most energy. So if you have work stuff to plan, like if you have an important meeting, stick it in that week, like you’re the most focused or the most creative, you have the most energy. That’s the week where if you have to burn the midnight oil, you can stay up later like you can handle it right. Not that you should ever get lost sleep. But you know you if you had to you that was projects. Yeah, exactly. If you have something big or if you want to have a party or if you want to plan your kids big birthday, if you have the choice between the weekend before or that weekend, aim for that weekend, right? Like there’s just things that you can can kind of switch around. And then as you head into that, the third phase, we’re heading into fall. So again, we’re still have good energy. We’re still in pretty great shape. We’re eating slightly more into the root vegetables. We’re starting to prep our body for winter, right so a little bit heavier. Yeah, but but only a little bit because we’re still follow still harvest, right. So it’s still all the good stuff, all the bright colors and all of that stuff, you know, if you if you’re a meat eater, then it’s your chicken and your fish and lighter proteins, things that are gonna make you feel good. You’re, you know, looking at that kind of thing. And then same time, you’re you’re starting to prep, like your brain is still focused, but your energy is starting to drop. And so you want to start thinking about okay, so what can I do this week? That doesn’t take a lot of creative energy, like, are there things I have to get done? That’s just rote, right? Like, I’ve done? Yeah, I have to do my taxes done, or I have to finish off this project, or I need to do something that’s just, you know, mundane tasks that you don’t have to think too much. So you’re starting to get into that phase. And then an exercise that week, you can still be, you know, again, more energetic, but as that week’s petering out, you might go to more like weight training, or again, you might go to things that are, I guess, not not super high impact, or is that end of things, and then you head into winter, right, it’s our week before our periods gonna start. That’s when we want comfort things. And so if we really nourish accordingly, because often women tell me they have huge cravings during that week. But usually, it’s because we seating ourselves with dense enough food to feel really grounded and really sustained. And so then we’re reaching for chips and chocolate and ice cream and all the garbage because it’s just like, we’re not full. And we’re we are more hungry. We actually do need more calories during that week. So you can have more, but choose things like stews and casseroles and you’ll one dish pot type things if you’re going to have a little more carbs, choose good carbs, but maybe you’re going to have some brown rice, or maybe you’re going to have something that’s denser. Right? So that just kind of sticks. Things like squash. Yeah, exactly. Enjoy your potatoes, sweet veggies, and enjoy them. Because it’s way better eating those and eating things that are heavier and eating more of that than reaching for all the garbage, right. So just make your choices, you’re about to go into week of eating nice and light and fresh. So enjoy that time. And obviously, this is the time where I would say you’re in hibernation, like you’re not out about for most people, they’re not out about wanting to be out socializing, you should be having more sleep. So actually being, you know, conscious of the fact that maybe a half hour earlier, bedtime is a good idea, half hour or later wake up. Other things to consider are okay, what do I need, you know, to get my brain to function through this because your brain has that kind of just getting through. And so like you’re not planning to do big meetings, then you’re not planning things that are going to take a lot of energy, like thought energy, or creativity, any of that you’re really
you’re giving yourself time off almost in that space and really doing things that are so simple tasks that just need to be done because they need to be done not because you have to, you know, really drive to move things forward. And obviously, things come up in life. And you can’t, you can’t always perfectly schedule. But sometimes you can delay sometimes you can do the minimal. And so this week, that’s your minimal week, that’s your week where you really are resting, relaxing self care, right, giving yourself the grace to say it’s okay, if I want to have a half hour earlier bedtime, it’s okay, if I want to binge watch three shows this weekend. Like that’s, that’s your time to do it. And then you’re gonna go back into spring so you can enjoy kind of that that time period. And and if you really watch in that week, what are the things that really stand out for you like maybe you’re a chocolate graver or whatever, it may mean that you need more magnesium because chocolate has magnesium. And so you if you start to watch because we generally have certain things that are our Go twos, you can actually start thinking about what what is my body craving? So is there some mineral or vitamin that’s prevalent in that thing, that I actually need to take care of myself during this week and get some of that either in another food or in a supplement or whatever, that will help me make it through that week feeling better, and come out the other side not feeling like oh, I just had a week of binging in every single way.
Yeah, absolutely. And I like that because there are you can kind of do a little investigative like, Okay, what what is actually in this that my body wants or that I am craving? What how can I meet that in another way? Or maybe I still do want to indulge in that but I can support my body in a more natural version, which is kind of what we’re all about. So yeah, yeah, it’s something that I think is key in everything we talked about the whole idea that what we never knew and it’s because of our lungs didn’t know or our aunts didn’t know it women of the past didn’t know this. It’s key to understand your cycle in this way as well because this affects fertility. This affects how you plan consumption. This affects you know, your your sexual moods as well and your desire moods and all those things change within your cycle and if we do pay attention to that I laughingly I told my hubby who you know, the other day I was like, Listen, if you just pay attention to the week, I’m ovulating. Like in that week, someone there, you can have it whenever you want. I’m here laughing and I’m like, think about it. You all know, when deer have mating season, you know, when the bears have mating season, it’s the same thing with us, we have a time in in our cycle where we’re definitely more interested in the opposite. If that’s how it works for us, you know, that we’re created for that purpose to get pregnant, that’s the idea is, you are more fertile than, and if you’re trying not to get pregnant, here’s the downside. If there’s a downside, that’s usually that same time as well. But if you’re going to use any, you know, form of I would talked a bit about trying to avoid, you know, hormonal contraception, but if you’re going to use prophylaxis of any kind, that’s your time to do that. And the rest of the time, you don’t have to write in a committed relationship, you can enjoy whatever your relationship, you know, looks like. But in that, you know, three to five day window when you have the potential to conceive. If you are trying to conceive, there’s a reason we feel more energetic, more, you know, lovey, more touchy, more interested, more, all of those things. It’s not just in the rest of our life, it is also in our sexual hormones, and all of that, too. So I think it’s kind of cool, because we never knew that. I know, I was not that I wasn’t taught in school. I don’t know, I remember yours might be different, because you’re a little bit older, just a little bit older than me. But health class high school, I will never forget. And thank goodness, we actually had a female gym teacher, she was fantastic. Our first year we didn’t we had a man and we never even touched sex ed, our second year grade 10 and 11. We didn’t have a great woman who did our gym class. And I remember, we learned about the male anatomy, female anatomy very, very brief. And what a condom is. That’s it in my entire high school career. Now I know they’ve changed this. And you know, some of it I agree, some of I don’t agree, because there’s the point. The point is, if we standing our cycles at a young age, young enough, right, when our when our cycles are becoming regular, and we can teach that, then we can avoid a lot of pitfalls. We can understand why, you know, suddenly I’m attracted to every boy that looks my way, at 16, the week I’m ovulating. And that I don’t have to fulfill that urge.
Or other ways for creative output for that type of energy, right? I just feel like we’ve done such an injustice. Generations like I’m talking back to the times right? Generations, where we just had no clue why we felt the way we did at the times of the month that we did. And the only thing that seems to her state stay attached to this whole process is the stigma of you know, oh, you’re just PMS Ng, that’s the only thing that ever seems to be taught or passed down to boys and girls, any gender of that’s just, that’s just that time of the month or your PMS saying it’s live. It’s very derogatory in some ways. And I think we are really missing the respect of what our body talks to us about through each of these cycles. And I love stuff we’ve talked about today. Because if we, again, if we track it first, or even just spend some time tuning into our body through each step of the way, so even if you don’t feel like using your app or tracking it or writing it down, I highly recommend it. Even if you don’t do it a couple of months to get a rhythm, you know that you can see. But even if you don’t if you just started day one of your period, and just tune in, take a minute every day and just be like how am I feeling? Am I How was my appetite? How’s my mental health feeling? How’s my mood, my emotions? As my gut feel? Right? How much energy do I have? You just kind of do that through each of those stages, then when your period ends, okay, now, how am I feeling? It’s that simple. Right? But if you don’t know, nobody tells us if we’re not taught or have this explained until we’re in our 30s or whatever having a baby or until surprise. You’re 18 and pregnant and didn’t know how it happened. The fact that you didn’t know that there was one tiny little window, that that’s possible. To me, it just kind of blows my mind that we’re not teaching this. Right.
Yeah. Yeah, well, and I have an 18 year old daughter, who you know, was was in school until the end of grade 10 and doesn’t know any of this still. So it’s not that much different. And this is like, for me, and I think this all the time now. I know her cycle. She knows her cycle because she doesn’t track and I track her. And partially because I want to make sure if anything’s off. We know like like how she’s going to know what to say to a doctor or To naturopath or anybody if she doesn’t even have a clue whether this is normal or not. So I think that’s an important reason to track but. But the other reason is, there are times of the month where I know I need to have a conversation with her, this is not the week to do it, right, or I know that she really needs to be encouraged in this area. And if I wait until next week, she’s more likely to actually move forward with the advice, right. So there’s just things again, that it just makes sense to know some of that even for your own kids. Because it just gives you a better relationship, you’re not, you know, butting heads as often. And the reception of that communication is much better, right, they receive it better, if she’s more in the mood to be very, you know, go getter kind of that week of her month, then that’s the week I’m going to say to her, Hey, maybe you should do some extra schoolwork, you know, this week, and really get on top of that topic. And she’s gonna be like, Yeah, that’s a great idea, she’s gonna bang it out. Because I put it into the right time for her that she naturally would be wanting to have that. And she just needed a little encouragement. So I think those kinds of things like, we just knew nothing. Like we knew that at a point in the month we bled, and that we could get pregnant. Because we had a period like that was basically it. We haven’t heard we can get pregnant.
I don’t even remember knowing that. Like, nobody even told me that that’s why you have a period. Right? Like, it’s just so amazing. The things that as you progress through life you go, I think, and part of it is in fairness is as women, we sort of just assume you assume you’re gonna figure this out, because we were all up to figure it out. When the reality is we need to have more conversations like this, we need to be sharing, you know, podcasts with our girls and, and sharing these conversations with them when they ask their questions to answer them, right. Even our little guys. I mean, my boys even just having age appropriate conversations, and we’ve talked about that, but so that this isn’t a taboo thing. This isn’t a you know, I don’t understand it’s stick with the stigma of what we know what we’ve carried on. So I love that we’re having these conversations, I hope you keep having these conversations. And you know, the more we can understand fertility, reproduction, our cycles, all of those things, it serves so many purposes. So I just encourage every parent’s right, it doesn’t have to be left up to mom and dads to partners, whatever, being able to have a respectful conversation around. You know, my kids know very well that there’s when I have my period, usually for the first day or two, I’m very tired, I just get I get low iron, I get very tired. So I tried to take care of that nutritionally, but they know that I’m going to have a nap. Like I never lay down, right. I’m just not a Napper. But my hubby will be like, Hey, I’m gonna take him out today. Like, I’ll say, it’s just that day, I need some, I need some quiet time, I need to be by myself for a little bit. They know. And he’ll be like, Yep, let’s go, no problem, I’ll take them. Let’s go to the park, whatever. So when you have those open conversations with your family, or your partners, or whoever you’re you’re living with and making life with, there’s a better understanding, which then brings respect, I think to the situation, it’s at the end of the day, it’s how it’s all handled, I think and how we share the information that’s important and clue our partners in, right clued them into your cycle, though, share your app with them or, or let them understand and explain some of these things and the shifts that happened in your body so it’s just a conversation, it’s just a normal thing that is discussed and is understood between your family and or your partner or whatever. So when it comes to planning pregnancy, this is all important. This is all a really a really key thing when we’re looking at again, our cycles, our energy levels, planning time to be together for consumption. Maybe it’s a getaway, maybe it’s having some kid free time, if you do have kids already, making sure you have some time planned in and knowing that window of opportunity is really important. It’s it’s I think one of the things that we think is just going to work. Right? It’s just going to happen. We’re no problem. I know so many families and couples who get you know excited about starting a family and then six months and they’re like nothing’s happening at um, timing, intercourse, but nothing’s happening. Well, are you timing it for an entire week? Are you giving yourself a whole week’s window around the time of ovulation? Because you need that full week? Oh, well, no, I had a work trip. And then I had this and we’re at a timezone change. And all of these things affect your ovulation. They all affect fertility. So when like you’re saying when we can understand each season of our cycle clearly and have a good understanding of what it looks like personally, because they’re all different. Then when you’re planning consumption or not, you know, avoiding consumption either way, but if you’re planning consumption, it does take the guesswork out of it. And I think couples would have a lot more success if again, if this understanding was there ahead of time. So sharing this with people share this episode out, I think it’s important that you Know that we get this message continuing to flow and to be spread. So please share this out and stick with us because we are going to be heading into pregnancy. We’re moving into you manage to figure out your cycle. You manage to hit it on the nose that swimmer made it where it needed to go. You got that positive tats now what so I’m looking forward to our next Conversations. We’re gonna be talking a bit about finding out you’re pregnant. first trimester kind of fun stuff like that. So we’ll talk soon and we’ll be back with more what your mama didn’t tell you.
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