Cycle Trackers

or there’s an app for that.

When I was on the pill, I never tracked my cycle. Why would I? It came like clockwork. And any time it didn’t, it stood out in my mind. (To this day, I still remember one time it came about 48 hours late. I was a sophomore in college. It was summer. I distinctly remember walking to my car after class, talking on the phone to Liz, going over what my plan would be if I were pregnant.)

When I went off the pill, I quickly turned to my smart phone. I knew there were cycle tracking apps – plenty of them. I did a quick scan through the list and selected one of the better rated ones and off I went. I didn’t hate it, didn’t love it. It was a very basic calendar-type app. It made some loose “predictions,” but nothing else.

After a few months of trying, without success (right around this point), I went back to the app store in search of a different app. I was looking for something to help me get pregnant. Now. (Now, I know that an app is obviously not a miracle worker, but I was also desperate and feeling so useless that I wanted something, anything, to help.) When I saw a sponsored blog post about Glow, it felt like a sign.

I quickly downloaded it and happily spent an afternoon transferring data from the old app to the new. Glow was so sleek and shiny. So much data! I can quantify every day! Wheeeeeee! It was around this time that I also started tracking my temperature and Glow made it simple to track. Plus they had a built-in user board, where women could ask questions or commiserate or even follow each other’s pregnancies (I saw several, private boards with names like “May 2015 babies!”). How nice.

But then. I discovered the downside of having quick access to communities. I could not stop reading through them and every time I did, I would leave feeling more upset and miserable than ever. I wrote this, mostly in jest, but there are underlying issues.

It’s so unfair that she’s pregnant when she doesn’t even know how ovulation actually works.

It’s so unfair that she’s pregnant and she’s clearly overweight.

It’s so unfair that she’s pregnant and she tried “forever” which was actually two months.

And over and over and over and over until I felt terrible about myself and my poor non-cooperative ovaries.

To be perfectly fair, I had no right to judge these women. And numerous women clearly thrive in the communities. I just couldn’t be there, it wasn’t for me. I couldn’t leave without comparing myself (which, again, was unfair to those ladies AND to myself). And, like an addiction, I couldn’t stop going there. In the parking lot waiting for exercise, sitting in traffic, on my lunch break. All the time. I couldn’t open the app without going into the community. Even after I made it hard for myself (hiding all of the boards), I still sought it out. I thrived on being able to give advice to other women (those wanting to know about BBT tracking) or giving my two-cents on an ovulation test reading (I have seen A LOT of ovulation tests and that one is far from positive). And as much as I enjoyed that, I would inevitably click on one that I knew I shouldn’t have and end up depressed.

After a couple of weeks of that nonsense, I deleted the app and went in search of a new one.

Ovia Fertility had good ratings and, more importantly, no community feature. I transferred my data and never looked back. In case you’re in the market for a fertility app, I do recommend it. The app makes it very easy to track numerous things like BBT and cervical position, how much you slept and what you ate, your weight and how many steps you took in a day, any symptoms (from PMS to sickness), and, of course, your period. They have an online portal that allows you to do everything you would from the app. It creates charts and reports. It’s not pink, if that bugs you. (It’s yellow, if that does.) It’s positive and cheery, but not in an annoying way. It gives you feedback on the signs/symptoms you enter.

For instance, I just logged on and saw: You reported feeling happy. It’s excellent that you’re feeling happy right now – let’s make this cycle the one!

Thanks Ovia! I really want to make this cycle the one too!