Category Archives: Mind

Read #20 books: 101 Weird Ways to Make Money

101 Weird Ways to Make Money
by Steven Gillman

In the hopes of owning my own business, I need to get out of debt and start saving! I’ve had more time than money lately so I’ve been looking for ways to bring in additional income on the side. This book caught my attention at the library yesterday and I decided to take it home. After flipping through it I found a myriad of potential profit-makers that have a “big upside and not much competition”.

From among the list of low-to-no-cost startups I’ve compiled my Top 7:

7. Virtual Assistant
Basic secretarial and computer-related work from home can earn you $15 to $35.

6. Home Organizing Consultant
If you’re neat and organized you can start your own business de-cluttering garages, bedrooms, kitchens, closets, or home offices!

5. Used clothing seller
You’d be surprised what vintage Levi’s go for on eBay these days. If you’re willing to do the research and scope out garage sales and thrift stores for deals then this could be a money-maker for you.

4. Used book seller
Many used books can be turned for a profit on Amazon, depending on the title and quality. You can get started right away by selling a book online. Once you get some momentum and experience you can invest as little as $100 into selected books. And unlike physical bookstores it doesn’t matter how many books you have or what genres; if you have the title they want at a good price then they buy it.
The Home-Based Bookstore: Start Your Own Business Selling Used Books on Amazon, eBay or Your Own Web Site by Steve Weber

3. Diaper Cleaning Service
This idea may seem silly or super-gross to some, but I liked the idea of it for some reason. Many parents have been returning to cloth diapers in recent years, but they haven’t been returning to washing them. Now that cloth diaper services exist many parents prefer to have their dirty diapers picked up weekly, and it can even save them money over disposable diapers. has information on the cloth diaper industry

2. Specialized Tutor
If you’ve worked in schools previously (or currently) the idea of being a tutor may have occurred to you. As a teacher and tutor myself I can guarantee that the most money is to be made in starting your own business. Tutoring companies are great for gaining experience, but they charge the families upwards of $50-75 per hour and give you $15 or $20 if you’re lucky. Why not go into business with families directly and undercut those larger organizations? The only downside is that while you’re building your name and customer base, you may run into difficulties with families who just want to go with a company they trust. Thankfully not everyone is satisfied with those “big-box” tutoring groups and there’s still space for independent tutors. – free meeting place for tutors and clients

1. Pet Services
Pet services gets my number 1 because of the ease of access and the extremely low startup costs. The book actually breaks different pet services up, but I’ve rolled them together into my new temporary business. You’re looking at Minneapolis’ newest doggy poop scooper! I’ll be offering yard cleaning services, litter box cleaning, dog walking, pet sitting, and light grooming. You can do this too! All you need is a love for animals and a lack of squeamishness!

Here’s another great resource that lists 10 businesses you can start for less than $100!


So far over the past 6 months I have cut our debt in half and gotten current on my student loans through focused effort and planning. That may be what others would call “progress,” but as always, rebuilding your finances takes longer than you like. Celebrating your accomplishments can be hard when you’re not yet arrived at your ultimate goal. It’s hard specifically not to get caught up with wanting things to be different than they are now, or wanting more money, or wishing you could make things happen right away. That’s living in the future, which won’t help us  gain anything except a vague yet persistent dissatisfaction. I’ve been trying to counteract my impatience to reach my goals by employing mindfulness techniques. When I remind myself that happiness is always accessible to me in the present moment, I can find things to be grateful for right now. Here are some tips for finding happiness in the present moment!

Learn #15 Things: Let others be

                 ~ Day 19 ~
~ Thursday, January 1st, 2015 ~
Push Through the Dip
Nothing great is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.
– Epictetus

Completed my anchor habit for about 20 minutes with Remy. Led a great sitting meditation, then warm-up, then sitting poses from Om Yoga. Felt great to do it together… But then afterwards Remy told me honestly that he doesn’t like it when I ask him to do yoga the night before – it makes him feel obligated and cranky about it in the morning. He shared that he’d prefer if I simply told him in the morning, “I’m going to do my practice and you’re welcome to join me if you like.” I guess I can understand not wanting to do yoga out of requirement. I would always prefer to do yoga when I feel it’s my choice rather than something I have to do. I want him to feel good about yoga so I’m going to try to take this approach moving forward.

We can all learn something from my interaction with my partner this morning. We can make people feel negative thoughts or positive thoughts simply by demanding or leaving the opportunity open. Small differences in tone, demeanor, and word choice can make all the difference. When do you guilt someone you love into something because you don’t think they will do it unless they feel obliged to you?

Today’s action:

Do what it takes to keep your motivation strong. You’re over halfway through this program, but there are still a lot of actions to complete and changes to make. Catch up, get organized, review what you’ve done so far, and give yourself a dose of inspiration or an external reward.

Today I reviewed my notes and journals, and updated my business journal. I feel good about my progress, and I hope to do my weekly review this Sunday! I also took a nice shower and prepared for tomorrow by packing and organizing my work bag! Feelin’ great.

Learn #15 things: I was right all along!

Woohoo! Today I didn’t learn anything except that I was right all along about… Bathrooms! Yep that’s right… This may seem totally off on a tangent but bear with me hear and you too could learn something today! With any luck you’ll have been right all along too!

So I was just watching Mythbusters and this new episode in season 14 really caught my interest!

Down and Dirty/Earthquake Survival (Season 14 – Episode 3) was full of bathroom myths, and the one that caught my attention was related to the most used and dirtiest bathroom stalls in public restrooms. The myth postulates that because people think the first stall closest to the door is the dirtiest, they avoid it, or because of privacy reasons people will be more likely to choose the stall furthest from the door. They tested their hypothesis at a public restroom using ingenious door counters on the stalls. They tested for “dirtiness” by thoroughly cleaning the bathroom beforehand and then hilariously swabbing the toilets afterward.

So needless to say I paused the show and turned to my partner of 6 years and said, “this is a really important episode for me. I always do the same thing in public restrooms probably because I assume everyone thinks like me.”

“Oh yeah?,” He said, “what do you do?”

“Well I walked in there once a long time ago and thought, ‘I don’t want to use the first one, everyone uses the first one, so I’ll go in the second one, it’s probably the cleanest.’ Only right after I had that thought I had another one, ‘Oh but if you think that, so do other people! Everyone probably actually uses the second one!’ And ever since then I’ve always used the first stall, privacy or no. I believed it was the cleanest.”

And since you’ve probably guessed since the title of my post was “I was right all along” that I WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG! but…

The results of the Mythbusters study was that not only was the first stall closest to the door the least used, but it was by far the cleanest. The 2nd stall was the most used and the second dirtiest, the third was the next most used and the dirtiest, and the last one was the second least used and second cleanest.

So to sum it up for you, your best bet is using stall number 1 (closest to the door) or stall number 4 (or the last stall) in a 4-stall restroom! Probably don’t use the second stall!

Mythbusters data was as follows:
Stall 1 – 23 users – 168 colonies bacteria
Stall 2 – 38 users – 267 colonies bacteria
Stall 3 – 34 users – 290 colonies bacteria
Stall 4 – 24 users – 231 colonies bacteria

Learn #15 New Things: Where Is Your Time Going?

                ~ Day 16 ~
~ Monday, December 29th, 2014 ~
Find Out Where is Your Time Going
The essence of self-discipline is doing the important thing rather than the urgent thing.
– Barry Werner

Completed my anchor habit for 50 minutes today. Did recipe for morning routine including sun salutations. 4 minutes mindfully making cards of yoga flow to put up on the wall. Sitting meditation for 6 minutes on the qualities of the person I need to become. 2 minutes offering up my practice, 2 minutes chanting Om, and 10 minutes doing daily warm-up. 26 minutes of yoga and daily relaxation. I did the whole sequence from Om Yoga today, and even did a recipe that included head stand, shoulder stand, and back bending poses in addition to the sun salutation sequence. Felt good to hold my headstand for 9 full breaths and my shoulder stand for 10. Also, it’s 11:30 am and I’ve journaled for the day! Hooray! I think this is the earliest in the day I’ve been all caught up on journals. Thank you solitude and winter break!

Tonight after failing to find the new DharmaCore location Remy and I meditated at home in my new meditation room! I meditated on the qualities I need to become, reciting “I am…” Ten times for each quality. I feel like I have been focusing on organization and responsibility a lot this this week

Today’s action: Carry around a small notepad or piece of paper today, and record, to the minute, how you spend your time. When you’re done, group similar tasks and total up the time you spend on them.

My Day

Slept until 9:15am.
Went to the bathroom
Sat on the couch talking with Remy until 10am
Took the dogs out, sent Remy off 10:05am
Turned on oven to make hash browns
Cleaned off yoga mat with wipes and spray until 10:30
Made yoga flow cards, got hash browns, ate mindfully and started yoga 10:35
Yoga until 11:25
Finished anchor habit journal 11:30
Wrote about Day 16 until 11:37
Turned off Fetlife notifications 11:37-11:40
Called The Current 11:40-11:43
Unsubscribing from emails 11:43-12:48 (1 hr 5 mins)
Emailing Rachel until 1:18 (30 mins)
Unsubscribing from emails 1:18-1:48
Lunch while reading Artemis Fowl 1:48- 3:00
Email/Facebook check 3:00-3:10
Folding laundry 3:10-3:30
Talk to Remy on the phone 3:30-3:40
Folding laundry 3:40-4:35
4:35-4:38 Got a snack Dill-o
Put away and hang up laundry 4:45-5:15
Put away dry dishes/unload dishwasher/reload dishwasher 5:15-5:45
Preparing dinner/talking with Remy 5:50-6:20
Eating dinner/watching Clarlie Jade 6:20-6:50
Washing hair in sink and drying/styling it 6:50-7:05
Watching Charlie Jade 7:05-7:20
Driving to DharmaCore 7:20-7:30
Groceries at Aldi and Seward 7:30-8:30
Put away groceries 8:30-8:40
Prep for meditation 8:40-8:43
Sitting meditation 8:43-9:03
Prep mini-hot dog snack 9:03-9:12
Texted with Crystal from TCDP 9:12-9:15
Watching Charlie Jade/snacking 9:15-10:00
Prepping Remy’s lunch 10:00-10:15
Watching My Little Pony, updating this 10:15-11:15


Grooming: 15 minutes
Yoga: 50 minutes
Meditation: 20 minutes
Chatting: 2 hours
Chores: 4 hours 5 minutes
iPad: 3 hours
-Writing: 1 hour 12 minutes
Cooking/Eating: 2 hours 15 minutes
Talking on phone: 16 minutes
TV: 3 hours

Accomplish #10 things you didn’t think you could do: Make a 10 Year Plan

~ Day 9 ~
~ Monday, December 22nd, 2014 ~
Make the Plans
In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is everything.
– Dwight D. Eisenhower

Completed my anchor habit today for ~15 minutes. I did sun salutations from Om Yoga. Actually did the whole process – sit first, chant, daily warm-up, then sequence, then savasana, sit, chant, and offer up my practice, it felt good to do the whole routine!

Today’s action:
Create plans for the achievement of your goals. Be as detailed as possible without making this an overwhelming task that causes you to procrastinate. Set both long-term and short term benchmarks, getting more specific in your plans as the time frame shortens.
Since each of your long-term goals has an associated one-year goal with it, you can combine each pair into one plan, which increases in detail as the time frame shortens. For any additional one-year goals you set, create separate plans for each.


This week:
X Read DONA certification packet
Research business/nonprofit models
Pay bills and make a credit card payment

Next week:
Finish “The Birth Partner”
Fill out DONA paperwork, start scheduling births
Research meditation retreats and meditation certifications

Read a book (DONA)
X Attend birth 1
Meet with Matt and any other potential sperm donors
By end of the month: finish your research on business/nonprofit model, decide which one for “the space”
Take childbirth education or breastfeeding class

End of Q1 (March):
Write business model/nonprofit plan for “the space”
Read 3 books (DONA)
Have $600 saved for yoga teacher training (YTT)
Start artificial inseminations
Take childbirth education or breastfeeding class

End of Q2 (June):
Research funding sources for “the space”
Read 3 books
Have $1200 saved for YTT
Attend birth 2
Attend birth 3
Continues artificial inseminations
Doctor visit?
DONA basic knowledge self-assessment

End of Q3 (September):
Fundraise for “the space”
Read 3 books
Have $1800 saved for YTT
Artificial insemination working? Evaluate at 6 months.
DONA membership + application fee
Write birth essay

Year 1 (2015):
Get finances under control and start saving*
Participate in a 3 or 10 day meditation retreat
Get DONA Certification
Read 12 books
Have $2400 saved for YTT

Evaluate conception efforts at 1 year

End of June 2016 (1.5 Years):
Have $3600 saved for YTT
Read 18 books

Year 2 (2016):
Have $4800 saved for YTT by end of December
Read 24 books

End of June 2017 (2.5 Years):
Have $6000 saved for YTT by end of June
Yoga teacher training

Year 3 (2017):
Be 50% self-employed (20 hours self/20 hours Brightmont)
Have $1200 saved for house
Meditation certification
Read 36 books

Year 4 (2018):
Have $3600 saved for house
Read 48 books

Year 5 (2019):
Have $6000 saved for house
Read 60 books
By 30th birthday:
Have a baby!
Open a space! Be 100% self-employed

Year 6 (2020):
Have $8400 saved for house
Read 72 books

Year 7 (2021):
Have $10,800 saved for house
Read 84 books

Year 8 (2022):
Have $13,200 saved for house
Read 96 books

Year 9 (2023):
Have $15,600 saved for house
Read 108 books

Year 10 (2024):
Have $18,000 saved for house
Read 120 books
Buy a house (make it green)
Read all the books we own


Learn #15: Get Clear on Your Fears

~ Day 5 ~
~ Thursday, December 18th, 2014 ~
Get Clear on Your Fears
Set aside a certain number of days, during which you should be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with coarse and rough dress, saying to yourself all the while: ‘Is this the condition that I feared?’
– Lucius Seneca

Daily action:
Define your worst-case scenario fears of what could happen if you took action to change the aspects of your life that you listed yesterday. Once you’ve described your fears, in detail and in writing, consider how painful they actually would be. On the off-chance that these worst possible outcomes actually did come to fruition, what steps would you take to rebuild?
– Matt Frazier

Completed my anchor habit for 8 minutes. Did seated poses from Om Yoga. Balancing in squat with my heels down is stil hard. I was in a hurry this morning so I kind-of hurried through my last few poses after my 5 minute alarm went off. At least I did it!

Fear of failure:
If Remy and I save up the money for me to get my yoga teacher training, go to yoga therapy school, or if I want to open a yoga studio and meditation center, there is the chance that I could fail. What if it’s too hard to build a clientele and I’m too impatient? What if there isn’t enough interest in yoga to sustain another yoga studio in Minneapolis? What if people don’t like my teaching style? What is my teaching style? How will I get people to respect me as a business owner and manager? What if I don’t do a good job running a business due to lack of knowledge/experience or simply laziness?

What if I save up all that money and start something, and it does completely fail? What if I lose whatever I’ve built and push us further into debt? Do I think my partner would support me if I failed like this? What if we couldn’t afford our rent, got evicted, and had to move in with friends or family?

I think I can handle waiting and working to build clientele. I may be frustrated, and have to work hard not to overwhelm my partner with my worries, but I know I could get through it. I may take it personally if new clients don’t come back, or if my friends or family refuse to support my business. This may be painful, but if I am frustrated it will be because I’m excited about my new business and even more excited to share it with people. And I’m a pretty creative person, so if things weren’t great I’m sure I could use my ingenuity to figure something out.

I should do some research to discover more about the market in Minneapolis: where are studios located, what do they charge, and how do they work? Is bet there is room for one more! Especially in an area where there are no studios. I want to serve community rather than make huge profits. I trust in myself and have confidence in the fact that I am likeable enough to gain a regular following. I worry about being a small woman and trying to be taken seriously. There are two choices for people like me I think: try to change myself to present a more “mature, powerful” image, or pursue my dreams as myself and work for acceptance and respect as such. I don’t think I’m willing to conform and present a more acceptable image, so my route may be longer but I’ll get there.

I think for the first few years my excitement and energy will keep me working hard to succeed. If I lose my commitment to my business it’ll be because I’m disappointed in how it’s performing. If I don’t have as many customers as I want, or I’m unhappy about something, I am slightly worried I might mentally adjust my commitments without actively making a plan. I saw the owner of the Coffee Hag do just that – she let her business slide until it was no longer profitable and she didn’t even seem to care. Being your own boss means having discipline and knowing when to call it quits if it comes to that.

If I do ultimately fail to build something I’m proud of, and my whole life falls apart, I guess I would feel ashamed and guilty. If I let Remy support me financially and emotionally along the way and then I fail I would feel responsible for not only “ruining” my life by his as well. But when I think about it, Remy isn’t nearly as stressed out about money and debt as I am, and I think he would support me no matter what. We would rebuild. We have friends and family that we could live with in the short term, and I have lots of other work experience. I could go back to teaching or tutoring, fundraising, or GLBT work. And I think if I can trust in those good possibilities, I don’t have to be so afraid. 🙂

Read #20 Books: The Radical Doula Guide


As you may already know if you’ve ever met me, my world is lived in the highly political, the in-between, and in the realm of social justice activism. So when I heard about the release party for The Radical Doula Guide back in 2012, a mere few months after I received my doula training, I couldn’t resist the opportunity. And boi am I glad I went. Getting to network with people from groups like Isis Rising (a “prison-based pregnancy, birth, and parenting project provided to women currently serving time at the Shakopee Women’s Prison”), Everyday Miracles (a non-profit “dedicated to providing education and doula services to low income families with the goal of improving birth outcomes”), and other self-identified radical doulas like myself was reason enough!

Not only did I get this great reference guide, and the chance to find out about some great organizations… But this release party also represented the start of a new organization that I am now a part of. The SPIRAL Collective is a full-spectrum doula organization like those described in the book. The Radical Doula Guide opens with:

“The guide provides an introduction to full spectrum doula work—supporting people during all phases of pregnancy, including abortion, miscarriage, birth and adoption—as well as a discussion of how issues like race, class, immigration, gender and more affect our work as doulas”

Now, almost 2 years later I found my bookmark in this book only halfway through and decided it was time to finish it. After rereading it from cover to cover I feel reinvigorated with all that it inspired me to consider.

For example, it’s got me thinking a lot about how race, class, gender, sexuality, age and ability impact bodies. We have a lot of work to do if we want to see a reproductively just world. I give this primer 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to anyone – not just doulas, midwives, doctors and nurses. It’s a quick read and it’s worth it!

Learn #15 New Things: Abortion Support

Abortion Doula Workshop

Today I went to an amazing day-long workshop to become a trained abortion doula (support provider). To find out what a doula is, check out my website: While I may not walk though the halls of the school I work in proclaiming my love of being an abortion doula, I am pretty open about it in the rest of my life. I love being an abortion doula.

One things I don’t think anyone loves is abortion. Abortion causes a lot of heads to turn due to its high profile in U.S. Elections and in the courts. But the fact is that abortion is necessary in today’s society.

On one hand, I’ll admit that in a perfect world, everyone would have access to sex education and birth control, no one would be coerced or forced into nonconsensual sex, or have unexpected pregnancies, and abortion would be obsolete. On the other hand, I just today read a well-researched article that said almost 2 million women are raped each year in the U.S. And that’s just women who were willing to admit it. So many more people are the victim of spousal/partner control, a lack of education, and/or religious/cultural/health/whatever barriers when it comes to family planning. It’s not a political issue to me, it’s a personal issue and a personal decision that every person should have the right to make for themselves. Because I firmly believe in working for the socially underrepresented and oppressed, I cannot turn away from those who need my help – possibly even more than those who choose to give birth. It is not pity that draws me to the aid of those seeking to end their pregnancies, it is camaraderie, compassion, and a desire to lessen the suffering that is the commonality within us all.

Article referenced:

Read #20 books: Things Fall Apart


I just finished reading the tale of Okonkwo, a Nigerian man growing up amidst violence, war, suffering, balanced by a strong sense of tradition, ritual, and social coherence. In this story the protagonist is a self-made who has worked all his life to overcome his father’s weaknesses. Okonkwo is a champion wrestler, a prosperous farmer, husband of three wives and father to several children.

Yet things start to unravel for Okonkwo when a young boy from another village comes to live with him and his family. Okonkwo becomes fond of the boy – treating him as his own son – until a plague of locusts prompts the village elders to sacrifice the boy to appease the gods. Things go downhill for Okonkwo so much that he is eventually exiled from his village for seven years.

This book is fraught with themes of colonialism, gender, masculinity, and community. It’s deep but it’s plainly written and could be a quick read. You’ll be thinking about it long after though.

Take #2 Classes: Queer and Trans* Pregnancy and Birth Series

This week is the final week of Remy and my’s 4 -week Queer and Trans* Pregnancy and Birth series!

For the past 4 weeks we’ve been attending a radically-informed class on childbirth, pregancy, and childbirth hosted at Minnehaha Free Space in South Minneapolis with Meg Novak, a certified professional midwife in the Twin Cities.

Meg is great. She is the proprietor of Bella Luna Birth Services and provides both midwife services and doula services. For those out there that are totally new to the birth world, a midwife is someone who delivers a baby, and a doula is someone who provides emotional and physical support to the birthing parent. Many people have been doulas and they don’t even know it! As you may know, I have been trained as a doula, but I have yet to provide these services to anyone.

One of the first things we learned was that there are two kinds of midwives: certified professional midwives and certified nurse-midwives. Nurse-midwives are authorized to work in hospitals and can handle higher-risk birth situations due to their medical training. Professional midwives are only licensed to perform in-home births, but in Minnesota they can even perform in-home breech births, and multiples! So if you thought you had to give birth in a hospital with breech or twins, think again, you could do it in the comfort of your own home! The only possible negative is that they cannot prescribe medications, so if you go with a CPM,

The next thing we “learned” I already knew well. Let me get up on my little soap box, just a sec…climbs… No low-risk births should happen in a hospital! For one thing hospitals are places of business and places to receive care for illnesses. Even though doctors have come a LONG way from treating pregnancy like a disease, they still operate under legal processes and policies that can get in the way of the natural process of birth. Birth is unique to everyone, and I simply don’t believe it can be process-ized the way hospitals try to force it to be. I don’t blame them necessarily, processes and procedures save a lot of lives and legal anguish, but their well intentions don’t save pregnant people from the coercion into unnecessary procedures. Sometimes birthing people are overtly pressured into drugs, procedures or surgeries by doctors or nurses who use “the health of the child” as a motivator before they really should. More often though, this pressure is inadvertent, and due largely to hospital regulations and insurance companies that attempt to create a prescription for birth, and which cause anyone who falls outside of the normal bell curve to be left with a less than desirable birth experience.

The World Health Organization strongly recommends that 15% be the upper-most limit to cesarean rates because they are not necessary for more than 9-15% of birthing people. This is also the recommendation because vaginal birth is the safest method of birth there is. There is incontrovertible scientific evidence for this. Yet in Minneapolis the only hospital that comes close to this rate is St. Josephs in St. Paul, and their maternity floor is run by a team of midwives. The rest of Minneapolis hospitals operate at around the national average of 30%. So if you have a birth in a hospital you have a 1/3 chance of having a cesarean section. I understand that there are a lot of factors that contribute to this, but in the end, for whatever reason, hospitals and doctors are contributing to a cesarean rate that is simply unacceptable in my eyes.

So why do we continue to feel like the safest option for birth is the hospital? I think the answer is because we are taught to think so. We are taught that birth is potentially very dangerous and that we should trust doctors to be the authority on birth, not ourselves. But if you agree that birth should be a natural process, only intervened if absolutely necessary, then you should not believe that. I can say as a pre-med student myself that most doctors don’t receive training in natural unassisted birth, and many go their entire schooling without seeing an unmedicated birth. How is this possible? Doctors are taught a certain way that birth is supposed to happen, and doctors are the authority in hospitals, so if you’re in a hospital and you find out you don’t conform to what their idea of how a birth should go, you could be out of luck.

Here’s some websites. Do your own research.

Ok: I’m off my soap box now.

We’ve also discussed fertility, family planning, and what it takes to get pregnant if you’re not having heterosexual intercourse. I found this information extremely helpful as my partner and I move forward on our plans to start a family. One of the things many people don’t consider is how long it can take to get pregnant. In Minnesota you cannot get a diagnosis of infertility until you and your partner have been trying for a least a year. This is significant because many fertility treatments and procedures are preceded by a diagnosis. But luckily, if you don’t need fertility treatments you can “do it yourself” so to speak. Since my partner and I have a close friend who is willing to be a donor, we won’t have to buy sperm, or go to any clinic. The hardest part is monitoring yourself to know when you’re ovulating!

Monitoring your ovulation can be done many ways. Many people ovulate – or release an egg – 12 to 16 days before their period. Your menstrual cycle can be measured from the first day of your menstrual period until the first day of her next period. On average, a person’s cycle normally is between 28-32 days, but some women may have much shorter or much longer cycles.

Ovulation can be calculated by starting with the first day of the last menstrual period (LMP) or by calculating 12-16 days from the next expected period.  Most women ovulate anywhere between Day 11 – Day 21 of their cycle, counting from the first day of the LMP.

I have a menstrual calendar on my phone that tracks my cycle for me. The reason you want to know your ovulation period is because this is when you are most fertile or most likely to get pregnant. But just counting days isn’t the most accurate; the most accurate method of tracking ovulation is by tracking your basal body temperature. Basal body temperature is your temp upon waking in the morning – before you get out of bed or eat or drink anything. During ovulation your basal body temperature or waking temp will increase 0.4 to 1.0 degree. This change may be too marginal to detect physically, but taking your waking temp each day can help you keep track of your fertile period.

Next we discussed the stages of pregnancy, discomforts and herbs. I already knew the stages of labor from my time as a premed student. I’ll skip this for time-sake but if you want to know more try this website is very informational but highly gendered.

I was also very excited to learn about natural remedies and herbs that are great for the discomforts of pregnancy. Everyone should use herbs and natural remedies, but they are especially helpful for pregnant people because there are many drugs you can’t take when you’re pregnant. I learned that red raspberry leaf is a particularly good uterine builder – and good for the first 2 trimesters (but not the 3rd because it can cause contractions!). I also learned that these other herbs can be particularly helpful during pregnancy.

  • Peppermint Leaf – Helpful in relieving nausea/morning sickness and flatulence
  • Ginger root – Helps relieve nausea and vomiting
  • Slippery Elm Bark – (when the inner bark is used orally in amounts used in foods) Used to help relieve nausea, heartburn, and vaginal irritations
  • Oats & Oat Straw – Rich in calcium and magnesium; helps relieve anxiety, restlessness, and irritated skin

Meg was great about finding resources and information on all of our questions. She even came up with recommendations for yoga and fertility as well as pregnant yoga.

In our upcoming class we will be talking about the postpartum period, breast- or chestfeeding, cloth diapers, and baby swaddling. I can’t wait to learn even more!

One of the other great aspects of this class was meeting other people who are in a similar situation as us. We know lots of great straight people who are having babies, but their situation and ours feel worlds apart. Perhaps it is the ease with which heterosexual couples are able to conceive, or maybe it’s their ability to walk through the world feeling like hospitals and doctors were designed for them, but I really appreciate meeting people who share a story that is more similar to my own. As I continue to try to figure out this messy, unpredictable thing called life, the more I realize how important and necessary community is to me. So I will end with gratitude. I am grateful for this knowledge and for having been brought together with this wonderful group of people to talk about babies!