Kristin Putnam has been a Billings Ovulation Method instructor since 2010. She served on the BOMA-USA Board of Directors for 6 years, and is now representing WOOMB International and the Billings Ovulation Method to the United Nations. She and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest with their 8 children. You can connect with Kristin here: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
1 What made you want to become a Billings instructor?
I found Billings through a back door. I was very reluctant to try NFP at all, but after attending an informational session for Creigthon, I became a passionate convert. It was in talking to everyone about my success and love for NFP that I felt called to become a teacher. After looking into the cost, time commitment, and travel necessary to teach Creighton, my instructor mentioned Billings as an alternative. I was a little skeptical of Billings at first, but after going to training I loved the solid scientific foundation of the method and the simplicity in using the method. I have been an avid Billings supporter ever since.
2 What was the process like to learn to become an instructor? What were the costs (time, money, etc.)?
There are a few ways to become a Billings Instructor. The first and best way is to attend a Teacher Training Weekend. These are held all over the country several times a year. To find one near you click here.
These weekends are packed full of sessions from Thursday evening to Sunday afternoon. An exam is offered at the end of the weekend, and those who pass can enter into a supervised practicum. The Practicum consists of a maximum of two years in which the Trainee instructs and provides follow-up to a minimum of 6 clients/couples, preferably with a variety of reproductive situations under the guidance of a BOMA-USA assigned Supervisor. The Practicum culminates in an evaluation by the Trainee’s Supervisor. The Supervisor evaluates the Practicum based on Supervisor/Trainee interactions and all the documentation submitted by the Trainee. Upon recommendation by the Supervisor, the Trainee will be approved to take the Final Evaluation.
Certifications are good for three years, after which there are many opportunities to re-certify. Cost of training is $675 for an individual or $775 for a couple.
3 Can you briefly describe the way this method works in light of the particular biomarkers it tracks?
The Billings Ovulation Method tracks the sensation and appearance of cervical mucus to paint a full picture of hormonal activity throughout a woman’s cycle. Biologically, the hypothalamus in the brain stimulates the pituitary gland, which tells the ovaries to produce two different types of hormones: FSH and LH. These two hormones do many things, among them stimulating the rise and fall of estrogen and progesterone, and the corresponding changes in cervical mucus. We can identify the hormonal changes by paying attention to the mucus produced by the cervix. As hormones rise and fall, the cervical mucus production changes and creates a change in sensation at the women’s vulva (external part of vaginal opening). In Billings, a woman charts these changes and, with the help of a trained instructor, is able to see a very clear day-by-day picture of her hormonal activity, confirming ovulation, and monitoring her reproductive health.
4 What are the main reasons you’ve encountered for why women choose this method? Is there any area you think this method particularly excels? Can improve?
Many of my clients chose Billings because they found their previous methods to be ineffective, cumbersome, or confusing. Billings is straightforward, effective, simple, and easily tailored to every woman regardless of cycle regularity. There are only four simple rules that are applied to postpone or achieve pregnancy and these rules never change. The Billings Method is truly global, being taught all over the world to women from all cultures, backgrounds, education levels, and income levels. It can empower every woman to know her body. As our founder Evelyn Billings said, “This is information that every woman ought to have.”
5 How has being an instructor enhanced your understanding of your own fertility and/or faith?
Becoming a Billings Instructor was actually the last straw in my husband and I converted to the Catholic faith. We had practiced NFP since the beginning of our marriage in 2006, but in a very protestant way. We used barrier methods and had no understanding of the Catholic Church’s teachings on sexuality at all. It was at training in 2010 that I heard some of these teachings for the first time, and I came home telling my husband about it. After reading The Good News About Sex and Marriage by Christopher West, my husband and I became convinced of the truth of the teaching on contraception. For the first time, we saw that the Catholic Church was teaching a truth that our denomination was not. It caused us to ask the question, “What else are we missing?” We came into the Church together in 2011. This experience helps me as a teacher to be able to speak to those skeptics (like I was), and to meet everyone where they are in their journey with grace. NFP is not an easy truth to swallow; it takes time to see the beauty of it. But when you see it, it can make all the difference in the world.
6 What resources can you share for women interested in learning more about this method? Communities, books, websites, etc.
I also recommend reading The Billings Method by Dr. Evelyn Billings & Dr. Ann Westmore.
For those looking for community, search Facebook for the group, “NFP Support: Billings Ovulation Method®”.