Saturday, August 8, 2009

Natural Family Planning: Part 1

I've been thinking of writing a post, or a series of posts, depending on how much I have to say, about Natural Family Planning (NFP). It is such an incredibly important topic for married, practicing Catholics, yet because of the subject involved, it doesn't get much attention. I don't remember it coming up at all in RCIA (maybe it was one of the classes I had to work during) and I shockingly didn't know about the Church's teaching on contraception until my husband and I began researching on our own. I really should have caught on earlier, when a nurse came in and taught the method in a Catholicism and Sexuality class I took during college, but I was too busy arguing with the Professor on every single point (even if we had agreed on the various subjects, as we probably would today, I don't think that we would have gotten along) to actually learn anything. I do remember thinking that people who used NFP were crazy and would probably have several dozen kids.

Fast forward to the present. My feelings have changed dramatically. I was a bit panicked when we started using NFP. I could have come up with a dozen "just reasons" for us to avoid pregnancy. Looking back I don't feel like any of them are "just" anymore. As I've grown in my faith my perspective has changed. I've realized that reasons that can seem "just" at the moment, can definitely be relatively unimportant in hindsight. Where we needed to be financially has changed. If we kept waiting until we had a house and our car and student loans paid off we would still be waiting (and would probably be waiting for another decade). Sometimes you just have to trust that God knows what he's doing, even when it doesn't follow our carefully laid out plans.

Once I was off of artificial birth control (abc) pills I noticed a huge difference in my temperament. I had dramatic mood swings as a result of the hormones, along with frequent migraines. Even when the doctor prescribed the low dose pills I felt horrible. Looking back it makes sense. God has masterfully created our bodies. Messing around with the hormones is bound to do just that- make a mess.

Of course, I haven't even gotten to the reasons behind using NFP, from the Church's teachings to the science behind the damage that can be done by ABC... which is why this is only Part One.

My husband and I decided that if we were going to be Catholic, we were going to truly follow the teachings of the Church that Christ established on Earth and that included following the Church's teachings on birth control. It seemed like a huge step at the time and it wasn't easy (or at least it didn't seem easy at the time). But it was one of the best decisions that we've made.

Now I need to organize everything I've learned about NFP, just reasons (that'll just be opinion), the Church's teachings and the science behind NFP and ABC. And of course, the abortion issue is bound to come up because many women don't realize that most birth control pills can actually cause abortions. But putting all these subjects into words (or at least starting to) will have to wait until Sadie's next nap!


  1. Can't wait to read all of your sections on NFP! I love reading about NFP and I'm not even married yet.
    I didn't know anything about NFP during RCIA either, they never even mentioned it. I only heard about it from talking with my boyfriend about contraceptives. Growing up Lutheran they were of course very common place.
    I've been researching more and more on NFP and I get so excited to learn something new. It's amazing how much I've learned about my body that I never knew before. It really is interesting.
    And I just love how it helps couples realize that a child is a blessing. It's unfortunate how in today's day and age so many people see children as a burden.
    I read a book a while back about a Protestant couple using NFP, so I'm only hoping that it becomes more and more common practice among Christians. The book review for that is in my blog on June 8th if you wanted to take a look. Perhaps you've read the book? It's called Open Embrace, by Sam and Bethany Torode. I would just really like for NFP to be shown to all Christian families, not just Catholics.

    Anyways, sorry for the long response, but looking forward to reading more!

  2. "My husband and I decided that if we were going to be Catholic, we were going to truly follow the teachings of the Church that Christ established on Earth..."

    We feel the same way. It's so frustrating to meet "Catholics" who don't live the faith. It is definitely not easy. There's so much that we naturally pull against, but to me, that's just another indication that we've got it right, because resistance is usually a sign that you're on the right track. :)


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