My husband and I were not yet Catholic when we decided hormonal contraception was not for us. In fact, had we been educated on the subject we got married, we never would have used it at all. My doctors had prescribed it for me it for “health management” when I was in high school and I hated it with a passion. Natural Family Planning (NFP) isn’t always a picnic, however there is a lot to love about it. We just observed NFP week. So here are just a few of the things I love about it.
1. It’s a “we” thing
In an ideal world, the woman would observe, the man would chart, and together they both decide how to use the gift of their fertility. NFP incorporates both spouses and teaches them to respect one another. It takes two to discern whether to achieve a pregnancy.
2. Awareness of what your body is doing is awe-inspiring
I am in full knowledge of what is going on and what is triggering hormones to do what and when. Knowledge is power.
3. Single women can (and should) do it too
In fact, I hope to encourage young women to learn it ASAP and encourage mothers to have their daughters begin charting at the onset of their fertile years. They obviously wouldn’t be charting to achieve or avoid pregnancy, but the medical knowledge a woman can gain from it as well as the appreciation and acceptance of her fertility can never come too early! Your body is a gift! Figure it out!
4. Stress management
You can actually track stress levels and see how they affect your health via charting.
5. Never having to worry…
If I miscarry in the future, I will NEVER EVER have to wonder if the contraception I choose to take- even years before- was the cause. With the Creighton Model Method, we suggest that couples coming off of contraception, such as the pill, wait for 3-6 normal cycles to pass before trying to achieve a pregnancy. Couples are considered “post pill” for a full year following discontinuation because their charts are often a little “wild” as the woman’s body is getting back into the swing of doing what it is, you know, designed to do.
6. Pre-term birth prevention
Did you know that with Creighton we are now encouraging women to chart through their pregnancies?! In fact, it is one of the things that Dr. Hilger’s cites as a regret that he didn’t have women doing that from the beginning. Charting can often detect things going on with the pregnant woman’s body much earlier than other methods–especially for women who have charted long enough to know when something is a little off. Bring those babies to term! (For more information on Dr. Hilgers – co-creator of the Crieghton Model FertilityCare and developer of NaProTechnology, please click HERE).
7. Accepting your body
…brings a wholeness nothing else can match. Having your spouse accept your body as it is, especially as it costs sacrifice on occasion, – well, let’s say it’s about a billion times more freeing than finally having someone who is willing to tell you how beautiful you are even without make up. Total acceptance and willingness to sacrifice for the good of the other, now that’s love that even Olaf couldn’t deny.
* Jessica is a FertilityCare Practitioner who works to educate women and couple in how to chart their cycles for the purposes of medical knowledge as well as achieving and avoiding pregnancy. For more information about FertilityCare and the Creighton Model System of Natural Family Planning, please Click HERE. For the Churches teaching on NFP, I like to suggest people take a look at Pope Paul VI’s Humane Vitae. It’s a short but POWERFUL prophetic read.