Am I the only one using NFP at our Parish?


#1

My wife and I have been married for 4 years. We are both very active in the Parish and our Faith. We both have been using NFP for about 6 months. Previuos to NFP, we were not using any form of birth control. We have 2 beatiful sons (6 months and 2 years old). We are very blessed with our family.

New to NFP - The first 4 of these 6 months were post pregnancy, and haven't been very easy due to her irregular cycle. We are both aware that her cycle will get back to normal soon (after breastfeeding, etc.)

Background on our Parish. Our Parish consists of about 5000 families. A very large percentage are young parents 30-45. Everyone has 2-3 kids and that is great. We really enjoy being in the presence of young families, as we are both 29 years old.

Again, we are all for being a "good" catholic, but I have a few questions........

  1. It seems as if there are a small amount of discussion about NFP and sexuality at the Parish. It seems like all we know is to stay away from BC. That is fine, but that is all that is really said. There is very little information about NFP. You would think there would be pamphlets, parish meetings, etc. The Catholic church says no to BC. I am okay with that, BUT what do we do??? We are on NFP, but that was only because we initiated the research. What are the other parishioners doing?

  2. It seems that people are really open to discussing their family life while at Parish get togethers. There are many highly involved Parishioners that I have discussed NFP with. Some of them caught me off guard by saying they used BC during the 15 years of "baby-making" time. It caught me off guard because I look up to these individuals. I really think highly of them. When I heard they used BC, I was stunned. I couldn't believe my ears. They said they stayed on BC, and then when they wanted another baby, they popped off the pill, and had a baby. Then they got right back on the pill.

This made me feel like we were doing something wrong. At 29, my wife and I are always "ready" for each other, sexually. We aren't opposed to having more children, but we feel like we can't at the moment. With 2 kids, under 2, we are going crazy as it is.

During our 6 months of NFP usage, we have actually felt like we have grown apart sexually. Every time we engage sexually, we have this calendar up in our head. It is like we are sending a shuttle to space. We have to get everything cleared by Houston before proceeding. We have heard that NFP brings couples closer, but I don't see that. We went from having a very close relationship sexually, to always being paranoid about when we can be "together". Again, we took the NFP courses and are following all methods as closely as possible.

Spontaneous sex is no longer part of our life and we miss that greatly. Also, as young adults, we feel like we are in our "prime" years for sexual intercourse. It is very selfish to say this, but we feel like we are limited in our sexual lives. We fully love each other, but we can't fully express our love sexually. I know what you are going to say. Children are the symbol of love. We know this, and that is our reasoning for NOT using BC.

  1. Why do I feel like we are the only couple using NFP. A large percentage of my catholic friends are using BC.

  2. Why is it common for people to use BC during their fertile years, even though they might be strong catholics

  3. Why do I feel like we are growing apart while using NFP.

  4. What is "legal" in the eyes of the Catholic church for us to do while we are in the infertile stages of the month. I am referring to what are we able to do sexually while not engaging in "sex". I know the answer to this already, but would like to hear it from a Priest. I am too uncomfortable to ask my local Priest this question.

We are going to continue loving and serving God as we already are. Discussing the topic and getting positive feedback will help us in our journey.

Love in Christ


#2

You feel bad and like you are growing apart because you aren't doing what you are supposed to be doing, creating new life, you have changed the purpose of your marriage to a certain extent, go back to the way it was in the beginning and you will be fine.

Unless you have a serious or grave reason you need to stop trying to avoid creating new life.


#3

The problems you have been having are some of the issues I have with widespread use of NFP without reserve. If you feel like NFP is hurting your intimacy, or your happiness in your marriage, then by all means, reevaluate the reasons for using it.

God bless.

EDIT: I missed that last part. I am not a priest, but from what I understand, there is NO difference between infertile and fertile periods as far as what is disordered or good.


#4

Are you guys trying to get pregnant or avoid it?

I think you have made the right decision and I applaud you for it....it's ironic how couples avoid pregnancy during the woman's most fertile years and then when they decide to have a baby, some women have trouble conceiving. A side of BC pills, perhaps? (I don't know; just sayin')

I cannot tell you how to keep that cycle chart out of your mind, but do you have a NFP counselor who can advise you about this? (And pray a lot too! :) )

I wish I had more than one child (I lost one, and then my husband had a prostate surgery that rendered him infertile.) I really regret avoiding pregnancy after our son was born...please be open to children, and I hope any couple practicing artificial BC will rethink their positions because you may come to regret it too.


#5

The Catholic couples I know who are still of childbearing ages use artifical birth control as a matter of conscience between them and God, and often in accordance with their confessor's support.

You'll see the "primacy of conscience" issue talked about disparagingly here on CAF, but even Cardinal Ratzinger/Benedict XVI has invoked it as the final word in one's relationship with God.

You'd probably do best to speak with a priest about this -- you're going to get many varied and conflicting answers here on the Forum. It is a conscience matter for the couple, with advise and counseling of great benefit.

God bless you.


#6

[quote="challam2010, post:5, topic:212465"]
The Catholic couples I know who are still of childbearing ages use artifical birth control as a matter of conscience between them and God, and often in accordance with their confessor's support.

You'll see the "primacy of conscience" issue talked about disparagingly here on CAF, but even Cardinal Ratzinger/Benedict XVI has invoked it as the final word in one's relationship with God.

You'd probably do best to speak with a priest about this -- you're going to get many varied and conflicting answers here on the Forum. It is a conscience matter for the couple, with advise and counseling of great benefit.

God bless you.

[/quote]

"Primacy of conscience" is all of the good things you mentioned, but it's a moot point when you're talking about an intrinsic evil such as artificial contraception. If you use it to avoid conception, you are committing sin, period.

In such cases like this, where the issue of "is it sinful or not?" has been clearly defined by the Church, then "following your conscience" won't absolve you from the sinfulness of the act. Where primacy of conscience would come into play would be an issue that hasn't been as clearly defined by the Church....such as, exactly what constitutes a valid reason to use NFP? The Church hasn't formally defined this, (not in detail, at least), so She leaves it up to the conscience of each individual couple. I hope that makes some sense?

It should be noted that when we say "conscience" in this context we're talking about a properly formed, Catholic conscience. A conscience that is in line with Church teaching. So, for instance, if your conscience tells you that artificial birth control or abortion in any circumstance is ok, your conscience is wrong and you won't be absolved from the sin even though you were "following your conscience" when you decided to commit it.


#7

The chances of getting pregnant on a great month are 25%. Enjoy your sex life, keep in mind the few days that she is a fertile and then enjoy the rest of the month. Our firstborn is four, we have had one pregnancy since which resulted in an ectopic pregancy which led to the removal of my left tube. I am only 28, so please rejoice in your fertility and sex life!!! We have been 100% open to life for three years now.....pregancy is a gift from God and he will only give you what you can handle. Please pray to have faith that He will give only when you are ready. God Bless.


#8

[quote="TexCath, post:1, topic:212465"]

  1. It seems as if there are a small amount of discussion about NFP and sexuality at the Parish.

... What are the other parishioners doing?

[/quote]

Maybe this is an area that you can contribute to the parish -- start an NFP informational group/class, something like that?

[quote="TexCath, post:1, topic:212465"]
2. They said they stayed on BC, and then when they wanted another baby, they popped off the pill, and had a baby. Then they got right back on the pill.
This made me feel like we were doing something wrong.

[/quote]

:( How sad for those people. You are not doing anything wrong!

[quote="TexCath, post:1, topic:212465"]
3. Why do I feel like we are the only couple using NFP. A large percentage of my catholic friends are using BC.

[/quote]

I don't know any other couples in real life who are using NFP. It's a sad fact, especially when thinking about "Catholic" friends. :(

Even if you are the only ones using NFP, don't despair. Take comfort in knowing that you and your family are following the way God intended married love to be.

My husband and I just learned and started using NFP in June, also postpartum so I know how hard it can be to figure out what's going on! (I breastfeed our daughter so things aren't always clear.) To be honest, we've had to abstain from relations for close to a month now, and it's extremely difficult for us too (we have reason to avoid pregnancy at this time). Despite that, I know we're doing the right thing. I'm figuring that once my cycles return and we get in the swing of things and really know what's going on, we won't have to abstain so often. I think the postpartum time is especially trying since signs can be unclear.

Our parish helped us pay for our NFP class/materials :thumbsup: and our priest just asked that we be available to talk to other couples if anyone goes to him with an interest in it. He said we're the first to have taken classes (that he knows of anyway) and that made me sad too.

Anyway, stick with it and rest easy with a clear conscience. Try not to think about what others are or aren't doing, except to pray for them. :)


#9

The longer you use NFP the more comfortable and confident you will become in using it. Six months is not a long time.

You might be the only one in your parish using NFP, you might not. It is sad if others are using artifical contraception, but it really shouldn't affect your decision to use it or not to use it.


#10

I think personally that using birth control when you don't want a baby is called being smart.
If you don't use birth control then you should be prepared to get preggo. Yes, birth control is faulty sometimes, but what are the chances of that? I read that if you're on the birth control pill and using it correctly, the chance of you getting pregnant is less than 1%. I personally don't see anything wrong with birth control, but I do understand why people don't use it. I guess you could say that using birth control and 'pulling out early' are just as equally to 'not giving life'. So either way, they're just as bad, that is if you're against birth control.


#11

Is it possible God is calling you to lead a NFP course at your parish? Believe it or not, every sin that a Catholic commits wounds the entire Body of Christ; the sin of artificial contraception is not just between a husband and wife but affects the whole Church.

Unless you are on birth control for some sort of medical reason, it is impossible to be a strong Catholic and on birth control.

So I guess if you feel that you are growing apart from your wife while you are practicing NFP, can I ask if there are any other areas in your relationship where you can grow with your wife? Is the only way to close to your wife is through sexual relations? Do you find time to pray together? Do you have any shared mutual interests like exercise or something? Do you share chores together? What do you sacrifice for each other?

I am sorry I don't have any answers to your questions. I commend you for trying to be faithful. It can be discouraging when we don't see others practicing our faith. Just remember, every Catholic who has been on the pill, popped off it and had a couple of kids is going to be held accountable to God for it one day. Unless you are past childbearing years, you cannot separate sex from procreation. That is the way God willed it and we can accept it or go against it. Sometimes, when I question if I am doing God's will or not, I determine what is the hardest path and what is the easiest path. And I guarantee you, most of the time it is NOT the easiest path. It is almost always the hardest path, the road to Calvary. But this is not a popular message; it wasn't then and it's not now.


#12

Am I the only one using NFP at our Parish???

looks like it, probably.

Why is it common for people to use BC during their fertile years, even though they might be strong catholics

strong catholics dont disobey definitive, clear Church teaching. disobedient catholics do.

NFP is a challenge, for sure. and there may be times when it **feels *like a gulf is growing between you. but remember, the devil hates your marriage as a reflection of God's covenantal love. the devil will try anything to poison your relationship. while not *ignoring** feelings, we gotta remember feelings are NOT facts. you may **feel **separate, but in loving obedience to God, you're really deepening and strengthening the foundation and fortress of your marriage.

but often try, as a couple, to prayerfully revisit your reasons for avoiding pregnancy. staying current is good marriage business.


#13

You're probably one of the few.

I noticed this a lot, and once had a Catholic obgyn, too. I switched to another Catholic obgyn and that person offered sterilization and bc, too. How this doctor's head did not explode from cognitive dissonance or whether she still received sacraments, I have no idea. It seemed like a pretty bad position to take in view of the strong stance of the Church on the matter.

We're new, and converting, and it has been a bumpy road...but don't give up on NFP and work together! My biggest sadness is that this was one thing my husband and I couldn't iron out. He got the big V, and while we have four great kids, it's still a source of sadness.

NFP is worth it and kids, although it can be rough at times, are more than worth it. Don't listen to anyone who talks about the "cost" of a child. Kids are as expensive as you make them. Mainly, they require your time and effort. They don't need your presents, they need you to be present. It's only for a little while in life that they're totally dependent on you, anyway. The exhausting baby years and diapers look like a blip when they're a preteen or older!

You have to make the investment in them up front and take the hits for being a parent, up front. But trust me, it all pays off. I'm starting to see this more and more with my older ones who are so much fun to talk to and spend time with...and who also help me a lot around the house--mostly without being asked! Which is really cool, IMO.

The pressures AGAINST using NFP and having larger families are immense! Don't give in, you'll thank yourself later. :thumbsup:


#14

When we face God someday, he isn't going to ask us about our neighbor's sex life. This is something to keep in mind as we struggle with NFP and we feel like everyone else around us is having an easier time because they are ignoring Church teaching. I agree it can be disheartening when we discover that someone we viewed as a pillar of Church teaching has been cherry-picking the practices of the Church in their own personal lives. But instead of being discouraged, we should be emboldened because it puts us in the company of the great saints who found themselves disappointed and isolated among their peers, and even among Church authority who bucked God's will at times.
Keep in mind also that other couples may become inspired by your commitment to Church teaching...they may be using abc because they don't know anyone in real life who actually adheres to Church teaching so they just sort of assume its archaic and not something anyone takes seriously. Sometimes it only takes meeting one couple who lives it to make them see it is possible. Since you are busy with two kids under two, I am not suggesting that you take on a huge nfp ministry at your parish, but what about speaking your priest about what you are seeing and how it is discouraging you. Maybe the parish can host a few pro-nfp speakers or have some couples retreat activities that revolve around spreading nfp awareness.


#15

It is hard to be obedient... very hard... especially when you see such rabid disobedience even from "Catholics"...

It takes constant prayer and constant reevaluation of your reasons for using NFP. If those reasons are truly solid it does make that time of sacrifice a little easier to tolerate, if not it's like torture! So be sure you're praying together always for the ability to find a way past these difficult times which require the use of NFP... something that really needs to be prayed about daily.

As for the method itself... if you're truly struggling with the amount of time you cannot be together you may want to consider using a different method that could give you clearer signs and understandings of what's going on with your wife's cycle... sympto-thermal, creighton, marquette, billings... these are all good and reliable methods that all look at things slightly differently, so it may be worth investigating if there's another method that would work better for you...

You have my prayers... God bless!


#16

[quote="wannabcathmom, post:13, topic:212465"]
Don't listen to anyone who talks about the "cost" of a child.

[/quote]

By all means...just stick your head up your caboose and ignore the reality of the situation. The fact is that kids need clothes, food, and a roof over their heads. The more kids you have, the more it costs to provide these things. I'm not saying it's not worth it, but don't let someone (or the Church) guilt you into having more kids than you can afford to care for. Saying that "God will provide" is just a fantasy. God is not going to work that second or third job for you.


#17

[quote="rick43235, post:16, topic:212465"]
By all means...just stick your head up your caboose and ignore the reality of the situation. The fact is that kids need clothes, food, and a roof over their heads. The more kids you have, the more it costs to provide these things. I'm not saying it's not worth it, but don't let someone (or the Church) guilt you into having more kids than you can afford to care for. Saying that "God will provide" is just a fantasy. God is not going to work that second or third job for you.

[/quote]

God does provide, but He does expect us to do a bit of the work, too.

Yes, it costs money to raise children. But, it really isn't the outrageous expense people make it out to be. Budgeting, thrift, etc. and hard work to find avenues of cost savings can bring down the price tag. Yes, children need clothes and food...but do they need designer clothing? Do they need expensive vacations? They need a bed, but do they need one from the Pottery Barn?

With our daughter we gifted all of her baby clothes and equipment to another family. When we found out we were pregnant again, I got particularly upset about needing to buy everything all over again. Well, I didn't. Our neighbor gave us all of the items from their last baby (as they were done with it and it was just taking up storage space for them).

So you need to work a second job or forgo some extras for a while. Sacrifice builds character, and you won't regret the investment.

I can tell you, every time I thought we were up the creek without a paddle, we toughed it out, worked through it, and God provided.

You can say "What does the Church know?" or "What does God know about/care about my family size?" Well, the answer is, a lot. God and His Church know a lot. I've rebelled, myself, and every time I've had the rebellion shot down and been forced to admit defeat over my stupidity, arrogance, etc. Every time--without fail. I was an atheist, for a time, but God has been very, very patient with me and blessed me with several wonderful kids. I didn't deserve any of that. Sometimes, I think it is unfair when I think of the people better than me who have problems with infertility. But, God has reasons for everything.

It took a lot of whacks over the head, but I'm finally ready to say it without hesitation: God and His Church know better than I do. God is in charge. When I think I'm entitled to be in charge and do as I please, I muck things up. When I put God in charge, and am willing to listen to Him (even when it is difficult) then things work out.

We're not supposed to trust God just when it is easy to trust Him or when we want to trust Him.

And if doing that gets me labeled an ---hat by people such as yourself, that's fine with me. I'd rather seem foolish to the eyes of foolish people than foolish to God. :thumbsup:


#18

[quote="rick43235, post:16, topic:212465"]
By all means...just stick your head up your caboose and ignore the reality of the situation. The fact is that kids need clothes, food, and a roof over their heads. The more kids you have, the more it costs to provide these things. I'm not saying it's not worth it, but don't let someone (or the Church) guilt you into having more kids than you can afford to care for. Saying that "God will provide" is just a fantasy. God is not going to work that second or third job for you.

[/quote]

Yeah, but if you listen to what society out there is telling us are the costs of having a child, then most people cannot afford more than one, if any. Thankfully my parents didn't fall into that trap, and even though my mom ended up being a widow at age 30 with 4 kids 1-7 yrs old, she still went on to raise us (on a Catholic school teacher's salary) and we had everything we needed, and more, and although I am not the type that believes that parents have the responsibility to finance 100% of each kids college ed, all of us even graduated college with at least a Bachelor's degree, and I assure you my mother did not have the $$$$$ people suggest are needed to raise 4 kids.
Oh, and God did provide, including allowing me to graduate from a school where it would have cost me 40+k a year to go there, with only around 3k in student loans total when I graduated, and as a second year transfer student I had missed out on the scholarships opportunities for freshmen including the National Merit Scholars, the presidential one, etc. He provided in many other ways too, and is still doing it today in my new family. Its not about throwing your hands up in the air and telling God to provide, its about seeking His will (which usually includes sacrifices and hard work) and trusting in Him.


#19

:thumbsup: You never know what misconceptions these people might have, but you do know you have been given the Truth and are expected to act on it. Think about this, the Truth will set you free. Freedom isn’t doing whatever without knowing what you are doing, how can you make a good decision without understanding the options well? Its being able to have full knowledge of your options and being able to choose what is best. Some people, unfortunately, are in the dark about ABC, and regardless if they are aware of it or not, the consequences will affect them. You have been given the Truth, and God will hold you accountable for this (to those who are given more, more will be expected of them). Now, some people may be aware of the how ABC is wrong and still decide to use it. Maybe God is counting on you to be an example both for the couples in the dark and the ones that are misusing their freedom. You never know what is their hearts, and while it might be disappointing to feel like you are the only one’s that have never used ABC, you do know what the right thing is, regardless of what the others around you are doing. FWIW, I am in my late twenties too :slight_smile: and we aren’t using ABC either :slight_smile: I am pregnant, though, but there are plenty of great people on here using NFP, if you need support in not feeling like you are the only Catholics using NFP, I am sure they will be very happy to help. NFP is a beautiful tool that can be used when a couple discerns the have serious/just/grave reasons to avoid, its not “Catholic contraception”, but a way for a couple to be able to still participate in the marital embrace while they work on the situation and discern they no longer have serious/just/grave reasons, or if it is out of their hands, while the situation persists indefinitely or they find it is no longer a serious/just/grave reason.


#20

Fr. John Corapi said this one statement that I found goes to the heart of it all: "If you love someone, you want what is best for them. What is best for them is Heaven"

I love my husband too much for him to do something that could endanger his immortal soul, and using birth control would do that. I know it's a struggle to follow NFP, but when I am tempted, I remember that statement.

I have been able to narrow down my fertile times by using the Clear Blue Easy fertility monitor for the period before ovulation, along with my signs of fertility. Remember a woman is technically only fertile for 24 hours, so when you are more comfortable with the practice of NFP, you'll find that your time of abstinence will shorten. It's so worth it for the peace of mind that you are doing what God wants you to do. And if you happen to be in the fertile time, and the "mood" strikes you, talk about the possiblity of pregnancy. My husband and I find that asking eachother if we would like another baby curbs this desire, and it makes us closer because it's a joint decision. No one is being rejected.

You and your spouse are to be loved for your whole selves, including your fertility. You have to look at fertility as the whole package. Don't miss the point of marital love. It is a bonding experience. How can it be a total bonding experience if you or your spouse is rejecting a fundamental part of your personhood?

I love my husband completely, fertility and all. Just know that you are not alone, and NFP is gaining ground. Not only for the faithful, but for people who want to live a more natural life.

God bless you and your family!


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