Anybody else struggling with NFP lately?


#1

I can’t believe that I am even thinking this, but barrier methods sound really appealing to me right now.

My husband is very upset I have even mentioned this.

Thoughts, wisdom, advice? I really need it! Thanks!


#2

I’m so sorry you’re struggling… that’s not good at all. :frowning:
Can you describe in what ways you’re struggling?
Are you having a difficult time reading your signs?
Are you struggling with long stretches of abstinence (in which case I’d advise you to talk to an NFP teacher to make sure it’s completely necessary)?
Are you struggling with marital issues due to the abstinence?

Some of the various struggles of NFP can be overcome… be sure to ask the appropriate people for help if it’s really becoming burdensome!


#3

Great questions Em!
Mommy G, Many of us hear have struggled with NFP from time to time. We understand and we’re here to help. Some my be a bit more frank than others. Hang in there with us!

I have some other quesitons. I hope you don’t think them too personal. You need not answer them to us unless you are comfortable. OK? And you can PM us if you don’t want to post.

Sounds like you husband is against it. Sounds like you are worried about a pregnancy. How are you as a couple about another pregnancy? Do you have children now or are you not ready to want more? How’s the relationship? During abstenence, do you feel “unloved.” Avoiding affection lest you get carried away? How long have you been married?

Have you ever heard about Theology of the Body? Christopher West? How about your husband?


#4

I have a lot of really closely spaced little tiny kids.

My dh and I have never been comfortable with NFP. We know how to use it, we just don’t. We think it can become “contraceptive mentality” for us. So honestly, right now…I am thinking why NOT barrier methods? They are not foolproof so we are still giving God a chance?

Dh would rather have LOTS of abstinence than any method. He thinks the Church should not do NFP.

He says we should just “roll the dice” as well.

But he is not home with all these little kids!


#5

*Edit: I didn’t see the op’s post immediate above this when I wrote this post. Rather than deleting my whole post, or re-writing a new post (that I don’t have time to write right now) I just left it go for whatever it may be worth. I do sympathize with the op who has since written that she has numerous young children. But I also want to remind you that your children are blessings and they won’t always be so needy and demanding. And now I must return to caring for my own needy, demanding children. *

It is difficult to break bad habits–it’s much easier not to start than to try to break bad habits later. We used to use various barrier methods. Quite literally, a barrier comes between the husband and wife during their most intimate act and is later thrown in the trash. Think of that symbolism mean.:eek: When we later switched to NFP, we struggled with that, especially as it placed a big temptation to return to using contraception. When NFP became a big enough struggle, we eventually asked ourselves why we were avoiding pregnancy in the first place.

Fertility and children are blessings. We don’t use NFP any longer. We had more children since we stopped using NFP, but our youngest is now two and I haven’t gotten pregnant recently. We could have been struggling for the last few years with NFP, but instead we interpreted the struggle as a sign that God was not calling us to use NFP.

I don’t know your reasons for avoiding pregnancy, but it might be time for you and your husband to take this matter to prayer. :gopray:


#6

Wow, I’m so sorry… :o
Please know you’re not alone in your struggles and I encourage you to familiarize yourself more with the teachings of the church on using natural methods to space your children in times of need.

Maybe you and your husband should seek counseling to ensure that your feelings of being overwhelmed are heard. These types of decisions need to be completely mutual, and if you or your husband are struggling then that can cause marital strain and stress.
Please consider speaking to a good priest about your personal feelings on NFP… and be open to the possibility that it can be used in a completely moral way.

You’ll be in my prayers.


#7

I’m confused. You don’t use NFP because you feel it creates a contraceptive mentality. But instead of using NFP you want to use barrier methods, which are, de facto, contraceptive?

Do you feel like NFP is ineffective? Do you feel like it’s too restrictive?

To me it does not sound like NFP is the issue–it sounds like it has more to do about how your husband and you make decisions and help each other in your vocations. Sorry if that’s too forward. I just know that you will regret turning to contraceptive devices…and I think you know yourself that it’s not a solution to what you are feeling.

God bless you.


#8

OK, so he’s OK with a big family and you need a break? If you think you need a break, you probably do. This is very much approved by the Church. Barrier methods are not and with good reason. There are approved alternatives.

I am unsure how to reach your husband. You may know best. It is not the church’s teaching that you must have as many children as physically possible. It is a joint decision with the couple and God. This is written in the CCC. I do not wish to fuel a debate with your husband and you, but IMO, your husband needs some more information about things here. (I am a husband, father and a convert, FYI. I am not a marriage counsellor)

I have just finished Christopher West’s Naked Without Shame Audio series “A Crash Course on the Theology of the Body” (TOB). It’s 10 CDs! There is a story in there that covers your exact situation. However, it would take you many hours of listening to get to it and without the proper warm up, someone might become defensive. You need to have an interest in TOB to start something this long.

An alternative and maybe a warm up might be the book “Theology of the Body for Beginners” by CW. There are free audio files at christopherwest.com, as well. The Good News About Sex and Marriage" is also very popular. You could tell him it’s the “Catholic Sex Manual” and not be far off, at all. :wink:

NFP is not the heresy that some think it is. They just don’t understand it’s role in God’s plan and how it can bring a couple closer together. TOB explains it all. I highly recommend exploring the concept with your husband.


#9

Phase two has been particularly long this cycle - I hear you. I suppose it’s our cross to bear unless we want a child (and sometimes you have to wonder if God is pushing you in that direction). :slight_smile:


#10

Sorry to only address you… but don’t forget to seek help if necessary. Ovulation itself normally takes place over 36 hours on average… it’s the “signs” that may be giving you confusion. Consider getting assistance from your NFP teacher and doing additional research on your own for improving your interpretation of those signs…
Keep up the education of NFP… it CAN help! :thumbsup:


#11

It seems that the struggle with NFP is that her husband doesn’t want to use it, but she reported earlier that he is willing to abstain from relations. Abstinence is also an acceptable method for avoiding pregnancy. To the op: if your husband is willing to abstain from relations, accept that as an deep expression of his love for you. If he doesn’t want to use NFP, total abstinence is also an acceptable and highly reliable method for avoiding pregnancy. NFP is an alternative to total abstinence, not an alternative to contraception. I agree that your husband may not completely understand the Church’s theology on NFP, but he may truly see a “contraceptive mentality” from you because you are now considering a barrier method of contraception.

Behind the “contraceptive mentality” is usually a fear. Fear that one more baby will push us over the edge, fear that we can’t afford another child, fear for our health, fear, fear, fear. Perfect love drives out fear. I understand that the op feels overwhelmed caring for numerous small children, and I have felt that way at times too. I would encourage you to seek out some source of help in caring for your young children. Help with the housework, an hour one afternoon to yourself while a teenager babysits, something. Get some help somehow. Prayers for you and your family. :gopray2:


#12

Thanks for the reply. I really know how to use NFP and we have studied it and learned a lot about it. Pope JP II’s encyclicals and books have practically been committed to memory.

I did speak to a good priest about it—a HUGE fan of the Latin mass and very conservative and he said we have already been very generous with life and that you can go on birth control for “medical reasons.” I don’t know what he was talking about, but I am well into 40s if that is what he meant.

But just to give an idea about how fertile I am, we conceived accidentally on the first try almost every time af resumed post partum. I am trying to extend with breastfeeding, but I have a constantly bfing 21 month old right now (this is the longest spacing we’ve ever achieved…done with total abstinence) and my pp infertility still lasted only about 6 months.

Am I called to have like a dozen kids?


#13

Believe me, I have thought of this. But right now we would be using NFP to avoid. That is using it for contraception anyway.

If we just did standard contraception, it is the same thing at this point, but then at least I don’t have to abstain during my most fertile time. It affects my desire.


#14

NFP can legitimately be used for grave reasons (like sanity of the mother) to space pregnancies.

Barrier methods can never be used. One is not a sin, the other is.


#15

Actually, contraception is always against the teachings of the church…
What your priest meant was that sometimes the contraceptive pill can be used to treat OTHER disorders… if it’s INTENDED USE is for these OTHER disorders then it’s okay to use it for those medical reasons… but it’s never okay as contraception.

WOW… 21 months of total abstinence??? :eek:
I do HIGHLY recommend additional NFP education if you are this concerned about conceiving again. There are several methods out there and some may be better suited to you than others (especially as you approach menopause)…

This is just my personal experience, but I was able to detect my first postpartum ovulation while breastfeeding after both my previous pregnancies using NFP… at 5 1/2 and 7 1/2 months postpartum. We also used NFP successfully to space out children (I’m currently pregnant with our third). It IS possible to use it conservatively without denying that intimate connection that a married couple requires (wow, I’m still amazed at the 21 months of abstinence!.. I could not have done that! :o).

I hope this helps a little. :slight_smile:


#16

Using NFP to avoid is not against the teachings of the faith…

I’m sure you’re familiar with this quote from the catechism…

2370
Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality.158 These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil:159

    Thus the innate LANGUAGE that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory LANGUAGE, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality. . . . The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle . . . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality.160

#17

Yes, and my mother didn’t reach menopause until well into her 50s…so I have quite a few more years to go, quite likely.

I really hate to think of my super fertility as a curse, but it is just such a HUGE cross to bear right now. I can handle the stares, the constant question of mulitples,…which of these are twins, triplets, etc, but I am just so TIRED.

Which NFP methods are better for older moms? Thanks.


#18

I think it can vary from woman to woman… the main two are the sympto-thermal method and the Creighton method. It may not hurt to learn both!
Here are some fantastic links… and if you search around these forums I’m sure there is more info available…

nfpandmore.com/
ccli.org/
creightonmodel.com/
tcoyf.com/


#19

Thanks! Those are the two I know…! I was hoping there was something else out there.

I have had six pregnancies in six years.


#20

There have been discussions here about the BabyComp? Might be worth checking into…


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.