Attn Young Married Couples:Pls Share your experiences with NFP

Hello,

I am a student and engaged to be married in July. My fiance and I plan on practicing NFP to postpone parenthood until I graduate and we are stable on one income. Right now I am an engineering intern and she works a sales job. Unfortunately with her income only things would be EXTREEMLY tight just for the two of us if not impossible. Although we want kids now, we feel it would be very difficult to provide and be good parents at this point.

We’ve gone to NFP classes (we met 1 on 1 with the NFP lady in our diocese) and she has been taking her temperature and charting daily (I call her at 6:30am every morning as I leave for work to remind her to take her temperature).

My purpose for starting this thread is to hear from other couples who have gone through or are going through a similar situation. What was your experience like? How strict were you? She and I both look forward to being able to express our love fully as a married couple but are worried that we may have to abstain too much (we met with a young couple who told us that they were so strict with NFP that at times they only had sex 1 time a month and that has kind of gotten me flustered)! Did you have similar concerns?

So I’ll leave the background information at that and quit rambling so I can hear from you guys.

God bless all of you and God bless the Church which holds the dignity of marriage and the human person in higher esteem than any other institution on earth. God is good! :slight_smile:

DH and I are 25 and newlyweds (a year this May). Our experience with NFP has been very good. We use CCL. I would call our “style” conservative but not strict. We use phase 1 only very rarely, mainly because I frequently notice signs of fertility by day 3 or 4.

Our time of abstinence is longer than average, I think, since I have a very iffy and inconsistent thermal shift. I almost never meet the criteria for the rules relating to thermal shift, so we are basically using mucus and cervical observations only. This is why I say conservative, but not strict.

There has never been a month when we only could be intimate once, but we were both very surprised to find that true, pure intimacy is a lot more satisfying (at least for us) than the world makes it out to be. There is just no comparison to the insatiable desire one has when there is no licit outlet for those passions. In other words, we discovered that we didn’t need it like we thought we would.

I’ll admit to times when I have resented not being able to be intimate when I was most interested, but that was more of a TMI type problem. It has improved greatly since I received a few professional, Catholic counseling sessions.

Waiting is difficult sometimes, but oh so worth knowing we are exercising in the proper way prudence to be able to achieve our goal of having a single-income household with many, many children while still being able to compete financially (and by compete I mean afford food and housing, in particular) with two-income, one or two-child families who drive up the cost of living.

I use Creighton, which is mucus only. Love it.

One day per month? You would have to have a very serious need to avoid pregnancy-- I’m talking life threatening-- to be that strict.

Anyway, I’m not really sure what you mean by “experiences” with NFP.

Vluvski-- You should look at Creighton. It may give you more days.

I love Creighton. It is so great. If someone gets intimate only once a month there are other things going on in that relationship than the strict use of NFP.

If your fiance has trouble remembering to take her temp than maybe Creighton will be the choice for her. As a medical student, I appreciated the research and studies done on Creighton (I’m sure there is research on the other methods too) and the fact that I would not have to take my temp and do internal exams… can you imagine me in my call room trying to take my temp… I know they are doctors but that is way too much information for my coleagues to know :stuck_out_tongue: .

Where can we find out more about Creighton? There are only 2 people in our diocese that teach NFP and I think they only know this one method with taking your temp and checking mucus. Unfortunately our diocese is a bit… lukewarm in this area. However, I think the pendulum is starting to swing the other way with our new bishop.

Hmmm I don’t know. Thats what they shared with us when we went over for an evening. I didnt want to be too intrusive with my questioning so I just let them share what they wanted.

By the way, they just had their 1st child. They told us that eventhough they had serious reason to use NFP that they were leaving their honeymoon and their anniversaries up to divine providence and sure enough on their 1st anniversary they got pregnant. God is good! I know that He is constantly surprising me with so many graces and blessings.

Basically I just wanted to hear from young couples who had financial concerns when they got married (i.e. husband in school and both had to work) and how they used NFP (i.e. did they have to be super strict or did they relax a bit, what concerns did they have going into marriage concerning NFP? were these concerns valid? etc).

To everyone:

I want to thank you for your responses. I find them very encouraging. I know I should trust in God and the plan for our lives He has revealed, but it is so hard to let go of the “reigns” sometimes and give Him control. :o

Hi and congrats on your upcoming wedding!

We’ve been married 6 years now, and have used NFP since the beginning of our marriage.
I was still in college when we got married (had one semester left) and was about to start my career in engineering, so we wanted to postpone having children for a couple years.

My purpose for starting this thread is to hear from other couples who have gone through or are going through a similar situation. What was your experience like? How strict were you? She and I both look forward to being able to express our love fully as a married couple but are worried that we may have to abstain too much (we met with a young couple who told us that they were so strict with NFP that at times they only had sex 1 time a month and that has kind of gotten me flustered)! Did you have similar concerns?

Our experience using the Sympto-Thermal method of NFP has been INCREDIBLE! We LOVE it! We used it effectively for well over a year before we decided to try to conceive (NFP is also an awesome tool for trying to conceive!)… then used it to space our our children… tried for #2… and now we’re waiting again until we feel called by God to have another one.
In our experience… we were NO WHERE CLOSE to being limited to having relations just once a month! No where close!

Unless there are medical conditions that may mask your fiance’s fertility, there should be no compelling reason for limiting relations to once a month… that’s a sign of a lack of education and/or understanding of the NFP method… and it SHOULD NOT happen under normal use.

No worries! :thumbsup:
Good luck… and God bless!

www.fertilitycare.org and www.creightonmodel.com

Creighton practicioners may or may not be on file with the diocese.

I can understand you not wanting to be intrusive, but please be assured that 1x per month is not the norm. That is super, extra, bordering on obsessive caution. And, coupling that with “leaving honeymoon and anniversaries” open-- it’s actually sort of odd. But, that’s their deal.

If you are concerned about the need to be that restrictive, then don’t. Follow the instructions for the method you choose, and you will be fine.

Here is how to find a Creighton teacher

fertilitycare.org/teacher.htm

I have a slightly different experience to share. When hubby and I married almost 8 years ago, i was not Catholic and I was contracepting (the pill). Then about 2 years ago the combination of my hubby’s encouragement and my conscience convinced me to try NFP (it ultimately lead to my conversion, but that’s a whole other story;) ).


We had serious reasons (health) to postpone/avoid so practiced NFP very conservatively. Even though we were limited in the times we could have intercourse, we actually found that it was happening much more often than when I was on the pill!!! I beleive that it was due to a couple of things.


One, NFP taught us that sex has a much deeper meaning that just physical gratification. It really emphasized the entire “unitive” aspect of lovemaking.


Two, knowing that all days are no longer available makes one appreciate each day a bit more. When on the pill it was easy to put things off a day or two, but that could turn into a week or more.


Malia



Here’s an excerpt from an excellent article on this topic:

The Church neither approves nor disapproves of the Rhythm Method as a system to be followed. The Church merely tolerates the use of this method. Tolerates indicates reluctant permission. And the Church only tolerates this method, when three definite factors are present. These three are: First, there is sufficiently serious reason for a given couple to use this method, sufficiently serious enough to justify side-stepping the first purpose of marriage; Second, both husband and wife are truly willing to follow the method —neither one can force the other to adopt this system; Third, the use of this method must not cause mortal sins against chastity nor become a proximate occasion of such sins. The breakdown of any one of those three factors makes the use of Rhythm sinful. So the correct attitude is this: The use of Rhythm is sometimes no sin, sometimes venial sin, sometimes mortal sin. Please stop saying, “Oh, it’s okay, the Church approves it.”

FULL ARTICLE

Well, we are hardly a young couple. We have been married for 15 years. And we are not postponing for financial reasons, it is for health reasons.

But I think I can ease your mind. We are somewhat conservative, and we end up abstaining for about 11 days a cycle (and TMI that includes the first few days of my cycle). My cycles are about 26-28 days. We use Sympto-Thermo.

I can’t imagine someone that knows how to chart for their method and feels that they can only have relations once a month. :shrug:

You are going to find that each couple seems to like the method that they use. Your Sympto-Thermo users are going to tell you that it is easy and so are your Creighton users. It seems that most people end up using the method that is taught in their area. The only problem that I see with Creighton is that there are no teachers in my area. And there seems to be many areas like that.

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The article you have provided is from SSPX, a group that is well-known to no longer be in communion with Rome.
Please, check your sources before providing information.

Additionally, we are discussing a method much, MUCH different from the Rhythm Method mentioned in your quote. The Rhythm Method is only about as effective as condoms, and propagating its use or associating it with current, scientific-based forms of NFP does a great disservice to faithful Catholics who are not fully educated on this issue. The Rhythm Method has not been taught or encouraged by the Church for decades.

Agreed. I hope the OP is not confused by this.

Anyways, DH and I will have been married a year this May, and as you can see, we have been blessed with a child already :slight_smile: We learned the Creighton Model before we were married. I really like it…but I haven’t actually put it into practice…We graduated in May, got married a few weeks later, and conceived in July…we decided at the time through prayer that even though DH had not yet found a job, and I was still caring for my grandmother, that we would completely leave it up to God. For most of this pregnancy DH has been umemployed (he recently got a job…yay :)) and many people have told us we’re crazy, too young (he’s 23, I’m 22), too broke…etc. but…God provides. Only you both know what God is calling you to do. Keep your decisions about how to use the gift of NFP centered on your prayer life; always asking God to help you discern what reasons are serious enough for you to postpone pregnancy, and trust in the final outcome, and you’ll be fine :slight_smile:

Congrats on your upcoming marriage!!! :smiley: This is such an exciting time and it only goes up from here :).

Anyway, I thought I’d share my story - even though it’s on the other side of NFP, so to speak. DH and I took NFP classes during our engagement and I started taking my temp and watching my mucus right away. So, it would have been about 8 months of me doing this before we got married. DH asked me about once or twice a month to see my charts and he was amazed at all he learned about my fertility. Now, I have a very regular cycle, so I don’t really even need to temp in order to figure out when I’m fertile. However, just to be safe, I knew I needed to learn.

Well, we were both graduating students with loans up to our eyeballs and beyond when we got married. We realized that we probably would not be able to financially afford to raise a child and so were planning on postponing pregnancy because of this. We prayed about it and by the time the wedding came, we had been set on this. However, for the first time in my entire life (I’m serious!) my cycle went off because of the stress leading up to the wedding and lo and behold, I was fertile over the time of our honeymoon. I know of many couples who abstain during their honeymoons and that’s great, but we decided to put it in God’s hands. At the time, we underestimated how our finances would be, and looking back now, we may not have made that choice knowing what we do now. However, I would NEVER wish back this child! Anyway, we didn’t think we’d conceive on our first try and well, we did :D. God had other plans and it’s going to be a lot of living very frugally, but we can do it. We have the help and support of both of our parents, and DH wants to make it possible for me to stay at home. I’m looking for ways to earn money from the home, but I feel very peaceful about this decision.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my story, not to discourage you or to say that you are wrong in having to postpone, but just to give you a side that if it does happen, it’s okay. There’s always a way! However, finances can be such a burden and if you can be financially sound before you have children, I think that is the best :). God bless you!

Another method you may want to look at is the Billings Ovulation Method. My fiance and I took a course on it in Late October of last year, and we really like it.

Quote: “The BOM is based entirely on the symptoms of fertility and infertility observable at the vulva. It does not use any form of rhythm counting, temperature taking, drugs or devices.”

My Mom, who is an Evangelical Protestant, has also been using the Billings method since about 1980 or so, and used it to achieve pregnancies (I am #1 of 5), and avoid getting pregnant. She says that “It works”.

The most important thing is that regardless of what method you use, that you have several months to learn the method before the time of your marriage.

The article is currently located on the SSPX website, but it was originally published in 1948 before the SSPX even existed. I realize the rhythm method is scientifically distinct from modern NFP, but the moral question is exactly the same: using natural means to regulate birth. I think the author makes a good point-- that is, too many Catholics are too eager to have a contraceptive mentality towards natural birth regulation. NFP does not have blanket permission from the Church. When and why one uses it makes all the difference in the world. As the author points out, natural birth regulation can sometimes be no sin, sometimes a venial sin, and sometimes a mortal sin. It’s not as simple as, “NFP is a moral alternative to contraception,” which seems to be the predominant message from so many well-meaning Catholics today. I simply think we must be more cautious when discussing this issue.

You mention being stable one one income, but not able to support one additional baby on that income? Can she seek out the same type of career or position with a company that offers family insurance and medical/dental? The company I work for gives me 6 months paid leave and guarantees my position. Also, they offer LT & ST “disability” insurance that lasts for 24 months and allows both pregnancy and “parenting” under the insurance. I would get 50% of my paycheck bi-weekly for 12 weeks, then 60% of my paycheck for the rest of the 24 months.

Also, is it possible for you to find a job as well? I know everyone is different in their school schedule and school load. For example, I had to slash my hours when I took an overload. Somethings are just impossible. But my fiancee is currently working 40 hours as a supervisor, taking 21 credits, is starting a paralegal course and has a twilight (11PM to 3AM) job at the hospital so he can get his required hours for medical school.

As we are right now, I could quit my job and he could still go to school as scheduled and provide for at least a couple kids. We wouldn’t be splurging on home furnishings or going on vacation, but it is still a secure feeling.

**Everyone:**Thank you for your input and encouragement. It is awesome to have feed back from holy people dedecated to following Christ, His CHurch and His teachings.

We both understand that she could get pregnant on the wedding night and are definitly open to life. We would be devistated to wait many years using NFP only to find out that we have fertility issues. We both look at it as an opportunity to be both responsible but also to trust in God’s devine providence that if He wants us to have a child reguardless of our financial situation that we will have a child and that He will indeed provide for us.

God is good!:thumbsup:

UK Catholic Guy: Thanks for the article. It is a great reminder that this is serious stuff & not to be taken lightly. I agree with it 100%. My fiance and I both have been (& continue to) pray about it. I agree that NFP or whatever method should not just be a “Catholic contraceptive” but should be reserved for serious reasons only. Just like any doctrine, if you follow it like a Pharocey (my spelling is wrong, i know) you are not following it like a Christian and you are held bound by the law. However, I pray that I am following the law in the freedom and in the light of Christ!

(by they way, I know you and I know Princess Anne. I met you up at UK at theology on tap a couple years ago along with Joel and Princess Anne’s little sis and Jerrod. I met Princess Anne at WYD in Germany. Pretty crazy huh? Remember me?)

just wanted to bump this thread back up to see if anyone else has valuable experience/info to add, thanks! :thumbsup:

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