Natural Family Planning (NFP)


#1

Hey everyone!
I know there’s classes on NFP and such but I wanted to know from a personal point of view from those who use it how you feel about it.
I’m currently on “the pill” and want/need to get off of it due to conflict with the Catholic Church and money issues. I’ve been away from the Church for quite some time and am trying to come back and be a “good” Catholic, instead of the “cafeteria” Catholic I have been.
I’m just looking for advice here. Please don’t scold me for being on “the pill” because I know it’s not a good thing but I want to know more about NFP on a personal level first.


#2

For the most part, I really like NFP. I really like that I know more about how my body works and hormones and fertility and “female” issues than my OB/Gyn (SHE told me that!). It has worked flawlessly for us. We conceive within a month or two of trying…or are able to identify a problem that needs to be addressed BEFORE even TTC.

I really like that it forces us to revisit our decision to TTA or TTC on a monthly basis. I think this is very good for a marriage. I also love that it keeps my husband involved in all of this.

I do find the return to fertility after breastfeeding challenging to say the least. We did have one unplanned pregnancy that, in hindsight, was because we were not careful enough…this occurred during that return to fertility time. I’m now in the midst of the return to fertility again and we’re just using more caution since we do have serious reason to avoid ATM.

As you’re learing the method it will require more abstinence than it usually would, but that’s only a few months and I think the benefits far outweigh this temporary negative. Welcome back to the Church, btw and I applaud you for getting informed and making the difficult changes that it requires sometimes!

Melanee


#3

Hi Mrs. Abbott!

I don’t have a lot of experience with NFP yet (although I’m well-read on it). Right now I’m doing ecological breastfeeding and I’m certainly very happy with it.

But I know what it’s like to have used ABC. I wouldn’t go back to that for all the gold in the world. I think it feels awful to have marital relations without self-giving and openness to life on both sides. I am a convert to Catholicism but even when I was an atheist something felt very wrong about sex with ABC.

God bless you for seeking information and trying to do things the right and moral way. Even though it can -seem- harder to do good than to sin, it isn’t in the end, because you’ve joined up with Jesus’ team. (Which is the winning side!) “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Anyhow, mostly I just wanted to say that I am so happy that you have decided to come back to the Church and be a good Catholic! You are in my prayers!


#4

Well, first off, congratulations on being open to this question! Our society is completely imbued with a contraceptive outlook and being able to even think outside the box like that is, frankly, counter-cultural.

My thoughts on it? Get all the information you can about how NFP works. Read articles and books and take classes. Kippley’s “Art of Natural Family Planning” book is a really good start, but there are others out there as well.

Whenever you begin charting, even if it’s before any class, record as much data as possible, just so you start getting a handle on your own personal cycle. Write down everything: how much mucus, the quality of the mucus (slippery or not, clear, cloudy, tacky, stretchy, etc.) the position and quality of the cervix (up, down, open, closed, soft, firm, etc.) and take your temperature. Pay attention to other, subtler signs, too: do you notice a little acne, breast tenderness, or mood swings, on certain days?

Not all of this data will necessarily be helpful to you in the long run, but it is really useful to be able to look at it all for a while so you can start to notice patterns and correlations.

Some of the data will probably be badly skewed by the use of birth control pills, if not outright eliminated. This is especially an area where a good teacher can be helpful.

Not sure if this is what you’re looking for, but I hope it helps in some way… There are tons of people on this forum with NFP experience, so hopefully more will chime in.

Margaret


#5

I’m learning, too.

My advice for you (and for myself)- don’t “try” to see when things are happening. Wait until you have an entire cycle on paper, or at least the completed changes, before you start thinking, “oh, I must be X now.”

I think it might have even been nice to have some time to not know what I was supposed to be seeing so I wouldn’t be looking for it or thinking I see it when it’s not really there. Of course, for an already married couple, this would mean a substantial period of continence (an entire cycle or two) if you are trying to avoid pregnancy.


#6

i love nfp
i chart online at www.fertilityfriend.com it is gearted toward TTC but i used it for the 6 months we were TTA until i got prego again. we use the sympto-thermal method as well as ecological breastfeeding (i went 14 months post-partum without cycles)

good luck


#7

Thanks for all of your advice. I will definitely look into a class and see first-hand what the details are and how to go about trying it.


#8

Hey there! Welcome.

I’m married a bit over 6 years now, 2 kids, used NFP the whole time (yes the kids are intended, and easily conceived).

First year was difficult and I was sullenly obedient. The hard thing is that when in avoiding mode, you must abstain during the time when the woman is most easily aroused (fertile time). In the eligible times, its a lot easier for her to get OUT of the mood due to home stress, kid stress, long days, etc. Found out it took a lot of effort to make her feel loved and special enough to be interested in those times.

Funny thing is, that actually has been GOOD for us! I think it encourages me to be more giving and more loving. In contrast to having to go fumbling for a barrier or subject her to chemical hormone alterations, which just seems icky now. The sacrifice pays off by itself. Being right with God and the Church is nice too.


#9

Hi Mrs. Abbott - I was in your place exactly at one time. My DH and I have been using NFP for almost a year now and it’s been good. It’s nice to know how your body works. It’s amazing the things I didn’t know before. The abstaining times are a struggle, I’m not gonna lie about it. But I think it’s been character building, too…I feel like it’s been good for me to really realize what it’s like to place God’s will in my personal decisions and what a blessing that can be. So, I strongly recommend NFP. :slight_smile:

Having been on the pill myself before “coming home again”, I now am really put off by the idea of putting those chemicals in my body again. Or having a barrier between my husband and I. It’s complete intimacy, the way God intended, I believe. :slight_smile:

Good luck with your NFP search. You’ll need a couple months for your body to “recover” from the pill and start it’s own cycles again, so stop the pill as soon as possible, and you’ll have a head start before you begin your classes. Oh, and here’s a website: www.ccli.org You may know of it already, but just in case. It’s the sympto-thermal method, the method we use. (there’s other NFP methods available too, of course.) God bless!!


#10

Hi! I have been married 15 years, 5 kids, now an NFP user. I used contraception for the first 6 years, then got pregnant and stayed that way or nursing for 6 years. During that time, I joined a Familia class and learned what the Church taught on contraception (among other things). I could never go back. We agreed to use NFP, and it worked great … until we got pregnant. But it was a fluke, and we were open to more, and we believe God really wanted us to have that baby, because the days do not work out: I know when I ovulated, and we should not have conceived that day, but we did and we love him, all of us, so much. Here’s the thing: my husband is an ob/gyn, I have had 5 c-sections, and he is not willing to risk a 6th section. I am open to more, we still use NFP, but what happened last time has led us to wait until after ovulation every month. That may cause some uproar here among thiose who will say this is overly cautious, but it is what we have agreed to in our marriage. I don’t want to discourage him.
The funny thing is, and you will read this, couples (including us, even now) actually have increased relatons when employing NFP. And the divorce rate goes down dramatically. It is a true blessing. I can’t even imagine being back in that contraceptive mentality. And one more thing, using NFP and knowing more and more has really opened my husband up as a physician to support his patients in their NFP and to gain more knowledge. He may never be NFP only, but he is increasingly open to all life. Neat, huh?


#11

I’m way past those years now, but this is a great site for info!

You will feel sooooo much better once off the BCP.

Good luck to you, and God bless. And don’t be afraid to ask questions here. There is a wealth of information among the posters here! :thumbsup:


#12

We have 2 girls and have been using the ‘Billings mthod’ of NFP for 5 years now, it works, it’s easy and we strongly recommend it :thumbsup:

Anna x


#13

Congratulations. By getting off the pill you will be making one of the best decisions for your physical and spiritual health you could ever make.


#14

Very cool. :thumbsup:

[quote=just5kids]Hi! I have been married 15 years, 5 kids, now an NFP user. I used contraception for the first 6 years, then got pregnant and stayed that way or nursing for 6 years. During that time, I joined a Familia class and learned what the Church taught on contraception (among other things). I could never go back. We agreed to use NFP, and it worked great … until we got pregnant. But it was a fluke, and we were open to more, and we believe God really wanted us to have that baby, because the days do not work out: I know when I ovulated, and we should not have conceived that day, but we did and we love him, all of us, so much. Here’s the thing: my husband is an ob/gyn, I have had 5 c-sections, and he is not willing to risk a 6th section. I am open to more, we still use NFP, but what happened last time has led us to wait until after ovulation every month. That may cause some uproar here among thiose who will say this is overly cautious, but it is what we have agreed to in our marriage. I don’t want to discourage him.
The funny thing is, and you will read this, couples (including us, even now) actually have increased relatons when employing NFP. And the divorce rate goes down dramatically. It is a true blessing. I can’t even imagine being back in that contraceptive mentality. And one more thing, using NFP and knowing more and more has really opened my husband up as a physician to support his patients in their NFP and to gain more knowledge. He may never be NFP only, but he is increasingly open to all life. Neat, huh?
[/quote]


#15

I’m ready to try. :wink:

[quote=Seatuck]Congratulations. By getting off the pill you will be making one of the best decisions for your physical and spiritual health you could ever make.
[/quote]


#16

[quote=mrs_abbott]Hey everyone!
I know there’s classes on NFP and such but I wanted to know from a personal point of view from those who use it how you feel about it.
I’m currently on “the pill” and want/need to get off of it due to conflict with the Catholic Church and money issues. I’ve been away from the Church for quite some time and am trying to come back and be a “good” Catholic, instead of the “cafeteria” Catholic I have been.
I’m just looking for advice here. Please don’t scold me for being on “the pill” because I know it’s not a good thing but I want to know more about NFP on a personal level first.
[/quote]

I use the Creighton Model of NFP and I love it. It’s very easy and it’s so awesome to know so much about your body.

I highly recommend not only NFP, but the Creighton Model (which is mucus-only). www.creightonmodel.com

If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to post them!


#17

[quote=mrs_abbott]Hey everyone!
I know there’s classes on NFP and such but I wanted to know from a personal point of view from those who use it how you feel about it.
I’m currently on “the pill” and want/need to get off of it due to conflict with the Catholic Church and money issues. I’ve been away from the Church for quite some time and am trying to come back and be a “good” Catholic, instead of the “cafeteria” Catholic I have been.
I’m just looking for advice here. Please don’t scold me for being on “the pill” because I know it’s not a good thing but I want to know more about NFP on a personal level first.
[/quote]

First of all, I admire your wanting comply with all of the church’s teachings.

Secondly, DH and I use the Marquette method. marquette.edu/nursing/nfp/ I really like it because it is a concrete, objective measure. For me, it eliminates some of the early anxiety that I had about NFP. There are so many methods out there that, if you are really worried about it, you can combine them and be really sure. We used Marquette together with Symptothermal for a while, but we later dropped the Symptothermal because I did not like waking up for the temping. I did find that, at least for a year, I got the same results with each. The Marquette method would indicate peak fertility, then 2 days later I would get a temperature shift.

HTH,
Jennifer


#18

usccb.org/prolife/issues/nfp/

The Bishop’s have NFP page now.


#19

I love it too! My (protestant) husband and I have been using it for 6 years: we postponed conceiving our second child for 3 years using NFP. When we decided to conceive again, it took only 3 “tries” because we knew exactly when I ovulated. Second child is 18 months old now, still nursing, and my cycles are irregular-- sometimes long, sometimes short-- but I always know when I’m fertile (or not) thanks to NFP. It gives me great peace of mind, since DH doesn’t want another baby yet.

I second www.fertilityfriend.com; I use this for all of my charting. www.tcoyf.com has a similar tool but I think you have to pay for it. They also have good message boards where you can ask detailed questions about charting and signs. Though I like the philosophy of the CCLI for the most part, I found Toni Wechsler’s Taking Charge of Your Fertility much more practical and readable than the Kipleys’ book. She teaches and promotes the symptothermal method from a secular viewpoint, but the mechanics are exactly the same, and her book shows actual photographs of cervical mucus which I found helpful at the beginning.


#20

DH and I have been using NFP (Creighton method) going on 9 yrs.
We love it as well.

Since I have multiple health problems, we have to use it to avoid a pregnancy but that doesn’t stop us from showing how much we love each other.
Lately, my Crohn’s has been flaring up so DH will call me to make sure I am doing ok and he rents DVDs for me to watch while I am on the couch resting. He even takes over the chores until I am on my feet…including cooking!! When I am well, I make his favorite meals, tape his shows, do laundry, etc.

NFP does require committment and responsibility from both partners but isn’t that what marriage is all about? Too bad society doesn’t see it that way.

Just know that you won’t regret using it and you are not alone.

:blessyou:

Lisa


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