Natural Family Planning


#1

Dear CAF,

I was watching a television show on EWTN that talk about embracing the gift of Natural Family Planning. The host was explaining how NFP has helped his family, and yet he already has SIX children! I thought that NFP was a method to help the married couple have less children while still allowing them to have more sex. And yet, many people who have practiced NFP still have a super large amount of children! Does NFP really work in lowering the number of children and pregnancy?


#2

NFP allows people to space their children when there is a serious need to do so.

It isn’t automatically about having a smaller family, or “more sex and less children,” as you put it.

I’m expecting my ninth child in a couple of months. My DH & I have used NFP in the past to postpone pregnancy when there has been good reason to do so. It’s worked just fine for that purpose. None of these pregnancies were a surprise.

NFP has also allowed me to bring very accurate information on the date of conception to the OB’s office at the start of new pregnancies, since NFP is not only effective at avoiding pregnancy, but can also be used for achieving. :thumbsup:

Does that help?

Margaret


#3

(unmarried so this is just what I have heard). NFP can be as effective or more effective at preventing pregnancy than any form of birth control if used correctly. It's kind of obvious, if you think about it - the less you want to get pregnant, the more careful you are about when you have sex. Kind of like abstinence training in unmarried people.

From what I have heard about couples who use it, however, NFP is a great bonding tool because it encourages couples to talk about WHY they are postponing children. If they find that their reasons don't hold up, they loosen up the rules on when they can and cannot be together. NFP makes you more open to life, so it is not a "failing" in the method itself, rather an openness of the people who use it to allow the blessing of children into their home.


#4

[quote="Red_Meg, post:2, topic:189524"]

I'm expecting my ninth child in a couple of months.

Margaret

[/quote]

Nine children?!? While using NFP, did you intentionally plan to have nine children? Do you know any couple who has practiced NFP and have a small amount of children?

Why is it that so many couples who practice NFP have soooooo many children? Isn't one of main purposes of NFP to have a smaller family?


#5

I know one who had three.


#6

[quote="NguyenKimPhat, post:4, topic:189524"]
Nine children?!? While using NFP, did you intentionally plan to have nine children? Do you know any couple who has practiced NFP and have a small amount of children?

Why is it that so many couples who practice NFP have soooooo many children? Isn't one of main purposes of NFP to have a smaller family?

[/quote]

The purpose of NFP is to use the natural cycles of the female body when planning children.

Those who have a just reason to avoid pregnancy may use NFP as an alternative to total abstainence.

We are called to be open to children.

I know many women, myself included, who have used NFP for many years for serious health reasons and have only one child.


#7

Do you guys know any couple who has practiced NFP for the purpose of decreasing the number of pregnancies and thereby actually did in the end have a SMALLER family with less children? In other words, have you guys seen with your own eyes any time when NFP has actually helped to decrease the number of children?


#8

[quote="NguyenKimPhat, post:7, topic:189524"]
Do you guys know any couple who has practiced NFP for the purpose of decreasing the number of pregnancies and thereby actually did in the end have a SMALLER family with less children? In other words, have you guys seen with your own eyes any time when NFP has actually helped to decrease the number of children?

[/quote]

Perhaps we have some language barriers.

To decrease is to reduce existing numbers, so, no, NFP cannot decrease the number of children in a family.

People may - for SERIOUS just reasons - use NFP to space children or to avoid pregnancy. Only your priest can help you know if you have just reasons to avoid pregnancy.

Those of us who have these serious reasons use NFP sorrowfully, wishing each month that we will have a change of life situation that will allow us again to be open to life.


#9

No, I don’t know of ONE family IRL that has used NFP to successfully decrease the number of pregnancies. Everyone I know of that uses NFP has many children. Everyone else is on ABCs… :shrug:

It’s hard to find a nonbiased study regarding the efficacy of using NFP to decrease the number of pregnancies. Usually people use it to space out pregnancies, which is different than avoiding preganacy.


#10
                 Originally Posted by **NguyenKimPhat**                     [forums.catholic.com/images/buttons_khaki/viewpost.gif]("http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=6368095#post6368095")                 
             *Do you guys know any couple who has practiced NFP for the purpose of decreasing the number of pregnancies and thereby actually did in the end have a SMALLER family with less children? In other words, have you guys seen with your own eyes any time when NFP has actually helped to decrease the number of children?*

Sure-- there are a couple of moms here on CAF with health issues that preclude either getting pregnant or having any additional children. They use NFP and seem to plan to do so indefinitely, given their situations. And IRL I have a friend who was told to stop after her first baby because of serious complications. She decided (not a whoopsie!) to have a second so her son wouldn't be an only, but then really did stop (using NFP) because more would have been too dangerous. I have another friend who has stopped at three, also an NFP user, and while I don't want to pry, my sense is that there are tensions in her marriage due to some major personality issues on her husband's part that having another baby would not be prudent.

I can't quite understand why you view my having a large family as evidence that it doesn't actually "work." There have been several episodes in my life when I needed, for reasons of health or sanity, to not get pregnant for a period of time. Those have ranged from periods of just a few months to over a year. NFP worked exactly as it was supposed to. My husband and I are extremely fertile people. If we hadn't deliberately put in some space a few times there, we'd likely have 11 or 12 children by now. Whether you find it shocking by modern standards or not, that is a reduction in the number of children.

And, frankly, I'll need to assess again after this pregnancy if I can continue having more babies. This one has been much more physically difficult than any of the previous ones, thanks to some issues with my hip and pelvic joints. I'm in weekly physical therapy until delivery just so I can walk. I'll certainly need to not get pregnant for a good chunk of time afterwards, as I'll need to continue physical therapy and get put back together again like Humpty Dumpty. :D So whether that turns out to be another temporary break or a permanent one, I will again need to rely on NFP for that...

Best,

Margaret

ETA: Oh, and yes, we got married hoping for 6-10 children. And 10 wasn't necessarily a firm cap, either. When we were buying our van several years ago, a 12-seater, (i.e. holds mom + dad + 10 kids) my husband asked me in all seriousness, "But what if we have eleven??" I told him we'd cross that bridge when we got to it... ;)


#11

What do you have against children? Why are you so suprised that people **want **children?

You are confused. Natural family planning is information.

It is information about a woman’s natural cycle which can tell a couple when she is fertile and when she is not. It can be used to avoid pregnancy for just reasons. It can also be used to get pregnantif the couple is desiring more children. People use it for both reasons, depending upon their situation.

It does not allow you to have “more sex” and “less children” but rather to choose *when *to have sexual relations during the month to either get pregnant or avoid pregnancy.

Many people want a large number of children. Why are you so against that?

Certainly. If the couple has a serious reason for avoiding pregnancy, NFP works fine for that. I have zero children.


#12

NguyenKimPhat-

I see your point. At first glance, we see that people who practice NFP seem to have many kids. Some indeed do. Others don’t.

Open to life doesn’t mean “As many as possible”. (I know no one is saying that) Far from it.

I don’t personally want a large family either. I find nothing immoral about using NFP to avoid preganancy.

It’s a loaded topic (that’s an American term for people scream, yell, and throw things around the room while talking to about it :wink: ) and emotions run high because it deals with sex-another loaded topic!

I don’t think the OP is against a large family at all. In her defense, she’s asking perfectly normal questions-she has every right to!


#13

I know of two separate couples that use NFP exclusively and only have two children. I know another couple that uses NFP exclusively and has three children. These are older couples too (not young couples just getting started). My experience has been that many NFP users tend to have larger families because they genuinely desire lots of children and their circumstances are such that they are able to welcome that many, NOT because NFP is ineffective.


#14

[quote="Sirach_43, post:13, topic:189524"]
IMy experience has been that many NFP users tend to have larger families because they genuinely desire lots of children and their circumstances are such that they are able to welcome that many, NOT because NFP is ineffective.

[/quote]

I think your dead on accurate. Very, very good point.


#15

[quote="NguyenKimPhat, post:1, topic:189524"]
Dear CAF,

I was watching a television show on EWTN that talk about embracing the gift of Natural Family Planning. The host was explaining how NFP has helped his family, and yet he already has SIX children! I thought that NFP was a method to help the married couple have less children while still allowing them to have more sex. And yet, many people who have practiced NFP still have a super large amount of children! Does NFP really work in lowering the number of children and pregnancy?

[/quote]

6 is not a super amount of children it is a normal amount of children
the purpose of NFP is not to avoid pregnancy while still enjoying sex
the purpose of NFP is to temporarily avoid pregnancy if it would be dangerous or illadvisible for the health of the mother, or for another temporary reason, including family stresses, that would make a pregancy and this time a burden. NFP is more for spacing children than for outright avoiding pregnancy for its own sake, which would of course be a mortal sin, an offense against the goods of marriage not to mention, if the intention to avoid having children were present at the time of the contract, could invalidate the marriage


#16

[quote="NguyenKimPhat, post:7, topic:189524"]
Do you guys know any couple who has practiced NFP for the purpose of decreasing the number of pregnancies and thereby actually did in the end have a SMALLER family with less children? In other words, have you guys seen with your own eyes any time when NFP has actually helped to decrease the number of children?

[/quote]

It's working for me right now. It took a while to trust it, but I feel really confident that I can avoid getting pregnant when I want to. I might be relaxing the rules soon, though; I would like a cuddly little "accident." LOL


#17

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