NFP Difficult for Women


#1

I am a Catholic mother of three children, ages 3 and under. We are practicing NFP to give my body time to heal between C-sections. I become fertile very soon after having my children, I have menustrated within 6 weeks of having all three kids.

As a woman, I am very frustrated with NFP. When I desire to have relations, I can’t because I am fertile. When my desire lessens is when we can have relations because I am no longer fertile. Then I feel obligated to be intimate with my husband, and don’t really enjoy it. I really struggle with “sex on a schedule.” I feel like NFP causes frustration and lack of intimacy. I don’t like going to bed at night because I know I am going to be frustrated. Our sex life has now become full of guilt and fear. Guilt and humilation when I want sex and am turned away, and then fear of another pregnancy.

Are there any other women who struggle with this?


#2

I'd let your husband know the situation and tell him what he can do to help. I'll tell my husband, "You're going to have to work a little harder today because I have PMS!" He just laughs and is happy to give me extra massaging. If his hands are on you long enough, things will start working... Also, I'd recommend mornings over evenings when tiredness has set in. As for your fertile time, I have no suggestions other than to stay busy until you're too tired to even think about it.


#3

[quote="lovemyboys, post:2, topic:209721"]
I'd let your husband know the situation and tell him what he can do to help. I'll tell my husband, "You're going to have to work a little harder today because I have PMS!" He just laughs and is happy to give me extra massaging. If his hands are on you long enough, things will start working... Also, I'd recommend mornings over evenings when tiredness has set in. As for your fertile time, I have no suggestions other than to stay busy until you're too tired to even think about it.

[/quote]

I agree that it takes a certain amount of communication and understanding between the husband and wife.

For us, it's not so much a matter of outrageous desire during my fertile time, but just that our reasons for avoiding are so ominous... not that we don't want more children (quite the contrary), but life is just so overwhelming within our reasonings for avoiding that it overcomes those physical pinings...
Sure, it can take some effort/time to be together during the infertile phases, but you just learn to work with that - it's just a blessing that we are able to have that unity - especially during challenging life struggles - really helps the marriage bond...

Prayers for you...


#4

If you didn't have any children or had one two year old, I would say, "Maybe you need to reconsider why you're using natural family planning."

However, seeing as you've been very open to life . . .

Let the women here who've dealt with that help you. I'm sorry that you're in this situation. It's a textbook example of when NFP is morally justified. I'm sorry it's so difficult for you.

In my prayers.


#5

I am posting a response to my original question. It has been another month now, and NFP has proven more difficult. I have a 27 day cycle. 5 days are menustration, 9-10 days fertile mucus, 4 days of waiting after the mucus has gone away. Combine that with only have relations every other day before the fertile mucus, and there are only 6-8 days where we can have sex. About three of those, I have PMS cramps. I have to confess, I HATE those few days where I feel forced to have sex. My husband is very patient and doesn't force me at all, but I feel an obligation both to him and our marriage to try on those days. Sex has become something dreaded and forced. Am I missing something here? Is this really how it is supposed to be?


#6

[quote="motherof3babes, post:5, topic:209721"]
I am posting a response to my original question. It has been another month now, and NFP has proven more difficult. I have a 27 day cycle. 5 days are menustration, 9-10 days fertile mucus, 4 days of waiting after the mucus has gone away. Combine that with only have relations every other day before the fertile mucus, and there are only 6-8 days where we can have sex. About three of those, I have PMS cramps. I have to confess, I HATE those few days where I feel forced to have sex. My husband is very patient and doesn't force me at all, but I feel an obligation both to him and our marriage to try on those days. Sex has become something dreaded and forced. Am I missing something here? Is this really how it is supposed to be?

[/quote]

What method are you currently using?
That seems like an awfully long time to have to abstain - I've personally (in my almost 10 years of using NFP on and off to space children) had to abstain THAT long during a normal cycle.
I would get in contact with your NFP instructor and see if you can find ways to more accurately pinpoint your fertile window - because in all reality, while you may have fertile looking mucous for so long, you're not *actually *ovulating that *entire *time, so there may be a different technique or method out there that may help you more-accurately pinpoint those "truly fertile" days and have more time for sex...

HTH!


#7

mother o'3, I mean this as gently as possible, it seems to me that you are not frustrated with NFP, but in how we are designed.

Other than that, I second Em's suggestion. I took your description to mean you were using a sympto-thermal method very consevatively (with what appears to be good reason), what with avoiding during any fertile type mucus and waiting four days for what I understood to be post-ovulation for thermal shift/ temp above pre-rise baseline. That still seems like you have 10-11 days. How long is your post-ovulatory phase? Are some of the days in your calculation pre-ovulatory but before the appearance of fertile type mucus?


#8

Yes, I think I do have frustration in how we were designed. More accurately, I am fighting against how we are designed. It is natural to be more sexual during our fertile times so that we reproduce. Correct? I believe that what NFP does is act against this instinct. If I were to truly give in to my body, I would just be pregnant again.

On another note, thank you women who have written some things to help me. I don't take my temperature because I have read that it won't be very accurate if you wake up at different times and don't have regular nights sleep. With nursing in the middle of the night at various times and getting up two toddlers, I don't think that I would produce an accurate reading. Is this right?

My post-ovulatory phase is usually from Day 21 to Day 26 or 27. Between my period and fertile phase, usually only about 3 days, in which I am supposed to have sex every other day? Perhaps I am interpreting my mucus incorrectly and being too conservative, but I have a great fear of being pregnant due to number and ages of current children, lack of income, and health reasons.

Thank you for any advice you have.


#9

Not to barge in, but it's bloody difficult for men too! I struggled for the first few years with sullen obedience until it slowly dawned on me that the difficulty was the POINT!

Sex is not EVIL during fertile times under NFP, nor is it required during infertile times, but it sure is easy to come to see it that way if you aren't careful. Instead, I learned over time that the difficulty in abstaining is the very mechanism by which NFPers retain the innate association between sex and babies that is lost over time to contraceptors. Because you must abstain during the "best" times to avoid pregnancy, you never loose sight of the innate connectedness between sex and life. That's the first insight.

The second insight was to remember that married intimacy isn't something we dang well deserve and God owes to us. It's a GIFT. A gift meant to reflect the way that God himself loves. When we grow to consider it an entitlement, we lose something precious.

None of this came quickly or easily to me or my wife. It' much easier to type it than to learn it!


#10

have you considered the Marquette Method? It uses the Clear Blue Easy Fertility Monitor (and you can use it in conjunction with mucous readings) and we moved to this method a couple of years ago from the STM. We LOVE it.

nfp.marquette.edu/portal/login.php

That is the website, if you register and log in, you’ll see you can chart on-line and you have a direct line to something like 3-4 NFP medical professionals. I love that they can take a look at my chart and answer any questions. They assign you a number when you register…so it’s completely anonymous on line.

Anyway…if you’re interested, you might check it out. You might find that you’re able to determine more infertile days this way…but as with all NFP methods, follow the algorithm they have set.


#11

Not to barge in, but it's bloody difficult for men too! I struggled for the first few years with sullen obedience until it slowly dawned on me that the difficulty was the POINT!

Sex is not EVIL during fertile times under NFP, nor is it required during infertile times, but it sure is easy to come to see it that way if you aren't careful. Instead, I learned over time that the difficulty in abstaining is the very mechanism by which NFPers retain the innate association between sex and babies that is lost over time to contraceptors. Because you must abstain during the "best" times to avoid pregnancy, you never loose sight of the innate connectedness between sex and life. That's the first insight.

The second insight was to remember that married intimacy isn't something we dang well deserve and God owes to us. It's a GIFT. A gift meant to reflect the way that God himself loves. When we grow to consider it an entitlement, we lose something precious.

None of this came quickly or easily to me or my wife. It' much easier to type it than to learn it!

now there is what most people miss in all this.


#12

Thank you so much for sharing this. :tiphat: As a woman who doesn’t like to use NFP to achieve or avoid, I am finding myself in a situation where a bit more spacing between babies is necessary, at this point in my life. :frowning: I haven’t started charting yet (my newborn is only 2 months old, and my fertility didn’t return the last 2 times until those babies were 15 and 20 months old, so I’m waiting a bit before resuming NFP), but I am not looking forward to the difficulty that accompanies the periods of abstaining. More to offer up for my husband’s faith… :signofcross: (With all I’ve been through in the past few months, and all of the offering up I have to look forward to, that boy better get to Heaven!!! :stuck_out_tongue: )


#13

I cannot build anymore upon what the PPs have said.

I did want to respond with a few ideas for you, though.
Sex during PMS can actually help reduce cramps and symptoms (hello endorphins!)
It may seem like an inopportune time, but it does work.

I found that sex during Phase 3 takes a lot longer to build up to. It always made Phase 3 sex with XDH a bit more enjoyable. That, and acknowleding that sex during that time is a bit more difficult and using a lubricant that made sex much more enjoyable for me.

I hope some of this helps.
And I will keep you and your DH in my prayers.

Oh- if you are on Facebook, find the NFP group. We have 3000+ members, and a very active message board. I find that having an NFP-only support system really helps.


#14

[quote="motherof3babes, post:1, topic:209721"]
I am a Catholic mother of three children, ages 3 and under. We are practicing NFP to give my body time to heal between C-sections. I become fertile very soon after having my children, I have menustrated within 6 weeks of having all three kids.

As a woman, I am very frustrated with NFP. When I desire to have relations, I can't because I am fertile. When my desire lessens is when we can have relations because I am no longer fertile. Then I feel obligated to be intimate with my husband, and don't really enjoy it. I really struggle with "sex on a schedule." I feel like NFP causes frustration and lack of intimacy. I don't like going to bed at night because I know I am going to be frustrated. Our sex life has now become full of guilt and fear. Guilt and humilation when I want sex and am turned away, and then fear of another pregnancy.

Are there any other women who struggle with this?

[/quote]

I've been worrying about this for after the baby is born. Before we got pregnant, and for the short while we were using NFP, I was having real issues with PMS causing a sort of depression in me that pretty much made me not interested at all. Granted, I had a lot of other pressures contributing to it (I suppose I must say that we were having trouble fully consumating our marriage so the go days were basically...let's see if we don't fail again this time). I had so many feelings of dread over failing at it again, plus pressure to perform, it was hard.

We finally decided it was more important to consumate the marriage. We finally were able to and things have been slowly improving. However, with the pregnancy, things can be rather spontaneous. I find that if I'm completely unaroused, I still feel inimidated by the task of trying to be intimate. I still fear I'm going to fail at it and that my body won't respond as it should. As such, unless its spontanteous right now, I have a tendency to be focusing in on steps, constantly anticipating the next and not enjoying a thing and overall getting frustrated because my body isn't coorporating. Hense my frustration with feeling like what we're doing is only morally legimate if we can finish. I worry: What if I can't get there? I know I need to stop anticipating and just enjoy the moment and eventually let nature happen, but I have so much trouble doing that.

Right now I think that is ultimately my problem. I anticipate, approach it as steps. I don't focus on just loving my husband sexually but on fulfilling some duty. As such, I'm hoping eventually before the baby is born, I can learn to just let go of that anxious anticipation. I'm also going to watch out for what my mood is like. If I'm finding my PMS is really depressively bad and that it is causing me to become totally non-responsive, I'm going to take my Creighton chart and get an evaulation to see if there's something I can do to help with the PMS.

Those are really my only two ideas right now. I'm not sure if they help.


#15

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