NFP- For those struggling


#1

I have been reading alot of desperate NFP threads here. Honestly, I struggle greatly with NFP. I find it to be a cross, not a blessing in my marriage. I even have doubts about the arguments for NFP over some forms of ABC. Some of it just seems like mental gymnastics to me. However, I am at peace because even in the midst of our struggles and doubts, my husband and I choose to remain obedient.

For those who are struggling, I cannot recommend enough that you please look into the Marquette Method! We have had two unplanned pregnancies using other methods, but I love Marquette because it is very objective. A monitor is used to measure hormones and one can also use biological signs for a cross check. They provide a fantastic message board and you can ask questions of nurses and physicians. Here is the url:

nfp.marquette.edu/

The downside is that the monitor and test strips can be expensive. If someone is in a truly desperate situation, perhaps they can go to their diocese for some sort of assistance.

Prayers and blessings for all of those who struggle in this area.


#2

Beautiful advice... you and everyone who struggles with the teaching are in my prayers...


#3

You know what helped me get over the hump on coming to grips with NFP? Recognizing that it was SUPPOSED to be hard. Making you give up what you want when there is a need to avoid pregnancy is the ties that keep married sexuality about BOTH love AND babies, even when it isn't the right time for more babies.

Once I realized that my struggle was not so unlike the sacrifices necessary to do well in school, succeed at work, stay physically fit and have good nutrition, it became easier to practice the self-discipline of NFP.


#4

[quote="manualman, post:3, topic:229931"]
You know what helped me get over the hump on coming to grips with NFP? Recognizing that it was SUPPOSED to be hard. Making you give up what you want when there is a need to avoid pregnancy is the ties that keep married sexuality about BOTH love AND babies, even when it isn't the right time for more babies.

Once I realized that my struggle was not so unlike the sacrifices necessary to do well in school, succeed at work, stay physically fit and have good nutrition, it became easier to practice the self-discipline of NFP.

[/quote]

Yes, knowing that it is supposed to be bad helped me too. When you're running or training hard you know that a little bit of pain is to be expected so you push through it.

With NFP I felt lied to more than anything else. It wasn't anything at all like the smiling couple on front of the CCL book said it would be. I don't know why I bought the infomercial pitch. I know that I can't get a six pack in ten minutes a day or transform my body in only 90 days. I don't know why I ever believed the sales pitch.


#5

[quote="KostyaJMJ, post:4, topic:229931"]
With NFP I felt lied to more than anything else. It wasn't anything at all like the smiling couple on front of the CCL book said it would be.

[/quote]

My other helpful image is that NFP is like the canary in a coal mine. (Canaries are much more sensitive to toxic gases than humans, so they used to keep them in mines. If the canary suddenly dies - RUN for help!)

It's not that practicing NFP is particularly helpful for your marriage in and of itself. The benefit is that if there are unhealthy problems in your relationship such that you just can't stand the 1-2 weeks of needed abstinance a month, NFP will make those problems show up SOONER rather than later. Practiced correctly, that can help if you use the early warning as an opportunity to correct what is wrong before it festers. But if the canary dies in the cage and the couple takes no action, it is of no benefit.


#6

[quote="manualman, post:5, topic:229931"]
My other helpful image is that NFP is like the canary in a coal mine. (Canaries are much more sensitive to toxic gases than humans, so they used to keep them in mines. If the canary suddenly dies - RUN for help!)

It's not that practicing NFP is particularly helpful for your marriage in and of itself. The benefit is that if there are unhealthy problems in your relationship such that you just can't stand the 1-2 weeks of needed abstinance a month, NFP will make those problems show up SOONER rather than later. Practiced correctly, that can help if you use the early warning as an opportunity to correct what is wrong before it festers. But if the canary dies in the cage and the couple takes no action, it is of no benefit.

[/quote]

Yes, I've heard it a million times

I know that the people who offer the advice mean well but I've always found it quite condescending.

Me: Hello, is this the NFP helpline?

NFP helpline: Yes, hello this is Sandeep, how may I assist you today?

Me: Your product stinks. It isn't anything like you advertised. My wife and I have had only been able to engage in what you like to call the "marital embrace" once in the past year and half and we just found out she is pregnant with our 5th child. The children have been running the flew for 2 weeks straight now and I've just lost my job. What exactly are you trying to sell me here?

NFP helpline: sir, I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that many Godly people use NFP and love it. furthermore, I find that many people have problems practicing NFP because they are not selfless and Godly enough and because there are many problems in their marriages.

i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq107/Caliper68/GTEmoticon/beatingA_DeadHorse.gif"]http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq107/Caliper68/GTEmoticon/beatingA_DeadHorse.gif


#7

OMGosh!!!! That last post and the smiley beating the dead horse were priceless.....Thank you for a much needed laugh.

I am sorry to say that I have no problems with ABC and I will take whatever "punishment" is coming when my time to leave this earth comes. One of my favorite lines about NFP comes from the old TV show Roseanne...The oldest daughter askes if it really works and Roseanne tells her "Go ask your brother"..the brother in question is like 6yrs old.

For those who have had success with NFP - GREAT!!! I am glad that it has worked for you. BUT, it is not your place to condemn the rest of us....only God has that right


#8

[quote="Maureen1125, post:7, topic:229931"]
OMGosh!!!! That last post and the smiley beating the dead horse were priceless.....Thank you for a much needed laugh.

I am sorry to say that I have no problems with ABC and I will take whatever "punishment" is coming when my time to leave this earth comes. One of my favorite lines about NFP comes from the old TV show Roseanne...The oldest daughter askes if it really works and Roseanne tells her "Go ask your brother"..the brother in question is like 6yrs old.

For those who have had success with NFP - GREAT!!! I am glad that it has worked for you. BUT, it is not your place to condemn the rest of us....only God has that right

[/quote]

en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Roseanne

Roseanne: There's the rhythm method.
Becky: Does that work?
Roseanne: Ask your brother.


Sort of interesting, that the quote says "Rhythm method" not NFP, I bet Roseanne doesn't know what NFP is at all.

And while you are worried about being condemned, you insulted all that use NFP. Thanks a bunch.;)


#9

I, too, am very worried about using NFP after this baby is born but it's honestly not something you can express on these forums without getting a serious beatdown. People can be very harsh towards couples who struggle with NFP, even if the couple is fully commited to using it despite the heavy burden. The fact that some people consider it a burden at all is enough to get chastised. I'm tired of hearing that if you struggle with NFP it means you weren't doing it right, or you weren't going to an NFP only doctor (because seriously, there are people here who think they are the ONLY kind of doctor who knows anything about fertility), that not having a kid at least every two years means you are turning down God's blessings and are sinning, that you should feel horribly guilty and ashamed if NFP isn't the most awesome blessing ever bestowed on your life, etc.

I knew my husband and I wanted to try for a baby right after marriage, but in the 6 months leading up to this pregnancy I wanted to practice looking for fertility signs so I'd have some experience when I needed it. Around that time I stopped having any detecable cervical mucus. I had None. At. All. Before that time I would occasionally notice some, but around March of 2010 it's like it just dried up! When the first two cycles after we got married failed to result in pregnancy, I started using an ovulation predictor kit. You know what? I bought 30 test strips and every single one said I never ovulated. I actually went to see my doctor because the lack of mucus and the strips telling me I never ovulated made me worried that I had hypothyroidism (it runs in my family.) Lo and behold, it turns out that I had ovulated that month despite what the strips and mucus said and I found out later that I was 5 days pregnant when I was being tested at the doctor! So, I'm very concerned that I'm going to have a hard time detecting when I'm fertile, and family history says I'm going to be extremely fertile. My mom had me at 42 after a single month of trying, my brother at 44 after just 3 months, and my grandma had 6 kids in 6 years, and I could just go on and on. My husband and I are not going to be able to take any risks and honestly, with as difficult as this pregnancy has been (three different complications, I'm on bedrest now and will likely be hospitalized in a few weeks if it progresses as it has been) I really can't risk having another pregnancy right after this one or I'll literally go into organ failure. I used to scoff at people who said life-threatening pregnancy complications made them fearful of getting pregnant again until it happened to me. :(

Because I'm going to breastfeed, my cycles might not start again for many months, maybe as long as ten. The safest option for us is to abstain completely during that time. It's not going to be easy, particularly since the pregnancy complications mean we haven't been together in a long time already, but the risks are just too high.


#10

[quote="Mary_Gail_36, post:8, topic:229931"]

And while you are worried about being condemned, you insulted all that use NFP. Thanks a bunch.;)

[/quote]

I honestly didn't see anything in her post that put down those who use NFP. She's just pointing out that it doesn't always work, which is true.


#11

[quote="Charlotte1776, post:10, topic:229931"]
I honestly didn't see anything in her post that put down those who use NFP. She's just pointing out that it doesn't always work, which is true.

[/quote]

Her Roseanne quote...the episode dealt with the oldest daughter getting ABC in order to sleep with her boyfriend. The "rhythm method" was illustrated as a way of being an irresponsible form of birth control.

Roseanne didn't mention NFP, but Maureen equated the 2 methods.

NFP is not the Rhythmn method.

I might be touchy...the Roseanne program had a few "pro choice" episodes, one of which I recently saw Roseanne telling her son that he never has any right to tell a woman what to do with his child that she is carrying.


#12

What is the rhythm method?

The act of abstaining from sexual intercourse on the days of the woman's menstrual cycle (around ovulation) when she could become pregnant

Natural family planning ....When used to avoid pregnancy, NFP limits sexual intercourse to naturally infertile periods: portions of the menstrual cycle, during pregnancy, or after menopause. Various methods may be used to identify whether a woman is likely to be fertile; this information may be used in attempts to either avoid or achieve pregnancy.

How exactly are these 2 methods different? They both depend on having intercourse only during a non-fertile period of a woman's monthly cycle? Please ...enlighten me on the difference?

Mary Gail - I said nothing condeming those who use NFG. I congratulated you for having absolute perfect cycles that allow you to be successful. Many women have cycles that are not the text book perfect 28days.

By using ABC I do not feel that I am rejecting God in any way. I feel that I am respecting the awesome gift and power of fertility. It has nothing to do with wanting to have sex whenever and wherever I want. My husband and I have not been intimate since New Year's Eve.


#13

[quote="Maureen1125, post:12, topic:229931"]
What is the rhythm method?

The act of abstaining from sexual intercourse on the days of the woman's menstrual cycle (around ovulation) when she could become pregnant

Natural family planning ....When used to avoid pregnancy, NFP limits sexual intercourse to naturally infertile periods: portions of the menstrual cycle, during pregnancy, or after menopause. Various methods may be used to identify whether a woman is likely to be fertile; this information may be used in attempts to either avoid or achieve pregnancy.

How exactly are these 2 methods different? They both depend on having intercourse only during a non-fertile period of a woman's monthly cycle? Please ...enlighten me on the difference?

Mary Gail - I said nothing condeming those who use NFG. I congratulated you for having absolute perfect cycles that allow you to be successful. Many women have cycles that are not the text book perfect 28days.

By using ABC I do not feel that I am rejecting God in any way. I feel that I am respecting the awesome gift and power of fertility. It has nothing to do with wanting to have sex whenever and wherever I want. My husband and I have not been intimate since New Year's Eve.

[/quote]

There is a huge difference between the rhythm method and the modern NFP methods. The rhythm method pretty much uses a calendar to decide when a woman should be fertile, based on an average regular cycle (something many women don't have, and even if they do, so many different factors could change it one month and ovulation could occur at a different time than expected). In the various NFP methods out there nowadays women use the signs their own bodies present to know when they are fertile or not. God made the woman's cycle with different phases of fertility and infertility, and our bodies have characteristic signs that suggest what phase we are in. There is a huuuge difference between observing one's body to watch for these signs and simply, probably wrongfully, assuming that one can rely on a calendar to tell one when one is fertile or not. There are several mommas on here that use NFP postpartum. This means they are observing signs for fertility even when they have not had any previous period postpartum. It is impossible to use the calendar method while not having any cycles (since it is basically a guess based on the beginning of the cycle and the calendar), but it is not impossible (though I know it can be tough for some) to observe fertility signs postpartum. So, yeah, Roseanne is right (:eek:) the rhythm method is ineffective, but that is very different from the methods of NFP available right now.

Now... morally, you are correct, both methods consist of not having intercourse when the couple thinks they are fertile in an effort to avoid pregnancy, and when a couple has unselfish reasons to do so that is ok, but it is very different morally from altering the act the act itself (ABC). The only difference between the two methods that use abstaining is the information they are basing their decision on, which has a huge impact on their effectiveness, the first basing one woman's fertility on other women's averages, the second basing it on the particular woman's present situation, the signs her body has been giving.


#14

Maureen,

The rhythm method assumes that every woman has the same lengtyh cycle, every cycle, and does not observe any of the physical signs of the cycle; it makes the assumption that ovulation occurs on a certain day ( I think day 14, IIRC). As you note, not every woman has a cycle like that at all or every cycle.

Modern methods of NFP do not assume that the next cycle will be like the last cycle, or like anyone else's cycle. The woman observes various physical signs which indicate changes in fertility, which may include basal body temperature, cervical mucus, and cervical position. Each cycle is treated independently of prior cycles, so "textbook" cycles are not required.

Therefore, while you are correct that the application, i.e., abstention when fertile, is the same, how the couple gets to that point is markedly different. For you to equate the two, and continue to assert that a woman needs perfect or textbook cycles to practice NFP successfully, is incorrect.


#15

[quote="Maureen1125, post:12, topic:229931"]
.... I congratulated you for having absolute perfect cycles that allow you to be successful. Many women have cycles that are not the text book perfect 28days.

....

[/quote]

This is the part that is insulting and ignorant of the facts. We've used NFP through a large number of bizarre cycle changes including breastfeeding times, fertility return after pregnancy and serious life stress; cycles that ranged from 18-40 days and in which the fertile time came anywhere from immediately after menstruation to past the 30 day mark. NFP is simply NOT based on the calender, it is based on the medically verifiable symptoms that accompany fertility. Not to rant on you here, but the rest of your post is symptomatic of catholicism today. We decide what to believe based on how we "feel". That's utterly foreign to the Judeo-Christian tradition.

I DO, by the way recognize that there are a few people who have medical issues that tend to mask the physical symptoms of fertility. I in no way wish to minimize or denigrate your difficulty or struggle. It's just hard on an internet forum to separate those who discard God's revelation in favor of what they 'feel' from those who struggle hard to submit to God's inconvenient commands and experience hardship and suffering while doing so.


#16

Kostya,

You know, when I went to get married and was reading about NFP and all its benefits etc, I too was confused with some of the “advertising” out there, we had started off deciding we were not going to use NFP (or anything), but it almost seemed as if we were going to miss out on so many important things if we didn’t use NFP, some people even suggesting we were not going to be active participants in the creation of life (lol, I should have been able to figure that one out on my own). Anyways, after speaking with a few great priests and the (awesome) brother that did our pre-marriage prep, I realized although there are great things that can come out of NFP, and it can help develop many virtues etc, these virtues can be attained in a healthy marriage that does not decide to “regulate” its births too, and a couple should not use NFP to avoid if they do not have the right reasons, in other words, it could also be sinful, the very thing that was supposed to be the ideal for every marriage (according to some). Now, I am not trying to knock on NFP, I am very thankful it is there because a situation may arise where dh and I have to avoid receiving blessings for a short or long period of time, and being able to use NFP to avoid rather than having to abstain indefinitely will be a blessing… hard work, discipline and all, but I had to realize that NFP is just that, a tool available for couples when they need it, one that when done correctly can also serve as a tool to strengthen some virtues and has other positive supernatural repercussions. It doesn’t matter what people say to try to help couples stop using ABC (which shouldn’t even be part of the picture to begin with, bears not weight on the value of NFP), it doesn’t matter what others are using to “advertise” NFP, I am thankful and appreciative that the Church has looked into the tough situation of couples that have serious reasons to avoid, but would have to miss out on the beauty of the sacramental marital embrace by abstaining completely if it weren’t for NFP. I can ignore the comments (sometimes erroneus) that people use trying to help their brothers and sisters get away from ABC (which is intrinsically evil, and they are doing well in trying to help them). I too think it is a bad idea to idealize NFP since the reason NFP is good is not because it is the “ideal” but because it is a moral way to regulate births when needed, and in being a moral way to deal with a problem, it also has positive moral repercussions, but if one idealizes it from an earthly point of view, and a couple does not find it meets their expectations, they can become disillusioned… NFP, although it does have good “earthly” attributes, is mainly good because of the supernatural aspect. If a couple does not understand that part well, it makes it a lot harder on them, although, yes, NFP is hard on its own, understanding it or not, but the more we see the supernatural value of things on earth, the easier it is to cope with them (not saying it is easy, just easier).

Lol, sorry to ramble on, but as someone who was also confused at one point because of the “advertising”, I just thought I would chime in :D.

ETA: I do agree with the approach of helping people that are using ABC switch over to NFP, as ABC to avoid pregnancy is always intrinsically evil regarldess of the reasons it is being used, but the way we approach is what we have to be careful with.


#17

[quote="Maureen1125, post:12, topic:229931"]
What is the rhythm method?

The act of abstaining from sexual intercourse on the days of the woman's menstrual cycle (around ovulation) when she could become pregnant

Natural family planning ....When used to avoid pregnancy, NFP limits sexual intercourse to naturally infertile periods: portions of the menstrual cycle, during pregnancy, or after menopause. Various methods may be used to identify whether a woman is likely to be fertile; this information may be used in attempts to either avoid or achieve pregnancy.

How exactly are these 2 methods different? They both depend on having intercourse only during a non-fertile period of a woman's monthly cycle? Please ...enlighten me on the difference?

Mary Gail - I said nothing condeming those who use NFG. I congratulated you for having absolute perfect cycles that allow you to be successful. Many women have cycles that are not the text book perfect 28days.

By using ABC I do not feel that I am rejecting God in any way. I feel that I am respecting the awesome gift and power of fertility. It has nothing to do with wanting to have sex whenever and wherever I want. My husband and I have not been intimate since New Year's Eve.

[/quote]

  1. I started my period 30 years ago at age 11. I have never had an absolute perfect cycle, ever. Yet I am pretty familiar to the workings of my cycle, because I use NFP.

  2. Roseanne didn't use the word NFP, she use Rhythm method, as an example of irresponsible birth control, and used her son as an example. Sort of sad...

  3. The thread was supposed to be for those struggling with NFP to keep at it...not a subtle jab that it doesn't work, and that ABC is another option.

I just saw my OB..we spoke and he confirmed that we do have serious reasons to avoid. Maybe someone like myself would have liked a thread solely to encourage our NFP use? But it needed to get derailed by slight jabs on how ineffective it is because Roseanne made a joke about the Rhythm method.:(

I'm sorry if I'm taking it personally...NFP is difficult, getting a tubal ligation would be really easy...but I don't do that because I want to obey God and his Church.:(

We couldn't have one thread that didn't debate the Church on this?

Sorry for the rant, and for being a bit sensitive about this issue.


#18

Kostya, I wanted to add I will say a prayer for your work. You may not realize it but your family is setting a good example, and is also a source of support for other families (including my own), to see families that follow God's will even in tough times. Right now things might be crazy (they are in our house, and we are in a similar situation), but in the end, when things matter (all of eternity), your choices to be open to God's will over earthly views will be very much worth any difficulties.


#19

You still havn't told me how NFP and the Rythem Method are any different. You specifically told me they were not the same, yet they have the exact same definition.

You need to chose what is best for you and for your life. I am going to do the same for me and my life.

I am sorry that Roseanne offends you. It is time to get over it and move on.


#20

[quote="Maureen1125, post:19, topic:229931"]
You still havn't told me how NFP and the Rythem Method are any different. You specifically told me they were not the same, yet they have the exact same definition.

[/quote]

The Rhythm Method counts days and assumes all women have the same "normal" length cycle. It tells you when to abstain based on what day you are in your cycle - such as "avoid sex for cycle-days 10-16".

Modern Natural Family Planning looks at fertility signs on a daily basis. You can have a 20 day cycle or a 60 day cycle and it would still work. You check cervical mucous, cervical position, and the basal body temperature (depending on the method) in order to determine where your individual fertility cycle is at that moment. There are medical studies that have shown these signs accurately distinguish the phases of a woman's fertility. It's more accurate because each woman is looking at her individual signs and not relying on some "standard calendar" and counting days.


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