NFP... Is it for me?


#1

Help… this has been tearing me up.

My wife and I have been married for 2 1/2 years now. We were both raised Catholic and have been very loyal to the Church… at least I thought.

We have been using the bcp for our entire marriage with the understanding that we are preventing pregnancy in a way that is not abortificial. I have done a ton of reading lately (so we don’t have to get into the argument of whether it is or isn’t) and I am worried about using the pill. I want to serve God in all aspects of my life and always do what is right as best I can. Can anyone tell me how well nfp works… from experience. I love my wife and we both can’t wait to begin our family (and we are fiercely pro-life) but we just don’t think we could do it financially now. Looking back, if we weren’t financially prepared, we shouldn’t have gotten married but it is too late for that now. I trust in God to use me as his instrument and let his will be done in my life but I am terrified at the thought of having 12 children like my grandparents did. It is simply not possible at this day in age.

Also, I don’t want to offend anyone by getting too graphic, but could someone with experience please thoroughly explain the processes / methods for me? I know that there are classes and books, but I want to give my wife a heads up before she will commit to a class.

Above all, please pray for us.

Thank you


#2

Well, the BCP is abortifacient, it can cause a fertilized egg to not emplant.

NFP–there are several version:
Sympto–thermal, the woman takes her waking temp each morning, observes her cevical muscous and the position of her cervix ccli.org

Billings–is mucous only observation
www.boma-usa.org

Creighton–is also mucous only (I think)
popepaulvi.com/

One More Soul offers tons of reading about BCP, Contraception and NFP and you can find teacher and NFP only Dr.s
omsoul.com

All are as effective as you make them by following the rules, but scientifically they are as effective as other forms of birth regulation. If your family size must be limited by financial, medical or other serious reasons, than NFP is the way to do it. I recommend you find a teaching couple and learn via them. It’s easier that way.

God bless you I will pray for you!
Jennifer


#3

Jennifer posted some EXCELLENT resources… as for your questions that you want answers to, I HIGHLY recommend to find a teaching couple… CCLI can help there. They’ll be able to answer your questions in detail.

As for your comment about you’ve done research and don’t want to get into an argument over BCP and you’re pro-life… Jennifer stated a fact… BCP’s are abortifacient. I’m not starting an argument, but I will back her up in that comment. So please, continue to do reading. I understand the wanting to practice a pro-life family planning method… please research the ones Jennifer gave you.

My husband and I have been kinda practicing NFP for the past 6 years. I say kinda because he’s military and sometime there is no need to chart simply because he’s not around. When we are in the mood to chart, it’s more of a Creighton method as I have some very obvious signs and I’m one that forgets to take my temp every morning. Not to mention, each pregnancy has left me with 7 month or more (the record is 18) of no menses due to breastfeeding.

NFP takes communication, practice and lots of faith and prayer. I’ve known lots of friends that use NFP and some have gotten pregnant when they thought they were “safe” and many have not gotten pregnant when it was very obvious to them that they were fertile. It proves that God is in control.

Good luck in your search and pray, pray, pray for guidance! :smiley: :slight_smile:
Theresa


#4

We have also been married for 2 1/2 years! We got married on May 31, 2003, how about you? Well, when we got married, my husband was still in college, so we used NFP to avoid pregnancy until he got out several months later. Then, when we were ready, we used NFP to know exactly when I was fertile and got pregnant on our first try. Our experience with NFP was very positive as we both were very happy to be using a moral, all-natural, 99% effective, marriage-building method of family planning.

Jennifer J mentioned some great websites for resources, and I would highly recommend Janet Smith’s tape “Contraception: Why Not?” available through the www.omsoul.com website. The transcript is available at catholiceducation.org/articles/sexuality/se0002.html

You do NOT have to have 12 kids if you use NFP, but what often happens is that by using NFP, you become more “open to life” and may very well find yourself wanting a larger family.

At first, I was intimidated by all of the observations that I needed to make, but when I learned how to do them, it just became habit. I would much rather pay attention to my morning temperature and cervical mucus patterns (observable by wiping with toilet paper before and after using the bathroom) than taking a hormonal pill with dangerous side effects.

I would definitely give NFP “:thumbsup::thumbsup:

One more bit of information that might ease your mind–if your wife is planning on being a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) when you do have children, she might be interested in practicing ecological breastfeeding. If practiced accordingly, this method will space children around 18-36 months apart without need for praciticng additional NFP. I have been ecologically breastfeeding and naturally, slowly, weaning my son who is one year old, and my period has not returned yet. In ecological breastfeeding mothers, there is only a 6% chance of pregnancy before the return of menstruation.


#5

Dear Online Knight,

Jennifer J has given you several great links to the information about different methods of NFP, so I won’t go into that.

I just wanted to make sure you understand that the Church considers the use of any form of contraception, regardless if it is abortifacient (even if you are 100% sure it will not cause an abortion) “intrinsically evil”.

I have not had just/serious reasons to use it, but there are people in my family that have (the wife cannot get pregnant after near death complications in her fifth delivery, dr’s believe it would cause death) and it has worked for them (they’ve been using it for almost 10 years now).

Don’t worry about looking back, only forward :). It is wonderful that you love each other and are looking toward taking steps to make your marriage better by removing contraception (which is never good for a marriage). With NFP, thru prayer and careful discernment, you, as a couple, can constantly reevaluate whether or not you have serious reasons to postpone children.

[quote=Online Knight]I trust in God to use me as his instrument and let his will be done in my life but I am terrified at the thought of having 12 children like my grandparents did. It is simply not possible at this day in age.

[/quote]

Please don’t be terrified. This reminds me of Blessed Mother Theresa asking a child “Why are they so afraid of you?”. Families with numerous children are possible in this day and age, even if society and the media want you to think otherwise. I know a family where the father has never made anything near a triple digit salary in his life and they have about 8 children. I know many families with 8-10 children and they do not come from rich backgrounds, just hard-working loving parents. Heck, look at the family of 16 in Arkansa! Not everyone will receive 16, 12, 10, or even 7 or 8 blessings, but it is doable. Generosity is given to those who are generous. Now, the Church in its wisdom does allow for us to make use of our knowledge of the wonderful cycle God created and we can postpone having children using these natural methods when we have serious reasons to do so. A few other references you can use are Kimberly Hahn’s book Life giving Love and like the previous poster mentioned, Janet Smith’s tape, Contraception, why not.


#6

Hi Online Knight,

Praise God for your willingness to serve Him and for your efforts to always want to do what is right!

First, I must say that I am not an expert on this, but will just share with you my experiences.

Pray that your wife will get off the pill and start using NFP. My husband and I have been practicing NFP since day 1 of our marriage. We got pregnant 5 months after the wedding, but that was because I was lazy in my observations (which goes to show you that if you “play around” & don’t use NFP carefully, you WILL get pregnant!) Our dear son is now 17 months old and I am not pregnant yet with #2 (this should give you hope!) … with the use of NFP the entire time.

My husband and I attended classes to be trained on the use of NFP (the Creighton model) - both before we were married and for about 10 months after my son was born, while I was breastfeeding him. I would suggest you find someone in your area to train you and your wife. We attended training sessions about twice a month in the beginning, and then the intervals between training sessions increased as we became more and more “versed” in the method. The trainings we attended were one-on-one with the trainer, so we got very personalized attention.

The method we use is VERY simple. Your wife needs to wipe
before and after each bathroom use and watch for cervical mucus. She can also take her temp (at the same time) each morning, but I opted not to do that with our little guy’s waking hours so unpredictable. Different levels and types of mucus, as well as variations in her temperature, are indicators of her fertlity. Then, together you chart her “findings” at the end of each night. When she is fertile, intercourse is a no-no if you are trying to avoid pregnancy. Of course, there are many other ways to show your affection to your spouse, which don’t require intercourse.

This does take a lot of work, communication with each other, and prayer. Believe me, my husband and I have had our struggles, but with the grace of God we have been able to continue using NFP and not fall into sin by using artificial contraceptives (did I mention that our son is now 17 months old and we are not pregnant yet with #2?).

Also, I decided to quit working and become a full-time stay at home mom after our son was born, so we are caring for him on a single income. Try not to worry about finances. The Lord will provide you with everything you need! Besides, baby showers, birthdays, & Christmases will provide you and your wife with plenty of things you will need for your child! (our son was born in July so he gets new clothes every 6 months, which is perfect for his growing little body!) :smiley: Oh, and if your wife decides to breastfeed, you won’t need to buy formula for a while!

My prayers are with you & your wife. You or your wife can send me a private message if you’d like to know more.


#7

Oh, and I must ditto what CatholicSam said:

“Our experience with NFP was very positive as we both were very happy to be using a moral, all-natural, 99% effective, marriage-building method of family planning.”

Great way to put it, CatholicSam! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:


#8

Married 6 years, used Billings Method NFP the whole time. 100% effective for avoidance. First cycle that we stopping trying to avoid getting pregnant, we got pregnant (no fertility problems!). For our 2nd daughter, the first three months of NOT using NFP to avoid pregnancy had no result. The next month we charted the mucus again for purposes of TRYING to conceive. Ding! Success.

We are blessed by my wife having very clear mucus symptoms, which she preserves by avoiding anti-mucus cold and allergy medicines. That IS a sacrifice for her.

Basically, the woman’s cycle goes like this:

  1. Menstruation.
  2. Early days (no mucus present, sex allowed on evenings every other day) Day off required to clarify mucus state again.
  3. Mucus begins appearing. No sex.
  4. Mucus turns fertile (stretchly and very slippery).
  5. Peak day is the day before mucus declines in slipperyness and stretchyness.
  6. Peak day and three following days are ‘no go.’
  7. Remainder of time until menstruation returns is non-fertile.

By no means should you rely on the above exclusively. This is an extremely condensed lesson and is probably specific to my own wife’s very predictable symptoms. Different women vary a lot and need informed instruction, which I’m not qualified to give you.

Don’t be afraid. Kids are 90% blessing and 10% burden. Even if you should experience a rare ‘oops’ you won’t regret it. Far from it!


#9

all i can add is my wife and I’s experience with NFP. we took the class offered by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia the month before our wedding. its been 14 months now. dilligent use… and no babies.
our families though we were crazy to use NFP… now we’re the ones laughing… we know it works!


#10

[quote=Online Knight] Help… this has been tearing me up.

My wife and I have been married for 2 1/2 years now. We were both raised Catholic and have been very loyal to the Church… at least I thought.

We have been using the bcp for our entire marriage with the understanding that we are preventing pregnancy in a way that is not abortificial.
[/quote]

The Church teaches all contraception is a grave sin, not just abortifacient methods. It seems you were under the impression that contraception is allowed since your wife was using BCP.

[quote=Online Knight] I have done a ton of reading lately (so we don’t have to get into the argument of whether it is or isn’t) and I am worried about using the pill.
[/quote]

Whether it is or isn’t is not relevant-- it’s a contraceptive and all contraceptives are immoral.

[quote=Online Knight] I want to serve God in all aspects of my life and always do what is right as best I can.
[/quote]

This is very commendable.

[quote=Online Knight] Can anyone tell me how well nfp works… from experience.
[/quote]

I use the Creighton Model of NFP. We are currently avoiding, no problems.

[quote=Online Knight] I love my wife and we both can’t wait to begin our family (and we are fiercely pro-life) but we just don’t think we could do it financially now. Looking back, if we weren’t financially prepared, we shouldn’t have gotten married but it is too late for that now.
[/quote]

Then, to answer your question in the title of your thread-- Yes, NFP is for you since it is the only moral way to postpone pregnancy other than complete abstinence.

[quote=Online Knight] I trust in God to use me as his instrument and let his will be done in my life but I am terrified at the thought of having 12 children like my grandparents did. It is simply not possible at this day in age.
[/quote]

I disagree that it is “simply not possible” in this day and age. I would also suggest you and your wife seriously examine your attachment to material goods – it often seems to be at the root of this mentality… but that is a personal thing and I’m not judging just suggesting. No matter, NFP does not equate to any specific number of children.

[quote=Online Knight] Also, I don’t want to offend anyone by getting too graphic, but could someone with experience please thoroughly explain the processes / methods for me? I know that there are classes and books, but I want to give my wife a heads up before she will commit to a class.
[/quote]

Some others have posted websites for you to check out. I agree with these suggestions. You will find much info on NFP at each site. Each method of NFP is slightly different, but all use observation of one or more of the female’s signs of fertility-- basal body temp, cervical position, and cervical mucus. These signs are charted, and you know when you are fertile and when you are not. Therefore, you know when you can have sex and when to abstain.

As far as committing to a class-- you really need to do so and discontinue the use of contraceptives. Read your catechism, the entire section on the Sixth Commandment, and also read Humanae Vitae-- the encyclical on this subject.


#11

Lol, I meant 6 digit (or 100K and higher)


#12

I’d like to add two things that have not been mentioned yet:

First, if your wife is on BCP, these will mask any fertility signs. This means that while you can take a class to learn about NFP, you will not be able to see any examples of the symptoms to look for until your wife stops the BCP, and her fertility returns.

Second, NFP does amazing things to your mindset about children, at least it did for my wife and I. We started our marraige with a contraceptive attitude, thinking that it would be nice to hold off on children for the first year. By the time our wedding came around, the seeds planted in our pre-marriage classes had taken root, and we decided we would use NFP to post pone pregnancy; because what was the worst that would happen, so we start our family a little sooner. We never did follow the rules very well, because as soon as we started thinking that sex could actually make a child, well, we soon found ourselves using NFP to GET PREGNANT. NFP works extremely well for getting pregnant also, unfortunatley we found we had other problems, which are detailed in other threads.


#13

I hope and pray you and your wife find peace and courage in your search for Truth! You have gotten some excellent advice and encouragement here, so I will only add:

[quote=online knight]I trust in God to use me as his instrument and let his will be done in my life but I am terrified at the thought of having 12 children like my grandparents did. It is simply not possible at this day in age.
[/quote]

If you trust God, He will absolutely not let you down. My husband and I entered our marriage believing that we were called to absolute trust in Divine Providence when it came to the number and timing of our children. DH was still in school when we got married, and didn’t have a job yet, but we held off on using abstinence to avoid children, and though things were a little scary at one point, b/c the timing was really close (baby in womb, no job yet, and no insurance yet :eek:), but we held on and God blessed us with all the right things at just the right time. BUT not before the right time. I guess what I"m saying is: God will give you the grace to have “12 children” when you have 12 children, and not a moment before! The vast majority of families start one baby at a time. :stuck_out_tongue:

Again, God bless you in your quest for Truth. You will be richly rewarded for your desire to trust in Him.


#14

[quote=clskier]I’d like to add two things that have not been mentioned yet:

First, if your wife is on BCP, these will mask any fertility signs. This means that while you can take a class to learn about NFP, you will not be able to see any examples of the symptoms to look for until your wife stops the BCP, and her fertility returns.

Second, NFP does amazing things to your mindset about children, at least it did for my wife and I. We started our marraige with a contraceptive attitude, thinking that it would be nice to hold off on children for the first year. By the time our wedding came around, the seeds planted in our pre-marriage classes had taken root, and we decided we would use NFP to post pone pregnancy; because what was the worst that would happen, so we start our family a little sooner. We never did follow the rules very well, because as soon as we started thinking that sex could actually make a child, well, we soon found ourselves using NFP to GET PREGNANT. NFP works extremely well for getting pregnant also, unfortunatley we found we had other problems, which are detailed in other threads.
[/quote]

I just want to agree on both counts. To use NFP to avoid, you must be off of bc pills! Before we became Catholic, I was on the pill and coming off will mess with your wife’s cycles for a bit, as the hormones wear off. You’ll have to chart and be conservative until you figure out her cycles.

And to the second point, before we became Catholic and started using nfp we planned to have 2 children (God laughed, btw). Becoming Catholic and learning about NFP opened us up to having more children. We currently have 5 and may add to that number in the future. My dh doesn’t make a large amount of money and I stay at home now. It can be done!!!

Jennifer

PS btw, I’m sorry about my horrible spelling in my earlier post, I was doing too many things at once and didn’t proof read! :smiley:


#15

I used it for 7 years. Worked whether I wanted a baby or not. lol


#16

First of all find your local CCL chapter and take a class. It’s important in order to learn the method correctly. I have used it for 9 years. I have a heart condition that would make another pregnancy fatal for me. It works when done correctly.


#17

[quote=Online Knight]Help… this has been tearing me up.

My wife and I have been married for 2 1/2 years now. We were both raised Catholic and have been very loyal to the Church… at least I thought.

We have been using the bcp for our entire marriage with the understanding that we are preventing pregnancy in a way that is not abortificial. I have done a ton of reading lately (so we don’t have to get into the argument of whether it is or isn’t) and I am worried about using the pill. I want to serve God in all aspects of my life and always do what is right as best I can. Can anyone tell me how well nfp works… from experience. I love my wife and we both can’t wait to begin our family (and we are fiercely pro-life) but we just don’t think we could do it financially now. Looking back, if we weren’t financially prepared, we shouldn’t have gotten married but it is too late for that now. I trust in God to use me as his instrument and let his will be done in my life but I am terrified at the thought of having 12 children like my grandparents did. It is simply not possible at this day in age.

Also, I don’t want to offend anyone by getting too graphic, but could someone with experience please thoroughly explain the processes / methods for me? I know that there are classes and books, but I want to give my wife a heads up before she will commit to a class.

Above all, please pray for us.

Thank you
[/quote]

The fact that you’re open to looking at nfp is great. My husband and I will have been married two years this month - God is good! We learned nfp when we were engaged and have used it since we were married. When we got married, I think what we envisioned would have been starting a family by now. But, we have talked, prayed and discerned waiting to have a child would be the just thing to do right now. I’m in a rather grueling graduate program at this time which not only drains our time but finances as well. God provides for our every need and if He should move our hearts to have a child, we would be happy - but for now we feel the need to wait. So, we continue to use nfp to postpone pregnancy and continue to open our hearts.

Using nfp doesn’t mean you have to have 12 children. It calls you to prayerfully discern your current situation and determine if you and your wife have just reason to wait to have a child. I understand your fear - but nfp is amazing and reliable. I think there is a sense of false security with bcp because you are doing something to prevent a pregnancy and attempting to be in control. Just remember, no method is fool-proof. My sister-in-law, who is on the pill, is expecting a surprise baby right now.

Should you decide to pursue and practice nfp, I think the hardest part will be your transition to it. Just remember, “be not afraid!” is one of the most used verses in the Bible for a reason.

Check out “For Better, For Ever” by Gregory Popcak for some real Catholic life experiences with nfp in marriage. “The New, No-Pill, No-Risk Birth Control” by Nona Aguilar for method and stories from couples who use nfp. It’s very real and honest. John and Sheila Kippley were revolutionary in their info on nfp as well. Also check out ccli.org for info on nfp. Best wishes!


#18

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