NFP while breastfeeding-Frustrated!


#1

Background-
DH and I took NFP classes before we were married. I charted 3 cycles and then we got pregnant my first cycle after we were married. It was planned and we were very happy! I was ecologically breastfeeding my daughter and not charting. Got pregnant without a return of AF when my daughter was 21 months old. We were very happy and had been wanting another baby.

Fast forward to now. My second daughter is now almost 7 months old. I don't have a return of AF and am still breastfeeding her throughout the day and night, although I don't know if it would be considered "ecological" at this point. We re-took NPF and just finished our 3rd class this past weekend. Although I think we would like another baby at some point, right now is just not the time for our family. My marriage tends to take a hit when I am pregnant, so we are just now starting to really get back on track, plus our finances are really not the best.

I am just really frustrated with NFP right now. It is very difficult for me to really feel confident in what I am doing. Most everything points me in the direction that I am still infertile, but I have had some questionable signs the past couple of days. Marital relations are very important to my husband and it is his primary form of feeling loved. I completely respect that and wish I could give that to him more right now, but I am just not feeling confident in my charting ability. Our marriage WILL suffer if we have to go a long time without being together. I just don't know what to do and honestly, I am not really sure if there is any kind of "answer" to my problem. I want to please my husband, but getting pregnant is just not a good idea right now. Obviously we would welcome a baby with open arms, but financially and emotionally, we would take a hit. I don't really know anyone else that uses NFP and am feeling quite alone in all of this.

Any advice on charting while breastfeeding or any advice in general? Prayers would also be appreciated! Thank you!


#2

I so feel your husbands pain. That being said, with NFP, abstinence is the only way to be 100% sure you will not get pregnant again.

For me, the husband, it was about turning the abstinence into an opportunity to date again and find new ways to love my wife. I know deep down that she still loves me even we cannot be together, but it is still a challenge. I think of it as higher and lower biological function. The higher function totally gets why we need to abstain. My lower functions just chants, ‘mate, need to mate’. You both need to find ways to cuddle and by physically close without intercourse. After a while that will become sufficient.

Today’s gospel seems fitting for your situation:
Jn 16:20-23
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn,
while the world rejoices;
you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.
When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived;
but when she has given birth to a child,
she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy
that a child has been born into the world.
So you also are now in anguish.
But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice,
and no one will take your joy away from you.
On that day you will not question me about anything.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.”

Yes, it stinks right now, but good things come to those who persevere.

You both are in our prayers!


#3

Feeling your pain, so many hugs. Reality of it is that NFP while BF is simply not THAT effective so I think you have to decide between a prolonged abstinence period or "risking" another child.

This will be the case possibly after every birth so let's say you chose not to abstain now and go ahead with the third, will it be easier to abstain to space the 3rd and the 4th.?

I dreaded this period because I also feel our marriage takes a hit when we need to abstain for longer periods of time but the 3rd time around I realized it's not the abstinence that's the cause, that only exacerbates the underlying issues. Abstinence CAN make your marriage stronger, you just have to fix everything else first.

Anyway, I know it's easier said than done. NFP is even making me frustrated wit breastfeeding sometimes cuz I have no clue what my body is doing so charting is pointless...


#4

I was so scared while bf'ding too. I caved and used ABC. :o I'm not proud of it either.


#5

Thanks for replies! Like I said, it seems to me like there really is no "answer" to the problem. I have read the postpartum rules and am trying to apply them. It is just frustrating, especially since I don't know anyone else who is going through this.


#6

I would like to give you a simple and compassionate answer: relax and let go of NFP for now. If NFP is uncomfortable for your couple, just don't do it.

We've been married 6 years, have a 4 year old and a 2 year old. Never used NFP because we are not below poverty level and I don't have a threatening health condition and also because I believe that abstaining would create some tensions in our marriage. We are open to life and let God be in charge. Also I'm 36 and I'm not in my most fertile years so we don't put a lot of pressure on ourselves to space children.

I've been breastfeeding and charting my mucous so I know when I ovulate. (though for months postpartum there was no obvious ovulation signs and no periods). My post postpartum periods came back 2 days after Christmas 2010. 11 days later, I spotted my ovulation signs and started to experience pregnancy symptoms 2 weeks later. Good luck to you, I will keep you in my prayers.


#7

I can completely relate. My two kids are 22 months apart, and the second (8 months now) was conceived while I was breastfeeding. We cannot afford to have another baby right now, as we’re now supported by DH’s parents while he goes back to school. (Apparently a career in teaching was a bad idea, so he’s trying something else.) I am exhausted from taking care of the two kids, and practicing NFP was just one more stress on our already stressed marriage. Our solution was to stop using it to. Instead we are practicing an extended period of abstinence until we can support our family again, and I feel less stressed.

A year ago my husband would have said that he wouldn’t be able to handle an extended abstinence, but now he is 100% behind this. We are young (25 and 26) and apparently highly fertile.

It’s hard. :hug3:


#8

Hugs and prayers for you! God bless you for remaining faithful to Him during this difficult time.

I am also a postpartum breastfeeding mom--to beautiful baby #7! We have always practiced NFP, and our marriage has grown immensely and become so grace-filled because of it.

Not so in the beginning though. We took classes while we were engaged and learned how to chart, but we didn't understand the "why" behind this beautiful Church teaching. Periodic abstinence(especially when prolonged after having babies) became a source of contention between us. It wasn't until we learned the Theology of the Body (we bought Christopher West's CD set and both listened to it separately, usually driving in the car) that our eyes were opened to the amazing truths of the beautiful "gift of self" to one another in our marriage, and the "whys" behind NFP! The change in our hearts and in our marriage did not happen overnight, but a deep-rooted conversion has taken place because of TOB, and it was combined with joining a vibrant, solidly faithful Catholic community where there are other families living the Gospel in being open to life and supporting one another.

Also, please don't feel as if it's "all or nothing," forgetting NFP to feel as though you are pleasing your husband, or completely abstaining out of fear. There are resources and knowledgeable people to help you in this phase. The Couple to Couple League has recently published a book titled, "The Art of Natural Family Planning, Postpartum Guide." This has helped me greatly in figuring out my cycles as I transition back into fertility.

Lastly, know that you are not alone! You may feel alone because you see the 98% of women/couples buying into the lies of our culture and contracepting who surround you. I know the feeling, and it's very discouraging and isolating. It's important to seek out others who share your deep-rooted faithfulness and beautiful openness to life. One excellent resource is the Couple to Couple League(www.ccli.org).

I will pray God gives you and your husband the grace to grow closer to Him and to one another during this trial. Blessings to you! :)


#9

I can relate to your husband, but can also think I discern that he needs an attitude adjustment (of the cast iron frying pan sort). We men often thoughtlessly tend to implicitly assert that it is "woman's work" to figure out the fertility and be the gatekeeper of intimacy. Then we start to resent it when the answer is 'no' too often.

The reality is that fertility discernment is the equal job of BOTH spouses and if you aren't together sure it's an infertile time AND you both agree that it would be imprudent to get pregnant again right now, then he has no right to give you a guilt trip for 'denying him.' This is part of the challenge of intimacy, giving up yourself for the sake of the other. Men frankly tend to suck at it! :(

Difficult discernment times stink. Hard times are part of life though. Been there. Survived. Seems hard to believe a few months could be such a big deal in hindsight. Everything looks easier in hindsight. That's how God talks us into having more than one kid, right? ;)


#10

I'm in the same situation you're in and I feel your pain completely. NFP has been such a horrible burden on both my marriage and my enjoyment of life. It really has, and I hate it when all I hear is that I must be selfish, a bad Catholic, a bad wife, and unable to control myself just because I don't love NFP with all my heart. I've literally heard someone say that if you don't love NFP, your faith isn't strong enough because a true Christian would feel joyful spiritual benefits from it. Ugh. The reality is so much different. Yes, suffering for Christ is good but that doesn't mean suffering is enjoyable. And this really is suffering.

I'm charting my second cycle postpartum now, and the last one the signs were so messed up that my mucus said I ovulated on one day and I thought the temperatures matched it (hard to tell when you're up at odd hours with a newborn and it messes up your temps) but I realized that if I threw out a single outlier, it changed everything and sure enough a week later I got the telltale temperature dip, spike, and days of high temps following it. My husband and I have been together just 5 times since February, and one of those times ended up being the day after I ovulated because NFP is so hard postpartum. So, I spent two weeks worrying that I could have another baby two months after the first. My c-section incision still hurts and my blood pressure hasn't even come all the way down yet from the preeclampsia! Getting pregnant right now would be unbelievably risky for both me and the baby. I'm lucky enough that my baby and I made it alright through the last one. I doubt I would be so lucky next time.

The only thing taking the CCL homestudy course and reading the postpartum workbook did was make me even more aware of how difficult, complicated, and risky NFP is. Seriously, it's a nearly 300 page book and the introduction says the old version was even longer and more complex! :eek: Tell me again how NFP is supposed to be easy?
It's just not worth it. It's hard not to give in when my husband is literally crawling all over me, but I can't go through what I did last month after giving in just once. When I consider how many people I know of who have had surprise babies with NFP (somteimes more than one!) I know I can't rely on it to prevent a pregnancy with the effectiveness I need it to.

I hope someday I can be one of those people who say that NFP put them and their marriage through hell but years later they feel it was a blessing, but I'm not there yet. Right now I'm definitely not seeing the light at the end of this tunnel.

I hope knowing you're not alone when you struggle with NFP helps you feel a little better. I know it does for me. :hug1: I felt like a faithless, freakish oddball until I found out I wasn't the only one who didn't like it.


#11

I have to second this advice. There seems to be this idea that once a couple stops using NFP (or ABC for that matter), then BOOM-- they’ll get pregnant! From my point of view (had our first baby 9 months ago and TTC again now for 5 months) I only wish that were true. It happens sometimes, sure. There’s always a chance it could happen. But there’s only something like a 1 in 4 chance that a healthy woman who is at the peak of her fertility will conceive every month IF she and her (equally healthy) partner try during her fertile period. Now, that’s specifically trying. If you’re not sure of your fertile times and are tentatively TTA with whatever limited information you can get (fertile mucus, etc.), seems like there’s a good chance you won’t get pregnant again for quite awhile.

Since it’s not 100% though, (unless you’re using total abstinence), then there’s also an aspect of trusting God. Pray to God about your needs, and your concerns, and trust that He will NOT give you a baby if your marriage/finances/etc. won’t be able to survive it. I know it’s hard…it’s much harder for me to give that advice than for me to follow it myself 100%, but it’s what you really have to do. Pray to God for your needs, and pray for the trust and faith in Him that you need.


#12

Have you read Toni Weschler (sp?) Taking Charge of Your Fertility? I found this the most helpful info on NFP I've ever encountered.

My husband and I did have periods of abstinence lasting about a month at a time when I wasn't cycling while breastfeeding (or was cycling weirdly). We DID get through it. It was hard sometimes. It was frustrating sometimes. But we did it. And we did it by both of us taking equal responsibility for it - I.e. DH did not ask, lament, or whine when he knew we weren't sure if I was fertile or not. This was really important. I think I couldnt have done it otherwise.

Adding cervical checks really helped, as did checking mucus at the cervix rather than at the vaginal opening. If you check at the cervix, you have and extra few hours' warning. And we did not temp, because it wouldnt have worked anyway since I was up nursing so much.

I am praying for you. it's so wonderful that you are using NFP, and not BC.


#13

[quote="Charlotte1776, post:10, topic:242659"]
I'm in the same situation you're in and I feel your pain completely. NFP has been such a horrible burden on both my marriage and my enjoyment of life. It really has, and I hate it when all I hear is that I must be selfish, a bad Catholic, a bad wife, and unable to control myself just because I don't love NFP with all my heart. I've literally heard someone say that if you don't love NFP, your faith isn't strong enough because a true Christian would feel joyful spiritual benefits from it. Ugh. The reality is so much different. Yes, suffering for Christ is good but that doesn't mean suffering is enjoyable. And this really is suffering.

I'm charting my second cycle postpartum now, and the last one the signs were so messed up that my mucus said I ovulated on one day and I thought the temperatures matched it (hard to tell when you're up at odd hours with a newborn and it messes up your temps) but I realized that if I threw out a single outlier, it changed everything and sure enough a week later I got the telltale temperature dip, spike, and days of high temps following it. My husband and I have been together just 5 times since February, and one of those times ended up being the day after I ovulated because NFP is so hard postpartum. So, I spent two weeks worrying that I could have another baby two months after the first. My c-section incision still hurts and my blood pressure hasn't even come all the way down yet from the preeclampsia! Getting pregnant right now would be unbelievably risky for both me and the baby. I'm lucky enough that my baby and I made it alright through the last one. I doubt I would be so lucky next time.

The only thing taking the CCL homestudy course and reading the postpartum workbook did was make me even more aware of how difficult, complicated, and risky NFP is. Seriously, it's a nearly 300 page book and the introduction says the old version was even longer and more complex! :eek: Tell me again how NFP is supposed to be easy?
It's just not worth it. It's hard not to give in when my husband is literally crawling all over me, but I can't go through what I did last month after giving in just once. When I consider how many people I know of who have had surprise babies with NFP (somteimes more than one!) I know I can't rely on it to prevent a pregnancy with the effectiveness I need it to.

I hope someday I can be one of those people who say that NFP put them and their marriage through hell but years later they feel it was a blessing, but I'm not there yet. Right now I'm definitely not seeing the light at the end of this tunnel.

I hope knowing you're not alone when you struggle with NFP helps you feel a little better. I know it does for me. :hug1: I felt like a faithless, freakish oddball until I found out I wasn't the only one who didn't like it.

[/quote]

I was where you were and I ended up using a diaphram. Not proud...

It's dang hard!!!


#14

@Charlotte, 300 pages! :eek:

My Billings manual is about 25 pages (maybe more I don’t remember) and Creighton is maybe 75. (more or less, I don’t rememebr.

If it might be comfortable to do a couple of dry run cycles, where you chart but abstain, just until you get the hang of it?

I learned Creighton pp with my last, we had a preemie as well, he was born at 28 weeks and change. Due to my age and other factors, I have a pretty high risk of it happening again…:o

Anyway, with Creighton you start slowly, so the first cycle (or 4 weeks if you are breastfeeding and no cycles yet) you abstain. Then you are moved up to relations after peak, etc.

I know many swear by the sympto thermal method…but I can’t get comfortable with it…too many steps for me to be comfortable. (just personally my feelings of it, I don’t want to offend anybody who likes it)

If you want to pm me anything, feel free.


#15

[quote="MirMom, post:1, topic:242659"]
I want to please my husband, but getting pregnant is just not a good idea right now.

[/quote]

:hug1: It's not easy!

If the two of you have decided together that you have serious reason for not getting pregnant right now, then don't feel like you're *not pleasing *him *-- you made the decision *together, it's not like you're "denying" him and he has nothing to do with it.

When DS was 7 months old, we conceived DD2 on my first cycle after stopping BFing. We were like :eek: because it had taken 15 months to conceive DD1 and 18 months to conceive DS. We learned NFP when DD2 was 2 months old, so we were just learning it postpartum -- talk about confusing!

Here were are now, nearly a year later after taking the class, and we're doing fine. Since the end of January we've been completely abstaining because we haven't had 4 dry days in a row. DD2 weaned from BFing in mid-March, and my cycle has just returned -- woo hoo! :p It's been very challenging, but it is possible. It comes down to how serious are you about not being able to handle another child right now? In my case, unfortunately, DH doesn't want any more children (he is not Catholic). :( I would be thrilled with more at some point, so we'll see what the future holds.

I can't remember if you said if you had taken the class or not, but I would highly recommend doing so if you haven't because our instructors have been so helpful! The practical knowledge of NFP as well as their emotional and spiritual support has been so important for us.

Remember, it is frustrating, but it is possible, and God never leaves us, especially when we are in difficult situations. I'm trying to remind myself that my small sufferings during this time are helping to bring my DH and I closer to Jesus, even if we might sometimes forget that.

[quote="manualman, post:9, topic:242659"]
I can relate to your husband, but can also think I discern that he needs an attitude adjustment (of the cast iron frying pan sort). We men often thoughtlessly tend to implicitly assert that it is "woman's work" to figure out the fertility and be the gatekeeper of intimacy. Then we start to resent it when the answer is 'no' too often.

The reality is that fertility discernment is the equal job of BOTH spouses and if you aren't together sure it's an infertile time AND you both agree that it would be imprudent to get pregnant again right now, then he has no right to give you a guilt trip for 'denying him.' This is part of the challenge of intimacy, giving up yourself for the sake of the other. Men frankly tend to suck at it! :(

Difficult discernment times stink. Hard times are part of life though. Been there. Survived. Seems hard to believe a few months could be such a big deal in hindsight. Everything looks easier in hindsight. That's how God talks us into having more than one kid, right? ;)

[/quote]

What a great post. Thank you! :) I think I'll have my DH read this. ;)


#16

Thank you all so much for the replies! You supportive words have really helped a lot. It is still not easy, but I am hopeful that I will be able to have confidence in myself as long as we are following the conservative rules.

On a side note, the temperatures do confuse me right now a bit because they are all over the place. Has anyone found the mucus only methods more helpful when breastfeeding and waiting for a return of a cycle?


#17

We've never used anything BUT mucus methods (Billing). This works great for us because my wife is rather fundamentally healthy and suspicious of cold meds even when she is sick (mucus suppressing meds don't just suppress NASAL mucus!).

If a woman finds her mucus symptoms readable and is able to avoid drugs and diet that messes up mucus, they really are simple and easy to figure out. As noted above, that doesn't mean EASY, mind you. Much of life is both quite simple and yet brutally difficult.


#18

[quote="MirMom, post:16, topic:242659"]
Thank you all so much for the replies! You supportive words have really helped a lot. It is still not easy, but I am hopeful that I will be able to have confidence in myself as long as we are following the conservative rules.

On a side note, the temperatures do confuse me right now a bit because they are all over the place. Has anyone found the mucus only methods more helpful when breastfeeding and waiting for a return of a cycle?

[/quote]

I haven't done temps in years. We just check mucus and cervix. Both our little ones were planned at way :).


#19

[quote="MirMom, post:16, topic:242659"]
Thank you all so much for the replies! You supportive words have really helped a lot. It is still not easy, but I am hopeful that I will be able to have confidence in myself as long as we are following the conservative rules.

On a side note, the temperatures do confuse me right now a bit because they are all over the place. Has anyone found the mucus only methods more helpful when breastfeeding and waiting for a return of a cycle?

[/quote]

I can tell you with my second baby, when I was about to ovulate, it was obvious. I had egg white mucus oozing out of me. I knew I was getting my cycle back and two weeks later, I got my first period.

Before that, I would get what seemed like fertile mucus for a day or so and it would stop.


#20

[quote="Charlotte1776, post:10, topic:242659"]
I'm in the same situation you're in and I feel your pain completely. NFP has been such a horrible burden on both my marriage and my enjoyment of life. It really has, and I hate it when all I hear is that I must be selfish, a bad Catholic, a bad wife, and unable to control myself just because I don't love NFP with all my heart. I've literally heard someone say that if you don't love NFP, your faith isn't strong enough because a true Christian would feel joyful spiritual benefits from it. Ugh. The reality is so much different. Yes, suffering for Christ is good but that doesn't mean suffering is enjoyable. And this really is suffering.

I'm charting my second cycle postpartum now, and the last one the signs were so messed up that my mucus said I ovulated on one day and I thought the temperatures matched it (hard to tell when you're up at odd hours with a newborn and it messes up your temps) but I realized that if I threw out a single outlier, it changed everything and sure enough a week later I got the telltale temperature dip, spike, and days of high temps following it. My husband and I have been together just 5 times since February, and one of those times
ended up being the day after I ovulated because NFP is so hard postpartum. So, I spent two weeks worrying that I could have another baby two months after the first. My c-section incision still hurts and my blood pressure hasn't even come all the way down yet from the preeclampsia! Getting pregnant right now would be unbelievably risky for both me and the baby. I'm lucky enough that my baby and I made it alright through the last one. I doubt I would be so lucky next time.

The only thing taking the CCL homestudy course and reading the postpartum workbook did was make me even more aware of how difficult, complicated, and risky NFP is. Seriously, it's a nearly 300 page book and the introduction says the old version was even longer and more complex! :eek: Tell me again how NFP is supposed to be easy?
It's just not worth it. It's hard not to give in when my husband is literally crawling all over me, but I can't go through what I did last month after giving in just once. When I consider how many people I know of who have had surprise babies with NFP (somteimes more than one!) I know I can't rely on it to prevent a pregnancy with the effectiveness I need it
to.

I hope someday I can be one of those people who say that NFP put them and their marriage through hell but years later they feel it was a blessing, but I'm not there yet. Right now I'm definitely not seeing the light at the end of this tunnel.

I hope knowing you're not alone when you struggle with NFP helps you feel a little better. I know it does for me. :hug1: I felt like a faithless, freakish oddball until I found out I wasn't
the only one who didn't like it.

[/quote]

For some reason, it does help knowing I'm not alone. I'm very much where you are, also gave birth in feb. But feel like I'm getting over the resentment of it all and am trying to draw grace from this period, as is DH.

ONE THING FOR THE HUSBANDS, we only ovulate once/ cycle, they are the ones who areALWAYS fertile and whose sperm lives on for days on end, therefore this is so freaking hard because of them!!!! I made sure my husband understood that. I mean there have been plenty of days when I knew for sure I wasn't ovulating but knowing I can get pregnant even a week after the fact- it has happened to me- makes me not be able to EVER take a chance cuz I can't predict what will happen in the next 7 days while his guys are swimming around.

Hope our cycles return soon!!!!! DH and I will have a party when it does!


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