The Shared Responsibility of NFP

Hello all,

I am a breastfeeding mother. My body has not regulated itself to a predictable pattern like my pre-pregnancy state. I am still up at least 2 times on any given night to nurse the baby. With all of this in mind and with my irregular waking hours, I am having a terrible time remembering to take my temperature in the morning. My husband is very understandably frustrated with the limitations on our intimacy, but charting on just symptoms alone is leaving us unable to confidently be together without concern of another pregnancy (which we are postponing at this time). He is very frustrated with me that I am not charting as well and as thoroughly as I should because there are more days than not where the temperature is missing.

I have apologized for this, and I have told him my struggle that I am simply not remembering to take my temperature in the morning. I’m waking up to a 3 year old calling my name and a 7 month old crying for me, and it just is not even registering that I need to stop and take the temp. I have explained to him that I really need his help in this arena. I’ve suggested maybe he could keep the thermometer and give it to me in the morning, that way I would have him as a reminder. He thinks it is just unimportant to me and that simply is not the case. I’m not trying to make excuses. I am admitting my failure in this department and acknowledging my need for help, but… he says he will do it, and then he forgets also. But then he gets angry with me for not having done it.

I am interested to know how other couples navigate these waters. Do you share any of the responsibilities of NFP? Perhaps other women have experienced this same problem where their groggy morning-brains are focused on something other than taking their temperature–how did you overcome that? Any advice or tips on how to better address this situation would be appreciated.

I’m currently breastfeeding as well, and my cycle is all over the map, so I feel you frustration!

We don’t use STM though, I don’t take my temperature. I did use the Marquette method (postpartum/breastfeeding protocol) but I found it gave me way too many restricted days.
I recently signed up for a Billings class, I hope it works better for us.

Currently, we are kind of winging it mucus only (since we haven’t taken the class yet), we have agreed to try again in a few months, so if something happened now it would not be the end of the world. Which is good because I’m on my 2nd cycle and I’m going 60+ days.

Although it didn’t work for me, the Marquette method is much easier to use. You save your first urine, but you can wait an hour after you get up if you need to. You have a 3 hour +/- on the testing window. It gives a reliable (conservative) scientific answer each day. There is a protocol for breastfeeding. It may be able to give you the confidence you need in order to resume relations with your husband.

No. He needs to help you, especially now that you’ve asked. It’s not fair to you to refuse you help and then still guilt trip you over denying him when he could have prevented it.

Being responsible for the observations that NFP requires would ruin intimacy for me. I could do the temp readings if we used a method that required that, but beyond that my wife will be on her own. Fair or not, it is her fertility and body that has to be observed, so I feel she should be the one who is responsible for the observations.

Buy one of those cute digital photo alarm combo’s. The photo can be anything that you’d associate with taking your temperature. Set the alarm to go off every morning. The alarm will sound, the picture will remind you and/or your husband why the alarm is sounding, the temp can be taken and added to the chart.

:frowning:

Maybe I read it wrong, but he isn’t refusing help.

He forgets, just like she does.

And when it comes down to it, he can’t take her temp or check any other symptoms. That falls on the woman.

All he really can do is to remind her. And he should try to do that. But she forgets, certainly he can forget too. Obviously him being upset that she forgets, doesn’t help the situation.

OP, what if you set an alarm? It has been a while since my son was that young, but don’t they have a little bit of a routine by the time they are 7 months? Does he and your daughter get up around the same time every day? Could you set an alarm for an hour before that? Take your temp and go back to sleep? Could your 3 year old go in and talk to the baby, “while Mommy gets up?” And take your temp then? Do you wear glasses? I put the thermometer with my glasses, so I grab them at the same time.

Maybe a sit down talk to have a meeting of the minds. I know with a baby and a toddler, this may be a problem. But, if you can calmly explain that if he would like to be aware of green light days, he has to help you identify them. And the way to do that is devise a plan to help you to remember to temp.

My husband and I would set an alarm, and we both checked to make sure it was set before bed. He would wake up with me and make sure I woke up enough to take the temperature. We set the alarm for an early time, well before I actually had to get up. If I was nursing the baby around the scheduled time, we turned off the alarm and I took my temp after I was done nursing her. He was responsible for checking the temp on the thermometer and recording it. I would get to go back to sleep for a while.
That is how we worked it out. I was just too exhausted to remember on my own, and needed the help. But, the temp sign is less reliable when a mother is up and down through the night, and it is possible to use just the symptoms (mucous, cervix) for charting, if you need to.
I hope your husband can let go of his need to blame you for this challenge. It is not fair to blame you, and it is not fair to expect you to carry the burden all on your own, especially when you have asked for specifically the kind of help you need.

I second the Marquette breastfeeding protocol, though be prepared for limited days and great expenses for buying test sticks.

With all due respect, it doesn’t sound like your husband is being very reasonable.If my husband were getting angry with me for forgetting when he forgot as well…let’s just say I’d have a few choice words. :o

You do realize that sexual intercourse requires a sharing of bodily fluids, and that your bodily fluids would be deposited in your wife’s body, and then it would become her hygiene challenge? The least a husband could do is be an active participant in NFP, considering what wives get to deal with post-coitus, and considering the fact that most wives handle that hygiene challenge with grace and love for their husbands.

I’m not familiar with how that method works, but could you set a reminder on you phone?
That’s how some people remember meds.

It must be magic being married to you.

Maybe I am the only one here that thinks a husband needs to stay out of the bathroom while I pee and make my observations. :shrug:

The only time my husband feels my cervix is when we are making love. Certainly not daily as he is checking my fertility observations. Sorry, that would be way too clinical for me.

My husband is not allowed in the bathroom while I am in there either, but he does handle the chart interpretation and help me to remember to take my temp (not that I am doing either anymore, since I am now preggers again). I think Ophelia was not asking about the husband making the observations, but rather helping her to remember. That is what I, personally, was responding to, and what I assumed others were saying, too.

Because I don’t want to do CM and urine observations? She has her genitals with her at all times and it is just easier for her to take care of things on her own and spare me the gory details.

No one said any husband needed to do those things. The issue at hand is helping her to remember to take her temp and the interpretation of charts. Good grief.

Exactly the way I feel. I’m not grossed out by the idea; I just prefer a little more decorum when dealing with personal hygiene.

Burt said, “Being responsible for the observations.”

And somehow everyone jumped on him about what a horrible husband he was.

In fact, BettyBoop416 said, “It must be magic married to you.”

Burt admitted freely that the method they use doesn’t require a temp. So there would be nothing for him to do, because he won’t be “responsible for the observations.”

Slightly off topic? Maybe, sort of. But not so far off that he deserved jump on like he was.

I, for one, did not jump on him. I was unaware of his married status, because he was using future tense in his post, and I was pointing out that a wife had to deal gracefully with far more difficult things than temp recording or chart interpretation. Being grossed out is not really an option for a wife. So I don’t think it is kind for women to be told that their bodies have too many gross things happening that would ruin intimacy for husbands.
Apparently, however, he was thinking about something that no one else here even suggested. :shrug:
I do not support any ad hominem attacks, such as the one you quoted, btw. I was only responding to what Burt said. As I cannot apologize for another poster, I will not do so, but I do hope my rebuttals are seen as my own thoughts and not associated with anyone else’s responses.

Breastfeeding is a really tough time with NFP, I know we went through it just a few months ago. My wife handles all the charting. I try to be supportive, but I can’t really do the mucus examining for her anymore than I can breastfeed the baby for her or give birth for her. I do other things to help her out, but there is nothing wrong with dividing the labor. One of the best things he can do is to just deal with the fact that sex is going to be rare until you get your period back. That’s what I had to eventually come to terms with. It isn’t fun, but I’m sure your not enjoying waking up throughout the night every night either. God bless.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.