All right, this seems to be a pretty popular topic out there, so here goes-
For those of you who are practicing NFP - what made you decide to engage in NFP and what would you consider good reasons to stop? (i.e. began due to financial instability and would end with a job raise).
And conversely, for those who do NOT practice NFP - why not, and would you ever? This is not meant to pry or be obnoxiously personal, I’m really just curious about REAL people and their motives. Thanks!
All right, this seems to be a pretty popular topic out there, so here goes-
We began using NFP after I became sincerely interested in converting to Catholicism (hubby is a cradle Catholic) once I realized just how immoral contraception is.
We used it mostly for health reasons (but throw in some financial instability and a bit of immaturity too).
We conceived our DD a few months before we had agreed to “officially” start trying to conceive because we both decided to take a “risk” on a potentially fertile day. We know it was God calling us.
Now we are using it to avoid again (for more serious health reasons as well as a very demanding baby) and trust that we will hear God’s call when it’s the right time to stop. We just keep listening. Or we try to. **
DH & I have been using NFP for 10 yrs. to avoid conceiving due to several serious medical problems I have. One of them is a blood clotting disorder where my body throws clots at any time. I can’t be on blood thinners due to almost bleeding out to death twice. The 2nd time happened after I had my stroke. I was on coumadin for 6 months and was taken to the ER due to a very low crit & lose of blood. Scary to say the least. My MDs told me right then and there that DH &I have to avoid conceiving at any cost. Lovenox is my only hope right now but that still isn’t a guarantee that I will be clot free.
NFP is a God send & we are very careful when charting. When I am in doubt, we just don’t. No questions asked.
It has truly brought DH & I closer together.
I’ll share a little of my philosophy on the subject before answering the question…
Children are a GIFT of marriage… and God gives married couples this awesome, incredible responsibility… the ability to CO-create, with Him. What an incredibly huge responsibility!
The sacrament of matrimony calls us to be OPEN to LIFE in all our circumstances… therefore we don’t even assume a “contraceptive mentality”… that mentality cannot even exist in a holy sacramental marriage.
In our ability to CO-create with God, married couples today’s scientifically advanced world (where we have incredible knowledge of the God-given fertility cycle of women) are also empowered with a KNOWLEDGE of how to regulate the gift of children within marriage. REGULATE does not imply a contraceptive mentality…
Okay… now that my philosophical background is done I’ll answer the question!
Each couple’s decision to use or not use NFP is going to be unique. A “reason” that one couple may be using may never seem reasonable to another couple (may even *appear *to be of a contraceptive mentality)…
So, in other words… it’s fairly impossible to answer the question since each married couple is unique…
Sometimes couples feel the call to delay conception for a while… and other times they may feel called to actually TRY to conceive (vs those that just “leave everything up to God”… they aren’t TRYING either way)…
I think it’s partially a personality thing too… some people just live life and let experiences come to them… others seek out experiences actively.
God can work with every couple… no matter what personality or struggles they are dealing with. Children are a gift from Him alone.
For us…we learned NFP before our wedding but never felt called to use it (despite being young college grads with no jobs :)) We concieved a month after our wedding. Now we are Ecologically BFing and using that as a means to space our children. For us, this seems to allow us to have a healthy space but also trust in God’s providence. IF my fertility were to return and AND we had a serious reason to not get pregnant (I don’t know what that would be…I guess serious health issues or DH losing his job or something) then we would dig out the charts and start that. And of course we would always prayerfully consider before postponing pregnancy, and always remember as Em said that we will always try to accept children as a gift no matter when they are concieved and trust God’s plan for our fam.
Well, we do practice NFP… mainly because I’m not about to let drug companies run my body…
Honestly, for us it’s about the whole idea that we give ourselves to each other 100%… no reservations… if we were to practice any sort of artificial birth control, we’d not be giving ourselves to each other 100%… it’s like you say “I give myself to you… completely and totally… well… except this - my fertility - you can’t have that.” It just doesn’t fit with our overall concept of marriage, kwim?
Anyway, so, we find it works really well for our marriage and that we’re very happy with how open we are with each other.
I assume you are asking specifically about the use of NFP to AVOID pregnancy? I say this because with my first child, we used NFP to conceive, and with 2 of the subsequent 3 pregnancies, we used it (although more loosely) to conceive as well. With the 2nd pg, we were just letting God make the decision for us, but still being a practitioner of NFP, it’s not like we didn’t know what might happen those nights.
When we were first married, we felt that we needed to pay off some student loans before I could quit my job, and being a SAHM was an absolute, so we used NFP to avoid pregnancy for one year. I do still think that finances can be a valid reason to avoid pregnancy, but I’m not entirely sure it was the right decision for us. Of course that is in retrospect. At the time, we did what we thought was best.
After that first stretch d/t finances, my motivations have been my physical and mental well-being, as well as my concern that I would be able to mother my other children the way I thought they needed it.
After the 1st was born, I was hoping that breastfeeding would keep my fertility away for a while, but it didn’t work that way. So since my cycles came back very early (7 wks postpartum), we used NFP to avoid until my baby was 9 months old and was sleeping well enough that I didn’t feel like a zombie. I just didn’t think I could handle another pregnancy physically or mentally before that. It was then that I felt like I couldn’t justify avoiding any more, and even though I was VERY skeptical that I was “ready,” I told God I was putting it in his hands. One month later, God told me I was in fact ready and baby #2 came 9 months later.
I used NFP to avoid for 18 months after the 2nd one, because I was much more overwhelmed, and according to my criteria, I just didn’t think I could handle it mentally. After being open to conception for a few months, I used NFP again for about 3 months, because I decided it was necessary for me to try more actively to lose weight, and I was attempting this with a weight loss pill (not compatable with pregnancy). I was only willing to do this for a few months. It would have been good for my health, but it wasn’t so dire as to warrant more than a short time of avoiding. So after about 3 months, not only did I realize that the time to try to lose weight had come and gone, I also WANTED to get pregnant again, so we loosely used NFP to conceive.
After #3 was born, I again used NFP to avoid for about 18 months. That’s how long it took for me to feel like I was in a good enough mental state to handle the stress of another pregnancy and then newborn. I also have been keenly aware of how my mental state affects the attention I give my children, and up until that point, really believed that my chidlren needed more attention than I would be able to give them at that point.
It definitely is a very personal decision, one that I have tried to be very prayerful about. I tried not to let the opinions of “the world” be the influence on what is best for my chidlren and for me, but rather prayer, and honest motherly assessment of my individual children’s needs. So between baby #1 and #2, there were 19m, between #2 and #3, there were 3 years, and between #3 and #4, there will be (assuming I deliver on time), 2.5y.
no and no. It causes more problems and stress than it’s worth in my case so I am done with it.
Because in the past year or so I’ve decided to do everything in my power to make my life pleasing to God… It’s not always easy but I trust in the Church Christ left us.
We do not currently practice NFP. We did when we were first married, mostly because we were both converts and freaked out by not using contraceptives anyway. It took a while for us to really get rid of the contraceptive mentality.
Our DS was a surprise, though we shouldn’t have been, since we stopped following the rules. But after he was born, we used NFP until he was about 9 months old, as I was suffering from PPD. After that, we left it up to God. We didn’t concieve until DS was 2.
Now, with DS (3) and DD (1 month), we don’t plan to use NFP. We have several reasons we might - our financial situation isn’t so good right now, I’m on some pretty serious meds for my mental health, DH is thinking of starting a business soon. But both of us feel like we could handle another child in 9 months (though I certainly hope we have a little more time than that!). If at some point we felt that we couldn’t, we would use NFP again.
We have been using NFP for around 18 years, to conceive and avoid.
We are avoiding now due to medical reasons. Yes, I am thankful that we have medical serious reason that sort of makes the decision “easier” for us. I’m being honest.
I think that being co creators with God is a serious responsibility. We work within the rules that God has set to create new life with Him. The Bible says that children are a gift from God, so I have to believe that. But, we know how conception occurs, so we can seriously try to conceive or seriously try to avoid.
At the same time, not using NFP and just “letting God decide” isn’t really letting God decide, is it? He has set some rules in place, and if you meet those conditions (egg and sperm, at the right time) you can have conception. It seems like not using NFP is more like simply being “unaware” if conception could occur, which, really, is like trying half heartedly to conceive.
Either you are trying to conceive or you are not, right?
Actually, I would say the norm, the ideal, is using nothing - being open to God’s will. With most families this will mean children every 2-3 years - not always an unbearable burden. Thankfully, our benevolent Church has allowed us, with serious reason, to use NFP to avoid pregnancy. Sure, you can also use NFP to attempt to conceive. Or better yet, surrender to the plan of God the Father in Nature. He wrote a blueprint for our bodies and families in Nature and when we follow it, we are happy!
We use it because we have already been blessed with 5 children. We’re getting older (me just over 40 - him, closer to 50) and we don’t want any more children. We’re poor, we’re tired and we want to concentrate on the children we already have.
Upon getting married, we decided to use it for a while so that we could focus our DINK income on paying off debts. 6 months of simple living and focus on debt and it was mission accomplished.
And along came child #1. Pregnancy complications and PPD came along and we felt it was prudent to wait awhile. NFP did its job, part of which was to nudge us when the time was right to go for child #2.
Again the complications, but no PPD, thank goodness. But WOW, we had been spoiled with the first kid - this one was needy! Scared us off more for three years before the nudge came back and we tossed the rules one night: Child #3.
That brings us to the present. 8.5 years in three paragraphs, so a bit abbreviated! The great thing about NFP compared to ABC is that it contains a built-in nudge that sets you to thinking about kids again. The abstinance time has a way of separating out the frivolous from the just reasons!