What if NFP isn't working?

So I’ve had the privilege of being on this website before but this is my first post. I have a personal question that I’d like some help with. I’ve thought about first going to my clergy but even I know that they tend to “interpret” the Church’s teaching as they see fit. I’m not just looking for what I want to hear, but rather, I want to hear the truth. So my husband and I have been married for 10 years. When we got married we had hoped to have between 3-5 children, figuring we’d settle on 4. Child #1 was a surprise but child #2 was completely planned. Child #3 was again a surprise but we had been wanting a child so there was absolutely no disappointment. After trying to conceive child #4 for nearly a year, to no avail, for personal reasons, we needed to hold off trying for a few months. Of course, it was during those few months that child #4 was conceived.
My husband and I have been faithfully following the Creighton method of NFP since we have been married. Honestly, I’d be lying if I said I completely love doing it. I do however, trust God and believe whole heartedly in the teaching of the Church on this issue. Thus, we follow it faithfully. However, as you can see by my story, just like any form of birth control, it is not 100% effective, thus, a few surprises along the way.
Shortly after I became pregnant with child #4 my husband and I decided that we definitely wanted one more child. Our family life is very crazy at times and we felt like the best time to begin trying for child #5 would be sometime just before #4 turned 2. Well apparently God had other plans for us. When #4 was 9 months old, I was completely shocked to find that I am pregnant again. I am especially surprised because not only had we been very careful with NFP, we were also using a fertility monitor (OvaCue monitor) that monitors your hormone levels and helps to determine your fertile days. While the company does not advocate using the monitor for NFP they do not advise against it. Again, our intentions were to use this merely to supplement our NFP.
Having my last two children so close together will be quite a struggle for me. I have already found myself overwhelmed by the busyness of life plus 4 kids. Additionally, our financial situation is not the best. I am a SAHM and my husband is an educator. We really aren’t making ends meat now. Neither myself nor my children have health insurance. We simply cannot afford it. So now where do we go from here? We have used NFP according to the method but even that has given us 4 surprises. At this point, I don’t think I want any more children but I am in my early 30’s and I could certainly never rule out the possibility of having more several years down the road. I am adamantly opposed to people who believe that what they think is best for them now will be what’s best for them in 5 or 10 years from now (thus they head to permanent sterilization as the “solution”). With that said, what do we do after we have this baby? Clearly, NFP is not working for us when we need to prevent a pregnancy. There is absolutely no way financially, or mentally, that we can add another child to our family in the near future. Shy of abstaining 24/7 my husband and I just don’t know what to do.

I’m not as familiar with the Creighton model (my husband and I use the CCL Sympto-thermal method) but I know with us, we have the ability to have our charts reviewed to help us see why/where “its not working” if we ever get into trouble. That’s probably the best advice I can give - see if a Creighton trainer/expert can help you go through your charts and see why the method might not be working for you and how to fix it.

I’d also recommend looking into why your fertility signs may not be as clear as they could be. There’s a great book (Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition by Marilyn M. Shannon) you could read to get you started.

Sounds like you’ve only officially tried ONE method (Creighton) and then used a fertility monitor in a way that it was not intended. In my opinion, if the method didn’t work for me just ONCE I’d start looking at other options! :shrug: Not artificial birth control… just OTHER NFP methods! Have you considered the Sympto-Thermal method? Or maybe take classes in the Marquette Method (which uses a fertility monitor as well)?
I wouldn’t throw NFP out the window when you haven’t explored all the methods or been taught how to use the fertility monitor with respect to the Marquette Method…

Just my thoughts…

I’m sorry you are overwhelmed… you and your family will be in my prayers…

I second Em’s advice…learn another method of nfp.

ccli.org symptothermal
nfpandmore.com online sympothermal method


Prayers for you and your family! Closely spaced children can be quite difficult while they are little, but as they get bigger, it can be such a blessing. My girls play so well together and are pretty good friends. This stage will pass, I promise!

God bless

I think your suggestions of looking for guidance with the current (Creighton) method of NFP as well as looking at a different method seem like the best answers. However, the Creighton method involves occaisional meetings with a nurse certified to teach that method. Really, her suggestion for past problems were abstinence and taking 10,000 mg of vitamin C daily. Fortunately, the second suggestion was to a problem that worked itself out on it’s own (it was breastfeeding related) as I was not all together comfortable taking 10,000 mg of Vitamin C to “dry” me up as she put it.
Now as far as other possible methods, taking a basal temperature every morning is impractical in my home. Mornings are hectic and rarely do I even remember to take my prenatal vitamins in the morning. I know for me, personally, making a routine of taking a basal temp. would not likely stick.
Sorry to sound like a Negative Nancy, your suggestions are thoughtful. I just know myself and know that any method with a basal temp would just not work for me.

Is your husband on board with being part of the process? Basal temps in our home are NOT my responsibility - they’re his. The clock is by his side of the bed and he nudges me and hands me the thermometer in the morning. Personally, having my husband be entirely on board and immersed in the process (figuring out signs and symptoms are my job, temperature and the actual charting are his) has both brought us closer together and made the process easier than it seems to be for some people. My husband doesn’t have to ask if I’m fertile - he knows. And, like I said, having him actually take my temperature (I’d forget otherwise) and hand me my meds (I have to take thyroid meds every morning) has made a huge difference.

From what I can tell, the reason you’re getting pregnant when you aren’t intending to is that you’re having sex in a time when you’re fertile and not realizing it. There could be a number of reasons for this, and if your Creighton nurse isn’t being helpful about identifying why you aren’t able to accurately judge your infertile times (or isn’t available to consult with you other than a few occasional times), I’d strongly recommend you either find someone else you can consult with (a different Creighton nurse) or find another method.

My personal recommendation is CCL (others may disagree) if for no other reason than it really emphasizes making BOTH spouses part of the process.

Motherload - re: the bbt, set your alarm for 5am and take it then, then go back to sleep until the kiddo’s wake you as normal.

If you are like me and up several times a night, it isn’t perfect but if you do it at the same time every single morning (like 5 am) regardless if you were up nursing a baby an hour before, you can still see a fairly predictable pattern on your chart. The only exception I can see to this is if you were up shortly before 5am, like 4:30, and hadn’t yet fallen into a deep sleep when the alarm goes off. In this case I’d move it back and hour to allow a little rest before you take your temp.


This is what I do, and our house is as hectic as you can get. I also agree with the above poster to enlist the aid of your dh. It’s his responsibility, too. Make it a habit. BBT really helps me in the charting department!!!

Did you go over your charts with your fertility care practitioner?

You can to a thermal cross-check with Creighton, and the Marquette Model teaches Creighton with the fertility monitor. Perhaps they might have suggestions on why you were not successful combining them.

Meet with your Creighton practitioner and discuss your charts. Perhaps you will need to use the most conservative rules of only the post-ovulatory phase. Also, the book on fertility cycles and nutrition is a good suggestion.

My son at two and a half would wake us up like clockwork at 6:30 am and stick the thermometer in my wife’s mouth. :slight_smile:

The temp tracking just become a habit like the mucous observations. You don’t need to get it perfect every single morning, but enough to get the general trends.

If your cycles are below 38 days you may want to consider the Lady comp. It a thermometer, but with a built in prediction system. Lots of people seem to like it. You could use it if you start second guessing your mucous observations.

Keep the faith. If NFP had half the resources thrown at it as other commercial forms of contraceptives, it would be perfect by now.

Praying for you,

P.S My wife and I are on our third and we still haven’t got it right. She has very long cycles, hard to understand mucous observations. But we keep struggling and hoping in God, that he won’t give us more than we can handle.

Trust in God! He has a plan for each of your children and knew them by name before time even began. It is all in His hands. Just continue to do His will and you will be blessed without measure. May you and your family never have to move into an old shoe.:wink: God Bless!

Sex = Procreative + Unitive.

You don’t want half of that.

Ergo, no sex.

I’m a pracitioner for the Creighton Model. Were any of your pregnancies evaluated by your practitioner?

That is definitely important to the process. It also helps to see if there was a misidentified day of infertility.

The monitors/bbt don’t work for every women because while some women do have a spike in temp. just before ovulation, not EVERY woman does.

There are things like Vitamin C or other protocols/treatments/charting differently for possible things that might make it difficult to determine true times of fertility through NaProTechnology.

I’ve never seen a more comprehensive method than Creighton, so I say stick with it, and maybe even recommend finding a really experienced pratitioner to review your chart/pregnancies to help you in the future!

OP, try another method. Not to put down Creighton or anything (I’m sure it is a great mehtod for many people) but of all the “oops” babies I’ve heard about with NFP couples, a vast majority were using Creighton.

Hi kffcp24, this thread is really really old. If you stick around, though, you’ll see plenty “I need help with NFP” threads where your knowledge of the Creighton method will be really useful. :slight_smile:

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