This blog post is going to be raw, and honest, but absolutely necessary. You might not be in the stage of your life where you are about to get married, or even in a relationship, but this topic of Natural Family Planning is so important for us women to talk about and be vulnerable with because it is so important to learn about it and know that it isn’t easy.
For those of you who don’t know I got married two weeks ago and it was such a dream that left me drowning with grace. But, with marriage comes having to learn things like Natural Family Planning (NFP). NFP was one of my biggest fears throughout the engagement and continues to be a spot of humility in marriage. My NFP story has been emotionally driven and motivated out of fear since our first NFP class (I cried in front of the couple that was teaching us.. multiple times). The amount of spiritual warfare our NFP journey has brought is hard to even find the depth of words to describe it.For those of you who don’t know, NFP is based on the fact that a woman’s body gives certain signs about the different phases of her monthly fertility cycle. Catholic natural family planning teaches you to observe and interpret these signs to determine when a woman is fertile. It is a way to have some control over your fertility without using things such as oral contraception which the Church as rejected. I have been charting for 9 months, and this is my first month putting NFP into practice. I use the Sympto-Thero Method. My husband and I chose this method because it is known to be the most conservative method. Sympto-Thero Method uses three factors to determine your fertile window during the month: Cervical mucus, temperature using a basal body thermometer (BBT), and cervix. These three factors work in correlation with one another to determine when you ovulate.
There are things I am grateful for by choosing to use Natural Family Planning. One thing I am grateful for is the amount I have learned about my body and my cycle. I have been understanding my cycle more and more as each month goes by and have become more confident with charting. Our fertility is a beautiful gift the Father has given us, and through science and further discovery about the female body, He has given us ways to work within this gift. This is a core principle of who the Father is, He does not ask us to do things He has not revealed.The unity between my husband and I is something I have never felt during our dating and engagement relationships. My husband gets to learn about my body, how it was created and admires the complexity within my fertility. There is a special closeness with him knowing about my body and how it works and honoring that in a way that all men should. NFP gives us the ability to love each other sacrificially through chastity. This is one thing I am such an advocate of – chastity in dating relationships, it sets the stage for what your marriage will be!! (and it keeps your love young!)
NFP is difficult. It takes energy, time, commitment. There are days that NFP leaves you with desolation. Conversations that leave you with embarrassment or rejection. But, The Church calls us to heroic virtue, although some teachings are harder to except than others. I am praying that through being obedient to Church teaching, Jesus brings me to the Father and teaches me how to trust Abba more fully, with more abandonment.
NFP gives us the ability to love each other sacrificially through chastity.
It is incredibly important to be educated about your body and your fertility. I invite you all to start tracking your cycle so you can become more familiar with your fertility. You can never track for too long! The longer you chart, the more confident you can be! Some resources that I recommend are: Kindara app, FEMM app, Couple to Couple League classes, friends that chart and https://www.managingyourfertility.com/.
There are several other methods of NFP that other friends use that work best for them. It all depends on your confidence in the method! Do research, find an instructor to teach you and find what method you want to use!