Even though most Catholics have heard of natural family planning (or NFP), they don't use it. Some people don't trust that it works to avoid pregnancy, some people can't find a reliable source of information about it, and most doctors sneer at it. Dioceses rarely have the funding to make NFP classes widely available, and many NFP instructors are territorial, insisting that their way is the best and there's no point in researching alternatives.
Although stereotypes abound, the truth is that every couple that uses NFP has a slightly different experience. Couples use NFP for different reasons at different points in their marriage and in their faith journeys. Each encounters a unique set of pros and cons. Many couples will try out several different methods before finding one that works best with their lifestyle and the woman's particular biology.
If you're considering using NFP, someone else's experience can be your best teacher. That's why I started an interview series for couples to share the knowledge they've gained and the best resources they've found on natural family planning. This new interview series will be posted once a month. Several couples have already signed up to be interviewed, including:
- Ben and Tina Butera, married 14 years with three children (you might know Ben from his writing at Two Catholic Men and a Blog),
- Allison and Kevin Gingras, married 25 years with three children including one who is adopted (Allison is part of the CatholicMom team and also writes at Reconciled to You), and
- James and Karen, married 12 years with two living children and one in heaven (James writes at RealCatholicLoveandSex)
Each couple in the series will answer the following questions:
1. Why do you use NFP?
2. Which method of NFP works best for you?
3. What are the biggest pros and cons of using NFP, in your experience?
4. What NFP resources does your diocese have?
5. What NFP resources have been most useful to you?
6. How do you think your marriage would be different if you used artificial contraception instead of NFP?
If you use NFP and would like to share your experiences, please let me know in the comments or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have specific questions about NFP that you would like answers for, send them along, too! Regardless, please be sure to check back later for posts in this great new series.
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