1. Why do you use NFP?
Aside from the obvious of wanting to live as God wants, we’ve always been uncomfortable with hypocrisy with ourselves or in others. We’re either in or out when doing something important, hot or cold. We live by either all Church teaching or none, and NFP certainly offers better family planning than no method at all. [Editor's Note: The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks out against artificial contraception, but praises Natural Family Planning.]
It brings a sense of peace to be in line with Church teaching. It is doing what God wants, even when one does not have full comprehension of natural law or the Theology of the Body, plus it’s something we do together.
2. Which method of NFP works best for you?
We have always used the sympto-thermal method. We primarily use body temperature and mucus signs, but also other, more subtle signs like cramping, temperament (mood), appetite and time (the day of the fertility cycle), etc.
3. What are the biggest pros and cons of using NFP, in your experience?
More knowledge fosters better family planning: It’s not only for avoiding pregnancy and spacing children, but also achieving pregnancy. You’ll know if you’re pregnant before a doctor can know. Many women miscarry without even knowing they were pregnant. We knew we were pregnant with our 3rd child not long after conception and noticed some unusual signs, so my wife consulted with a doctor. A prescription to boost a hormone may have prevented the miscarriage of our youngest daughter.
The method of NFP we use is “green,” costs nothing, and is all-natural. In fact, there are those who use NFP simply because they prefer to do things naturally instead of artificially (no theological reason). It’s really just common sense.
NFP also fosters better communication. Whether avoiding or achieving pregnancy, if you’re going to be intimate with each other, you’ll need to stay in “intimate” communication on a fairly regular basis. It’s gotten better with time for us. We experienced how a women’s cycle can become more regular after having children, which makes NFP easier to do. As you start having children, spacing them out can become more and more important, so the woman’s cycle becomes easier to read. God knows what he’s doing when he designs something. Also, if avoiding pregnancy, the cycles of abstaining and being together mirror a natural dating-honeymoon cycle that continually breathes new life into a marriage.
As that Tom Petty song says, “The waiting is the hardest part”. If avoiding pregnancy, waiting until an infertile time can be challenging. Also, the women may be “in the mood” most around ovulation time. But truly, all the pros far outweigh the cons. If the Church changed its teaching tomorrow (which is not possible by the way), we would still live as we do now.
4. What NFP resources does your diocese have?
Our diocese, the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois, offers classes on the Billings Ovulation Method (BOMA) of NFP.
5. What NFP resources have been most useful to you?
We basically have only used those resources offered from the Couple to Couple League.
6. How do you think your marriage would be different if you used artificial contraception instead of NFP?
It’s hard for us to judge since we have practiced NFP for so long. We think intimate times might become routine or less special. We might see each other more as objects in terms of intimacy. With NFP we are on the same page in terms of when we should be together or not. There is communication even without talking. Without it we might wonder what the other is thinking in terms of when is the next time we might “be together” which could lead to frustration or resentment.
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