Natural Family Planning (NFP), What is it?

Usccb says

“Natural Family Planning (NFP) is the general title for the scientific, natural, and moral methods of family planning that can help married couples either achieve or postpone pregnancies.

NFP methods are based on the observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle. No drugs, devices, or surgical procedures are used to avoid pregnancy.

Since the methods of NFP respect the love-giving (unitive) and life-giving (procreative) nature of the conjugal act, they support God’s design for married love!”

It’s extremely important for us to first define what NFP is, so we’re all operating with the same understanding of what NFP is and what it is not.

NFP is not birth control.

NFP is and has been the method I’ve used my whole entire life. First, it started as just tracking my cycles, so that I didn’t get surprised by mother nature’s surprises and to make sure I always had the necessary products for my monthly cycles. I’m one of those girls who was blessed with a pretty regular cycle. Very little to no cramps and as I got older and my cycle became regular I would track it on an app. This helped me to learn more about my cycle. I honestly wish this was something that they taught us in health class back in middle/high school. It’s so easy to predict your next cycle when you’re tracking it. In fact, you get to learn so much more about what your body is going through during the cycles.

I understand that many people use birth control and it isn’t always about preventing pregnancy. Sometimes birth control is used as a way to regulate your cycle. Sometimes it’s used as a way to regulate your hormones and much more. I never had a need to do either. So, I’ve NEVER used birth control and have never had a need for it. In fact, the idea of putting anything in my body that would alter my hormones and tell my body when to release eggs, etc. has always been so unappealing to me! You can ask my husband. It’s already difficult to get me to take medication. The idea of contraception has always been a no-no and a no thank you to me. It’s just not for me.

Anyway, I started learning more about my body while using NFP. At first, I had no idea what the term was. I just remembered getting tired of having my cycle and having to do damage control. With the ability to track and predict my cycle as I got older I knew when to have my pads ready for my monthly cycle and the more I tracked it the fewer surprises I started getting. In this time, I learned all about what stress does to my cycle and what happens when my body is even a little out of wack. I started to understand my body more and more. My food choices sometimes had a huge impact on my cycle and that was surprising my so crucial to know.

In college, I learned about NFP and it sounded so familiar. When I looked it up I realized that I had been using it for most of my life. Minus a few specifics that I didn’t need to include since I was not sexually active.

Fast forward, when I met my husband, boyfriend at the time, one of the first things we talked about the first month of dating was children. During the conversation, I disclosed that I have never used any forms of contraceptive and do not plan on using any. He agreed to my rational and respected my decision.

Fast forward to almost two years of marriage, we’ve only used NFP our entire marriage and will continue to only use NFP. NFP has honestly been wonderful for our marriage. We’ve learned more about ourselves as a couple because we’re working together.

For us, NFP is not avoiding pregnancy.

We see the fertile windows and the “higher” chance of pregnancy and it’s exciting. We either choose to use that window to grow our family or we don’t. There’s no manipulation. It’s simply listening to your body and going with the flow.

Now I know I make it sound really simple and it’s! At first, as you learn about your body and your cycle it will seem really complicated, but the more you practice the method the easier the tracking becomes. As a couple, you’re in it together. Before, in the middle and after it all.

I know there are a lot of people who are afraid of getting pregnant and because of that, they choose contraception over NFP. Take it from me, the windows of actually becoming pregnant are not as long of a window as you might think. There’s a small window for a lot of women to actually become pregnant and if you’re not aware of your cycle that window might seem like a threat.

Some women choose contraception for more control of when they can have a baby and sometimes the contraceptive can do more damage than actual good. NFP also gives you control of how you grow your family, but also helps you to be aware of your body, your cycle, and your marriage. Plus, you’re not manipulating your body’s ability to bring forth life in any way.

More resources on NFP can be found here. Be sure to tune in on the podcast next week when I talk more about my own personal experience with NFP.

 

 

 

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