Normally, a mommy blogger wouldn’t take to her blog to discuss how she manages her fertility. Well, I am not just any mommy blogger. You see, if I were on the pill, or using some other kind of barrier-form of contraceptives, I probably wouldn’t write about it, simply because those methods aren’t worth writing about. Those are the methods you learn in middle school [if you went to a lovely public school, like yours truly]. Those are the methods you know inside and out without ever having to use them, thanks to sex-ed classes, pop culture, TV and movies. I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t even know Natural Family planning existed until I took a “Christian Marriage” course at my very conservative, small, Catholic, liberal arts college. I never understood why my church said contraceptives were wrong, because I never new they offered a better alternative way to avoid and achieve pregnancies. That is why I am taking the time to write about some thing so personal… because it changed my life.
I could give you a very long list of reasons why I love NFP but the main reason is: it is the most organic, basic way for you to manage your fertility. You literally just write down what’s going on with your body every day, and then at the end of the day you decide whether you had signs of fertility or not. All you need, is a female anatomy. So basic, you guys.
Before I give a more personal testimonial on why this has worked for me, I’d like to address:
REASONS WHY NFP “DOESN’T WORK”
1. “I have a messed up cycle.” That absolutely does not matter. There is a misconception that women are given a picture of a perfect woman’s perfect cycle and told “follow this” and if your cycle deviates from that, you’re screwed.
That is not the case! Trust me, no one’s cycle looks like that ^^^ In reality your chart is going to look more like this:
That’s ok, that’s normal. Your instructor gives you specific instructions tailored to your personal cycle. You can still get pregnant, or avoid getting pregnant [whichever you prefer] even if your cycle looks like that crazy chart up there.
“I tried that once and I got pregnant so it doesn’t work” What if I told you, when used correctly Natural family planning is JUST as effective as the pill and condoms? See those green squares? If you’re trying not to get pregnant, only have intercourse on days with the green sticker; those green stickers indicate that you’re NOT fertile. The chance of you getting pregnant on those days, are the same chances of a condom breaking. If you are just really in the mood and decide to have sex on a white baby day [a day of fertility] then you can’t claim NFP “doesn’t work” when in actuality, you didn’t use the system correctly.
“NFP doesn’t work because my significant other wants to have sex a lot, and you can’t do that with NFP” Ok, remember those green stickers I pointed out? A woman gets 12-15 days of infertility during each cycle. If your spouse wants to have sex more than that, you have other issues to worry about besides NFP. Even if you’re on the lower end of the spectrum, 12 days is A LOT of opportunities to have sex and not get pregnant. And if you ARE trying to get pregnant? Then its open season people, all those days are up for grabs! I would argue that your sex would be BETTER if you follow your natural cycle and avoid using artificial interferences to manage your fertility. Let that natural libido free!
SO it’s really quite simple: no sex on white days, and ‘green means go’ on those green sticker days.
What’s hard about NFP – I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t face any challenges with this method. Like I said before, we all grow up knowing what the pill is, while we’re completely clueless about NFP. It takes time to learn. How do you know if you’re supposed to put a white sticker or a green sticker? You have to learn. The beautiful thing about it is, you have all the equipment already. Every time you go to the bathroom and wipe, you have to look for mucous. There, I said it. I know it sounds gross, unnatural even… but its not. This is how your body communicates to you. If you’re “dry” and have no mucous all day, that’s a green sticker = infertile for the day. If you have mucous even once, that’s a white sticker and it means you are fertile for the day. Eventually, you’ll become so accustom to how your body works, you’ll be able to anticipate when you’re fertile or not fertile. This is such valuable knowledge and can help you detect health problems earlier on. For example, if you know it’s around time for ovulation [this is some thing you eventually learn after charting for so long] but you have no signs of mucous for several days, you may have something going on hormonally that is postponing ovulation. It is easier to detect what is going on with your body when there are no other interferences [IUD, the pill, or anything else that messes with your body’s natural hormonal cycles]. If there is some thing wrong, there are a ton of options nowadays! There is NaPro technology which involves non invasive hormonal treatments to help you get back on track.
Personally, when we first got married, I was 21, and still had 1.5 years of college left. We wanted to have children, of course, but decided it would be better to get my schooling finished first. For the first YEAR of marriage, we strictly avoided having sex on days of fertility. Easier said then done? Of course. You know that comment I made about libido earlier? It’s no joke. When a woman is fertile, her body is designed to desire sex. Basically, you’re turned on. Awkward, I know, but that is the way God intended it! He wants you to procreate. It was hard to say no on those days of fertility, but we knew it was important to avoid a pregnancy, so we did. My husband and I were both virgins when we married, thus he would always say to me, [during the times of fertility, when it was hard to say no…] “I waited 23 years for you, I think I can handle a few more days” because he knew, on the other side of those white stickers, were a whole line of green stickers we could take advantage of.
Ok, so the year passed and on our anniversary we decided that since I only had a few months left of school, and pregnancy is 9 months, I could probably survive being in my first trimester of pregnancy while finishing my last semester of college. Hello white sticker days! It took us 3 weeks to get pregnant. The great news about being pregnant [besides the bundle of joy] is that you don’t have to chart!
Flash forward to the delivery room: my OBGYN comes in and immediately begins writing me a prescription for birth control. “No thank you,” I say, “We use NFP to avoid pregnancies” …cue a weird grin on my doctor’s face, as if I had just told her I was Wiccan and planned to say some spells to avoid a pregnancy. “You know,” I explain, “its that method where we don’t have sex when I’m fertile…” still, she’s on the verge of laughing right in my face, “Actually my husband and I have been doing NFP for almost 3 years. We avoided a pregnancy for an entire year, then planned this one.” She basically chuckled and said “OK… Good luck”
Well, we didn’t need luck, because we know how to chart. My first year postpartum we avoided getting pregnant again, the same way we avoided it the first time. IT WORKS PEOPLE. After little Sugar Plum turned 1, we knew we were ready for another, and so I’m pregnant again. 1 year on, 1 year off. We follow the instructions, I am vigilant at looking for signs of fertility, and it WORKS. No pills, no condoms, no spermicide, no IUD, no foreign objects have a place in my sex life, and that is truly glorious.
If you want more information on the Creighton Method [that is the method I personally use] or any other method, I recommend iuseNFP.com They have super informative recourses on all the different types, as well as personal testimonies, such as this one, and other facts you may not know about your current mode of contracepting. Or, feel free to private message me via facebook. Most of all, thank you for taking the time to read this post, and please reconsider whatever you’re doing that is not NFP!