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April 25, 2012

"Curiouser and Curiouser!"

After I wrote my post the other day on how the Marquette Method works, I found myself wondering what the fuss was all about using a natural method of spacing babies anyway?  

I thought a little bit about how nervous I was to broach the subject with my husband 10+ years ago that we really ought to give this Natural Family Planning thing a shot.  Why was I so nervous?  It was probably due to my unfamiliarity with doing something that seemed like doing nothing. 

High school sex ed says "Natural Family Planning" equals "Rhythm Method" equals completely UNRELIABLE, therefore, it is scary to think about venturing into that unknown.  But really, with the science surrounding fertility and multiple NFP methods (Marquette, Sympto-Thermal, Creighton, Billings) NFP is anything BUT "doing nothing."  Working with our bodies' biorhythms instead of fighting or trying to squelch them makes so much more sense to me NOW.  But it didn't before I gave it a whirl.

Further, presenting contraception as the only reliable way to space babies borders a bit on an outright falsehood.  Nothing is 100% effective, except abstinence, and that goes for married, un-married, teenager, 20-something...the only sure-fire way to know you're not going to be pregnant is not to engage in sex. Raise your hand if you have ever met someone who was a result of a pill-popping failure?  The little insert that comes with the pills states that there is a chance for "breakthrough ovulation."   

About a month ago, I read Rebecca's post at Shoved to Them where she detailed how many times she was blessed as a result of contraceptive method failures.  Of course, she doesn't see the children as failures at all...but when one experiences just about every contraceptive-failure possible (just about...not every of course), one might start to understand that a Natural Family Planning method is certainly just as reliable as all those other contraceptive methods, and honestly...a whole lot less of a pain in the butt.

Why is it that many doctors dismiss NFP and insist you must pump your body full of hormones through a pill, or a shot or an IUD?  One theory is that Big Pharma pushes it on doctors to keep those prescriptions coming.  I wouldn't doubt it.  Another is that because medical school is full of education on medicine and how those medicines work (or don't work), there's not time to teach how NFP works and how it might benefit patients, as opposed to other methods.  

Ultimately, it is human beings' need/desire to be in control.  What's ironic is, they really are giving up an awful lot of control to birth control pills, shots, IUD's...right?  I mean, they are trusting something that doesn't have a brain and is designed to thwart a process that can, at any point in time, switch up because it is a force of nature a biological process that is unique and unpredictable (not every woman has 28 days cycles, and even if a woman does have 28 day cycles, one cycle might all of a sudden be 22 days...just because).  

I think that you either put your faith in your spouse and yourself, to monitor your biological signs and learn what they mean and trust your spouse and yourself to act according to your agreed upon course of action for that cycle (achieve or avoid)...

OR you put your faith in a pill that even when taken 100% correctly has that chance of allowing a "breakthrough ovulation"...

OR you put your faith in a shot of high-dose hormone that will give you headaches and may or may not keep you from getting pregnant ("breakthrough ovulations" here, too)...

OR you put your faith in an IUD, which actually has a very poor success rate at avoiding pregnancy, but a rather high success rate at ripping apart the inside of your uterus so a newly conceived child can't implant...

OR you put your faith in some doctor to sterilize you...cut you up and make you into something you were not before (that's an awful lot of faith if you ask me) and you might end up with some physical, mental or emotional baggage as a result.

You see...every couple makes a decision to put their faith somewhere.  

What perplexes me is the fact that so many lack faith in themselves.


  1. How true...and how frustrating that to say so makes people look at us like we're out of touch with reality.

  2. It's because the doctors can control the prescriptions they hand out, but not NFP. PLus they aren't trained to think of women's bodies that way. They are taught to put us on the pill. Because they aren't taught that pregnancy is a good thing, rather they are told it's a thing to avoid at all costs until the "perfect" moment.

    It all begins with training: first, in the home; then, in the culture; finally, in medical school.

  3. This is the exact question I ask engaged couples or anyone who is struggling with the idea of NFP...especially when they tell me NFP is the same thing - I love to then ask "then why not use NFP?" I think we have stripped peoples self-confidence in themselves by creating a pill for ev.ery.thing. We can't lose weight on our own, get rid of headache (usually caused by stress or dehydration) on our own - how can we possibly plan our family on our own?

    Just my quick 2 cents, and I believe with Rebecca F. - it must start with education. It abosolutely amazes me how many of the couples at engaged weekends don't know the basic biology of their bodies.

  4. Exactly, exactly, exactly!!!


  5. YES!

    It really is amazing to me, too, just how empowering it is when you put that faith in yourself. I agree with you and the other commentors - we are trained so early to trust "Science" instead of ourselves. I'm hoping this cultural outlook shifts over the next few decades - I really believe there are already indications that it will. (Of course, the pendulum might swing too far the other way, but hopefully we have some good moderation in between!)


Thank you for reading. I enjoy reading other perspectives, please feel free to share yours. :)