I feel like I can sorta legit blog about this topic now. Now that I’ve been married for a whole 3 months. HA.
I’ve been basically charting the start of my period and the length of each cycle for about 4 years app wise. I had an idea of what NFP and the different methods but since I was single I never was that serious about learning a method. I also wrote about NFP for single women for NFP Awareness week a few years ago.
Back in November when we were doing all our marriage prep I finally decided to learn an actual method and I am now charting my 10th cycle of NFP using the Billings Ovulation Method.
My first 7 cycles were when I was engaged and still abstaining so I’ve basically charted about 3 charts now that we’ve been married. My NFP instructor said she prays for every one of her couples to be in the luteal phase on their wedding and luckily I was.
I got my period on the last day of our honeymoon…blah (could have been worse). My biggest fear was to be Day 2 of my cycle on our wedding day thankfully that didn’t happen.
But NFP so far hasn’t been that hard. I have fairly regular cycles and it has been pretty easy to figure out which days are safe and which days aren’t. Maybe we are just weird because we’re older so our libidos aren’t as high as others. And I almost feel bad writing this because I always hear how hard NFP can be and I don’t want to be all braggy like this is easy. Like it’s not. Taking a pill would be way easier sometimes than figuring out if it’s a safe day or not.
I think one of the hardest struggles, in general, is the lack of support locally. No one talks about this stuff in person which I get its kind of personal. But sometimes it’s hard to feel like you are doing the right thing when you feel like you are the only one doing it. I think this is especially true becaus there are so many people where I live that don’t go to church on a regular basis.
One of the weirdest thing about our diocese is that NFP classes are REQUIRED as part of marriage prep. So you’d think there are a lot of people in the area using it but I’m not really sure. But we also don’t know that many Catholic married couples locally either.
When I was looking for an instructor I couldn’t even find a local person all the resources sent you to online classes. The few local teachers I tried to contact never called me back so it was frustrating. It’s like the Diocese knows NFP is important and that couples shouldn’t be using birth control but they aren’t really sure the best way to go about getting people to understand the churches teachings.
And maybe that is just the secularization of sex and birth control. The world wants sex to be this thing where everyone does it every day whenever they want (which is totally not true for everyone) and children are almost like commodities/not really even necessary and not the gifts of life we should see them as.
I don’t know how NFP will affect my marriage as the years go on. I don’t know how hard it’s going to be to get pregnant, and how it’ll change once we do have children. I don’t know if I’ll have to change methods postpartum or not.
I guess right now we are just riding the NFP train as best as we can and only after time will we be able to discern what is right for our family/marriage.
I do know that NFP makes me feel empowered about my fertility and my body. That my body is naturally working and I’m not using any kind of medication to suppress my fertility. Even though getting my period sucks sometimes it’s part of being a woman. I’m a numbers person so charting for me is fun. I love seeing the graphs and patterns from month to month to see how things are changing or staying the same.
That is such a kind prayer offer from your NFP instructor!
I’m pretty sure NFP instruction is required for marriage prep every U.S. diocese, so you’re not alone. There are definitely other couples in your area who have learned about NFP, and there are probably some who are actually using it. Several factors might be at play.
Couples who are inspired to use (and especially to teach) NFP are probably more likely to have children themselves. If they’re young and have young children, they need child care. NFP instruction is almost never a full-time job, so they’re not giving it the same attention as what pays the bills. If they’re older, they might seem less approachable to younger couples.
Talking about NFP requires you to open up discussions about your sex life to kind of a lot of people. Not everyone is comfortable with that, and that reticence is 100% okay, but it makes a discussion group basically impossible.
Organizing any kind of in-person group is tricky. Many people are very comfortable living online. I even did most of my CPR re-certification online specifically because it was cheaper and faster than taking the longer in-person course! If that’s true for something as innocuous as CPR, it’s no wonder people are keeping their involvement with NFP on the DL.
Overall, thank you for sharing your thoughts as you’ve made the transition from single NFP user to married.