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NFP Newbie

Hi Ladies,

I think I need some help on this topic. I had never heard of NFP before this board. FI and I have not yet taken pre-cana so this is all new to me. I have been lurking and so many of you seem so knowledgable I am hoping you can help.

I am grasping the concept that NFP is much more natural than any contraceptives, but if you are still abstaining during your fertile time of each month, how is that acceptable under the notion that nothing should be done to prevent getting pregnant? Also, for those of you practicing, how does abstaining during this time and abstaining when you have a period affect spontinaity between you and your H?

Thanks so much!
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Re: NFP Newbie

  • agapecarrieagapecarrie member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 100 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    JPII discusses spontanaity in Theo of the body.

    The church doesn't teach that you can't do anything to space or avoid children for a time. We are called to responsible parenthood, so there isn't any "notion" as you metion.

    We are not to interupt the act of complete self gift by twisting its meaning of unity and procreation. By avoiding during the fertile time, you just aren't doing "anything". You aren't doing something to prevent. It's  a non-act. Its not messing with the act itself.

    People that use NFP actually have more sex than those that use contraception.

    About spontaneity: Christopher West (who I recommend his books), talks about him being spontaneous on piano: which is banging around on it. If someone who has years of disciplined practice is "spontaneous" on piano, beautiful music comes out.

    Read West:  Good news about sex and marriage and Theo of the body for beginners.

    Also, for health concerns alone, begin NFP TODAY! It took me several years because of health issues that I didn't know I had.
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    well, technically you CAN have sex during your period, as the first 5 days of your cycle are considered "safe days" as long as you ovulated the month before.  but trust me, abstainig during your period isnt hard - at least for us.  we both find it a turn off.  but anywho, you will learn all about when you can and cant have sex once you learn the method.

    as far as spontanaeity goes, once i'm considered "safe", i just let H know that until i tell him otherwise, we are good to go.  that allows for us to still be spontaneous with sex, and avoids us getting worked up and then being "oh, we cant right now".

    as agape said, its not that we arent allowed to prevent pregnancy - its that we cannot use artificial means in order to prevent pregnancy. 

    i've said this in other places, but my biggest regret is not starting sooner.  the method is amazing.  we've been charting, i think, 17 cycles now, and there has not once been a pregnancy scare or any oops moments.  it certainliy requires discipline, but its manageable and i dont feel deprived of sex nor does H.  i self-taught myself the method by reading "taking charge of your fertility" www.tcoyf.com , and you can also get it from amazon.com

    good luck, and ask away!
  • caitriona87caitriona87 member
    Fifth Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    agapecarrie is spot on, as usual.

    I just thought I'd add one other explanation--it's not the goal of postponing pregnancy that is immoral, necessarily, as sometimes it's necessary for a couple to do so. It is the means by which you achieve that goal. You must have both good ends and good means to achieve those ends. i.e. the goal of feeding your family is good. Working to do so is good. Stealing to do so is wrong.

    Similarly, the goal of postponing pregnancy is sometimes necessary. It's using contraception that is the unacceptable means to that end since (as stated above) it interferes with the very nature of the act. Periodic abstinence is a morally acceptable means to the end of postponing pregnancy since the act itself is not altered--you simply bypass it during the fertile time.

    Definitely read the West books--they explain extremely well why the Church teaches what it does.
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  • agapecarrieagapecarrie member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 100 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Actually, for Creighton method, sex during period is not allowed, when avoiding pregnancy (there are nuances to this, but thats the general idea).

    Also, I think its important to use correct language:

    we don't "prevent" pregnancy...we "Avoid". I find the distinction very important.

    It's impossible to have a positive action (prevent) by not doing anything.

    To the OP, please do not try to follow NFP rules by what people or docs tell you (unless its an NFP only doc). Please actually follow a particular method- creighton is taught by a teacher, Sympto-thermal can be learned from a teacher or on your own. Marquette and billings are both by a teacher.



  • edited December 2011
    I agree with PP. I will add that you can go to the website for your local diocese and get a list of classes and providers that counsel on NFP. The importance of you being taught the methods by actual, licensed teachers cannot be stressed enough. if you try to DIY it, it probably will not work.
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  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    well, technically you CAN have sex during your period, as the first 5 days of your cycle are considered "safe days" as long as you ovulated the month before. 

    yes, good points abotu differing rules.  this rule above is taught in TCOYF.
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: NFP Newbie:
    [QUOTE]JPII discusses spontanaity in Theo of the body. The church doesn't teach that you can't do anything to space or avoid children for a time. We are called to responsible parenthood, so there isn't any "notion" as you metion. We are not to interupt the act of complete self gift by twisting its meaning of unity and procreation. By avoiding during the fertile time, you just aren't doing "anything". You aren't doing something to prevent. It's  a non-act. Its not messing with the act itself. People that use NFP actually have more sex than those that use contraception. About spontaneity: Christopher West (who I recommend his books), talks about him being spontaneous on piano: which is banging around on it. If someone who has years of disciplined practice is "spontaneous" on piano, beautiful music comes out. Read West:  Good news about sex and marriage and Theo of the body for beginners. Also, for health concerns alone, begin NFP TODAY! It took me several years because of health issues that I didn't know I had.
    Posted by agapecarrie[/QUOTE]

    Thank you for posting this, and thank you to the poster who posed this question.  This is something that has been troublesome to me for a long time (the how to not-get pregnant thing) and this is very well worded.  I'm a new Catholic, so as I accept more of the church's practices, it becomes more like a jigsaw puzzle with all the pieces fitting together into a cohesive whole...rather than a buffet table where I can pick and choose which practices to adopt and which to ignore.  Thanks again for being a kind and welcoming bunch.
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  • catarntinacatarntina member
    1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    google sympto-thermal method, too.  It's what they taught us in NFP class I took.  It was taught by the couple-to-couple league.  I thought it was a great class.  If you can find one in your area, I strongly recommend taking it.  It teaches the science behind the method and combines that with the church's teachings.

    The method they taught was take your shortest cycle, subtract 20.  Those are your number of 'safe' days.  So for instance, if your shortest cycle length is 26 days, 26-20=6. so the first 6 days are safe.   The other method is Doering Rule.  You take your earliest first day of temperture rise, and subtract 7.  Example, you ovulated on day 14 - 7, first 7 days are safe. If you see mucus at any point in those first days, it trumps any of the rules, period.  So according to these rules, you can safely have sex on your period.

    I really enjoy this method because I have an irregular cycle (from 22 to 40 days).  If I don't ovulate until day 20, I know not to expect may period until at least day 32.  I haven't tried it out for effectiveness with TTA or TTC (not yet married and abstaining until the day!), but so far charting has been pretty great.  Like Calypso said, I wish I had started sooner.
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  • agapecarrieagapecarrie member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 100 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: NFP Newbie:
    [QUOTE]google sympto-thermal method, too.  It's what they taught us in NFP class I took.  It was taught by the couple-to-couple league.  I thought it was a great class.  If you can find one in your area, I strongly recommend taking it.  It teaches the science behind the method and combines that with the church's teachings. The method they taught was take your shortest cycle, subtract 20.  Those are your number of 'safe' days.  So for instance, if your shortest cycle length is 26 days, 26-20=6. so the first 6 days are safe.   The other method is Doering Rule.  You take your earliest first day of temperture rise, and subtract 7.  Example, you ovulated on day 14 - 7, first 7 days are safe. If you see mucus at any point in those first days, it trumps any of the rules, period.  So according to these rules, you can safely have sex on your period. I really enjoy this method because I have an irregular cycle (from 22 to 40 days).  If I don't ovulate until day 20, I know not to expect may period until at least day 32.  I haven't tried it out for effectiveness with TTA or TTC (not yet married and abstaining until the day!), but so far charting has been pretty great.  Like Calypso said, I wish I had started sooner.
    Posted by catarntina[/QUOTE]

    This is not a good rule about numbers. One can start ovulating during the period, and it changes every cycle. I would also suggest that we shouldn't be giving impromtu NFP guidence like this, lest someone think they know the whole thing and try it only to find out it doesn't work (when actually, they didn't actually use it in the first place). This is the most common way people "fail" at NFP. I know of people who read someone's advice (even if its correct), but didn't get the whole story, then got pregnant, and now are adamant against NFP.

    NFP should never use counting days to determine fertility, it should be symptom based.

    ALL modern methods of NFP are for irregular cycles.
  • catarntinacatarntina member
    1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: NFP Newbie:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: NFP Newbie : This is not a good rule about numbers. One can start ovulating during the period, and it changes every cycle. I would also suggest that we shouldn't be giving impromtu NFP guidence like this, lest someone think they know the whole thing and try it only to find out it doesn't work (when actually, they didn't actually use it in the first place). This is the most common way people "fail" at NFP. I know of people who read someone's advice (even if its correct), but didn't get the whole story, then got pregnant, and now are adamant against NFP. NFP should never use counting days to determine fertility, it should be symptom based. ALL modern methods of NFP are for irregular cycles.
    Posted by agapecarrie[/QUOTE]

    Yeah, that's why I said 'mucus trumps those rules.'  Those rules are correct in estimating your infertile days during stage 1, but if you see any signs of mucus whatsoever, the rules are then moot.  This is what the couple-to-couple league taught us. I didn't quote anything falsely.  I was just giving examples of the rules because she asked about sex on her period.

    This was the book that CCL gave us, that has all the rules detailed in here:
    http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Family-Planning%C3%82%C2%AE-Student-Guide/dp/0926412302
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  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    ive never heard that number rule...i wouldtn trust it, but again, i learned a different method.
  • edited December 2011
    Thank you all so much. This is all very interesting to consider. I appreciate all the open and honest responses and will be doing some research. Happy Friday! Have a great weekend!
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  • edited December 2011
    Jumping in . . . for many years I struggled with the Church's teaching on NFP for reasons similar to the OP.  Since I was not sexually active or using contraceptives for any other reason, I allowed myself the opportunity to do what my spiritual advisor (a sister at my parish) suggested, which was to put it on my heart and return to it in prayer regularly. She told me that when she struggled with Church teaching, that was her course of action, and it always allowed God to confirm the teaching for her, so she came to an understanding about the teaching from him.

    In time, I came to recognize that it was the right thing for a variety of reasons, both the excellent ones above, as well as a simple knowledge that God was calling me to it. 

    It is absolutely amazing how much my perspective on things has changed in a short period of time. From not saying things like "We will have 3 kids" to a much deeper understanding about how my body works, I see God in NFP in a million ways. 
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  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    i think there are many women out there using NFP who arent religious at all, or who belong to religions where artificial BC is acceptable for the simple health reasons/benefits. 

    if you can achieve the same level of efficacy (or greater!) by using NFP, why wouldnt you opt to avoid putting medicine in you body that it doesnt need, or inserting devices that may result in adverse affects?  i find now i actually pay MORE attention to BC ads on TV because i am somewhat amused by all of the things listed wehn tehy go through the "side effects may include" segment.  soem of those things sound bad!  why would you voluntarily take something that could do X, Y or Z?

    and then the added benefit is when you are ready for children, you have a pretty good chance at conceiving right away.

    its really a shame doctors dont promote this.
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