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Catholic Weddings

NFP Reassurance?

My fiance and I are getting married tomorrow. Like most posts I've seen here, we're not ready to have a child right now and plan to use NFP. I'm also fairly anxiety-prone, so now that we're so close to being married I've gotten worried that NFP may not effectively keep us from conceiving. Can anyone give me some reassurance about whether it's worked for you or you've had any problems?

Re: NFP Reassurance?

  • Riss91Riss91 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    We've been married for almost four years and have not conceived a child (we are TTA until my husband finds a steady job). It took me a few months to really feel comfortable with reading the signs right (more my own self-doubt and nerves). So, for those months we likely abstained more than we needed to. If you aren't absolutely sure, then abstain. That is the best advice I can give!

    Also - please ask us questions if you are feeling unsure about signs and symptoms you're having. We even have some teachers on this board. It's a helpful group of ladies!

    You are not alone - many of us felt uneasy and anxious in the beginning. But, it does get easier as you go along. Hang in their!
    tiny speckwittykitty14
  • I'll never forget, when we announced that I'm pregnant, my cousin sent me the following text: "Congrats!  As a fellow NFP-er, PLEASE tell me this was planned!"  =)

    Not only did we successfully avoid for about 8 months (which was around when we started TTC), I was also able to figure out some health problems related to my fertility that I never would have known about had I been on oral contraceptives.

    Like Riss, it took me a while to feel confident, even going so far as changing methods, but once I felt like I had it down, things were absolutely great.  DH is/was totally on board with NFP, so we both enjoyed the classes and joking about "what kind of day" it was.  I agree that if you're not 100% confident, abstaining is the best way to go.  That's really the biggest challenge, I've found.

    Good luck and congratulations on your wedding!
    Anniversary

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  • My husband and I joke about my chart all.the.time. We take charting and the science seriously, but we still have some fun with it.

    I think it's normal to feel some anxiety when you make the transition from engaged to married. As time passes, you will gain confidence. We've avoided for over a year in total, with a planned pregnancy in the middle. :)

    Congrats on your upcoming wedding!
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • Although I know several girls on here have successfuly taught themselves NFP, I personally think that it is extremely helpful to have an instructor, who can look at your charts and reassure you that you are doing it "right."

    What method are you using?

    You also might want to check out the forum  http://livingthesacrament.com/Forum/ 
    They will be able to answer a lot of NFP-related questions (as that is specifically their purpose,) and offer additional support.
    Anniversary
  • Tami87Tami87 member
    Fourth Anniversary 100 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    I was nervous at first too but we have been TTA for 11 months now. I really enjoyed reading Taking Charge of your fertility which explains the science behind NFP much better than the couple to couple league book we also have IMO.
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  • I second Lalaith that it's a good idea to have an instructor!  Especially if you're a little nervous about it, having an instructor might boost your confidence. As long as you follow ALL the rules, you'll be fine.  The only couples I've known who claim that NFP didn't work are couples who made up their own rules. 

     

  • I'm a little late to the party, but I'm really glad you posted this, OP!  I've been doing Creighton for a couple months now, and will be TTA once I'm married next month.  Like you, I have anxious tendencies and have been nervous about whether or not it's going to work?  Does this system REALLY work?  Am I interpreting my findings correctly?  I know today I'm safe to have sex, but am I REALLY safe?  -That's what's going through my head right now.  You're definitely not alone!

    Having a coach has been the best thing about this process.  Having her reassure me that I'm doing well has been wonderful for my confidence.  I'm learning to trust myself and my body.  I love charting and find the whole process fascinating.  But I still have my doubts from time to time! 

    Thanks for posting!  I was able to get some help from it too!  :)

  • Thanks for the responses, everyone.

    As for the instructor advice, my husband and I did learn how to use NFP in a class, and I am able to consult the instructors from the class with questions. I have done so a couple of times but don't want to bother them constantly with unnecessary questions every time I'm anxious about pregnancy.

    Lalaith50, to answer your question, we're using the Sympto-Thermal Method, and at this point the strictest/most conservative version of it. Does anyone have any experience with this method in particular?
  • Riss91Riss91 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    That's what we use!
  • I started out on STM, but switched to Billings because I had pretty irregular sleep cycles, so I could never get a good read on waking temperatures.  Of course, temperature isn't the primary factor in any method, so I could have gotten away with just observing CM, but I still wanted a class to help me feel more confident and Billings was the most convenient class offered.  Now that I'm having a baby and know that my waking temps will pretty much never be reliable again, I'm glad I switched.  
    Anniversary

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  • I also use STM. Don't feel bad about bothering your instructors - that's what they're there for! They're probably thrilled to be teaching someone who is actually *interested* in learning NFP!
    Anniversary
  • So what are the differences between STM and Billings? I've also heard about Creighton and wondered what was different about it as well.
  • Creighton and Billings are both mucous only observations. Creighton is a standardized/scientific observation method, and standardized teaching, charting. Creighton is connected to Napro technology, so if there are health issues, napro docs use the creighton charts to help diagnose and treat issues.

    STM uses several indicators for cross checking, however, cervical mucous is always the main indicator in all methods. 


  • There is also some philosophical differences in them. People use the term using "STM conservatively". or using the most conservative rules.

    In Creighton method, they are adamant that you either are using the method to avoid pregnancy or not. There is no sliding scale. 
  • We've used STM all four years of marriage and had two planned pregnancies, currently 8 months into postpartum transition #2. It varies by woman obviously but just thought I'd throw it out there that my temps are fine regardless of how much I've been up in the night, as long as it's within my 1 hr window and I've gotten 1-2 hrs of sleep immediately before. I miss a temp occasionally but I'd say I get 85% of them at least,
    Our little saint, 12/18/2010-12/28/2010

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  • We've used STM all four years of marriage and had two planned pregnancies, currently 8 months into postpartum transition #2. It varies by woman obviously but just thought I'd throw it out there that my temps are fine regardless of how much I've been up in the night, as long as it's within my 1 hr window and I've gotten 1-2 hrs of sleep immediately before. I miss a temp occasionally but I'd say I get 85% of them at least,
    That's good to know.  I've always wondered how STM moms do it!  I remember my little charting app going, "You might be pregnant!" based on temps alone like three months before my wedding. Uhhh... no.

    One thing that I think separates Billings from the other popular methods is that the user chooses her own terms for the sensations, rather than choosing from a "list" of pre-defined terms.  It was hard to sort of wrap my head around at first, but it makes sense that what I see might be given a totally different term by someone else.  Obviously there are some guidelines to describing your sensations, but it's very up to the user.  Also, Billings does not rely on any internal observations.  It's all about observing how you feel at the vulva throughout the day, which I think is appealing to some girls who hear about NFP and think, "You want me to touch my WHAT?"
    Anniversary

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  • FI and I had our first Creighton class last night (yay!), so I know how you feel about the nervousness. I'm sure by the time it is needed, I will be confident in my charting, but I know I'll be terrified to finally put it to the test. The scientific studies on its effectiveness are a huge comfort.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    wittykitty14
  • Riss91Riss91 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    Although it is scary - when you think about it, you are in a MUCH better situation risk-wise when you are knowledgeable about your fertile times. Most people that use pills or condoms are relying 100% on the "science" working based on what they've been told by a doctor. Their risk is much greater (and their knowledge of their health much lower) because they never know if they are fertile or not or if their contraception is working or will work next time. There are many more variables when you're dealing with pills and condoms AND your own body's chemistry and health than when you narrow it down to just your body.

    We as a society just tend to assume that medication is safer because it's "proven" or because it's the norm. 'It wouldn't be on the market if it wasn't safe and effective". We put a lot of faith into these things, probably more than we should. How many commercials do you see about lawsuits for medications/medical devices that have been faulty or dangerous? When you think about it....it's really just as scary (if not more so) to rely on pills/condoms bc you don't have any way of knowing whether they are working or will work.

    At least if I am in control and know enough to abstain if I am unsure about my signs.
    wittykitty14
  • Like I said before, I'm really just a very anxiety-prone person, so even though I love my husband and am so looking forward to the day I can see him be a dad, the thought of having sex with no "protection" is still scary to me. What I've been worrying about lately is the multitude of risk factors involved in NFP. With the pill, it's pretty much whether you take it regularly or not. But with NFP, I'm concerned that I could record the chart wrong, analyze the chart wrong, misunderstand or forget one of the rules, the thermometer could malfunction, my temperatures might not line up with what they're supposed to, etc. It just seems like so many different things could go wrong, and I'm not confident in myself as far as staying on top of every little thing. How do you deal with that and be confident in the effectiveness of NFP?
  • Tami87Tami87 member
    Fourth Anniversary 100 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    I think it is normal to feel nervous when you first start putting NFP into practice. I know the first couple months of marriage I was probably more over cautious and I was nervous about getting pregnant. We also do STM. After a few months for me it became second nature to take my temperature every morning and to pay attention to all the fertility signs. For me it definitely helped to have an app on my phone (you can see the other thread for recommendations) because I always have my phone with me. It is my alarm clock in the morning and prompts me to enter in my temp (before this I tried scraps of paper by the nightstand for temps and that went awful). It is also makes it easy to record observations throughout the day all in the same place.

    As for the pill, while personal anecdotes are certainly not the best evidence, I am always amazed by how many people I know or hear about who got pregnant while on the pill when they thought they were doing everything correctly. I think you are making the pill sound so much simpler than it really is. There are still things that can go wrong. You have to be concerned with other medications you are taking (such as antibiotics) interfering. Like taking your temp you should also take the pill at the same time each day. Plus there is all the side effects to deal with.

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  • Riss91Riss91 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    I understand feeling like there are so many "ifs" when analyzing things for yourself. It does take some getting used to but I promise it will become second nature to look at your CM, compare it to other things like your temps and know where you are in your cycle. You just have to get through a few cycles to understand what your patterns tend to look like. I'm at the point now where it's so obvious to me when I'm ovulating I don't even really need the temp (but I still do it anyway).

    And as far as temp goes - you can miss a day and it won't really be a problem. My temps are not really impacted by a drink or two, or a restless night of sleep, or if I temp an hour earlier or later than I should. And since the CM and other signs are your true indicators, it won't be a problem if you have a few temping hiccups.

    As for other "protection" - think about it this way: How does anyone know that the exact condom they have was manufactured properly and doesn't have any defects? They don't - so it is a false sense of security. And the pills are impacted by those things mentioned by Tami and also by drinking and other health problems or changes in your body chemistry. You will not be able to tell whether a pill is working or going to work until it is "too late". Again, it's a false sense of security because you are relying on every piece falling into place, yet you can't control or necessarily be aware of them.

    At least with charting/NFP, you can see signs and make an informed decision. You'll probably abstain more than you need to in the beginning and then a few cycles down the road you'll feel very confident.

    Please check-in with us, especially if you have a chart that you can link to... many ladies here can help interpret your signs with you. We've all been there, trust me!
  • Do not rely too heavily on temps. They are only the secondary confirmation. 

    The pill is not effective as the stats say. It allows breakthrough ovulation all the time, and then the baby can be aborted.  Also, pay attention to the language. To "need protection" from something that is supposed to be a complete total gift of each other to their spouse--- should not need any protection. 
    [Deleted User]
  • Thanks for all the responses. Like I said when I opened this board, it really just helps to have someone experienced telling me this will all be okay, since I'm not at the point where I can convince myself of that yet. I have a feeling I'll be asking for help on some charts at some point, so thanks for the offer, Riss91!
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