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Catholic Weddings

NFP ..not for me

While my fiancé is Catholic I am not , we have agreed to raise future children in the Catholic Church and we attend church now but the one thing I'm not fond of is NFP. I think it's going to more work than its worth. My fiancé agrees with me so NFP is something we won't be doing. At the engaged encounter we attended this weekend, they discussed it for a brief time but we knew it wasn't for us and after the talk I found a few others who found it wasn't for them either.. Are there only a slim few who doesn't actually use NFP? Or has anyone done it and found it wasn't for them? And please no bashing on our decision.
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Re: NFP ..not for me

  • i honestly dont think you should knock it until you've actually tried it.  its extremely effective and not that much work at all.  i take my temp each morning and generally just watch for signs when i go to the bathroom. its not that hard or complicated and it becomes second nature after awhile.

     

    wittykitty14
  • By "more work" what do you mean?  Once you get the hang of it, NFP is actually LESS work than artificial contraceptives.  I know that when I was on the pill, I had an alarm that went off at 6:30 every day reminding me to take it, and if I missed a dose, even by an hour or so, my hormones went so crazy that I was a raging bitch for the rest of the day (and let's talk about how hot it is to stop what you're doing when you're in the moment to find a condom and put it on -- mmmmmm sexy).  When I switched to NFP, that alarm changed to a reminder to take my temperature.  Now that I don't use sympto-thermal, there's not even any reminders except to log my symptoms, which literally takes all of a minute, especially since there are apps and computer programs.  I spend much of my time on my phone or my computer anyway, so it's ridiculously easy to just pull up ovulationmentor.org or my charting app, enter my sensations, and be done with it.

    There are plenty of Catholics who don't practice NFP and don't understand why artificial contraception is considered so bad.  I'm glad your reservations (at least the ones you gave) aren't about its effectiveness, because those fears are just silly.  I never thought about it this way, but another poster on this board once pointed out that sex is supposed to be a complete giving of oneself to his/her spouse, and when you throw up artificial barriers, you physically can't give all of yourself to your spouse.

    I hope you'll reconsider your decision.  There are some great books you can read that discuss the theology behind NFP (Sex Au Naturel, Good News About Sex and Marriage, to name a few), and I'd strongly encourage you to pick one up.  I was definitely not a hundred per cent on board when I first started learning about NFP (after all, everyone knows the "rhythm" method doesn't work, right?), but now I'm so glad we use it.  It allows our marriage to be completely open to life, not closed off to it.  And as a biologist, I'm just fascinated by how my body works, to be totally honest.  I've grown up in circles of people who devote their lives to science and it blows my mind how little they know (or care to know) about reproduction.  Every time I get into an argument with someone about how ineffective they think NFP is, it becomes clear they neither understand nor trust the female body.

    Most people don't value NFP until they want to get pregnant and have trouble, and then suddenly it's like some magic switch is flipped.  But then as soon as these same people hear about someone using NFP to NOT get pregnant, it's like they completely forget how it works.  I've always said NFP is WAY better for people who DON'T want to get pregnant -- even if they use some other form of contraceptive.  Because when you use artificial contraception, you aren't paying attention to the signs your body is giving you about your fertility, so you have "scares."  And nothing beats the confidence of knowing that no one but God could get you pregnant during certain times in your cycle.

    Sorry, I hope you don't see this as "bashing" you, I just get a little soapbox-y about this topic.
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    wittykitty14tiny specklalaith50sarahdactyI
  • I'm not talking about using the pill, condoms, etc. I don't think NFP is too much work, and im not skeptical of it working I just don't think it's a method we will use. I completely understand where you are coming from and your point of view(I don't think your bashing). My cycle is like clockwork and I have been the same since I was 18, I'm now 32 and keep track of it, I know my body and when I'm ovulation, etc. I don't want people to think I'm against it because I'm not I fully think its a great thing but just a great thing for someone else.
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  • Hi Jessica!

    If I may ask, what did you want to use instead?  If you're not using contraception or NFP, are you and your soon to be husband just going to accept children as they come?  If so that's certainly a faithful option too.

    Unfortunately, I think many Catholics still use contraception, but more and more are learning about NFP.  I'm just a newlywed, but NFP is working fine for now.  To me, reading my signs is still confusing, and certainly abstinence can be distressing when it becomes prolonged, but these are struggles and sacrifices that I think are worth it with NFP.

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  • Riss91Riss91 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    If you are relying on yourself to track your fertility signs (and you aren't planning on using a pill or condoms) then you are already doing a form of NFP - similar to the rhythm method that has a high failure rate. That version is a bit more risky because your cycle will likely change as you get older and without tracking the true indicators of fertility you may not know whether you are ovulating or not.

    The methods really aren't that difficult to understand and they only take a couple of cycles to get used to. I think you should really investigate further.
    [Deleted User]
  • I'm not talking about using the pill, condoms, etc. I don't think NFP is too much work, and im not skeptical of it working I just don't think it's a method we will use. I completely understand where you are coming from and your point of view(I don't think your bashing). My cycle is like clockwork and I have been the same since I was 18, I'm now 32 and keep track of it, I know my body and when I'm ovulation, etc. I don't want people to think I'm against it because I'm not I fully think its a great thing but just a great thing for someone else.
    Thanks for clarifying.  I have the same questions as PP -- are you planning on just counting days?  Because as has been mentioned, that definitely has its risks.  It certainly couldn't hurt to take a class just to make sure that what you're seeing indicates where you are in your cycle!
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  • Like others, I am curious about what you plan to use, but would strongly encourage you to not use any sort of day-counting system. Mucous-only methods are actually really, really easy and really, really effective. And I just want to reiterate that they literally only add the time it takes to record your observations to your day, which should be less than 1 minute at bedtime.

    Even if you plan on accepting children as they come, I would encourage you to learn NFP ahead of your wedding. Down the road, you may find that your perspectives change. You may have health issues or need a break from child rearing by spacing pregnancies, and having a background in NFP before that happens will make it less daunting.

    I also know you didn't mention them specifically, but I feel compelled to mention that IUDs and long-term hormonal contraceptives are also problematic. Implants and shots (like Depo) can have devastating long-term effects on your fertility. IUDs, even hormonal IUDs, are abortifacient. They are also wrought with complications like infection, bleeding, etc.
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  • I think NFP is just one of those things that you can't really "get" until you try it.  It all seems to complicated, tiresome, and not sexy from the outside -- whether you glance at a symtho-thermal chart, with the temp graphs, or you take a peak at a Creighton chart with all the codes, it seems like a lot of work, and too confusing.  Once you've been charting for a few cycles, though, it quickly becomes second nature, and the rules seem more straight-forward.  So I totally understand why your first impressions are that it's not for you.  However, I would really recommend that you give it a try before deciding it isn't for you. 

     

  • I'm just curious, and please don't take this the wrong way, but since you've already made up your mind, did you only start a discussion just for the sake of saying you've made up your mind?  I'm not trying to be a jerk, but I am a little curious as to what you're getting at.

    I've been using NFP for about 2 months now.  We're using the Creighton model, and it's AMAZING.  Like you, I thought it'd be too much of a hassle, but it's really not.  I've tried various BC methods before-condoms, patch, pill, and an attempt to put in an IUD, but that hurt so bad I couldn't handle it.  The stress of taking a pill at the same time every day was too much to deal with, as was the nasty side effects of hormones.  We went back to condoms.  Now we're abstaining until the wedding next month.  We'll use NFP exclusively from that point on.

    Honestly, I love NFP.  It's so EASY.  Well, I shouldn't say that.  It is tricky to learn, and can be frustrating at times.  But once you learn to trust yourself and get used to it, it's amazing.  It barely takes any time, and I love charting!  My cycle has always been crazy, so I love knowing more about what's happening to my body.  My chart has already pointed towards issues in my fertility that I didn't know existed, and have likely been affecting me for years!  Soon after the wedding I'll be talking to a doctor about it because this probably will definitely affect my ability to conceive/sustain a pregnancy.  I feel very fortunate to have the chance to fix this now, so that I'm able to have children as soon as FI and I are ready.  I also love how it shares the responsibility a little more between FI and I.  Yes, I do the observations on my own, but this has opened us up to daily conversations about my fertility and our sexuality.  Every day we'll get to discuss whether or not we should have sex that day, based on what our current goals are (avoiding or TTC).  It may sound like it takes the romance out, but honestly it doesn't.

    Basically, I couldn't be happier with our choice to start using NFP.  I am beyond thrilled.  I'm still not 100% sure why you started this discussion, but I'm guessing it's because you still have some interest in possibly using a natural method (other than the rhythm method).  If that's the case, I hope you consider it! 

     

    professorsciencetiny specklalaith50[Deleted User]
  • I started charting when I was single for health reasons and I'm so glad I did. It was so empowering to learn about my body, to know how it works. It made me appreciate God and his design. I believe every woman should chart -- I found probs in my charting that I didnt know I had otherwise.

    The alternative, if needing to avoid pregnancy is complete abstinence. The fact that sex has been removed from creating people is actually an offense against God, as it is supposed to be the image of the trinity and Christ's love for the church-- complete gift of self with no reservations.
    wittykitty14Jasmine&Rajah
  • Jessica41381, I want to commend you on making the effort to be married in the Church and for being willing to raise your children in the faith.  And I'm glad to read that you aren't considering using artificial contraception!

    This seems like an appropriate time to mention - for anyone who isn't aware - that NFP is the only method of spacing children that is accepted by the Church.  Many Christian Catholics aren't informed of that fact (probably because the topic doesn't get discussed enough!)

    From the Catechism:

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm

     . . . In contrast, every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil:159

    wittykitty14[Deleted User]
  • Let me ditto the others that NFP is so easy once you learn it.  It's not only amazing for trying to avoid a pregnancy, but amazing for trying to GET pregnant (I've used it for both).

    I will echo the others too in that IF you are trying to space children (I couldn't tell by your posts what you are planning on doing), the only acceptable way is to remain abstinent when you are fertile (whether that be through the rhythm method, NFP, etc).  In your wedding vows, you will be agreeing to welcome children lovingly should God decide to bless you with them.  A part of that is not using any form of artificial birth control (BC pill, IUD, condom, etc).  To go into your vows knowing you will use those things actually invalidates your vows.

    To answer your question, I know plenty of people who don't use NFP or anything.  My SIL and her husband only started charting when they were having troubles conceiving.  Their plan is to literally be like the Duggars and let it happen should God desire.  So youre definitely not the odd man out if you choose to just let it fly either.
  • I don't know, guys, I think we in the NFP community need to be careful about sugarcoating NFP.
    I'm only on month 5, but I don't think it's "so easy".  And I've heard from many women who've been doing it for years and don't find it easy at all.  Some women, like those who are post-partum, truly struggle with it but know they can't use anything else.

    I didn't choose NFP because it's easy.  I chose it because it's the only moral option, and because through our struggles we can gain virtue and grace from God.  And I wouldn't even consider using contraception because it's awful both morally and medically.  But that doesn't mean NFP isn't very much a cross for many (if not most) people.

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    NOLAbridealmost[Deleted User]
  • I'm also curious about why NFP isn't for you. I'm glad that you aren't considering pills, though. Messing with hormones is bad news! I got off the pill two months ago and NFP has been great for watching my cycles return to normal - although it is taking a long time. I still haven't gotten my period and last night was the first time I had fertile mucus. I was so excited that I yelled at FI to come look at it, and he geeked out with me. We aren't even using NFP and we've only been learning Creighton for two months and it has already been a really cool opportunity for our relationship and for me to learn about my body.

    It is work to learn, and I still have a long way to go, but it already has been totally worth it. I'm sure that feeling will only increase with time.
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    wittykitty14lalaith50
  • Monkey I couldn't have said it better. I do think its been 100% worth it and would never have it any other way, but in my own experience the road has been long, hard and emotional.
  • Thanks for all the various responses. Once were married we will go with the flow and when we have a baby we will have a baby. I'm a firm believer whats meant to be will be. I don't want anyone to think I was knocking NFP. I was just looking to see if there were other catholic couples who don't use NFP. I do appricate all the information that was given and maybe one day it will come in helpful.
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    wittykitty14
  • Well that is definitely a moral and legitimate option. :) I like NFP and am glad to know it, but I think there is sometimes a danger of treating it like the “eighth sacrament.” It is a licit means of child spacing but it is not a must. Here’s a blog post (whole blog is worth reading IMO) about taking babies as they come: http://carrotsformichaelmas.com/2012/05/10/afp-awesome-family-planning/

    I would still *consider* taking a class just in case you someday find you have a serious reason to postpone a pregnancy. That way you will not be tempted to have recourse to contraceptives if that situation arises.

    Our little saint, 12/18/2010-12/28/2010

    [IMG]http://i40.tinypic.com/2hnyji0.jpg[/IMG]
  • Well that is definitely a moral and legitimate option. :) I like NFP and am glad to know it, but I think there is sometimes a danger of treating it like the “eighth sacrament.” It is a licit means of child spacing but it is not a must. Here’s a blog post (whole blog is worth reading IMO) about taking babies as they come: http://carrotsformichaelmas.com/2012/05/10/afp-awesome-family-planning/

    I would still *consider* taking a class just in case you someday find you have a serious reason to postpone a pregnancy. That way you will not be tempted to have recourse to contraceptives if that situation arises.


    Thanks for a great read!
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  • Going to an NFP class is just getting information and learning it. You don't actually have to use it to space children. It's completely fine to not use anything and take kids as they come. I would suggest learning it though, just to have the info. It's much harder to learn after marriage, and you never know what life circumstances might come up (you are planning a big move and would like to not be 8 months pregnant at the time), or you could possibly have serious health issues which you shouldn't be pregnant for. 
  • I'm sorry if I trivialized it, Monkey and Amby.  I know plenty of women who have struggled with NFP, and we even had some trouble conceiving (though it's hard to tell if it was because of fertility issues or because we only saw each other one weekend a month for a while).  I just love to sing the praises to hopefully keep people trying.
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  • @ Prof

    I really don't think you were trivializing it, I just think we (the whole NFP community) tend to play up the benefits and play down the negatives in general, you know?

    I mean, of course we want to sell it.  To a society that's so wrapped up in contraception, NFP gives us hope of changing people and their lives.  And NFP does have a lot of exciting benefits.

    I just think sometimes it can mislead people.  Who here never heard that it's "only about 8 days of abstinence".  From all the women I've talked to, that's a load of bunk, but yet that's what I always heard.  Same with it being "so easy".... not true.

    I worry that if we sell NFP on these kinds of taglines, then when people struggle with it, they'll give up.  "It wasn't nearly as easy as I thought" or "I didn't know we'd have to abstain so much."  Instead, we need to focus more on it as a hard, but worthy choice.  Nothing-good-is-ever-easy kind of mantra (like Catholicism? ha)  :)

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  • edited June 2013

    Hi ladies,

    I am writing with an honest question as someone who was baptised/raised Catholic and ultimately decided not to be confirmed for a whole list of reasons. In some ways though, I remain connected to the Catholic traditions since they were a large part of my childhood experiences.

    This isn't NFP related, but whenever I see a thread like this I begin to wonder how the Catholic Church views those women who must take birth control for their health. In my case I actually have a medical condition that means that unless I take some kind of birth control pill, my body will not produce the normal homones that everyone else does. This had huge implications in terms of my development, but continues to be a big part of what I need to do to keep myself healthy.

    What does the church say about such a situation?

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  • The Church says that if the woman must take it for *true* health reasons, then this is moral.  It is moral because she's not taking it for contraception, but for medicine, and the temporary sterilization is a secondary effect.  

    HOWEVER, most (if not all) of the time that a doctor says birth control is medically necessary, it's because they haven't pursued other routes.

    There are other ways to manage your hormones, treat endo, treat PCOS, etc.  than to use birth control.  A lot of times, birth control only masks your symptoms or, even worse, can even accelerate your problem.

    Given the fact that contraceptives have their own very serious health effects, it's really not worth it.  Trust me that many women have been helped with their issues WITHOUT using birth control pills.  You need to see a reproductive endocrinologist, a NAPRO doctor, or some other reproductive doctor that truly understands a woman's cycle.

    Like I said, no, it's not immoral if a woman uses it for true medical issues, but every woman needs to make sure that it is absolutely her only option.  A lot of doctors are too lazy or ignorant to find the real cause.

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    wittykitty14
  • Riss91Riss91 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    That's a good question!

    The Church allows the use of pills in cases of a serious health need *IF* that is the only way of treating the condition. From many of the ladies' experience on this board, we've seen that conditions like PCOS and endometriosis can be effectively treated without the use of pills (just as an example). Most doctors aren't aware of the alternative treatments because the "easiest" and most common path is to take pills. In many cases, the pills are just covering up the negative symptoms of the condition without actually solving the problem. So, the second you come off the pills, you realize you still have this condition. Why not actually treat the condition, thus eliminating the symptoms at the same time?

    Obviously I'm not directing this to your specific condition, since I don't know what it is... but it is always good to see what the other options are. Pills can cause other pretty serious health conditions as well (stroke, breast cancer) so you need to make sure you are choosing the best path for your overall health.
  • Hi ladies,

    I am writing with an honest question as someone who was baptised/raised Catholic and ultimately decided not to be confirmed for a whole list of reasons. In some ways though, I remain connected to the Catholic traditions since they were a large part of my childhood experiences.

    This isn't NFP related, but whenever I see a thread like this I begin to wonder how the Catholic Church views those women who must take birth control for their health. In my case I actually have a medical condition that means that unless I take some kind of birth control pill, my body will not produce the normal homones that everyone else does. This had huge implications in terms of my development, but continues to be a big part of what I need to do to keep myself healthy.

    What does the church say about such a situation?

    There can be licit reasons for taking BCP, just like removing a cancerous uterus wouldn't be considered wrong.  I think you would be encouraged to research any other methods for treating your problem that do not also have the effect of stopping ovulation (it doesn't sound like this is you, but often when people are told they HAVE to be on the pill for their health, there are plenty of other options, just not necessarily as quick-fixing as the pill would be).  I could be wrong, and other ladies here will certainly correct me if so.  
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  • monkeysip said:
    The Church says that if the woman must take it for *true* health reasons, then this is moral.  It is moral because she's not taking it for contraception, but for medicine, and the temporary sterilization is a secondary effect.  

    HOWEVER, most (if not all) of the time that a doctor says birth control is medically necessary, it's because they haven't pursued other routes.

    There are other ways to manage your hormones, treat endo, treat PCOS, etc.  than to use birth control.  A lot of times, birth control only masks your symptoms or, even worse, can even accelerate your problem.

    Given the fact that contraceptives have their own very serious health effects, it's really not worth it.  Trust me that many women have been helped with their issues WITHOUT using birth control pills.  You need to see a reproductive endocrinologist, a NAPRO doctor, or some other reproductive doctor that truly understands a woman's cycle.

    Like I said, no, it's not immoral if a woman uses it for true medical issues, but every woman needs to make sure that it is absolutely her only option.  A lot of doctors are too lazy or ignorant to find the real cause.

    I can see where you ladies are coming from. In my case, I have seen the exact specialists you guys are talking about who worked together to figure out that this was the best option for me. It was a long process, but I'm happy with where I am right now. They did a great job of educating me about potential risks as well, but those risks are les significant than those associated with other options in my case.

    Thanks for answering my question. I was just curious. It is something I never really looked into because I left the church long before I started thinking about these things.

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  • Just for argument's sake, does it make any difference to the church if the woman taking birth control for her health/hormone levels is physically unable to bear children at all?
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  • I think it's better to clarify terms here. Medicine can be used to treat health issues, even if it might have unwanted side effects. "the pill" would not actually be a "birth control pill" in this instance, by term, (even though that may be what it is commonly used for), even though that is a side effect.

    Others have already mentioned this, but I'll say it again, birth control pills don't actually treat or help any medical issues. They may ease symptoms, but they don't fix them. They are a carcinogen. I would highly suggest visiting a napro doctor to find the cause of the problem. A Napro doctor will not prescribe any kind of pill. 


  • I think it's better to clarify terms here. Medicine can be used to treat health issues, even if it might have unwanted side effects. "the pill" would not actually be a "birth control pill" in this instance, by term, (even though that may be what it is commonly used for), even though that is a side effect.

    Others have already mentioned this, but I'll say it again, birth control pills don't actually treat or help any medical issues. They may ease symptoms, but they don't fix them. They are a carcinogen. I would highly suggest visiting a napro doctor to find the cause of the problem. A Napro doctor will not prescribe any kind of pill. 


    I totally understand where you are coming from, but would respectfully beg to differ that it only eases symptoms. In my case it would be detrimental to my health to not take in the estrogen I recieve from the pill because I do not naturally produce it myself. One example - my bone health would dramtically decline and I would almost certainly fall victim to Osteoperosis at a very young age. Even on the pill, and taking estrogen, it is a risk but not as pressing. Not to mention that without replacing the estrogen that I do not make I would basically be on a never-ending period so to speak. I have no idea what the specific health implications of that are long-term are, but I have to imagine there are quite a few. This goes without mentioning that without taking estrogen (and human growth hormone) as a teenager, I would never have developed as normally as I did, either physically or psychologically.

    I will say that I honestly don't know if there are other estrogen delivery methods available other than those in traditional birth control methods. If there are, I would certainly be willing to consider them. I am also convinced, though, that the specialists my family and I worked with at UCLA are top top notch and considered every option that would get the job done. They looked into everything and are largely responsible for the quality of life I have now, something I will remain eternally greatful for.

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  • Riss91Riss91 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    Do you mean like a woman who has had a hysterectomy or some other procedure that results in a woman not being able to conceive a child?

    or

    A woman that could conceive a child, however it might be dangerous for her to carry/give birth to the child?
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