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Catholic Weddings

NFP - how did you choose?

My fiance and I have just started getting more into our marriage prep process - had our first meeting with the church's marriage coordinator yesterday, just registered for our engaged encounter weekend, and now I'm looking into scheduling our NFP class - the problem is I have no clue which model would be best for me.  I've read through several of the posts on this board regarding NFP methods, and it sounds like there are positives and negatives to all.

My area does offer classes in Billings, Creighton, Sympto-Thermal, and Marquette (hadn't heard of that one until I got the pamphlet).  I've also been looking up information online, but am having some trouble finding specific information on how the methods work and the main differences between them. 

Full disclosure, I'm currently on BC pills, and my fiance and I really haven't talked to much about what we plan to do in the future.  I think we both always thought of NFP as outdated, and that it couldn't possibly be accurate enough to prevent/plan pregnancy.  The more I'm reading about it, the more I'd like to really explore NFP.  Ideally, I'd like to go off of my BC before we take our classes, so I can use that time to really learn whatever method we decide on, rather than just going through the motions.

I think my fiance might balk at that suggestion somewhat, but I think the conversation will go much more smoothly if I go into it with as much information as possible.  I'd also like to get some idea of what method might be best for us, so that we're spending our money and time on a class in the best way possible.

So, I guess my question is, what method did you choose, and why?  Any recommendations on how to decide which method we should explore?

Re: NFP - how did you choose?

  • Welcome and good for you for looking into NFP. I was skeptical myself, but am I now 100% believer that it is the best way to be in charge of your repoductive cycles and fertility. We have been using it successfully for well over 2 years. It works! I won't lie and say it's not strange/awkward/nerve-wracking in the beginning, but well worth it in the long run. It took me about 4 months to feel really comfortable with my interpretations.

    We do sympto-thermal which I think is suited for those that don't have major underlying medical issues. If you have any history of endometriosis or PCOC, you may want to follow Creighton. Sympto-thermal tracks both fluids AND your body temperature, while other methods only track fluids. The temperature can make things tricky if you have an abnormality in your cycle, so in those cases it's better not to use it as an indicator.

    As far as coming off the pill, you will want to that a few months before you start your class as the pill will void any of the information you are trying to track about your cycle.

    Please feel free to ask any questions you may have - there are tons of ladies here that are using various methods of NFP and know quite a great deal about it. Many that were formerly on the pill.
  • I decided on CCL NFP because it was the easiest method to sign up for lol.  It's the method pushed by our diocese, so that's what I signed up for.

    I think CCL NFP (a symto-thermal method) is good because it is pretty inexpensive (at least compared to Creighton), and because it's nice to see the "whole picture" with CM sensations and characteristics, temperatures, cervix position, etc.  I also like that you have acccess to your teaching couple, as well as NFP consultants, for any questions you may have throughout your life.  They also offer special classes on post-partum and menopause, which I think will be really useful when that time of my life comes. 

    The cons are that you only have 3 classes, each about a month apart, and for me at least, the class was too big for the teaching couple to look at everyone's chart.  Another con is that it's not really conducive to someone with really abnormal cycles.  From what I understand from other ladies, Creighton is really good for abnormalities.

     

  • My husband and I are very happy with Billings because it does not rely on temperatures at all -- mucus/sensation only.  I do not always sleep through the night, and I will occasionally stay out and drink, both of which are factors that affect waking temperature and made my charts inaccurate.  Billings also does not require any kind of waking at the same time each day to check anything, so you chart at the END of the day with your "most fertile" sign.

    As for the pill, Riss is right.  Going off the pill is going to do weird things to your cycles, BUT it will also make your charts skewed if you don't go off (because you don't ovulate on the pill).

    It is always recommended that you practice full abstinence while you are learning NFP (which is why it's good to learn BEFORE you are married), because you certainly don't want any surprises.  I can assure you that, as a biologist, I am fully in support of NFP if it is practiced correctly.  Many people associate it with the outdated, ineffective rhythm method, which is why so many people think it doesn't work.  For me, it is incredibly obvious when I am in my ovulation window, so it's easy to know when to abstain.  Some people have a harder time distinguishing between fertile/infertile, which is why taking a class is so helpful.

    If you have any abnormal cycles or reproductive health issues, Creighton is probably the way to go.

    HTH!

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  • Hey there, that's so awesome of you to look into it.  I am currenlty doing CCL, but I am thinking about switching to creighton because I tend to have longer cycles.  Anyway, I found this and it gives a breif description of all the methods :o)

    clicky
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  • i self taught using "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" which teaches sympto-thermal.  i find it very easy.  i actually didnt know other methods existed until i came here. 

  • Thanks for all of your responses!  I think I will give Billings a try - similar to professorscience, I have some sleep issues that will probably affect the accuracy of any sympto-thermal method, so that's probably not the way to go.  I don't *think* I have any irregularity issues that would make Creighton a better choice, but having been on the pill for many years, that's obviously just a guess.

    There are a couple different "ovulation method" teachers in my area, some teach Billings, and one couple (who was recommended by a couple that took the class from them because they were really nice, not because this couple is actually following the method) who teached the Families of America method.  Didn't know those were different either, until I read the clicky from shawna.

    Anyone have any experience with the difference, if any, between those two?  I'll try to do a little research on my own too, but just thought I'd ask since this board has been so helpful already!
  • The Families of America method sounds a LOT like Billings, except it appears that there are set "descriptive words" for the different types of mucus.  One thing I like about Billings is I come up with the terms for my own sensations (which is nice because the word "moist" makes me cringe).  I guess that's just a personal thing, though.
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  • Thanks professorscience - I definitely would prefer using my own terms, I'm on the same page with you there.  It's going to be awkward enough at the beginning figuring things out, so anything to make it less cringe-worthy sounds good to me!
  • Hey! Just wanted to add my two cents. I, too, am using Billings right now and am on the road to becoming a certified Billings teacher. Yay! I'm totally not an expert on it at this point, but wanted to share some of my thoughts. We started out using sympto-thermal (also self-taught from Taking Charge... like Calypso). I can't really tell you how well it worked for us because we wanted to have a kid right away so never really used it to avoid, though I do think it helped me get pregnant right away.

    Then, once the little one arrived, I realized there was no way I was going to be getting enough hours of sleep at night to be able to get a reliable temp so the ST method was out the window and we went for Billings. We chose Bilings over Creighton only for cost reasons (The Creighton course was far more expensive).

    Now I really, really wish we had started with Billings in the first place and learned it before I was pregnant; Learning a new method is quite challenging post-partum. Especially when breastfeeding, your body goes through an indeterminable amount of infertility so learning new ways to identify your fertility signs is tricky  when you're not fertile. It can go on for months and it's been really easy for me to second-guess myself in my observations and say "oh, maybe something is different and I'm fertile again". It's kind of frustrating, to be honest. But, I know once I really figure it out, it's going to be a great fit for us.

    Anyway, all that just to say - I think learning a mucus/sensation only method (like Billings) right off the bat is a great idea since, in my opinion, it is easier once you have kids to keep track of your fertility this way. But learn it before getting pregnant so you can be familiar with your fertility signs post-partum.

    Sorry this was so long! I could go on and on about NFP, really :)
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  • I'm sure you've seen my posts about how I stressed over the issue for months. My options were basically Creighton and ST, since there is only really one Billings instructor in the area (that I know of). I charted self-taught out of TCOYF for a couple of months (had to take a class for marriage prep., so that was mostly just for me) and I recognized that 1) the sleep situation was such that it was never going to be helpful, 2) I had potential health "weirdness" so Crighton would probably be a good fit.

    I'm super happy with the results. My doc was able to detect the presence of issues just glancing at my charts, and was able to take immediate steps to help correct things. Even with those issues (and partially because of those issues), H and I avoided successfully for several months before TTC (which was successful quickly, in part because of the NFP).

    If it is between Billings and Creighton, I would go with the one that is more convenient/affordable for you. I've heard great things about both. If you suspect that you have health concerns, I'd go Creighton right away.

    I'd also start talking to your FI about this now. It is going to be a major part of his life, too, and he needs to be fully on board. When I finally made the decision to go with Creighton, my H was sad that he didn't get to help take and record my temperature. He finally managed to get excited about sticker placement and discussion of my cycles (including some silly inside jokes), but it was certainly a process for him to get used to all of it as well.
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  • Ooh, TeaForMe, I know where I'm going for guidance after H and I have our first child.  ;)
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  • Prof, I hope I'll be helpful! I will say, I feel extremely confident in my Billings knowledge, I just don't understand what my own body is doing at this point :) And I can commiserate with anyone post-partum who ends up with wacky "am I fertile or not?!?" signals. (though the up-side to delayed fertility is that I haven't had a period since November of 2010 :)  Okay, TMI, I suppose).
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  • NFP when used correctly is more effective than any method of artificial birth control. 

    I like creighton because of the standardized teaching and the scientific observation method. 

    Marquete is creighton with a fertility monitor. 
  • I have to admit I am nervous about giving up the pill. My fiance and I are not sexually active, but I've used it since I was a teenager to control heavy periods (often lasting a full week, 7-8 days) and cramping.
  • sbelle - Definitely talk to your doctor about other options, there's likely better ways to treat those symptoms. I think there is a new drug on the market that focuses on period-related problems without effecting fertility. Also, it might be good to be certain that there isn't something bigger causing those problems.
  • I started with the TCOYF book (I think you should buy it no matter which method you choose), but then I found a doctor in my area that is a Creighton practitioner.  During my first appointment with her, she referred me to a Creighton teacher in my area.  My fiance and I have met with her twice, and I feel like I'm getting the hang of it.

    My advice would be to choose a method and start charting as soon as possible, even if you change your mind.  I was on the pill too, and my doctor and teacher said that my cycles could be a little weird for several months (I ovulated my first cycle, but not my second post-pill).  I have 3 1/2 months left before my wedding, so I'm glad I'll have several cycles under my belt.  I hope I'll feel confident by then.

    I liked that the Creighton teacher started out with a introductory presentation that included a lot of "biology," which really appealed to my skeptical fiance.  I also read the book that comes with the Creighton materials and flagged chapters for my fiance to read.  He actually enjoyed memorizing the little "codes," so sometimes I call him at night to ask him what to write on my chart.  When we live together, he will chart for me whenever possible.
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