Here’s Part 4 of my journey to Natural Family Planning (NFP). You can read Parts 1, 2, and 3 here, here, and here.
So now for the fun stuff! ( :
My immediate reaction to NFP was “what a bunch of hippies.” Lol! But that was my first reaction to everything “natural” – including cloth diapers and several other things that I now proudly do!
After I educated myself a bit, I realized that NFP is not just for hippies (snicker, snicker). Its for anyone who for whatever reason doesn’t want to take artificial birth control. Its for any woman who wants to understand her cycles better. It can be used for pregnancy achievement or prevention.
For me, learning about a woman’s cycles and finally understanding what my body does every month has been liberating. I know exactly when I’m ovulating, when I’m fertile, when I’m not fertile, when my period is about to arrive, everything. My cycles are not what I’d call normal (thanks to so many months on the mini pill – though I hope they even out eventually), but now that I’m tracking them and really paying attention, I don’t have surprises. If DH and I decided to have another baby, I’d know exactly which days we were most likely to achieve that. Since we’re trying to avoid (for now), I know exactly when we have to be careful and we don’t have to worry about it. Its great!
I highly recommend the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler. She also has a website, http://tcoyf.com/, that is very informative. If you really want to understand everything, though, the book can’t be beat. I borrowed a copy from my local La Leche League, though I’d love to have my own.
Practicing NFP is easy. Every morning before I get out of bed, I take my temperature with a digital thermometer. I leave it next to the bed, along with my iPhone. It only takes 2 minutes. I record the number in an app on my phone (its called Period Tracker). At some point during the day, I’ll check my cervical mucus to see what’s going on. At night, I’ll take out my NFP binder (just a plain binder I made to hold all my charts and some helpful info on NFP) and chart my waking temp and cervical mucus for the day. Easy peasy. If I feel ovulation pain, I’ll record that. When I’m on my period, I record that. When DH and I do the deed, I record that (that way, I’ll know exactly when we conceived if we ever do again – even though that’s not our goal right now, I am fully aware that accidents do happen!). It sounds like a lot of tedious record keeping, but I promise its not. This takes about 20 minutes a week. Probably less.
Understanding what all those records mean is a little trickier, but Toni Weschler’s book explains it very well. Seriously, go read it. You’ll be glad you did, if you’re even a little interested in this method of birth control (or pregnancy achievement!).
I’m so glad God pointed me to NFP. I feel SO much better – physically and mentally - since we started it. I think only 2 people know that we practice this method of birth control (until now, haha), but I’d love to tell everyone about it. What’s always held me back is the story of how I came to this decision. People don’t like to talk about abortion and the dangers of birth control. Maybe I could have just talked about NFP without telling my story, but to me that’s important.
So now you know a lot more about me than you probably cared to know, huh? Hopefully we can still be friends. ( : NFP is just one more thing I do in my attempt at a “crunchier” lifestyle!! ( :