Saturday, October 11, 2014

Why are we using NFP?

When we started researching family planning, we realized very quickly that our previous education in family planning had been dismal! While we'd both learned about contraception in high school health classes, there had been very little discussion of family planning within marriage. We had several priorities to keep in mind when evaluating methods:
  • We needed something that was easily reversed.
  • We didn't want a method that would hurt our baby if we were to conceive while using it, and this included methods that would prevent implantation of a fertilized egg.
Using this criteria, we eliminated many options - IUD's fails both criteria, sterilization obviously fails the first, etc. After discussing hormonal contraceptives like the combination pill with a doctor, we felt confident that combination pills, when taken correctly, prevent pregnancy by preventing fertilization (rather than implantation) and don't harm the developing fetus if pregnancy does occur, so, while we felt uncertain about it, we kept it on the "possible" list. Barrier methods like condoms also met these requirements and were included in our list of possibilities.

With 8+ months between making our list of possibilities and getting married, we started to explore what would work for us. First, I tried the combination pill, in part because it improved my migraines. I had no negative side-effects, but I was really bothered by how it felt to manipulate my hormones. I felt uncomfortable every time I took the "blank" pills and got withdrawal bleeding, instead of having the normal periods I was so used to. After two months, I decided that hormonal methods weren't going to work for me, and we returned to the list.

My fiance NaturalGuy had liked the sound of NFP from the start. He liked that it was a method that he would be equally involved with, and that it had no side effects for me, or our future children. After deciding to quit taking the pill, we started charting my cycles. We've been learning from the book, "Taking Charge of Your Fertility", as well as in-person guidance through our church. We're also starting classes through the Couple to Couple League in a few weeks We feel very comfortable knowing that if we get pregnant, there won't be any chance that our choice in contraceptives will harm our child. 

We're also finding that learning NFP has helped us look forward to our future children in other ways - we're saving money for our "baby fund," viewing our careers through a family and future oriented lens, and considering how we wish to parent together.

Finally, learning NFP has been fascinating - who knew that there were so many subtle signs, revealing the invisible changes in hormones!

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