Friday, October 23, 2015

What does "trying to whatever" actually mean?

Last week I had a great discussion with a friend about what "trying to whatever", TTW, means in the context of NFP. It's pretty easy to understand what "trying to avoid", TTA, means - what ever method you're using, you don't use any days identified as fertile. It's also self explanatory what "trying to conceive" means if you're using NFP - you should be aiming to use those fertile days!

I've had "trying to whatever" explained to me as a couple doing what they feel like and letting nature take its course. This seems like a slightly awkward definition to me - perhaps because in more secular circles, "trying to conceive" is used to encompass couples who are not contracepting, happy to have a baby if it happens, and having sex whenever they feel like it. On the other hand, it seems sensible to distinguish between couples who are partaking in the marital act when they feel like it and open to whatever happens from couples who are eager to get pregnant and timing intercourse to up their chances. For many couples, the results of "trying to whatever" and "trying to conceive" are the same - they get pregnant within a few cycles. But for other couples, it takes much more focused effort to achieve pregnancy.

One of my big questions about what it means to be "trying to whatever" is what that means for charting. Couples take a variety of routes from not charting at all to continuing to chart perfectly. I've heard of couples who stop observing cervical mucus, but still track temperature in order to calculate due dates. I don't really get how a woman accustomed to observing cervical mucus could forget about it, but obviously I trust people who report that this tactic has worked for them! Some couples consider charting while loosely following rules to avoid, like avoiding relations on days with egg white cervical mucus, to be a form of TTW, others categorize it as TTA, but with a higher risk tolerance.

For obvious reasons, NFP classes generally focus on teaching the rules necessary for couples who are avoiding pregnancy strictly or actively trying to achieve. I wish there were an extra practicum on how couples incorporate NFP and charting into their lives at other times. It's fascinating and has left me with a much greater appreciation of how flexible a tool NFP is in marriage!

And because it's been a LONG week and I'm writing this on Friday, please enjoy the following
 bonus link :)

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