Are you healthy? Are you happy?
These are two questions to consider regarding a method of family planning. Many couples don’t take time to adequately reflect on what they want for their relationship and family. Consider the story below of a couple who took time to explore the family planning topic.
A few years ago a dating couple, Todd and Wendy (not their real names), were talking seriously about their relationship and possible marriage and family. Wendy heard about natural family planning (NFP) and thought that it would be great for planning a family since the Catholic Church recommended it, although she didn’t know all the details. Todd wasn’t convinced that NFP was the way to go, in part because of misconceptions about the effectiveness and the abstinence associated with natural methods of family planning.
Wendy began researching NFP, both online and with some pamphlets from the local NFP teachers. She also spoke with a few couples who use natural family planning. After finding out the many benefits of NFP, she was even more convinced that it was the best choice. Todd still had reservations, so before this became a deal breaker, they signed up for a natural family planning course to get enough information to make a confident mutual decision.
Taking the natural family planning course gave Todd and Wendy an opportunity to communicate about many family-related issues in addition to learning about their fertility. When Todd looked at a chart of Wendy’s fertility signs, he was better able to understand the changes she experienced during her fertility cycle. Wendy liked that Todd grew in his understanding and appreciation of her, and was grateful that they could both work together on family planning. Todd was thankful that Wendy wouldn’t have any of the health risks associated with contraceptives.
During the class they learned details of the NFP method and that NFP was 98 percent effective if properly learned and practiced. Todd became more confident that NFP would be effective for them. He still had questions about the abstinence of 8-12 days a cycle, but heard how practicing NFP could help couples keep the romance in their relationship and not take each other for granted. He learned that NFP could help them experience a greater variety of ways of expressing love and affection, and he was willing to work at it.
A few months after finishing the NFP course, Todd and Wendy got married, with the intention of postponing pregnancy for the first year. Some of their skeptical friends predicted that they would have a baby right away. Todd found the abstinence to be a bit difficult, but the value of NFP was well worth it. And, their friends were wrong. Wendy and Todd postponed starting their family for almost a year with NFP until they determined that the timing was right. They are now blessed with a baby on the way and are very healthy and very happy.
For more information on natural family planning: 856-753-1906 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A local natural family planning course begins on Sept. 23 in Voorhees. To register: www.ccli.org (“Register for Class” and enter zip code).
For other NFP courses in the Philadelphia area or New Jersey: www.pnfpn.org or www.njnfp.org
Cecilia LeChevallier is Couple to Couple League coordinatior.