Monday, January 11, 2010


My husband and I practice Natural Family Planning.  It was something we decided to do based solely on the fact that it is the only Catholic approved "birth control" method.  But, it quickly became more than that - for me especially.  I really liked the natural aspect.  I appreciate that it is all you and your body showing you signs that you can decipher, rather than your antibiotic reacting with your birth control pill.  Plus, it is something you can do all the time - including during breastfeeding.  I know the mini-pill is out there, but I find it creepy to take birth control while breastfeeding - the baby has enough postpartum hormones from the pregnancy alone! 

Unfortunately, I think the book they give you during the pre-marriage counseling is awful.  And, in an effort to sell NFP, they shortchange you on the amount of learning you have to do.  I found that very frustrating.  It seemed so easy to me, take my temp, check the toilet paper - good to go!  Not so much!  Temperature is a lagging indicator and affected by so much, it cannot be the primary indicator.  Secondly, the toilet paper may or may not give you enough information based on how your mucus works.  Internal checks were briefly discussed, but did not seem necessary.  Because I did not throw myself into learning NFP, I was not too surprised to find out we were pregnant 3 months in to marriage!  And then, breastfeeding totally changes your cycles, so I was not able to really get back into a groove before getting pregnant again. 

Luckily, I stumbled across this highly touted book:  Taking Charge of Your Fertility.  My friend turned me on to this awesome charting website:  Fertility Friend.  After the baby was born, I read and studied and practiced abstinence for so long I thought we would both go crazy!  But I learned.  And I freaking love what I learned!  I am committed to doing internal checks - something that totally freaked out my "never owned/wanted a vibrator, I'll stay out of there, thank you" self.  It is the most accurate reading, and it is so simple.  Back when I got pregnant with #3 (who I miscarried), I had a cold and took some Mucinex after I ovulated.  Based on my chart, I figured I was in the clear, even though my mucus said otherwise.  Now, I know I need to listen to what it tells me and remember that the chart is just a reference guide, not my fertility bible. 

If you are considering NFP, I highly recommend doing it just to see how great it can be to go all natural and forget about hormones!  If you have any questions, let me know.  I am no expert on NFP, but I do know some people who have been doing it for a while and could answer anything I cannot. 

Now we are considering the Creighton Model.  The class is expensive, but I heard it is worth it, so we are considering...Anyone heard anything about this model?  Anyone use it?  If so, comment with your review!


  1. We practiced natural family planning for several months prior to conceiving Oscar, but like you, my cycle was very off after he was born and we got pregnant much earlier than we expected with Miles. We don't have any religious restrictions, so we use condoms now; I was on the pill for many, many years prior to having kids and I'm no fan of the hormones either. I've been considering a non hormonal IUD, though, but I've never gotten around to going back to the midwives to have it inserted.

  2. Thank you for this great post! My wife and I practice Natural Family Planning and feel it is one of the best things we've done for our marriage. It is also one of the most popular topics when I write about it on my marriage-improvement blog. We are also Catholic, but we'd use NFP regardless of any moral reasons.


  3. Yay for NFP! Thanks for getting the word out there...

    I wonder what book they gave you in your marriage prep course? Hmmm...there sometimes seems to be a shortage in Catholic mp materials that strike a balance in the faith/ accuracy/ relatability categories.

    I def think you should give Creighton a chance. All the methods are great, and couples find the method that works for them. My DH & learned Creighton, and I've learned a lot about it, but also about the training that goes into it. It's superfab. Plus, Creighton has an amazing track record with helping figure out women's wellness issues like miscarriages. TCOYF is great, but the in person Creighton class and individual follow ups really fill in the question areas that you have, and give you a support system.

    I'd love to hear a follow up on how the classes go. Sometimes I post people's testimonies on why they love NFP on my blog. Stay in touch!


  4. it has been seven years since I've been in your place and being single an 44, don't think I'll ever be there again. I can tell you how to make an awesome banana bread however.

  5. An easy, free NFP manual on the cross-check method is available at It covers all the fertility signs and rules and how to space births naturally with eco-breastfeeding. About 90% of couples can learn through the printed word. This manual is in a simple question/answer format. Free charts are also available on the home page. This website offers support for Catholic teaching and weekly blogs (upper right corner).
    Sheila Kippley
    Volunteer for NFP International

  6. Since I cannot figure out how to reply directly via e-mail...I'll just do it here...

    Jenni - I would be interested to hear how the non-hormonal IUD works for you. Would you still use condoms just in case? also, thanks for the loyal readership - my first follower :)

    Dustin - thanks for the comment, your site looks great! Have you looked into posting/writing for Marriage Partnership magazine or Family foundations? Those are two of my favorites!

    Ruah - thank you for the comments on Creighton. While learning on your own/from a book/website is great, I think it would be really interesting to have a professional specifically looking at your chart and your symptoms. I find that if something weird is going on, I have to post TMI questions on online forums. I would rather talk to a professional who knows me. I think we will give it a try, and if we do, I will definitely write about our experience!

    Sheila - I appreciate your comment. However, what I found the absolute most frustrating about all the reading material and the NFP class was the eco-breastfeeding. I think that is great, but not many women in America do eco-breastfeed. And, working moms do not have that option. I felt like everything focused on eco-breastfeeding and completely ignored the population of women who had to work and pump, leaving us totally in the dark! We managed to figure things out, but it really upset me and spurred me to scour looking for a good one! I will definitely use your website though, thanks for the link!!! Having read the books, I now rely almost solely on online references.

    Jessica @bernthis - bring on the recipe! just note that my cooking skills run as far as spaghetti and scrambled eggs :) your blog is hilarious!