Thursday, July 25, 2013

7 in 7 - Day 4: Au Naturale

Sex au naturale, that is.  As in, we use no contraception of any kind, and we haven't since sometime within the first year of our marriage.

Why am I telling you this?  Well, because it is National Natural Family Planning (NFP) Awareness Week this week, and I want to tell you a little bit about it from my experience and encourage you to ditch the birth control, and use NFP to space pregnancies instead.

What is Natural Family Planning?  It is a scientific process of determining when during her cycle a woman is fertile and when she is infertile, and using that information to determine when to have or not have intercourse in order to achieve or avoid a pregnancy.

Why use NFP instead of contraception?  Well, first, I'll tell you a little about why we do.  The very first thing that encouraged me to stop taking the pill, very early on in our marriage, was learning that the pill is an abortifacient.  I was horrified.  I have always been very staunchly opposed to abortion for any reason, and the idea that I might be unknowingly aborting my children every month through the use of the pill made me absolutely ill.  I had always been told that hormonal contraceptives prevent conception only by stopping a woman from ovulating in the first place.  WRONG!  That is primarily how they work, but not only how they work, because guess what, they don't always stop ovulation.  That's right, a woman can still ovulate even when she is on hormonal birth control.  So the back up action of the hormones is to make the environment of the uterus inhospitable to the little embryonic baby as it floats out of the Fallopian tubes.  It makes it difficult or impossible for the baby to implant into the uterus and start growing, so the baby just gets flushed out with the woman's next menstrual cycle.  That's a medically induced abortion (albeit probably unintentional), and once I found out that was possible, I would have none of it.

So I researched and discovered NFP, and James and I took classes and started using that, first to avoid pregnancy for a little while, and then to try to achieve pregnancy.  Well, at this point when people discuss NFP, they usually talk about how it worked for them.  Obviously, we thought it was doing a good job helping us to avoid pregnancy until we were ready, but apparently, I was infertile and didn't know it, so we were wrong on that count.  Then, when we were ready to start having babies, the NFP seemed to fail because we weren't getting pregnant.  Wrong again.  So, for myself, I would have to say that the only way NFP has ever really worked for us is to help me to determine, through the use of charting, at least one of the causes of my infertility.  This was through the use of the Creighton Model of NFP and Napro Technology, developed by Dr. Hilgers at the Pope Paul VI institute, a clinic that specializes in infertility treatment from a Catholic perspective.

Of course, in the interest of full disclosure, I don't just promote the use of NFP because it is non-abortifacient.  Birth control, of every kind, is harmful.  Hormonal birth controls expose a woman to artificial hormones that wreck havoc on her body, causing weight gain, depression, loss of libido, risk of stroke and risk of cancer (the World Health Organization lists birth control as a class 1 carcinogen), to name a few things.  Non-hormonal IUDs cause abortions by preventing implantation of the baby in the uterine lining.  All birth control causes people to think of sex as being primarily about pleasure, and the best kind of sex being pleasure without any unwanted consequences.  This is damaging beyond belief.  It engenders a mindset of use, abuse, self-centeredness, and disregard for life.  I could go on and on, but suffice it to say this is one of the main reasons why the Catholic Church teaches that the use of birth control is sinful:  because it is physically, spiritually, and relationally damaging, and anything that damages God's beloved children is wrong.

Okay, I'm going to stop now.  Honestly, I'm not very happy with this post.  It feels heavy-handed, and I would bet it comes across as preachy, but I've tried and tried to rework it to make it better, and I just can't come up with anything else.  So let me assure you, preaching and brow-beating aren't my intention.  But this is a topic that I consider to be deeply important, and I long to give people the information they need and which society just isn't going to give them.  Blech.

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