This is the fifth in a series of posts featuring some women’s experience with natural family planning. The previous four can be read here, here, here, and here. For the post that originally inspired this project, click here. To read about the purpose of and rules for this project, click here.
What a relief it is to discover that there is a place that Catholics can come and share their real-life experiences with NFP without fear of getting a public internet pounding, conservative-Catholic style.
Brief history: I grew up in a very orthodox, very authoritarian Catholic home. My husband’s family was also ultra-orthodox (particularly his mother), but not quite so authoritarian about it. We both went to one of those small, very orthodox Catholic colleges dedicated to the study of Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, etc. We fell in love and married in our early/mid twenties (both virgins in every sense of the word) and just figured we would accept children as they came, because that is what we had been raised to believe was our duty as Catholics.
We did try an early method of symptothermal NFP (it wasn’t CCL–I honestly can’t remember the name of the method) in the early months of our marriage, not to delay pregnancy, but just to learn about my body. We quickly tossed the thermometer because I am a bad sleeper at best, and being woken up every morning at the same time to check my temp was really disrupting my sleep.
I became pregnant when we had been married nearly 11 months. The baby was born, I was depressed and stressed out in ways I never thought possible (let’s just say the ole natural maternal instincts that were supposed to magically kick in pretty much never did—even decades later! but that’s another story), but also certain I would not get pregnant right away because it had taken me nearly a year to get pregnant without using anything, and now I had a baby nursing on me constantly.
#1 was six months old when I became pregnant with #2. After #2, even more depressed and stressed out, I decided it was time for real NFP. We signed up for Couple-to-Couple classes. The couple teaching it was odd, to put it charitably. And it felt beyond odd to discuss my cervical mucus with a man that was so socially off-kilter in the first place. But I was determined to make it work. I woke up every day to check my temp (becoming more exhausted by the day), checked mucus just as I was supposed to, and my chart was a mess because I always had fertile mucus.
After several meetings, the CCL husband looked at my jagged-tooth chart, looked back up at me and said, “There have been times when my wife and I have had to go 6 months or more without making love due to confusing signs”.
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