A little over five years ago, we at WIT began telling the stories of women who had attempted to use Natural Family Planning. (For more on the inspiration and rationale for this series, click this link). This remains one of the most important things we have ever done at WIT.
Five years later, women still have stories to share, and we are still proud to share them.
I have two sons–one that came to me after I used a birth control that was recalled and one after I elected to while using NFP. My husband and I both joined the Catholic Church between the birth of each of our children but switching to NFP really felt like an obvious choice after I felt so betrayed by the pill anyway.
I actually have a very straightforward cycle most of the time. I don’t struggle with charting (aside from forgetfulness) and my body doesn’t put out confusing signals. I have always been interested in the female body, women’s health, and very comfortable with my body in general, so NFP was a welcomed experience and even felt empowering (although scary at first, as can be expected). On top of that, my mom also has estrogen-sensitive cancer so it has recommended that I avoid taking hormones to be safe. NFP should be an easy choice for me.
After the birth of my second son, experiences not directly related to NFP made NFP feel nearly impossible. I was diagnosed with Bipolar II and have taken a slew of medications over the past two years while trying to sort out how to best treat this illness. I am now on a medication regimen that seems to be working. This medication is, without a doubt, my only good option for effective treatment. But, to complicate matters, I am absolutely not supposed to get pregnant due to the very high risk of serious heart-related side effects. Aside from this, because there seems to be a genetic component to Bipolar, I am devastated at the thought of one of my children inheriting this disease from me. I live in a cloud of constant sadness at the thought of it. I don’t feel I could responsibly have more of my own biological children (and truthfully would not have chosen the ones I have, if I had known what we were all in for–it breaks my heart to admit this).
So, I continue to chart, but when it comes down to it, we always fall back on condoms as well–to be safe. Neither of us feels good about this arrangement, but we also live in fear every month waiting for my next cycle to start.