We are in the process of gathering testimonials from members interested in sharing about their journey with Natural Family Planning. We hope this can be a place where those looking to know more or seeking help with a certain challenge in their lives regarding NFP can come to find hope and also to see that they are not alone in the day to day realities we all face when using NFP within our marriages.
If you would like to share your NFP testimonial please e-mail
When my husband and I first became engaged we were blessed to have watched our best friends already go through the process of finding an NFP instructor and begin taking courses. We didn't think twice about it and scheduled our first class about a year prior to our wedding date. We figured the extra charting and time to learn couldn't hurt and when we came to our wedding day we found ourselves wonderfully assured of our abilities to use NFP prayerfully and effectively within our marriage. Even more so we were able to get married with a realistic and prepared understanding of what postponing a pregnancy would entail regarding abstinence since we had analyzed 12 or more charts over the past year, some more standard looking then others.
Because of health reasons on my part, we were told if we wished to have children it was essentially we had them early on. We had originally felt pressure from family that didn't believe NFP worked, to try and postpone our first pregnancy for at least a year. However after praying more and talking about it realized that wasn't what God was calling us to do. We began actively trying to conceive about 3 months after we were married. I remember the first time we knew we were using a fertile day and what a special moment that was to really and truly open ourselves to God's plan and ask to be blessed with a child. It took us approximately 6 months before we conceived our first and we were over joyed. After our first baby was born we had prayerfully decided we would like to try and conceive again once my cycles returned. When our first was only 5 months old my cycle returned and we were leased to conceive again the very next cycle.
It was after our second baby joined us that we felt the need to postpone a bit longer. We loved having them so close together but emotionally and physically I felt a very strong need to take a bit of time and recover. The postpartum charting this time was a bit of a challenge. I was unsure of myself and somewhat scared of having another pregnancy so soon, so we found ourselves abstaining probably much more then needed due to that fear. The longer periods of abstinence were very difficult on my husband especially however through that difficulty came some wonderful growth in our marriage and our relationship. It wasn't easy, but in the end the Lord used that time to really help us work on our communication and relationship as a whole.
My cycle returned at approximately 9 months postpartum and we continued to postpone for about the next year. At that time we both had a definite softening and opening of our hearts to the idea of once again adding to our family. We were ready, but again my cycle became a bit "weak" looking and we did not conceive for approximately 6 more months. Looking back it was a really good thing for us to experience, reminding us that each child is a total gift from God. It also gave us a strong desire to be pregnant again rather then just being comfortable with the idea of another child. In addition it reassured me once again of the beauty of having the knowledge charting brings. I knew as we struggled to conceive our third child that my cycles were less then ideal. My luteal phase was short and my temperature shift was weak. With ovulation happening quite early combined with the short LP I was left with cycles often less then 23 days in length. I knew "something" wasn't right. I finally realized that it may have been due to my weight. I had lost all of my previous pregnancy weight and although I was till at a healthy BMI it was lower then normal for me. That month I allowed myself to limit my exercise, eat a bit more then I had been, and gain about 5 pounds. My very next cycle looked textbook and we had a positive pregnancy test at the end to prove it! We were so excited!
We have since continued on our journey having delivered our 3rd and now expecting our 4th. I am nearing the age where the doctors have advised we begin to postpone pregnancy indefinitely due to my personal health problems, and while we will continue being open to God's will we have faith that if we are meant to postpone from here on out God will guide us on that journey. It will most definitely not be easy as is often the case with anything worthwhile to ones marriage, but we look forward to the growth and closeness this will bring us as a team, working together to discern and be open to God's will for our marriage and family, whatever that might be.
I started using hormonal birth control (HBC) when I was 18 to help regulate my periods. Never once did it cross my mind that what I was putting into my body (daily!!) was bad for me or could cause concerns in the future. I was married in 2006 and took the obligatory Natural Family Planning course through my Church but honestly thought it was ridiculous. What we took away from it mostly was all the “embarrassing” words that were used during the one or two hour course. In 2008 I began seeing symptoms of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) and talked to my OB about them. She suggested I get onto one specific type of HBC that was supposed to help. I had an awful experience and was sick for weeks. When it was time for my menstrual cycle to start it didn’t which worried me as we weren’t planning on children that soon. Finally weeks later it did and I decided I was forever done with HBC. I found a forum that focused on Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) and DH and I both agreed that was a better fit for us and we were able to follow the Church’s teachings through it. We did not use barriers as is allowed in FAM so basically we were using NFP. I loved it – I felt so many wonderful changes in my body and being able to pinpoint ovulation and to know exactly why things that happen do. I kept saying “Why did I not know this before? Shouldn’t they have taught this to us in jr. high or high school?”
Soon after using NFP we decided we would be more open to children and prayerfully allowed ourselves to change to a try to whatever (TTW) approach. We were blessed with a pregnancy quickly. After the delivery of our daughter we continued to use NFP to watch for fertile signs while nursing and I was able to pinpoint ovulation before it occurred for my first postpartum cycle. I completed one cycle and we were blessed again with a second pregnancy!
I am a firm believer in the statistics of NFP when used correctly for avoiding, conception and during the nursing period. I look forward to charting again after this pregnancy while (God willing!) breastfeeding.
My husband and I met 16 years ago. We are both cradle Catholics and we got married in the Catholic church exactly 4 years from our first date. We recently celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary. We had our oldest daughter a year and a half after we got married. We were amazed… We knew we wanted another child so we were thrilled when we got pregnant 2 months later. Unfortunately, we lost that baby at 12 weeks. It was devastating for us. We were blessed with our youngest daughter, a year later. Our girls are 21 months apart and are the best of friends. (at least for now!)
Things were pretty hectic with both of us working and taking care of our two little angels. We had the usual ups and downs of any married couple. Overall life was good. We had both the girls baptized in the Church but we did not regularly go to Mass. In fact, we were determined not to be “Easter and Christmas Catholics” so we didn’t go then either! That was great logic!! When our girls began school we put them in Catholic School since that was what we had both done when we were kids.
At this point we got a little better about going to church but it was really centered around the girls activities with the school rather than our relationship with the church. I was a room mother for both their classes and joined the PTA. But we did not really worry about missing mass on Sundays. We carried on like this, just kind of “getting by” for several years. Then my husband took a job in Roswell. We used to live in Albuquerque so he was thrilled to get back to “God’s country“. But it was a big shock to me to move away from all my family to a very different culture.
Then I got involved with the girls school and I met some nice people. We started going to church every week for the girls’ sake. Our oldest daughter was in 2nd grade so she was preparing for her 1st Reconciliation and 1st Communion. One day she asked me about confession. She asked if I went or not. OK…. I had not been to confession in probably 20 years or more! I kinda sidestepped the question, but it really bothered me a lot. I couldn’t quit thinking about it…. So one Saturday I woke up thinking about it again and decided to go to that day. I didn’t tell anyone I was going. So I went in and told the priest what I needed to tell him… all the things that were BIG in my mind. Then almost as an afterthought, something came up about me being on the Pill. I had been on the pill for 20 years except during the time we were trying to start our family.
Now, when we got married, we went to Pre Cana and even had a class or two about NFP, but we did not even consider the possibility of NFP or that taking the Pill was wrong. Our priest knew I was on the Pill and he kinda let us off easy with the impression that it was up to our conscious to make that decision. That worked for us! And we continued to use the Pill without a second thought. It was the “responsible” thing to do…
So… when the priest became aware of my use of the Pill, he told me that there “was a little problem.” He told me that he could not absolve me because a requirement for absolution was remorse. And if I were going to continue to use the Pill, I must not be remorseful. I would be choosing to continue to commit a sin. He asked me to come by and pick up some information about why contraception was wrong and to give it some prayerful consideration. I must say that he was very kind and not at all judgmental. He said a prayer for me and I left. I came home and told my husband what had happened. We really didn’t discuss it that much at that time. But later that week I went by and picked up the cd “Contraception, Why Not?” and listened to it. I was also introduced to the home study course for CCL’s Sympto-thermal NFP. After thinking about all this new information, I realized that I wanted to give NFP a try. I had been unhappy with the effects of taking the Pill for at least 5 years. So I was ready to try something else. Now I just had to get my husband on the same page as me…
He was kinda surprised by all this, since it seemed to come out of nowhere… But he told me that we could give it a shot. He wasn’t thrilled at all, but he knew I was unhappy and if this was the answer then he would go along with it. Although, he was a little reluctant he did support the decision to try NFP. (He just figured we would have a baby in the next 9 months!)
I learned the CCL Sympto Thermal method. Almost immediately, I felt 100% better physically. When I was on the Pill, I had fought depression and had a very weak sex drive. A definite change was apparent within the first couple of months. As far as the method… It was AMAZING to me to see how obvious my fertility signs were. I was floored to see how CLEAR it was when I had ovulated. For various reasons, we were choosing to use NFP to avoid a pregnancy at the time. So most importantly for us, IT WORKED!
My husband noticed a difference in me right away. He said I seemed to have more energy and was more positive. I didn’t seem depressed or sad anymore. I showed more enthusiasm in our physical relationship. But even more obvious, he said, was my interest in the Church. And it was contagious!! My husband went to confession for the first time in many, many years. We started attending Mass every Sunday… even when we were out of town. It was actually important to us! Our relationship has really improved though the communication that NFP requires. NFP does have its challenges and I don’t want to make it sound like it doesn’t. But the benefits FAR outweigh the effort it requires. And for those wondering, the times we have to abstain really haven't been unbearable. We find other ways to “connect” when we are choosing to avoid.
Now, I want to be clear that we really started NFP more out of obedience than understanding. (I needed absolution, after all!) It was only after we learned more about the reasons for the Church’s teachings that we really “got” it and understood why this is so important. I read Christopher West’s “The good news about sex and marriage” and it truly changed my perspective on my relationship with my husband. I realized that sex is not simply recreational, rather it is the most intimate and personal expression of love that there is. Our ability to connect physically as husband and wife is such a wonderful gift from God. NFP has been the spark that flamed our desire to live our faith. It is extremely satisfying to know that we are no longer choosing to sin, rather we find joy in using the system that God put in place for us. Now, as NFP instructors, it is our hope that it will become clear to each of our students how beneficial NFP can be to them both physically and spiritually. We are so thankful for the opportunity to share our experience and knowledge with them.