Sometimes Natural Family Planning (“NFP”) is just too hard.
Maybe you’re avoiding pregnancy and your fertile time aligns with your wedding anniversary (or worse, your wedding itself…). Maybe you’re breastfeeding and your postpartum cycles are so confusing that you have to switch methods when you don’t even have enough energy to take a shower. Or maybe you’re just plain tired of the way your friends, family, and doctors ridicule you for living such a counter-cultural lifestyle.
When NFP is just too hard, what keeps you going?
Do you try to survive on motivation by fear?
Perhaps you focus on your fears of artificial birth control’s harmful physical side effects and negative impact on our environment. Perhaps you concentrate on your fear of the risk of future infertility or the mental struggles you suffered when you used artificial birth control.
Of course, fear of physical illness, infertility, mental struggles, and harming our environment often plays a large role in our decision to use NFP. But if you’re primarily motivated by fear, it’s unlikely that you will survive long.
So is NFP just too hard?
Let us not forget: love is much stronger than fear. Perhaps exchange motivation by fear for motivation by love. Focus on love for your body and love for your spouse. Ponder love for nature and, if you are a person of faith, love for your Creator.
NFP teaches us how to transform our negative motivations into positive ones. NFP transforms our fear of future infertility into gratitude for each of our body’s natural abilities. It also transforms our fear of the horrific side effects of artificial birth control into love for the information we have been taught that so many people still do not know.
Of course, artificial birth control is dangerous and negative motivations will always play at least a small role in our journeys, but we must remember that love also needs a seat at the table.
Some days, NFP is a breeze- an easy, beautiful, wonderful journey that we are proud to travel. Other days, NFP is just too hard… frankly, it’s almost impossible. But what’s the key word here? Almost. It’s not impossible, even when you are daydreaming about burning your chart, deleting your app, and using the ladies’ room without having to make any observations. We all do.
When NFP is just too hard, how does love motivate you to persevere?
Note: Please use caution if you are sensitive to pictures of babies who have been delivered too early. This post contains such photos. Three years ago, this May, I experienced a second trimester loss of my monoamniotic (MoMo) twin sons. Before this, simply contemplating that 1 in 4 pregnancies ends