Guess what, peeps! That's right, it's NFP Week, and I'm going to write about it.
Being a convert and a single woman somewhere in her 30's, I get a lot of questions about Catholicism and the single life from Catholic and non-Catholic friends alike. Nothing gets me the loving title of "crazy Catholic" more than the discussion of birth control and natural family planning.
Look at the lovely anonymous woman in the picture above. She looks pretty carefree and happy, doesn't she? It's probably because she isn't using artificial birth control!
Does that seem a bit extreme? Well, I think using birth control is extreme. I giggle at the absurdity of women who take such care to buy organic produce and drink filtered water yet pump artificial chemicals and hormones into their bodies every day in the form of BC. If you are one of those women, please take a step back and get some perspective.
Before I researched the subject of NFP, I thought it was merely "the rhythm method." I never thought counting days would actually help someone conceive or postpone pregnancy. But it's so much more than that! And that's why I keep track of my cycle.
Yes, TMI alert, people.
One of the main things I don't understand is why we, women, treat fertility as a disease and something to inhibit. Then, we all freak out when we have infertility problems and push more chemical and artificial means into our bodies in order to try to jump-start the baby making system that we have suppressed for so long while on birth control. It really drives me crazy, and I'm always astonished when women are surprised that they are having problems conceiving when they have been on birth control for years that messed up their cycle. Is it really a surprise?
First, I need to give mad props to one of my favorite blogs, Naturally Knocked Up. Please check out the post on the basics of NFP from a non-religious viewpoint. And no, I'm not trying to get "knocked up" at the moment, but I love knowing how my body works. Seriously, read it. It's great info.
Reasons I started using/now like using NFP as a single woman:
- I wanted to know exactly when I was going to have my period. Let's be honest...being surprised every month isn't exactly the best present ever. I had always guesstimated, but now I know for sure.
- I have a ginormous amount of breast cancer and ovarian cancer in my family history, and I wanted to be on top of things. I think NFP can help me spot a change in patterns that could catch a problem early. I'm not sure that being on BC would allow for natural symptoms to emerge and allow for quick detection.
- I want to be ready for -if or when- I am blessed with marriage. There is so much to be learning when you marry your spouse...why put so much pressure on yourself to learn how your body works as well? Get that done now. And then you can just worry about teaching your lucky spouse!
- I can help my married friends and support them. I know what my friends are talking about with cycles and fertility, and often I feel I'm more knowledgeable than they are.
- I understand my emotions more. I know what days I'm susceptible to emotional swings, and I can prepare myself to cope with them better. This helps with friendships, relationships, and at work.
- I can avoid temptation with the opposite sex better. God made our bodies to crave sexual relations (dare I use the word horny?) when we are fertile. If I'm on a date and feeling revved up, I can plan our time together accordingly (perhaps a public situation would be better than at home watching a movie on the couch in the candlelight...) and avoid the confessional.
- Overall, I feel in more control of my body.
Do you use NFP? BC? Single? Married? Curious? Comment below!