Tuesday, June 2, 2015

When NFP Sucks...

I know, not what you would expect from me huh? The NFP loving CrMS teaching practitioner is saying that NFP is a form of sacrifice and it sucks at times. All those posters and brochures about NFP are of happy smiling couples; so why is it so hard for some? Well it just is. Like anything in life, it's not something we want to have to do. Can't we just get what we want right away with out having to do any work? It's the American culture, right? 

All of my many CrMS charts which hold 6 months of charting so that is at least 5 years of my life right here! Not to mention the 3 STM charts I had previously before starting CrMS so that is another 3 years...

"Kat, I'll be honest; I feel complacent. Why am I doing this?" 

"Why can't I just go see the Dr. right away? Why do I have to chart two cycles with you and delay the process of seeing the Dr.?" 

"How did we conceive? That was suppose to be a dry/infertile day?" 

"What's going on in my chart? I am so frustrated!"  

"I am scared to get pregnant again! The last one had so many complications and my kids need me." 

"I don't want to do this but my priest is making me take these classes before I get married." 

"I feel so messed up and broken inside like my body knows what normal is and does the opposite." 

"Is today a 'safe' day?" 

"I just want to know when I can have sex with my wife again."

"This has been hard on our marriage!" 

"I thought this was suppose to be easy!" 

I have heard all of these platitudes from clients in the last 3 years of teaching CrMS. I have walked along side every difficulty with my clients as well as wrestling with my own NFP difficulty. The truth is that NFP, however you are using it, is not always easy. I have clients who find it very easy to do and have been able to postpone a pregnancy for a year and then get pregnant on their 1st cycle trying to conceive. I have people who love this and even want to teach it someday. I have people who get pregnant after 6 months of using CrMS after 2 years of prior infertility. 

I also have the tough cases. The ones we NFP teachers are afraid to talk about because we don't want to scare anyone away from NFP. The ones who are still infertile despite the best charting and normal looking cycles even with cooperative medical treatment, umm hello that's me! The ones that were seriously trying to avoid a pregnancy, followed instructions and still became pregnant. 

We got a call last night around 8:30pm, we usually don't answer calls at that time since JJ has to go to sleep by 9pm or so. JJ answered the phone before I could yell say "don't answer it!" It turns out it was a man inquiring about CrMS but he already had a practitioner. He wanted to see if there was another one closer to them. My husband told him we were the only ones around his area which isn't a far drive but its not convenient for them. Well after talking to him for about 20 minutes my husband realized this man just wanted encouragement to keep going with learning CrMS. He and his wife have 5 kids and he is motivated to stick with Church teaching and not use contraception but his wife is not. This man just needed someone to acknowledge his struggle and say he was doing a good job. I am so glad JJ answered the phone even though I initially was upset because he needed to wake up at 3am the next morning for work!

This man's story is no different from many I know where they have a love/hate relationship with NFP. They love the idea of it with the lower divorce rate, better communication with your spouse and knowledge about a woman's overall health and fertility. What is difficult is when we are met with challenges to something that seems so beautiful in its ideology and difficult in its practice. We want a magic wand to wave away the difficulties so we can go on with normal life and not have to analyze our cervical fluids everyday. 

Here is the thing y'all; NFP is just more difficult for some of us. There are various reasons it can be difficult which include, but are not limited to, the observations, charting, instructions, timed intercourse with your spouse or ,despite you following the method 100%, you are still not getting the desired results. I am here to encourage you to keep going if NFP is something you need to do. This is why the Church says that if you are going to avoid a pregnancy by periodic abstinence during the fertile days of a woman's cycle it must be for a serious reason. NFP makes you realize whether or not your reasons are serious because who among those with difficult cases and fertility signs would do this if they did not have to! For those who find NFP difficult because they have not been able to achieve a pregnancy or figure out why they keep losing babies, I am right there with you. You have a special place in my heart and God initially called me to teach CrMS because of you. 

Some of us may feel lied to because NFP was touted as an easy way to "plan our family" but that is not always the case. They never mentioned the struggle before. They never mentioned that not all of us get exactly what we want or what we think we want out of planning our family naturally. Not all of us have perfectly "normal" easy to read signs of fertility. Not all of us have predictable fertility. As someone who is not getting what she wants from NFP and teaches it, sometimes I feel like an impostor for teaching about NFP because it has not "worked" for me. I know I am a rare case and most people can use NFP with out too much trouble. NFP has not given me a living child but it has helped me to uncover some serious issues and get them treated appropriately. It has allowed me to know so much about my body and assist my doctor in treating me. Good things aside, it has not always been easy.  

I know this is a huge reason why I teach CrMS. Not just because I have a natural knack for understanding this subject, but for those of us that fall outside of the spectrum of the norm. The hardest part of NFP is trusting God with your family size. Trusting that His will is better than your will. Since I have experience in learning to trust God's will as well as still struggle with it, I can better understand those who are experiencing difficulty with NFP. Even though their situation may not be the same as mine I can understand wanting to rip your charts, burn your books and toss your thermometer in the trash. But for those of us where NFP is necessary at this time and are sticking with it despite the difficulties, I commend you. I pat you on the back, give you a standing ovation and high five you. I sometimes question right along with you; why can't it be easier? I am here with you, walking my journey too.           


  1. Straight up truth is really refreshing to read! We can't look honestly at what's good about something unless we can also look honestly at what is difficult or bad about it as well.

    1. Yes! I feel like when people question or struggle with something that automatically makes people think they do not agree with it or they should avoid it because its difficult. Blame it on our human nature or culture but I think it is important to stick with something if you need to even when it's difficult at times.

  2. I needed to see this today. thank you for being honest..

    1. I am so glad this spoke to you at this particular time! I was wrestling publishing this but JJ encouraged me to so I did.

  3. This hit so close to home it made me tear up. Thank you for writing (and publishing) this!

  4. YES!! My two sisters are having trouble conceiving and while I would love to recommend them continuing to use NFP and getting help from doctors who use the charts and practice in healing their bodies, they think it is too tough, and that it didn't work for me, so why would it work for them.
    When using NFP to TTC, I was not a NFP success and that was very frustrating and heartbreaking, to say the least. So I applaud you for continuing to teach NFP despite your frustrations and heartbreak.
    Wonderful post!!!