I Hate Using NFP
Updated: Nov 12
I hate using NFP. It's true. I also hate eating an alternative diet, exercising, cleaning my house, and giving birth. I could pretty much live very contently without ever doing one of these things ever again. I'm sure you can see where this is going. Clearly each of these things, while difficult, painful, and simply un-fun (exercise and eating well are not fun for me, no), are important and dare I say, essential. The benefit of going through the birthing process and holding your beautiful baby afterwards is without question. Having a clean house and good health outweighs sitting in a mess on my couch and scarfing down cheesecake all day. I can usually see the good that comes from these things and make good decisions. NFP, on the other hand, can seem more like a trial than a good on most days.
I've written before about my infertility and nearly losing our newborn son, and how that aspect of using the Creighton Model System was life-changing and beautiful. Without it, I wouldn't have my four living children and my three little ones lost to miscarriage. I've also written about how NFP can be a trial for some couples. I haven't, however, discussed the difficulties of NFP on a personal level. I'm at a different stage in my fertility journey now where pregnancy would truly be a tremendous trial. I commiserate with Daria in the hardships a pregnancy could bring and the decision to avoid pregnancy despite wanting more children. Here is just one example of many: all of my pregnancies have resulted in bedrest for an extended period of time. During my last pregnancy I was on total bedrest for 16 weeks with an 8-year-old, 6-year-old, and 2-year-old at the time. Tough doesn't even begin to describe it.
There's a different type of mentality you enter into when you're seriously avoiding pregnancy. Charting transforms from a hope for new life (or some breathing room between babies) into a chore. Fertility, once celebrated, can be exasperating. Missed observations result in a three-count and extended abstinence. At one point I even began to resent my fertility - an irony not lost to me after so many years of infertility. And this is where Satan has a field day. He pokes at you and reminds you that the women on birth control have it "so-easy". They don't have to chart or sacrifice, so he says. As the saying goes: the grass is always greener on the other side. And it is true with NFP as well. The grass does seem greener, or if nothing else, easier, on the other side. But as I know so well, birth control comes with a whole host of issues from increased cancer risk, to depression, and failure rates. Further, most women using birth control will switch the type they're on at some point - indicating that they're not exactly thrilled with the color of their grass either. So as the psalmist reminds me "Truly God is good to the upright, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant; I saw the prosperity of the wicked..." (Psalm 73)
The good things in life are rarely easy. Suffering comes in many forms. St. Pope Paul VI recognized this reality of NFP. So much so that he dedicated an entire section of Humanae Vitae on how the suffering and self-sacrifice of husband and wife while avoiding can lead them to Heaven. (HV Sec 21) It's this section of Humanae Vitae where SPICE comes from. While there can be great suffering in this regard, there's also great beauty. It's this mystery of suffering, united with Christ, that allows us to hate doing something, but receive blessings from it. Whether it's passing on a desert that will spike my blood sugar over 400 or whether its using NFP for avoiding, God brings good out of suffering. And while I hate using NFP, I know that it is God's good design and my opportunity to grow in holiness, so I wouldn't have it any other way.