What about the men?
When I present the Introductory Session, I like to highlight that Creighton is a shared system of family planning. It’s one of the many things I love about Creighton. It doesn’t place all of the responsibility for family planning on the woman. It actually helps bring the couple together. As I like to say, if a couple can talk about cervical mucus, they can talk about pretty much anything! Using the Creighton Model System requires communication, which is essential to any healthy relationship. What does sharing the responsibility for the use of system look like practically?
The best way for the man and woman to both take responsibility for the system is for both of them to attend follow ups. It can be tricky to juggle everyone’s schedule, but it is 100% worth it. That way the man and woman have the same knowledge of the system, and they can both take ownership in it. I also encourage the husband or fiancé to take an active role in the follow ups. He can answer some of the questions that are asked routinely during follow ups, such as “What are the three steps in checking for the mucus?” or “What is the Peak Day?” It is important that he understands how the system works even if he isn’t the one actually making the observations. When the husband attends the follow ups, he gains insight into what his wife is seeing with the presentation of the picture dictionary. The picture dictionary shows actual observations and their corresponding descriptions.
Another thing I encourage husbands and fiancés to do is to write the observations and place the stamps on the chart. While the man cannot make the observations for her, he can write them down. He can take ownership of this essential aspect of the system. This takes pressure off the woman and opens space for discussion and dialogue to occur. It’s important for the couple to discuss the fertility of the day and their intentions in using the system. If they are in the habit of charting together at the end of the day, they will have the time and space to do so. When the husband does the recording, it also helps him learn the "vaginal discharge recording system" we use to chart observations. The woman can verbally describe her observations for the day, and the husband can determine how to record them using the little cheat sheet on the back of the chart. Once he learns the "vaginal discharge recording system", he can read the chart with ease.
What about for engaged couples? The fiancé can still do the charting. They can talk over the phone at night, and she can share her observations for the day. It’s a win-win. The couple will make sure they are communicating by talking every night, and they will be jointly using the system before they’re even married.
With Creighton, family planning is a shared responsibility. The husband or fiancé can support his beloved by attending follow ups and actively participating as well as charting and discussing her observations.