Years ago when I was beginning to think about birth control options I felt uneasy about hormonal birth control. I personally didn’t like to take medications or take hormones to alter a perfectly working system. I resigned to the fact that maybe I would just use the ring or an IUD if it came down to it because I figured it would be easier and assumed the hormonal impact would be less.
When my husband and I first began dating (um, yeah, we may be high school sweet hearts…) his cousin was in the seminary and he sent me a book called Life Giving Love by Kimberly Hahn. The book was quite influential in two things: my spiritual life and my sexual one. Much of the book was about Natural Family Planning. Later on, Marc (the husband) and I also had attended a conference by Chris West on the Theology of the body and it reaffirmed some of my newly founded beliefs. But this post isn’t about religion; it’s about birth control (although they were entwined for myself).
There are several birth control options for couples these days. Natural Family Planning or the Fertility Awareness Method, are symptom-thermal methods of birth control. THIS IS NOT THE RHYTHM METHOD! The rhythm method makes the assumption that everyone ovulates on the same timeline – not true. Your doctor may say that NFP is the rhythm method and then tell you that if you want to conceive you should have sex around day 14 (which is actually the assumption of the rhythm method -how ironic). With NFP/FAM you chart your waking temperatures (thermal) and cervical fluid (symptom) observations to determine your fertile window and act accordingly when you are fertile (to either abstain or not). This week is Natural Family Planning Awareness Week so I wanted to highlight my experience and how it works.