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10 Reasons Why We Don’t Use Contraception by CurlyQ

Posted by curlyq on April 29, 2013 in Babies, Marriage |

My husband and I have used Natural Family Planning (NFP) since the day we were married. We have never used contraception, and there are several reasons why. The main reason has to do with our Catholic faith, but below I’ve listed 10 other reasons why we use NFP.

As an aside, if you are my Mom, my mother-in-law, or one of my husband’s patients, you may not want to read this article. You’ve been warned. (blushing)


1. NFP is good for the environment. There seems to be mixed information out there about contraception polluting the water supply. According to this article, though, there appears to be a €30 billion bill proposed to clean up the water supply in England since it has been contaminated by synthetic hormones from contraceptive pills. By using NFP, I’m not urinating synthetic hormones into the water supply. Also, no pill packet or condom or ring or sponge means no waste going to the landfills.

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2. NFP is good for my body. Many women who buy organic food, hormone-free chicken, and hormone-free milk are recognizing that a natural method of family planning is more congruent with their lifestyle. NFP works with my body, not against it. I never suppress or shut down my reproductive system in order to avoid pregnancy and then expect it to start back up again when I want to achieve pregnancy.

By charting my fertility, when I was single, married, wanting to achieve pregnancy, and wanting to avoid pregnancy, I had insight into my health that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Charting my fertility can reveal hormonal imbalances, hypothyroidism, polycystic ovaries, ovarian cysts, stress, infertility, suboptimal fertility, endometrial polyps, cervical inflammation, and fibroids.

Natural family planning doesn’t double my risk of having a stroke or heart attack, increase my risk of breast cancer, or quadruple my chances of cervical cancer. And yes, the pill can decrease my risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer, but so can a diet high in fiber. Why risk all of that when I can just eat more veggies? Want to know all the risks? Go here. The author cites the World Health Organization, the National Cancer Institute, the Journal of American Medicine, and the Mayo Clinic.

3. NFP is good for my marriage.  The divorce rate among NFP users is about 2%. And that’s the highest number I’ve heard. Several other studies showed divorce rates less than 1%. By not contracepting, my husband and I had to grow up, fast. There’s little room for, “I want it NOW!” It fostered maturity and trust in our marriage very quickly.

But that doesn’t mean we’re not spontaneous either. There’s plenty of time for that in the infertile part of my cycle (also called Phase 3) when my husband thinks:mywifeishot

And there’s plenty of physical intimacy that we can enjoy during the fertile time that doesn’t involve sex!

My husband and I plan our family together, making decisions about whether it’s time for a baby or not, each and every month. And if we unintentionally conceive, it’s because we decided that our desire to be together physically simply outweighed our need to avoid pregnancy. All of this involves lots of communication, a willingness to be vulnerable with one another, and fosters intimacy on many levels.

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It was important for me to find out how my husband felt most loved by me when we first married. Turns out (surprise, surprise), it’s through physical touch. Without physical touch, he feels unloved by me! But that’s not how I feel most loved by him. I feel most loved when he does thoughtful things for me or says something affirming. By using NFP, we have a time to be physically together and meet his needs for feeling loved, and a time to be physically apart and meet my needs for feeling loved.

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In the times when we decided that we were not ready for a baby, we had to come up with alternative ways of expressing our love and affection for one another. We had to get creative! And guess what? During those times when we’ve had to abstain from sex for medical reasons (like after the birth of the baby), our marriage didn’t suffer. My husband didn’t feel neglected. We were already accustomed to being affectionate with one another in ways other than through sex.


This is something I just realized, but during the fertile time, assuming we’re trying to avoid pregnancy, when my husband does the dishes or takes the kids to the park, I know he’s not doing it to score points with me. No ulterior motive here! Truth be told, I’ll take him doing the dishes and taking the kids to the park any day, regardless of motive! But when he does these things during the fertile time, I’m more aware of how kind he is and how blessed I am to be his wife.

DSC00963For those of you who know me personally, you know that my husband and I have 4 children. For the record, none of them were surprises. They weren’t all planned either. There were times where my husband and I decided that being together was worth the chance of conceiving. Several times we haven’t conceived. Twice we have. (The other 2 were planned.) But we knew exactly what we were doing.

One final thing. NFP is better for my marriage, because I let it. But it’s not magic. You can help NFP ruin your marriage if you let it, too. Here’s how.

justin-bieber-2012-justin-bieber-32132140-2000-20004. Artificial hormones didn’t mess with my attraction to my husband when I decided to marry him. Did you hear about those studies that showed women on birth control were more likely to choose more effeminate men or men with DNA similar to their own compared to when they were off of the pill? While there’s nothing inherently wrong about being attracted to a more effeminate man (I think we can all agree Justin Bieber is doing just fine with the ladies), it would be creepy if it was the unnatural result of artificial hormones. Since I didn’t have hormones in me when I dated him, I let nature draw me to a man I was naturally attracted to with DNA dissimilar from myself.

5. NFP is effective. The method of NFP that I teach and use is called the Sympto-thermal Method (STM). The STM of NFP is as effective as the most effective form of hormonal contraception in avoiding pregnancy when practiced properly (charting reliably, interpreting charts correctly, following the rules). But guess what? It’s not just an effective way to avoid pregnancy, it’s also a great way to achieve pregnancy when you’re ready. No other method of family planning can do that!

natural_family_planningThe physician who created the STM of NFP did a study to determine its effectiveness in delaying pregnancy. He said that couples who used the infertile days at the beginning of a woman’s cycle had a 99% effectiveness rate (1 pregnancy in 8,532 cycles) in avoiding pregnancy. The couples who didn’t use the infertile days at the beginning of the cycle and only used the infertile days at the end of the cycle had a 100% effectiveness rate (0 pregnancies in 17,000 cycles) in avoiding pregnancy.

Here’s a link to all of the published NFP studies. And here’s another one to the British Medical Journal’s study.

6. I’m not always worried that there’s a chance I could be pregnant. Since we don’t have sex during my fertile window, I don’t worry that I’m pregnant. According to many of my contracepting NFP students, since they do have sex during their fertile time, they are preoccupied with worry that they may be pregnant.


7. NFP is empowering. I didn’t understand what was happening to my body with each cycle until I took an NFP class.

I love knowing why I see mucus and why it changes in consistency, why I have breast tenderness, and why I sometimes experience spotting when I do. I love knowing the best time to perform my monthly breast exam based on where I am in my cycle. I love knowing when my next period is going to begin with a 2 day window. I love knowing what that twinge is that I feel on the right or left side of my pelvis mid-cycle. And that’s just for starters!

And since I know the interplay of all of the hormones, I have such an appreciation for how many things have to go right in order for a baby to be conceived!

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8. It’s free! If you buy a book or take a class, there are obviously upfront fees. Other than that, though, you just need a thermometer and charts. Unless you use a mucus-only method in which case you don’t even need a thermometer. As my husband always says, “If it’s for free, it’s for me!”

9. We have more sex. I know this isn’t the case for all couples that don’t use contraception, but in our case, it is! I have anecdotally surveyed my contracepting friends and my non-contracepting friends to see how often they have sex with their husbands. And those who use NFP have more sex! Want to know why? Because we don’t always have tomorrow. Tomorrow we may be fertile. So we take advantage of today. And if we’re still infertile tomorrow, we take advantage of tomorrow, too!

(I didn’t know this until I was doing research for this article, but there have been studies showing that NFP users have more sex than contracepting couples. Unfortunately, I can’t find the link to the actual studies yet. But now I know it’s not just my friends and me!)

Another reason? Artificial hormones suppress a woman’s sex drive. As a busy mother of 4, it can be difficult to motivate when my husband and I have time to ourselves. Thankfully, I don’t have anything other than my own tired body hampering my desire.

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10. We have really good sex. During the fertile time while we’re abstaining from sex, we start a countdown to the infertile time. And as soon as that countdown gets to zero, you better believe we’re in the bedroom…often.

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It’s like chocolate. (For the record, I can’t take credit for this analogy.) If you ate chocolate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, you’d eventually get tired of chocolate. But if you love chocolate and commit to not eating it for a whole week, but you talk about chocolate every day during that week and count down the days until you can have that delicious bar of chocolate, when you finally get to have that piece of chocolate, it’s going to taste like heaven. You get the analogy, right? ;)

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The next article I’m working on is the details of how to use NFP, so stay tuned!

 

 

22 Comments

  • Momma4Real says:

    So sweet. This is how a healthy marriage and sexuality are supposed to be. Yes, it can be a scary road to take especially if you’ve never tried NFP, but the rewards are unimaginable. Thanks, CurlyQ!

  • Nicol says:

    Great points! Well described! I am so glad i am choosing not to put toxins in my body. It is so scary how people do not know about all the bad unhealthy side effects.

  • Scout Kent says:

    This article would carry more weight if it were written in a more mature manner. I can get past some things such as the ‘anecdotal’ evidence that NFP users are having more sex and better sex than others, wink, wink, but the references to the scientific studies in #4 are idiotic and offensive.

    First of all, you make it sound as though the effects mentioned (marrying effeminate men and marrying men with more similar DNA) go hand-in-hand, but you are actually referencing two completely different studies. Adding one simple word, “or,” would make this much clearer.

    The study that refers to effeminate traits is speculative and absurd – the scientist actually states that “there is no evidence yet.” The theory is based on movie starts in certain decades being more ‘manly’ than those of different eras – Rock Hudson vs. Rob Lowe, for example. I guess neither the scientist nor the author of this article realizes that what is trendy changes, with past trends generally being repeated. Classic stars such as Jimmy Stewart and Gregory Peck are closer to the 1980s ‘effeminate’ stars than the 1950s ‘tough guys,’ but of course that doesn’t fit neatly into the pet theory.

    What I find MOST idiotic and offensive is that you refer to these studies as “creepy” and “weird.” God makes all kinds of people, honey. Many of them are straight men who aren’t stereotypically masculine, or who, God forbid, even have traits or looks that might be considered ‘effeminate.’ Oh, wait, I guess God DOESN’T forbid, because these men are just the way He made them.

    In your haste to be clever, do not toss out common sense and basic consideration for your fellow man.

  • curlyq says:

    Dear Scout,

    Thanks for reading the article! I’m disappointed you found it immature. It was meant to be a light-hearted, conversational explanation of the benefits of not using hormonal contraception.

    I stand by my use of the word creepy. It is creepy to me that there is that a drug that many women take that changes who they are attracted to. The natural question that follows would be, what happens if she stops taking it? The links to CBS News and Dailymail seem legit to me although I actually meant to link to a different article citing the same study than the one I posted because it focused on the movie stars of the past which seemed off topic. There are scores of other references to these studies elsewhere and I’d be happy to cite a few of them if you’d like. There’s http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=birth-control-pills-affect-womens-taste and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/01/birth-control-attraction_n_2981391.html.

    What I should have said was that women were attracted to MORE effeminate men than usual when they were on the pill; it is a matter of more or less. And, if you noticed, I included a picture of Justin Beiber, a man who doesn’t seem to have it bad these days. In many people’s opinions (mine included), he has several feminine features. And he makes most teenage girls swoon! There wasn’t meant to be an implication that more effeminate men are less worthy of a woman’s attraction.

    Yes, it was two separate studies I was referencing which is why I provided two separate links, but to be clearer I will reword the sentence to show that they are, indeed, separate. Thanks for pointing this out!

    I don’t mind being challenged but I don’t appreciate being called idiotic. I know that I’m not an eloquent orator. I have pretty simple thoughts and convey them in a pretty simple manner. If you felt disrespected in reading this article, I can understand the tone of your response, but please be respectful of my opinions in them, as well.

    CurlyQ

  • Anonymous says:

    We def had more sex when we practiced NFP. We no longer need it since I had my ovaries removed.

  • Momma4REAL says:

    Amen, sister! I have been on both sides of this issue at different times and stages of my life. I know first hand which route God’s will and His peace reign most abundantly.

  • Jo says:

    We have a friend who was complaining of how she is no longer attracted to her husband, & yet he is so attracted to her. To us, this was simple & a few questions proved the research true.
    1. When you met your husband, were you on the pill? Yes, she was on the pill for her complexion when she met her husband
    2. When did you stop feeling attracted to your husband? Her physical attraction to him ceased when she had her tubes tied.
    This explains his increased attraction to her, however, because she was now having fertile cycles which is a great turn on for Testosterone. A guy feels more masculine around fertile women. This is shown in many studies & sadly, we have evidence in disrupted relationships. Chemical Hormones interfere in the subtle design of physical appeal & the results are not pretty.

    Thanks for the great article!

  • Jeni says:

    Great post!! I totally agree. And I think those studies that show how women are attracted to the wrong men are definitely CREEPY! Thank God for NFP! :)

  • […] love this top 10 list! I stumbled across it on Facebook and it’s so true. The author discusses the top 10 reasons […]

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi! I am not Catholic, I do not use NFP, I am not married, I use hormonal birth control (for non-pregnancy related medical purposes, but I have also used it in the past for contraceptive purposes), and my boyfriend is physically not capable of getting me pregnant, so the majority of this post does not apply to me. However! I really enjoyed reading it. I think your insights are excellent and I think this post did a very good job of showing the non-Catholicism-related arguments for NFP. It felt accessible to me, as a non-Catholic non-NFP user, which is important. I appreciate not being made to feel like an outsider! I think a lot of these insights (and those in the post on how to ruin your marriage using NFP, which was enjoyable as well) are meaningful in a broader context of situations where partners are not able to have sex for one reason or another (menstruation, for example, or due to illness, surgery, etc.). I particularly liked the paragraph about how using NFP gives a couple the chance to feel most loved in the ways that are important to each person. I definitely agree with that and I know my boyfriend feels the same way as your husband about feeling unloved without physical touch. If I did not need to use hormonal birth control medication for other health reasons, and if my boyfriend were capable of getting me pregnant, I can’t say this article would convince me 100% to use NFP, but it would definitely open my eyes to it. I am considering charting anyway, just to get to know my body better. On a less serious note… what is the twinge in my pelvis mid-cycle?? Do share!!

    Thank you for sharing your experiences!

  • Jo says:

    I highly recommended the ladycomp. If anyone interested here kindly check the site http://www.ladycomputer.com/ for more product info. This is also a natural way to avoid pregnancy and to become pregnant. God bless!!!!

  • LT says:

    Number four is totally homophobic and gross. What’s wrong with feminine men? Or masculine women for that matter.

    I’m all for people using natural birth control methods. I think it’s awesome to be that in tune with your body. Good for you. However, correlation is not causation. With regards to number 3, have you considered that folks who use natural family planning are often people who participate in religions (e.g. Catholicism) that discourage divorce.Therefore those people using NFP are less likely to divorce anyway.

    I’m sure it can grow intimacy in your relationship, but just because someone uses contraception doesn’t mean that their marriage is going to fall apart.

  • curlyq says:

    Thanks for your feedback. I’m sorry you perceived #4 to be homophobic. I’m not homophobic. I think it’s bizarre that a drug makes you attacted to different men than you’re attracted to when you’re not taking the drug. It’s like Jedi mind control. Okay, it’s not. But it’s strange that there’s a drug that can disrupt who you’re normally attracted to. And like I said in a previous comment, Justin Beiber is by all accounts, effeminate. And he’s doing just fine with the ladies!

    As far as the divorce rate, I understand that American Christians tend to use contraception and divorce at the same rate or just below the rate of the general population (http://www.divorcereform.org/mel/rbaptisthigh.html), depending on several factors like which denomination you’re a part of and how “religious” you are. In fact, some Christians divorce at a higher rate than the general population. (http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/09/25/factchecker-divorce-rate-among-christians/) But a 2% divorce rate is WELL below the general population’s divorce rate. So there’s something about practicing NFP in particular that improves the odds of a successful marriage. I agree that it’s not a magic bullet – but the correlation is worth noting.

    And I know plenty of happily married contracepting couples. I don’t think I insuated anywhere that I believed that contracepting married couples would divorce, did I? I hope I didn’t.

    Thanks for reading the article!
    CurlyQ

  • curlyq says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful response. Oooh, the twinge! It’s closely associated with the time of ovulation. But if you’re on the pill, you shouldn’t be ovulating… Nonetheless, when I was a teenager, I always thought I could feel myself ovulating when I felt that pinch. Turns out, it’s actually thought to be the movement of the Fallopian tube toward the ovary to “pick up” the egg that has just been released. Pretty cool, right? And if you have endometriosis, it can make it more painful because the movement of the tube tugs on the built up scar tissue. That’s when it’s not cool. That’s when it really hurts. Thanks again!

  • K.Cooper says:

    I have one more reason: By charting, my doctor realized that I had a hormonal imbalance that was causing many problems. Rather than treat the symptoms, my doctor discovered the cause of my issues.

    I’m lucky to have a doctor who knows how to read charts and is comfortable enough with cycles to look beyond putting someone on the pill. Now I don’t have to worry about weight gain, cancer, blood clots or the other side effects that are listed on the 4 foot long paper that’s included in each BC script box … and yet, I’m feeling great.

  • Heavying bleeding, cramps, pms, pcod/pcos, irregular cycles, and endometriosis are some of the excuses that doctors use to get female patients on hormonal contraceptives ie birth control pill. Birth Control pill does NOT cure these problems only suppresses the symptoms for a while!
    From the Introduction of Dr Hilgers book “The Naprotechnology Revolution Unleashing the Power in a Woman’s Cycle”~
    Are you aware, for example, that severe menstrual cramps are often caused by endometriosis and that treating the endometriosis surgically can be of great long-term benefi t to you in reducing the pain that you experience? In fact, for adolescents, who are often placed on birth control pills for severe menstrual cramps, in our experience, the incidence of endometriosis in that population is 100 percent.
    Did you know that long and irregular cycles are often associated with polycystic ovarian disease and that this is also the cause of much of the irregular bleeding that a woman experiences in such circumstances?
    Indeed, polycystic ovarian disease is a multifaceted disease condition which increases a woman’s risk of uterine cancer, breast cancer, heart abnormalities, abnormalities with one’s lipid profile (including cholesterol and triglycerides) and so forth……. http://www.unleashingthepower.info/PDFs/The-NaProTechnology-Revolution_Introduction.pdf

    Spirit Catholic Radio “Your Fertility Care Consult” with Dr. Thomas Hilgers, founder of the Pope Paul VI Institute for The Study of Human Reproduction 23 Shows some of the Shows are
    ~ Show 03 &4 – Disturbing Trends in the Health Care of Women, Children, and Families -,
    Show 7-9 Contraception,
    Show 12 Teens and the Birth Control Pill,
    Show14 Women Healed (WH) of Infertility,
    Show 15 (WH) Recurrent Spontaneous Abortion (miscarriages),
    Show 16 (WH) Endometriosis,
    Show 17 (WH) Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD),
    Show 18 (WH) Premenstrual Syndrome,
    Show 19 Postpartum Depression,
    23 Calling Young Doctors & Physicians
    http://bit.ly/wevEZW
    Dr Hilgers has help many couples achieve pregnancy many stories are posted by women healed by Dr Hilgers and others at Pope Paul Institute https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pope-Paul-VI-Institute/162468760452555?fref=ts
    A great book talking about women healed by Dr Hilgers is ~
    “In Their Own Words: Women Healed.” Edited by Jean Blair Packard
    Physician comments by Thomas W. Hilgers, M.D.
    This book is filled with the testimonies of fifty women (and their husbands) whose lives have been enriched by the medical care at the National Center for Women’s Health. The anecdotes draw the reader into the lives of women and men who have received help through the Creighton Model FertilityCare™ System and NaProTECHNOLOGY.

    http://www.naprotechnology.com/womenhealed.htm

    Is the Pill Medically Necessary? — An Introduction to Na-Pro Technology
    Natural Procreative (NaPro) Technology uses fertility cycle charting, timed bloodwork, and cooperative hormonal therapy to address a number of women’s health issues including infertility, ovarian cysts, premenstrual syndrome
    (PMS), and irregular cycles http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGLW9pKb1YA

    Pope Paul VI Institute: The NaProTechnology Revolution
    Founded by Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers, the Pope Paul VI Institute, home of NaProTechnology and the Creighton Model FertilityCare System, is located in Omaha, Nebraska. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwvQzfM6WJw&playnext=1&list=PL5DE44CD0C94A0550&feature=results_video

    The Pill Kills
    The Life Threatening Medical Consequences of Oral Contraceptives
    or estrogen-progestin combination drugs http://www.bcpinstitute.org/pill_kills_brochure_html.htm
    The Birth Control Pill The documentary highlights how many people are uninformed about how the Pill works, its potential abortifacient affects and issues relating to informed consent. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvWFJ7ExbTY

  • Andrew Garcia says:

    Always funny when seeing Bieber photos with the effeminate tagline. CurlyQ I’m interested in how you would define femininity and masculinity. They are broad concepts and every individual has a unique interpretation of what they mean. Some believe in the stereotypical masculine model of the jock; strong attitude bottles feelings because its *ussy behavior. Secular men seem to celebrate a power struggle in relationships conquer her rather than teamwork (Charlie Sheen influence). What do you think?

  • curlyq says:

    Quite honestly, Andrew, I don’t know how I’d define femininity and masculinity. In terms of the study that is referenced, I can only assume that when they say women are drawn to more effeminate men when they’re on the pill, the must be referring to men with softer, daintier features, smaller build, etc. (which is why i put a picture of Bieber up there). What do you mean by “secular men seem to celebrate a power struggle?” I’m married to a “secular man” (assuming I know what you mean) and we have a very cooperative relationship that focuses on teamwork. I know, though, that my husband isn’t typical in many ways, but I’ve never really thought of that as one of the ways… But he’s also not an emotional man either. I guess he’s quite balanced! :) Thanks for the thought provoking comment. CurlyQ

  • AMDG says:

    Thank you so much for your wonderful article! My husband and I feel blessed of using NFP (Symptothermal). We have a one-year-old daughter who was born after 3 and a 1/2 years of postponing babies. Like you say, we knew I could conceive, and that was just a beautiful experience- to know that your love can bear fruit. Do you have some info about NFP during breastfeeding? I know the LAM is good for the first 6 months of full breastfeeding. My baby is eating solids now (she’s 13 months), but I still nurse her at least 5 times during the day and once at night. I’m monitoring my mucus, and using the thermometer, as well as a fertility monitor (Marquette model of NFP). I still have not gotten my period back. We would love to wait a few years before having another baby. Thank you for your help! God bless you and your beautiful family. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain so clearly some of the benefits of NFP. I will pass this info to my friends. God bless you!!!

  • curlyq says:

    The Basic Mucus Rule (which is used during the breastfeeding time) says to note peak day (the last day of the most fertile mucus seen), count off 4 days, and if that 4th day is dry all day by tissue and sensation, you are infertile evenings only every evening from then on until you see mucus again. At that point, you begin abstaining again, assume fertility, wait for it to peak, count 4 days, etc.

    It doesn’t get you a lot of infertile days, but it gives you more confidence than just hoping you’re not ovulating. :) I also recommend taking your temperature daily during this time. It can be frustrating if you don’t see a change in temp for months on end, but I’d rather do the work on the front end, see my temperature rise, and know I’m infertile as opposed to wondering if the bleeding I’m experiencing is really a period or not. (I tend to bleed on and off frequently when I’m breastfeeding.) You know it’s a true period if it’s been preceded by a temperature rise about 2 weeks prior.

    Here’s the link that describes the Basic Mucus Rule according to NWFS, the organization that provides the materials for my class. http://www.nwfs.org/images/NFP/Activity_10.pdf It’s technical but may be helpful to you.

    Let me know if that info is above what you know about NFP and I can back up a few steps if needed. Please let me know if you have any questions!

  • AMDG says:

    Thank you! God bless you!

  • "Meliandil" says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! I am a new Catholic, single, and have Protestant parents who try to push contraception on me (not just during marriage but also to regulate my cycle). How do I talk to them about this? Or is it none of their business anyway?

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