This is a guest post by Dwija of House Unseen, Life Unscripted in the Women Speak on NFP series. In this series you will hear from women using various methods of NFP, some to avoid pregnancy, some trying to conceive, and their experiences.
Disclaimer: This series is not meant to be a substitute for any method of training in NFP! If you are interested in one of the methods introduced in this series, please contact a certified instructor for information about training in that method of NFP.
(Dwija had the brilliant idea to make this post “interview” style. Hope you enjoy it! – Haley)
Haley: So, Dwija, you’re a Catholic convert like me, so I assume you haven’t always had the view of marriage and fertility that you do now. Tell me a little bit about your journey toward NFP.
Dwija: Okay, well…you know how I like to drop new tidbits about my weird childhood every now and then, right? Brace yourself: I was raised in an “unusual” faith community that taught that any sex, even within marriage, that wasn’t intended for procreation was a sin. So, the Church’s teaching that sex is both unitive AND procreative was pretty wonderful for me.
Between the time that I basically stopped believing in the faith I was raised with and my conversion to Catholicism, though, I had sort of a muddled view of marriage and fertility- one that I wasn’t ever able to flesh out until I came to the Church. But I basically assumed that any “regular” guy would expect consequence-free sex and I agreed to think that was reasonable so I could be “normal”. Lucky for me, my husband is faaaaaaaaaaabulous and selfless. Even in college, before we were engaged, he said that no man should expect any woman to alter her body for his pleasure. It was amazing. And that was the day my pro-NFP stance was born.
Haley: What method(s) of NFP have you tried? Did you have a good or bad experience?
Dwija: The only method of NFP we’ve ever used is the Sympto-thermal method, which I taught myself after our second child was born using Toni Weschler’s book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility.” Without getting into the reasons right now, we used STM to avoid pregnancy for five years after that. So if you need it to work to space the babies, it WILL work. But it’s not easy to abstain when you’re fertile because, well, it’s supremely natural to want to come together during that time, ya know? Since then we’ve not had as grave reasons to avoid having more children, so the spacing is a little closer, with an average of a bit more than two years between babies (so far!).
Haley: I know you have horrible, debilitating morning sickness during pregnancy like I do. Tell me a little bit about that and how it affects your child-spacing and NFP.
Dwija: Well, the sickness with each pregnancy has been totally different and did not depend on gender or personal physical fitness or anything that I can determine. Two of my full-term pregnancies have come with half-dead-for-months-how-will-I-ever-survive-this hyperemesis (one boy and one girl), two have come with “run of the mill” nausea, and one, our second child, was practically symptom free. Amazingly, as with labor, once you hold that baby in your arms, the physical discomforts all make sense somehow. Or are worth it. Or something. Basically I’ve given up on comfort being a deciding factor in any major life decisions. Like Papa B16 said “This world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness!“
Haley: How has NFP affected your marriage and spiritual life?
Dwija: NFP has been the tool that’s allowed us to consider children so often. Considering them, talking about them, knowing they could be on the horizon, keeps us grounded in our primary vocations as spouses and parents. The most difficult time in our marriage came, not coincidentally, toward the end of that long space between babies two and three. Although it is definitely sometimes necessary, it is not natural in a healthy marriage to abstain consistently for so long. After a while, that can put a strain on a relationship. Being able to identify that and get brave together about trusting God’s plan for our future instead of our own breathed new life into our family- figuratively and literally!
Haley: Your youngest baby is beyond adorable. Please elaborate on that statement.
Dwija: Ehrmagherd. Right? She is the bees knees. She totally made friends with the cashier at the grocery store today. Her two front teeth are enormous. I love her chubby thighs. Not a single older child can stay crabby when Mare Bear comes in the room. Also, first home birth…so, super neat memories there and all that jazz, too. You know: bonus! I’m attaching a photo (of course) for your entertainment