This is a guest post by Adele 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.
When I told my mom we were going to stop using chemical birth control I gave her all the scientific reasons: not polluting our water with hormones, not leaching my body of vitamins and minerals I need. They’re all good reasons, but the real reasons for the change weren’t that straight forward. It just felt wrong. Every period had begun to feel desperately sad, like I was miscarrying every month. My heart was telling me something and I needed to listen. Sometimes the fact that our culture worships science causes us to hide or even lose the things that really matter to the heart and to the spirit.
When my husband and I got married I insisted that we use birth control. As the daughter of hippies it never occurred to me that there was anything wrong with this until I encountered my husband’s dismay. He was quietly saddened by this and began to teach me. He quietly explained why birth control wasn’t good for marriage, and how it could harm an unborn child. I clung to what my mother told me should be, “You’ve got to use birth control at least for the first year. You need time to adjust”. Peter waited. Somehow my husband learned one of the hardest lessons early: how to teach with patience.
After the wedding I had time to think again and this time with Peter. At first it didn’t bother me, but slowly things crept in. The midwife I was working with asked why we didn’t have children yet. She laughed when I said kids were expensive. “I suppose you could spend a couple hundred dollars for diapers”, she said. Reason one to avoid children was thoroughly punctured.
As I worked with beautiful strong mothers I began to rediscover my instincts, which had been buried under years of “scientific” training. I learned a lot of science related to nutrition and health that had been left out of my biology training, and learned at the same time to trust myself to figure out if something really made sense. I learned about the delicate and amazing balance of hormones that runs our body and it made me nervous. I learned about how we absorb nutrition from our food and how hormones interact with that process, and I grew worried. I actually read the label on the birth control I had now been taking for several months and I got more worried. However being stubborn I did this all quietly and held out for several more months before I asked Peter to help me understand why he didn’t think birth control was a good idea. He talked about how it would be better for our marriage, he talked about the damage it could do to me and to a child we conceived, but mostly he said, “I don’t want you to break your body to avoid something we want”. It’s kind of hard to argue with your husband when all he wants is you not to break yourself.
About this time I began taking my own clients as a doula. I witnessed women demonstrate absolute love for their children in extreme situations. I came home two months after I began working as a doula after a three day long birth. The mother was an eighteen year old girl who had conceived while in an abusive relationship. She had labored for three days with little pain relief, to give her child a new life through adoption. We went to Ireland for two weeks the next day and when we got back I didn’t take my next dose of birth control. Its hard to hold onto your tiny silly reasons for not having a baby in the face of the courage, power, and love of a mother giving life to her child and then giving them up. I could no longer believe the lie of our culture that it is okay to be selfish because I could finally see that it damaged, not only me, but everyone and everything around me as well. NFP is intuitive and logical not only within a Christian perspective but ultimately from any tradition that values natural law and love.
Adele is a homesteading mom to two girls and a kitchen witch wife to her wonderful Catholic husband. A home birthing, homeschooling family, we try to keep the home and family at the center of all we do. Mostly we’re just hanging out with the cows in Wisconsin.