Wednesday, January 17, 2007

NFP, etc.

I recently have started reading Danielle Bean's blog and came across this old post in NFP, etc. I thought it was great;

Your Turn: Being Open to Life
6/26/06 9:18 PM
A reader writes:
It would be nice to know that there are others out there who struggle with the conflict of truly being open to life and loving children and wanting a big family, but at the same time being overcome by the fear of the realities of a really big family and not knowing how to “slow down.” Because NFP isn't as easy as everyone says it is and depending on one's fertility signs, it doesn't really always work. At least not for me.

Hmmmm, I do not want to get bogged down in the details of whether or not NFP “really works” here other than to mention that NFP methods test out at 98 point whatever percent effective, but what really counts for most people is “user effectiveness” which is a lower number. The simple fact is that using NFP to space or prevent pregnancy, particularly for some people, is not quite as simple as popping a pill. And that’s a good thing. Because we ought not to be using it the way some people pop a pill.

I think that with NFP, there wind up being many “accidental” pregnancies that are not truly “accidents” at all. Couples often know when they are bending or breaking particular rules or not paying close enough attention to fertility symptoms and lo and behold—a pregnancy results!

This might lead to a great deal of frustration with NFP, but as I said, I think it is a good thing. NFP is not fun. This fact likely encourages many couples to be more generous in planning their families than they would otherwise be. The seriousness with which most couples learn and use NFP is usually directly proportional to the seriousness of their reasons for using it. Personally speaking, if conception did not come easily for us and my husband and I had to actively plan every single pregnancy in the way people using artificial birth control do, we might have 3 or 4 children by now. We surely wouldn’t be expecting our eighth. We would be missing out and wouldn’t even know it.

All of which brings us to the heart of the emailer’s struggle. It can be hard—so very hard—to accept God’s plan for our families in place of our own. It is downright scary sometimes to turn something as powerful and potentially life-changing as our fertility over to God. And this works both ways. I know women struggling with infertility who want desperately to conceive and are unable to. These women too experience frustration, disillusionment, and fear in accepting God’s will for themselves and their families.

But our bodies and our fertility do belong to God. Sometimes the hardest words in the world to pray are “Thy will be done.” I know that when I pray it, my mind sometimes races through all the possibilities of what “God’s will” might be and I am tempted to add, “Oh, except for that! Thy will be done as long as it isn’t that!” Something to work on.

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