My archives might be a little outdated especially the older blogs. My links above are all new and current.

I have only positive things to say about Permission to Mother, an autobiographical account of a thoughtful mother and clinician who courageously writes from her heart, soul, brain, and personal experience; who is open to change in her views and opinions and is not guided by the safety of rules of any group or the status quo; she is guided by love and openness to the experiences life brings her and her family. Her process benefits her and those around her and those who read her words. And to add to that, the writing style and story telling ability here make it a very enjoyable read speckled with both the humor and seriousness of life. ~Laura Keegan RN FNP, author of Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy

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Friday, December 7, 2007

Continuing the Natural Family Planning Discussion


I have been thinking about all these comments and information left behind at my Breastfeeding and Birth Control post for the past few days. These are some random thoughts:

I read the Quiverfull article written by Stacy McDonald, a woman who doesn't keep an NFP calender and lets G-d be in total control of all her pregnancies. I've never kept a NFP calender and thought I should or that it was hypocritical of me to recommend others to do so if I don't. This article was informative to hear someone verbalize why she doesn't keep a written calendar. My only excuse is that I am lazy and unorganized.


However, I do know my body and my cycle so whether I keep a written "calendar" or look for cervical mucous, energy level, or skin blemishes, I always know where I am in my cycle. I haven't used hormonal birth control in years and I did so only for a very short time (when I was surrounded by physicians who thought BCP was good for a women's sense of wellness). My husband also always seems to know exactly where I am too, on my cycle. Men can use this to employ man's birth control (condoms, interrupts, avoidance). At least mine does. Like the author of the article points out, these are not very romantic options.

For some couples that aren't in tune with their cycles (and those that can't seem to get pregnant), there are benefits to taking classes. Classes in NFP can help you understand your cycle and potentially help you with "timing" before pursuing major inventive, demoralizing, fertility work-ups. Also by understanding your cycle, knowing when you conceived can keep you in control of your due date as doctors and technology (like ultrasound) are to quick and INSISTENT to change due dates.... and we know that leads to other harmful interventions. Some woman think their mid-cycle healthy cervical mucous (a sign of good health and fertility!) is a recurrent yeast infection.

I like the Quiverfull article (please go read it, if you haven't) because the author speaks how children are blessings, not burdens. It seems everywhere I go children are treated like burdens. I hate that. Even when it's my children that have brought me to a particular place or event--they are still often THE burdens by others!

Using the phrase "unintended pregnancy" bothers me. My first pregnancy was "unintended," "John, I forgot to pack something and it's day 14." (or was that intended if I forgot and we ignored?) My second pregnancy was intended, "John, this is a good weekend," I FLAUNTED. Both boys are a joy to me and "unintended" is confusing and demoralizing. "Unintended" does not mean unwanted, unloved or undesired. It's not empowering to ask a newly pregnant women experiencing the range of normal mixed emotion whether it was "planned" or "unplanned," verses "unintended" or "unintended." "Unintended" reinforces the belief that babies are burdens not Blessings.

When I am with a woman who is newly pregnant and I am not sure how she feels, I don't ask, "Is this planned or was this unintended." I ask how she feels about this pregnancy. "Is it good news or bad news?" If it's good news, it's easy to provide cheer and congratulations. If it's "bad" news, I can provide her with empowering reassurance that her mixed feelings are normal. If it's REALLY bad news, I can provide her with an empowering option: adoption.

PS-for awhile I was training with doctors who thought BCP created a sense of wellness for a women because of lighter and more predictable periods. Perhaps being easier to remember when to do a self-breast exam (at the same time in each pack of pills). I find much more wellness on not being on them, having an awareness of where I am in my cycle and being all natural.

5 comments:

Courtney said...

GREAT GREAT GREAT post. Thanks Denise. You really are an amazing breathe of fresh air!

Annie said...

I agree! We used the "intuitive" Billing's Method. That is; I read the book once, half-paid attention and left it in God's hands. The joke was on me, though. God had it in mind for us to have a big family by adoption....and little did I know the whole time I prayed fervently for children, how I'd be blessed with them!

Natalie said...

Denise,
I found that birth control pills gave me migraines...even as my doctor continually prescribed lower does pills. One time, I had quit taking BC for over a year, and I started a new pill for eight days. I had migraines for the next three weeks.
We don't do natural family planning either...we just leave it up to whatever God does.

I have appreciated all of your posts I have read. Courtney is lucky to have a doctor with such a great perspective on things.

Natalie

Kristen said...

I read Taking Charge of your Fertility, and use online software for charting. This is how I got pregnant with my daughter (on the second month of trying!) and unfortunately at that time I didn't trust my knowledge of my body enough. I knew exactly when my daughter was conceived, but I let my midwife move my due date up by ten days due to an ultrasound dating at twelve weeks. This ultimately led to an unnecessary c-section for "post dates" and "big baby." I have been using NFP/FAM for a year and a half now to avoid pregnancy, since I got my cycles back nine months after the birth of my daughter. Next time I am pregnant I will be more confident in myself and my knowledge about my body, in part because of my NFP/FAM use.

womantowomancbe said...

This sounds like me -- I never keep a calendar either, other than what day I start my period, and have successfully managed to avoid pregnancy as I wanted (except for my first pregnancy, a.k.a. Keith -- I thought I was 24 hours post-ovulation when it was actually ovulation day!). You are so right that "unplanned" does not equal "unloved" or "unwanted." Keith and Seth are both my sunshine boys -- brightening up my day tremendously.

I am one of the women, however, who so far have not had amenorrhea while breastfeeding. In some ways, that's been good because I don't have to spend months wondering every day if I'm going to become fertile today or tomorrow; but of course the downside is, well, dealing with periods. Ah, well, I look on the bright side of things -- easier to ensure child spacing when I'm regular! :-)

-Kathy

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