I'm so excited to bring you these posts for this week. Since it is NFP Awareness Week, we are featuring a blogger every day, all here to discuss their NFP or FAM use.
NFP = Natural Family Planning
FAM = Fertility Awareness Method
I love that all of them have totally different perspectives and ideas of NFP/FAM, and all come from different places as to why or how they came about using NFP or FAM.
1. Introduce yourself. Tell us a little about your family, husband and children.
My name is Brittany, and I'm married to my wonderful husband and together we have four children ranging from age 7 years to 8 months old. We live in Seattle where I write about living naturally on my blog, The Pistachio Project
2. Where did you first learn about NFP/FAM? Why do you and your husband choose to practice NFP/FAM?
I first learned about NFP when I was starting to live more naturally. I knew that I needed to get off the mini-pill as it was contributing to my postpartum depression, plus my husband and I have never felt comfortable using such methods like the pill for birth control because of moral reasons. Once we switched to NFP, my postpartum depression finally went away and I was more in control of my body.
3. What type of NFP/FAM are you practicing? How did you choose this type over others? Has this changed at all during your marriage?
We use NFP - which is really the same thing as FAM except that with NFP you abstain during fertile times, whereas with FAM you would just use some sort of barrier method. As for which form of NFP we use, we use the Creighton method. All I do to chart my fertility is observe my cervical mucus and make sure to abstain during my fertile days. It's very easy to do.
4. Why do you think artificial birth control, like the pill, is the default option for many women who are trying to postpone pregnancy?
I think it's the most popular method mostly because it's well… popular. I had never even heard of NFP until I really started digging. Doctors do not even mention it as a method because there's no benefit to them (no money in it).
It's also seen as easy. Take one pill a day and voila! no pregnancy. There's also no need to worry about if you are fertile or not, which if you want to get into things can lead to reckless behavior. I'm not saying that people can't/shouldn't have sex, I'm just saying that people rely on birth control a bit too much and tend to get caught off guard if it fails.
5. What do you think are the major benefits to using NFP/FAM versus artificial birth control? What are the major cons?
There are many benefits to using NFP. It really helps you learn about your body. For instance, I assumed that I was the standard 28 day cycle girl. My first two pregnancies were based on this. However, I'm actually a 35 day cycle girl and therefore my pregnancies actually get to be a week longer than what would be standard because I ovulate later. So while it looks like my first two kids were born at 42 weeks, they were really born at 41 weeks; this would have saved me much stress and induction.
Pregnancy aside though, NFP will help you learn what is going on with your body and will help you learn when to expect certain seasons of your cycle. NFP also means no hormones, which means it will not mess up your body. As I mentioned earlier, being on the mini pill added to (or possibly even caused) my postpartum depression. Sadly, this is not uncommon. There's a whole list of side effects for birth control. Why risk it?
NFP is also free! You don't need to worry about losing your pills, forgetting to take them, or being stuck with side effects from a birth control shot.
I think the only downside to NFP is that you have to actually use it. You can't just pop a pill and call it good. You have to observe your body's signals. Now, of course, this really isn't too hard to do… for me it's just checking the toilet paper every now and then but some people think that is too much trouble. You also have to abstain for about a week each month, unless you decide to use FAM in which case you just use a barrier method. Some people find that abstaining for a week is just a lot to ask and they'd rather have the freedom…in which case, I'd just recommend FAM.
6. If you used NFP/FAM to achieve pregnancy, how long did that process take?
I have use NFP to achieve pregnancy, twice now or three times if you count an early miscarriage. With each time, I've gotten pregnant within the first cycle of trying, with the exception of when I had my miscarriage. We started trying right after the miscarriage (as it was early enough that I didn't have to wait a set amount of recovery time), and it took 3 cycles from the miscarriage until I was pregnant but that probably had to do with the fact that my body needed to reset itself.
7. Anything else you think would be important to know for those considering NFP/FAM?
NFP is a great method of avoiding or achieving pregnancy. It has as high a success rate as birth control pills so long as you follow the rules. It's not difficult to do at all and there are some really great tools on the internet to help you chart your cycles. I've been using NFP for about 5 years now and I've had no "oops" moments. We've avoided pregnancy when we didn't want to get pregnant and we've gotten pregnant quickly when we did want a baby.
I want to thank Brittany from The Pistachio Project so much for sharing this with us! Comment and let us know your thoughts, and don't forget to check out her blog.