I want to share how Natural Family Planning (NFP), specifically our experience with the Creighton Model, improves the health of both our relationships and our bodies.
My husband and I started charting with a Creighton Practitioner when we got engaged in 2017. He came to all of my appointments with me and neither of us had any idea how NFP worked in the beginning. We were learning a new skill set together, which opened up a lot of different conversations. Going through this process of learning Creighton together allowed us to become very comfortable talking about all kinds of topics that people generally avoid, such as bodily fluids, intercourse, intimacy, and planning our family. Our communication reached new depths thanks to our journey with NFP.
When a couple is using a natural method of family planning to avoid pregnancy, they would abstain from intercourse on days of fertility. I’ve heard some argue, “this takes all the fun and spontaneity out of the sex” because there are some days you are intentionally avoiding. I believe that this couldn’t be further from the truth. In our experience, having a period of time each month where we were avoiding intercourse was beneficial in two ways. First, it invited us to continue being creative and finding ways to love one another aside from the marital embrace. We got to go back to our dating days and pursue one another in ways that can easily get forgotten within marriage. Ideas such as writing love letters, planning surprise dates, going for a movie, heading to adoration together, playing a board game, and so on. These beautiful ways of showing love are so important to continue fostering over the years. Second, this periodic abstinence gave us the opportunity to look forward to connecting physically in that way once again. It brought us back to our time of engagement where we were looking forward to consummating our marriage. This is a build up of excitement and joy that we get to appreciate again each and every month.
So far I’ve spoken about how Creighton led us to strengthen our communication and dive deeper in conversation, it led us to love one another in different and unique ways, and allowed us to anticipate reuniting physically each month. Now I want to talk about the way that NFP benefits our bodies, encourages us to learn about our health and address any health concerns.
They call cervical mucus the fifth vital sign because as we chart the woman’s cycle based on her natural signs of fertility, we learn an incredible amount about her overall health. For example, through charting alone we can learn if a woman likely has low progesterone, high risk for miscarriage, cervical inflammation, subfertility, infertility, polycycstic ovarian syndrome, and even indications that may reveal cancer. Thankfully Creighton not only trains practitioners to help women and couples track their fertility through her cycle, but also trains medical consultants in NaPro Technology. This allows a doctor to look at the woman’s chart and address any medical concerns that may be present, such as those previously mentioned. The Creighton chart becomes a medical record that can be read by consultants around the world to assist the woman AND the man in reaching full health.
After just a few cycles of charting my cycle when we were engaged, my practitioner told us that I was in a subfertility category due to having limited cervical mucus. We decided not to do anything with this information until a later date, as we were avoiding pregnancy at the start of our marriage. After the first year of marriage, we discerned that it was the right time to start trying to achieve pregnancy. Since then we have been walking through infertility and have been able to utilize the assistance of a NaPro doctor to address our medical concerns. I brought in my two and a half years worth of charts and she ordered specific tests for us to based on this information she already had on my reproductive health. We are so grateful for the opportunity to access this type of medical treatment that helps us strive to reach full health and conceive a baby in God’s perfect timing, while still upholding the dignity of myself, my husband, and our marriage.
Natural Family Planning has been a gift to the health of our relationship leading up to and within marriage, and allowed us to address physical health concerns as well. I would recommend any couple who wants to have a successful marriage or any woman who wants to be as healthy as possible to look into NFP options and find the method that makes the most sense for you!