Society

4 Tips to make natural family planning work for you

Some bits of advice for beginners and the advanced

1) Take your NFP classes before marriage, but plan to take them again once you’re married. It took at least 12 years of math to sorta get math, and this is much more enjoyable than math, but with longer consequences.

2) NFP seems like a straightforward system, but then, so do diets, budgets and five-year government plans. What you discover while living NFP is that love, desire and yes, lust, can make fools of us all. The methods work in theory, but the application is dependent upon the fools applying it. Which means, it really has to be both people doing the chart, and discussing. This isn’t stressed enough in the methodology classes.

We should be asking: What are our goals? And praying about that. We should also plan ahead knowing at some point, one of us will want to go forward or forget the whole thing. Encouraging/discouraging each other in those weak moments is a reality we must be ready for, and discussing what to do, or why to do it, would be a good starting point.

3) Once you get to baby #2, people begin to have odd conversations with your mother. “Shouldn’t you talk to them/her?” But Catholics are supposed to look different.

If someone questions you, be unafraid to speak about what you are doing and why. It is an opportunity to witness to your faith, and to what it has given you. (TMI isn’t necessary though.)

Put your sense of humor to work. Asked in the grocery store as my son pushed a second cart and I had three kids in mine, “Don’t you know how this works?” I gestured to all of them, “Well … yes. Here’s the proof.” He laughed and told me about his big family one generation back. You get lots of smiles and wistful looks when people begin to recognize that there’s another way than the way offered by the world.

4) Expect gifts from God in your marriage. Expect graces, expect to struggle, expect to laugh more, and expect others to be befuddled that you’re not doing everything in your power not to be expecting.

Expect people to be confused that you would allow yourself to become pregnant. Expect that people will judge and presume either way.

Ignore. Ignore. Ignore.

The only ones who should be consulted about how many children you have, or don’t have, are God, the two who will be raising these people, and possibly medical professionals if you have other health issues which must be monitored. Everyone else: not their circus, not their monkeys.

Ignore. Ignore. Ignore.