An Open Letter to People Who Are Good at NFP

Dear people who are good at NFP,

Have you ever found yourself saying things like, "Oh, I don't really even have to chart, I just KNOW," or "I'm sorry, what did you say? I was just noticing myself ovulate," or "You just need to try Creighton, it's made of SCIENCE."? If the answer is "yes," then we need to talk.

If you have had an easy time with NFP, I am sincerely happy for you. If you are good at NFP and knowledgeable about it, I absolutely understand that you want to share your expertise with others. Especially when it's about something as important as NFP.

But, oftentimes, in private conversations or in com boxes you folks who are good at NFP can come across as unsympathetic and single-minded towards those of us who have struggled with NFP.

For those of us who have perhaps had more kids than we had intended to have by this point in our lives . . . it's not that we don't understand whatever method we are using, it's just that we have reproductive systems that are more difficult to quantify than yours is.

So please, for the love of all that is holy STOP TELLING US TO TRY CREIGHTON.

If you have easy to understand cycles, if you only have to abstain four days per month, if your mucus waxes and wanes like the moon each month . . . awesome, seriously, good for you. We're around if you'd like to swing by to babysit.

Because here's the thing: My cycle is different than yours. You can easily understand your fertile signs and I can't because your fertile signs are easy to understand and mine are not. Because God made us different.

Please understand that the rest of us are making just as much effort as you are, and probably more, but we fail again and again because it is harder for us.

Infertility is a cross. I pray every day for my friends who are struggling under its burden. I think most people in faithful Catholic circles understand that. Maybe I'm wrong, but I would certainly hope that couples dealing with infertility aren't constantly told that if they just tried harder or used a particular method all their struggles would melt away.

Hyper fertility is a cross as well. When someone tells you that NFP is a struggle for her, please know that unless you are her instructor or physician, she is probably not looking for advice. She is certainly not looking for a new method. She is just looking for a little sympathy. Or some prayers.

I know I was. I don't think I'd consider myself hyper fertile. My kids are all a year and a half to two years apart, which has been manageable for us. But NFP was a big bust for us for many years and many kids. I went to class after class, I read book after book, I tried ALL the methods. And despite the many assurances I received from people who loved whichever method I was attempting that year, NONE was easy for me.

What I desperately needed was someone to say, "You are NOT crazy, you are not an idiot, it's just especially hard for you." But no one ever said that to me. People only ever said, "Have you tried Creighton?" The answer is yes, by the way. Yes. I have. Gus and Anita are my Creighton babies.

I am at peace now with NFP. Really, I am. I believe that practicing NFP, even though I failed and failed again, was the right decision for me and my faith and my marriage and my family. I am deeply grateful for each of my children, even when they came despite my best efforts. I'm glad we did finally figure out NFP and were able to successfully practice it for a year. Not because I enjoyed doing it, I didn't. But because it was the right decision for our family at the time, and this way I know that it actually CAN work, because for a while there I was beginning to wonder if the whole thing wasn't some sort of huge international inside joke. I'm grateful that we don't currently have a serious reason to practice NFP, and I am hopeful that we never will again.

So, people who are good at NFP, I believe you have the very best of intentions. Really, I do. But I have a favor to ask you. It's not for me. Like I said, I've made my peace with NFP. It's for all the young women out there with two under two and three under three and four under five. Those women don't need your advice, they need your sympathy. They don't need a new method, they need a hug and/or a nap. They don't need you to tell them how easy it is if you just do x, y, or z. They need you to understand that for them, it's really hard.

Thanks for listening.



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It's Sunday!

Here's what I wore:

Dress: Talbots (Christmas present from my Mom!)
Sweater: Loft
Belt: Coach (Christmas present circa 2002)
Boots: Anthropologie
Zombie Survival Plan Bracelet: etsy!

Lulu is a month old!
Her ensemble is Carter's

Thanks to the Ladies at Fine Linen and Purple for hosting.

Happy Sunday!