The Inspiration Behind Modern NFP

 

 

Where did modern Natural Family Planning originate? Modern NFP originated from Pope Paul VI’s groundbreaking and controversial encyclical issued July 25, 1968. In 1968, many people anticipated and expected the Catholic Church to follow the direction set by their Protestant and other monotheistic brethren who accepted the practice of contraception especially hormonal birth control. Nope. Pope Paul VI not only issued a authoritative document against contraceptive methods but warned (i,e. prophesied) about the cultural and social ramifications of a contraceptive culture. He prophesied the breakdown of family, relationships, increase in violence and objectification, and the breakdown of world peace.

But the historical “Rhythm Method” wasn’t comprehensive enough for women, procreation, health, wellness, and relationships. Towards the end of Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI calls to action and places a level of responsibility on the shoulders of professionals with a certain type of power, authority, or education. He requests and pleads with medical researchers and clinicians to develop and research ethical and life-giving alternatives to contraceptive methods and healthcare practices.

Humanae Vitae

To Men of Science

24. We wish now to express our encouragement to men of science, who “can considerably advance the welfare of marriage and the family, along with peace of conscience, if by pooling their efforts they labor to explain more thoroughly the various conditions favoring a proper regulation of births. It is particularly desirable that, according to the wish already expressed by Pope Pius XII, medical science succeed in providing a sufficiently secure basis for regulation of birth, founded on the observance of natural rhythms. In this way, scientist and especially Catholic scientist will contribute to demonstrate in actual fact that, as the Church teaches, “A true contradiction cannot exist between the divine laws pertaining to the transmission of life and those pertaining to the fostering of authentic conjugal love.

During the 1960’s tumultuous confusion, a young medical student’s interest was pricked. When Doctor Thomas Hilgers, the founder and director Pope Paul VI Institute and the co- developer of the Creighton Method Natural Family Planning and NaproTECHNOLOGY (Natural Procreative Technology) asked a campus priest during medical school at the University of Minnesota if he could locate a copy of Humanae Vitae, the priest responded, “Why would you want to read that trash?” (EWTN Interview, At Home with Jim & Joy.) This statement shows how polarized members of the Church, even in the pastoral teaching authority of the Church, were regarding the “contraception” encyclical.

But even this heretical discouragement didn’t dissuade Dr. Hilgers and his wife from embarking on an eight year journey that climaxed in the founding of the Pope Paul VI Institute- a medical institution dedicated to researching women’s reproductive health and natural cycles while providing diagnosis and treatment for medical conditions and infertility that uphold the dignity of the woman, the husband, and the potential child.

 

 

Natural Family Planning (NFP) for the Unmarried

NFPI am writing about Natural Family Planning (NFP,) right? Yes! Over the past few months, I’ve joined a new wave of Catholic women who are exploring NFP for their own personal knowledge, health, and well-being without a fiancee or spouse by our side. Why should single, unmarried Catholic women learn NFP? Because, designed by God, our female bodies are amazing and intricate while our natural cycles should be monitored and understood.

1.) Types of NFP:
There are multiple NFP methods researched, studied, and accepted by the Catholic Church. Each method charts fertility bio-markers. I learned the Creighton Method. Why? Because the Creighton Method is the MOST comprehensive and scientific system for diagnosing and treating Women’s Reproductive Health issues, i.e., Naprotechnology.

2.) Creighton NFP: No Chemicals Added
Creighton uses the most comprehensive bio-markers to chart fertility and infertility while tracking changes in a woman’s cycle that could indicate reproductive health or fertility issues. With the knowledge gleaned from charting, I could consult a Naprotechnology specialist and potentially treat and heal concerns. Another benefit of NFP is that there are no harmful side effects, chemicals, or synthetic hormones. Charting is inexpensive too, especially once the system is learned

3.) Learning NFP Lingo
Welcome to NFP, where women and men’s natural bodily function is not a bad, dirty phenomenon. But, yes, you, your trainer, and your significant other must learn to discuss and identity the amazing phenomena of mucus (it’s pretty amazing,) and how it plays into fertility, infertility, and health issues. Yep. I turned red a few times, but I felt an immense sense of peace knowing that God designed my body and called it “good.”

4.) Owning my Cycles
During the course of a women’s cycle, she is mostly INFERTILE; whereas, a man is considered FERTILE. Women can’t conceive any day of the month. Nothing prepared me for the day, I placed the white baby sticker on my Peak day and counted 3 Days Post Peak. For the first time, it hit me. I’m woman. If I was sexually active, I could have a baby. The realization excited and frightened me, but then I realized how few women experience that moment. And how even fewer women experience that moment with their spouse.

5.) Learning Another Love Language
NFP teaches the “multidimensional nature of sexual interaction.” NFP encourages couples to S.P. I.C.E. things up and develop equally important expressions of love. NFP challenges me to be a more loving person.

  • S = Spiritual expressed through praying together or meditation.
  • P = Physical closeness without genital contact.
  • I = Intellectual expressed though sharing a project, book, etc.
  • C = Communicative/Creative expressed through increased written or verbal communication or shared activities.
  • E = Emotional expressed though shared feelings, desires, humor, etc.

6.) Doesn’t Mean . . .
My future spouse is off-the-hook from learning NFP. Having the mutual knowledge, support, and discipline of NFP allows a couple to respect their God-given dignity as man and woman, appreciate their natural reproductive differences, and make prayerful decisions together about family planning. If not, NFP turns into another form of non-hormonal contraception.

7.) Joining a Greater Conversation
I’m no longer a woman on the sidelines waiting for NFP to apply to me, I’m in the middle of the greater conversation about NFP. I have a voice.

To all my single ladies, please, consider exploring NFP for your own knowledge, health, and wellbeing. You are a Daughter of the King!