Busting myths about NFP

You might think that, unless you are a crunchy granola 20-something who chants to the moon or a devout middle-aged mama with 12 babies, Natural Family Planning (NFP) isn’t for you. Not true. There are many damaging lies and misconceptions floating around about NFP. Let’s bust some myths!

MYTH #1:
NFP is Only For Married People

Fact: The earlier you learn about NFP, the better. Charting is an important part of NFP. When you chart, you are recording the fertility signs that you observe about your body each day. In this way, your chart is your biological diary. Constant connection with your body not only teaches you information you deserve to know, but also empowers you to form a healthier relationship with your body.

When I learned to chart, I was amazed by what my body does without my help, and even more amazed that I could tune into what was happening. These positive feelings about our bodies begin to chip away at the negative ones that burden us. Charting also may help you diagnose a health issue (such as endometriosis), and the earlier you catch it, the sooner doctors will be able to help you heal. No fear if you have not yet begun to chart; it’s never too late. The resource list at the end of this article will help you get started.

MYTH #2:
NFP is an Ineffective Way to Avoid Pregnancy

Fact: Many methods of NFP are just as effective, or even more effective, than birth control. Don’t be fooled by the CDC’s inaccurate reports of effectiveness rates based on out-of-date studies. According to FACTS (a collaborative that educates healthcare professionals using medical evidence), with typical use, the effectiveness of NFP methods ranges from 85.8% to 98.4%, based on high-quality studies.

MYTH # 3:
NFP is Only For Catholics

Fact: While NFP is fully in line with Catholic teaching, it’s not only for Catholics. Your body doesn’t change how it operates based on your religion! All women benefit from learning about their fertility. Presenting NFP as a predominantly Catholic lifestyle excludes many people who would love to learn about it. The growing movement to spread NFP is about empowering all women to learn about their bodies.

MYTH #4:
NFP is Birth Control

Please check out these awesome resources
Body Language
FACTS (Fertility Appreciation
Natural Womanhood
The Guiding Star Project
Teen Star International
Pope Paul VI Institute
(NaPro Technology)
Fertility Care (Creighton Method)
Couple to Couple League
(Sympto-Thermal Method)
Billings Ovulation Method
Marquette Method

Fact: When you get married, using your fertility knowledge to avoid or achieve pregnancy is important. The Church teaches, “[i]f … there are well-grounded reasons for spacing births, arising from the physical or psychological condition of husband or wife, or from external circumstances … married people may then take advantage of the natural cycles immanent in the reproductive system and engage in marital intercourse only during those times that are infertile, thus controlling birth” (Humanae Vitae, 16).

Society’s message is clear: to empower yourself, change yourself. Since the sexual revolution, women have been waging war on our bodies because we have been taught that it is the only way to achieve and maintain the bodies we want. One of the most powerful ways women engage in this battle is by using contraception. NFP sends us a different message: empower yourself by knowing yourself. Our fertility is not something external to us that we must manipulate or defeat—it is a part of who we are.

Myths busted…now what?

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” St. Catherine of Siena’s beautiful words apply to how we view our bodies: her message assures us that God has already given us everything we need. Our bodies are enough! We are created perfectly to be the saints God can’t wait for us to
become. Get to know your body!
Get to know yourself!

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