NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING
by Laura Haber, BS, FCP
In our last issue we talked about the dangers of the birth control pill and promised a healthy alternative that is just as effective. Natural Family Planning has been around since the beginning of time. You can find it in the book of Leviticus 15: 19-29, written between 900 and 800 BC. Natural Family Planning can instill the true meaning of life, liberty and happiness, but also inform those who wish to understand their bodies in a more natural state, those who suffer from infertility, and those who are looking for an alternative to harmful contraceptive methods.
Western culture as it enters the 21st century faces a wide spectrum of alarming social problems before it; the disintegration of the family as evidenced by ever-increasing divorce rates, family violence, sexually transmitted diseases, induced abortion, out-of-wedlock pregnancies (in spite of wide-spread contraceptive and abortion practices), sexual and physical child abuse, alcohol and drug addiction and teen suicide. These very real social issues are breaking down the very core of humanity.
Natural Family Planning focuses on the total person perspective, bringing the attention back to where it should be: on the family, self education and body awareness. NFP educates women and couples about their bodies and the way in which we are designed and work. We are made to procreate, as we are also created to love and be loved, not only in the physical sense but also in the emotional and marital sense. Natural Family Planning highlights and emphasizes this very fact. The couple comes together and begins to understand how their bodies work separately and together.
When young girls embrace the art of Natural Family Planning, they harbor a respect for the body and the reality that “sex” has more to it than just the physical act. They begin to look at the world around them in a whole new light and begin to ask more of themselves when it comes to relationships with the opposite sex. Because they understand the consequences of what can happen, more and more young girls who embrace Natural Family Planning are abstaining, and if they are sexually active, stopping.
The value of life is highlighted with Natural Family Planning. Every child is a wanted and loved child as there are no surprises with Natural Family Planning when the correct program is used with the aid of a knowledgeable Instructor or Practitioner, which in turn creates a decline in abortions.
When we are born, we are in our most natural state. Why on earth would we deviate from the natural when most of the “products” advertised for us are so unnatural? Simple – convenience! Natural Family Planning is natural and simple. This is the most natural means to regulate family size as well as manage health issues for women. Somewhere along the line we have lost the ability and even the drive to understand ourselves and how we work. We have turned to doctors and pharmacies to ease our pain, space our children, and even give us our children.
With the use of a natural method, the couple relies on the body’s reliable bio markers to determine when the time of fertility is approaching and has passed. For those who suffer from medical issues, known, unknown, or infertility, these bio markers are the cornerstone to identification, treatment and a possible cure. Many NFP users who suffered from unexplained infertility have found their answer and have gone on to have happy, healthy children.
There are many reasons to choose a natural means to regulate fertility over using hormonal contraceptives and devices. Foremost, any hormonal contraceptives (chemical) and all IUD’s are abortifacients. The birth control pill has three ways in which it prevents a pregnancy; the first is to stop ovulation, but numerous cases have cited that this is not effective since the doses of estrogen in the pill had to be cut back due to the high incidence of breast cancer reported, and ovulation can and in some cases, does still occur. The second step is to alter the state of the cervical mucus to inhibit sperm transportation. The third and final step in chemical birth control pills to avoid pregnancy is to alter the lining of the uterus, thus preventing a fertilized egg (a new human life) from implanting and growing. The IUD’s real action mechanism is to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg as well.
Natural Family Planning evokes self mastery as the woman grows to understand her body and use the times of fertility to achieve pregnancies and the times of infertility to avoid pregnancies. There are no surprises. Contraceptives provide the couple with a false sense of security and the false notion that there is no need to be selective, to wait for the right person and to abstain before marriage. Couples who use NFP have a much lower divorce rate than those who use nothing or contracept; there is better communication, they respect the truth of sexuality; and, the language of the body and become cooperators and co-creators with God.
Natural Family Planning boasts many benefits, all of which are backed by scientific and medical research. The effectiveness of NFP versus chemical methods of contraception is comparable, each having a method effectiveness of 98% and a use effectiveness of 95%. The only question remaining, with all the clear statistics, is why would someone go against natural law, God, and their very own body to ingest chemicals simply for the sake of convenience when there is a better, more natural approach?
(LauraHaber has a BS in Human Services and is a Fertility Care Practitioner. She lives in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia and teaches classes on Natural Family Planning.)