Convert from condoms

Initially, we were both somewhat nervous and untrusting of the NFP method. I as a woman had been raised believing that anything that didn't include chemicals or physical barriers was "stupid," "foolish," and that "people who use 'so called natural methods' were ‘world-ruining baby machines’." In the circles I was raised in, any natural method was considered to be the same thing as old calendar rhythm methods that rely on the woman having completely regular cycles.

Prior to the wedding, we used condoms (I had heard that pills had a lot of unpleasant side effects and worried that they could cause fertility issues later). My Catholic friends talked at length about the benefits of NFP: how it was much more involved, that it was scientifically backed—relying on bodily signs that can be observed reliably even in women with highly irregular cycles, that we didn’t need to remember to "suit up for sex" or remember to take a dose once a day/week/month, that it was in line with the church's beliefs, and, best of all, when we did want to have a family the method could just as easily be used to help us get pregnant instead of avoiding it! What other method can claim that?

One friend offered the NFP course as a wedding gift in hopes that we would like the method and continue to use it.  At the worst, if the method wasn’t for us we could go back to using condoms or the pill like before our wedding, right?

Well, after taking the course and charting for 6 months before our wedding, we were sold. Within the first cycle, I recognized the trademark signs that showed the transition from the relatively infertile time, to the fertile time, to the completely infertile time. We transitioned from condoms to using NFP by itself on our wedding night, at which point we discovered that the week or two of not being able to have sex during the fertile period (which we had thought we would be frustrated by) actually helped to make the periods when we could have sex more special. We look forward to the return of infertility with joy and anticipation . . . and always have fun the first night that part of the cycle starts!

I have also come to love how in tune with my body I am. . . while other women I know who use contraceptives agonize for a portion of their cycles some months as to if they could be pregnant, I can watch what my body is doing and figure it out much more easily. During a recent doctor visit, the nurse and doctor kept insisting my symptoms were of pregnancy and not an infection. I could look at my chart and say for sure that I wasn't. Sure, this could have been the bleeding that some women experience in pregnancy as the doctors argued, but my temperature pattern just did not reflect this that, so I told them that I was not pregnant and wanted them to focus on the possibility of an infection. I was then treated for the infection and returned to health. Additionally, while taking my antibiotics, I didn't have to worry about if they were lessening the effectiveness of my hormonal contraceptive . . . because I wasn't taking one. At this point, we have no desire or intention at all of ever going back to condoms or switching to an artificial hormonal method.

This isn’t to say that there are zero drawbacks. You do have to be vigilant about getting up and taking the few minutes to check your temperature first thing in the morning, and the other signs when you are in the restroom . . . but you can always go back to bed, and checking your mucus and cervix is a pretty quick process. Sometimes it means that one has to skip the private celebration on special holidays or any time you want to share that bond with one another . . . but then, what is more fun than continuing to celebrate later?

Finally, there are the people who just don't understand and speak ill of your choice. Ultimately, who matters most in your relationship—the naysayers, or you? I think you'll agree with us that as long as you are comfortable and happy with your choice, that's what matters most.  In addition, following the method religiously means you can be living proof about how just how well it actually works!