Sunday, May 6, 2012
NFP =\= NFL Team-sized Families
Here's a blog I contribute to on occasion. This article is about a doctor changing from prescribing contraceptives to a NFP-only practice. As usual I have made my own comments and emphasis. I post this here on my breast cancer blog because my diagnosis challenged my faith in NFP, but also further cemented the foundation I had in NFP. From my words and experience, I hope more women out there can learn about their bodies through NFP and avoid unnecessary cancers that artificial birth control increase. Using NFP does NOT mean a couple *wants* a bunch of children. Neither does it mean that a couple will *have* a bunch of children. Instead NFP gives us an understanding of how women's bodies work and the ability to work *with* God and our bodies, not against ('contra' in 'contraception' means against) God and our bodies. The only requirement for NFP is that you would accept another child as a gift from God, even if you felt like it was a curse. Openness to life doesn't mean that you want to create a whole bunch more lives; it just means that if that is what God gives you, you'll accept. I completely understand the fear of another pregnancy/child. I was terrified when I conceived my daughter (my last of 6 pregnancies). The pregnancy prior to hers almost killed me when my mmiscarriage lead to excessive bleeding. To be honest, I never really got excited about that pregnancy. Once the terror of the first 12 miscarriage-prone weeks were behind us, we had the terror of a breast cancer diagnosis looming ahead of us. Once I was diagnosed, I seriously asked God to just let me miscarry (I'm so sorry, Rachel) so I wouldn't have to make any hard choices (die without treatment to save my baby or kill my baby to save my life). I felt this way even though I had suffered through 4 previous miscarriages, that, at best, left me hollow and depressed, and, at worst, almost cost me my life. Thankfully, instead of answering my prayer the way I thought I wanted, God directed me to MD Anderson where I could be a part of a program that had been saving the lives of breast-cancer stricken pregnant mothers for 20 years!After I delivered my little girl, I was under strict orders to avoid conception for at least 2 years. I had one nurse-practitioner repeatedly call my judgement into question and try every method she knew to get my husband and me to use artificial birth control. Even though I was scared to death, I remained firm in my decision to use NFP and only NFP to avoid pregnancy. My husband and I were definitely afraid that we would fail in our attempt to TTA. However, by then we had come so far in our marriage and trust in God, that we kept to the narrow road of *very* conservative NFP for TTA. It was difficult, I won't deny that! Yet, we survived and our marriage is definitely stronger now than it was prior to my diagnosis. I don't think any of the Sistas thinks that every couple is called to having bunches of children. I don't think any of the Sistas thinks that practicing NFP to TTA should be avoided at all costs. On the contrary, most of the Sistas have used NFP successfully to TTA at one point or another. Some were ambivalent (like myhusbamd and I) during their TTA cycles, so they failed to avoid (NFP didn't fail, their decision changed). If you and your husband decide that TTA is the choice you should make, feel confident that by using NFP (in any way) you are respecting God's design for marriage. Pray for peace, understanding, love, and grace from God to help you with your discernment and mostly the implementation of your NFP. Together, you, your husband, and God, can and will give you only what you can handle. Grow closer as a couple and as God's children through your journey of avoiding pregnancy. It is possible, since all things are possible with God. Just remember to keep God close to your heart and soul; He'll take care of you! Peace and prayers!