We have yet another fabulous guest poster today. Hilary shares her story of how she first learned about NFP and how that impacted her first decision to use it.
I remember when I first heard about NFP. I was at a friend’s house and her parents were leaving to go teach some class. I was in high school at the time and though I knew very little about Natural Family Planning even after the quick explanation they gave me, that moment started a change in me. I had no idea at the time but they planted a seed in me that would change the way I thought about marriage and about sex.
Let’s talk a little bit about my young adult life. My parents were very clear with me that sex belonged in marriage only. It wasn’t something to be talked about. It was private. My dad didn’t even like us calling non-alcoholic beverages “virgin” if that tells you anything! Well, I think they were mostly right. But in high school and later in college, it seemed like the opposite existed. None of my friends were married and the majority of them were having sex. And let’s be real, everyone talked about it. It was the opposite of private. It was practically public knowledge.
It just didn’t seem right. I couldn’t put my finger on it but I knew that wasn’t what I wanted for myself. I had taken the Pill twice, once for acne and once to “regulate.” Even though I was not sexually active and really didn’t have plans to, I have to be honest the thought did cross my mind that IF I had sex I would be ok because I wouldn’t get pregnant. Thankfully these thoughts didn’t last long. It was time to find answers.
While everyone else had their noses in a Harry Potter or Twilight book, I was reading books on what it means to be woman and healthy relationships. (Disclaimer: I totally jumped on the Twilight bandwagon.) My friends had a good laugh over that one since at the time I wasn’t in a relationship at all. But I found myself empowered. I learned that all the things the world was telling me about my body was not true. I had worth and men had worth too. I learned how to love myself as I was. I didn’t need to dress provocatively to attract a guy. I found that if I respected myself, others would respect me. We were meant to live for so much more than what the world has been letting on.
Boom! Relationship! So after my little soul searching my freshman year of college I met this guy. He was nice. I think at one time I described him to my friends as “too nice.” He was really just a friend at first but it quickly turned into something more. I remember a quote I saw once that said “talk about things you can’t see.” The more we talked the more I learned who he was and I fell in love.
Our two best friends got engaged about a year before we did and I remember in that time during their engagement that they would talk about NFP. It was probably the first time I had really heard much about it since I was a high schooler hanging out at my friends house. I was really curious about it. I kind of knew the basic principle of it but no details. The bride-and-groom-to-be filled us in on all the mucus and charting and boy was I excited….
… And by excited I mean terrified.We had talked about getting married and having kids somewhere down the road but how we would plan them had not been a huge topic of conversation and I really wasn’t sure how he was going to feel about it. I knew he did not like the idea of the Pill but ugh, would he really be ok with talking about my cervical mucus and fertility?
The answer to that question was, yes.
Natural Family Planning has been a huge blessing in our married lives. We started keeping track 9 months before our wedding and really got a feel for how it worked so that we would be comfortable with it by the time we said, “I do.” I observed. He charted. We have been using NFP as a way to prevent pregnancy for now but we are confident that with NFP we will be able to plan when to achieve a pregnancy, no problem.
Some people, like my dad, say it should be private. That it isn’t something to be talked about. Even now I am conflicted with whether or not I completely agree with that. Yes, my personal relationship with my spouse is private. It is sacred. It is between us and us only.
However, I believe the joys of Natural Family Planning are something to be shared. I don’t know how I would have felt about it if I hadn’t heard about it from a high school friend’s parents and years later from another awesome couple. I think people need to know that we aren’t a bunch of haggard, seemingly-older-than-we-actually-are women that will probably be birthing babes ‘til our forties. Too many people assume that to have a happy healthy marriage and a successful career you have to “protect yourself.” How will the world ever know that there is another way if no one tells them? We can’t rely on television. We can’t rely on Fifty Shades of Grey. But maybe we can rely on word of mouth. (Or word of blogging?)
So, in a non-preachy and honest way I think our stories need to be told. We all have them. Whether your story is huge and life-changing or really just a small revelation that you stumbled upon by accident, someone might need to hear it.