Slowly Learning to Trust in God – Part 1 of coming to appreciate our fertility
In honor of today’s feast of the Holy Family, I decided it would be a good time to introduce the topic of Natural Family Planning (NFP) and how our little family began. Here is the first part of an article written for NFP Awareness Week in 2011 that tells the beginning of our story.
Slowly Learning to Trust in God – Part 1
A Testimony of the Blessing of Natural Family Planning
Growing up, probably like most Catholics, I never really heard about Natural Family Planning (NFP). It wasn’t until going to a Catholic college that I started to hear about NFP and the Church’s teaching against contraception. But even then I got mixed messages of people believing it was too high of a standard for marriage or that it wasn’t very effective and meant that the Church wanted all families to have at least 8 kids. It didn’t surprise me that most couples I knew disregarded the teaching.
That mentality melted away when I was exposed to Pope John Paul II’s revolutionary teaching the Theology of the Body.
The more I delved into this teaching the more I realized that most of the pain around me, especially in the area of relationships and sex was a result of us chasing after counterfeits of God’s truth. I came to understand the language of the body and God’s design that has been stamped into our very beings as men and women. I felt John Paul II was speaking to the deepest part of me as a person and all of the Church teachings regarding marriage and contraception flowed naturally from this newfound perspective.
I come from a family of broken marriages and young single moms. Although one thing that gave me great hope is that my mother was blessed with a second chance and had a loving, respectful, committed second marriage. But I still didn’t feel certain that I was cut out for marriage. Through surprising twists and turns God brought the perfect man for me into my life and together we continued to grow in our understanding of life and love with the guidance of John Paul II’s teachings. Through God’s grace I experienced healing of my past reservations and whole-heartedly entered into the lifelong commitment of a sacramental marriage.
During our engagement we learned the Billings Ovulation Method of NFP and found out it was actually based on a lot of scientific research and highly effective at avoiding a pregnancy. We decided we would use it to postpone a pregnancy for a while. Something that surprised me were my reservations about being a mother. I think it was mostly because growing up it had been pounded into me by the wounded women in my life that no matter what I did, I just better not get pregnant too young. Even though by the time I was married I was 26 and had a good job, I couldn’t shake the feeling that children were a burden I wanted to put off carrying, if at all. After so many years of fearing pregnancy, it didn’t just go away because I was married.
It was only through living out the one flesh union that is so beautifully described in the Theology of the Body and the loving support of my husband, Chris, that I began to get a glimpse at the wonder of becoming co-creators with God. I began to experience a oneness with Chris, not only physically, but in every sense of the word to the point that I began to understand as never before the oneness of the Father and Son and their fruitful love that brings forth the Holy Spirit. After only a few months I could feel a deep longing for that same fruitful oneness and the miracle of bringing forth a new life from our love. It felt natural. Although I still had plenty of reservations about motherhood, I knew I was called to be a mother and soon after that we used our knowledge of our fertility to achieve a pregnancy.
Want to learn more about NFP? Check out the US Catholic Bishop’s NFP Page