I’m not here today to argue the Catholic Church’s stance on contraception. I’m not here tell a story about my personal relationship with Natural Family Planning. Today, I’m going to make a brief PSA about how you, yes you, random Catholic blog reader should learn NFP, right now, today.
I’m a young single woman with no current marriage prospects who’s studying / working/ living life.
GREAT! Learn NFP.
We’re a newly engaged couple who can’t wait to start having children! We might even be marrying late in life so we’re hoping to make up for lost time.
GREAT! Learn NFP.
We’re a happily married couple with two or three kids we easily spaced with breast-feeding and we want more.
GREAT! Learn NFP.
Better yet, read up on NFP, Creighton, Marquette and any other similar method and then start really studying the one that works best for you. Talk to your fiancée or spouse, and get them on board with learning NFP now, and if they won’t get on board pray for them, and keep learning yourself.
Because here’s the thing, life rarely ever works out the way we plan. A big, beautiful Catholic family is not guaranteed anyone, no matter how devout. You may never need to try to space your children. You may staunchly believe right this very minute, that there are no grave enough circumstances that could make you refrain from the martial embrace. But then,
You may need chemotherapy for several months to tackle cancer.
You may develop a chronic health condition that can only be managed through drugs hazardous to a developing baby.
You may have multiple children close together and find yourself at the end of your rope on a daily basis.
And on the flip side, you may not get that honeymoon baby, or any baby for months or years.
Learn NFP NOW, so during a medical emergency you’re not trying to learn charting and what the hell basal temperature is while managing another unfamiliar condition.
Learn NFP NOW, so you’re not trying to figure out your bodies signs while nursing and getting up several times a night with a newborn.
Learn NFP NOW, so you might be able to pick up inconsistencies in your cycle that could signify a hindrance to conception early, rather than after months of unsuccessful attempts.
I don’t know any couple that regrets learning NFP early on in their engagement or marriage, but I know lots of families struggling to play catch up when the unexpected strikes. If nothing else, have a conversation about NFP NOW. You might be surprised at what your spouse considers grave circumstances or reason for abstaining. Talk to a good and holy priest NOW if you’re not on the same page. Yes, it’s not fun and it may be awkward but gain that knowledge now, now, NOW before something suddenly drives a wedge between you and your spouse and puts a strain you never expected on an otherwise happy marriage.
Learn NFP NOW so even if you never feel the need to apply your knowledge you may understand a bit of the struggle another couple may be going through. Pray for them and never judge their motivations or intents. Don’t assume NFP is easy for anyone. No one needs to share their grave circumstances for the world to see and validate. The most private part of the marriage sacrament is not fodder for a blog combox or discussion thread.
Learn NFP NOW so if you’re faced with those grave circumstances, you have a support network to turn to with questions and to privately share your struggles.
Learn NFP NOW.