An Interview with Simcha Fisher, Author of <em>The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning</em>

Bonnie Engstrom

Bonnie Engstrom

Bonnie Engstrom is a cradle Catholic and stay-at-home mom. She married her dashing husband in 2006 and they now have five children: one in Heaven and four more wandering around their house, probably eating pretzels found under the couch. Bonnie lives in central Illinois and gets excited about baking, music, film adaptations of Jane Austen books, and the Chicago Bears. She was a cofounder of The Behold Conference and she blogs at A Knotted Life.

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14 thoughts on “An Interview with Simcha Fisher, Author of <em>The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning</em>”

  1. Great interview! I am totally going to read this once I finish the very important YA novel I am currently reading.

    The laughing couple with their three kids on the cover of NFP brochures makes me nuts.

  2. Just a clarification– NFP isn’t the ONLY method for spacing kids approved by the Church– Ecological breastfeeding is fine too… it’s just not as universally reliable (But does tend to put kids 2-3 years apart for most women.)

    1. Ecological breastfeeding has always been presented to me as a part of postpartum nfp and I was working under that information but thank you for clarifying.

      1. Most of the people I know who do ecological breastfeeding don’t really consider themselves as NFP users– there’s no charting, periodic abstinence, etc. Usually the people who use it have no compelling reason to space kids— so it’s a ‘if it works, great, if not, whatever… ‘ sort of situation. So, while it can be a part of an NFP couple’s planning, it’s not really NFP….. But it is a handy way to space kids! (Mine all run about 2 years apart with no effort other than the breastfeeding…. but I definitely DON’T use NFP at this point– if we had a health crisis or something, we’d bother. But for now? Totally indifferent…)

      2. Well it’s not a handy way for me to space kids but I’m glad it’s worked for you! 🙂

        It may be splitting hairs, but to me what you’re describing isn’t really a method for spacing kids that would need to be Church approved. That’s like saying, “Well I’m naturally infertile right now and the Church says that it’s okay for me to not get pregnant,” which just seems silly. If we’re using ecological breastfeeding as a method of spacing kids then we would be charting and watching for signs of returning fertility and therefore practicing NFP. If we’re not using a method of spacing kids – just letting whatever happens happen – then we’re just nursing our baby.

        Am I crazy or does this make sense?

      3. I see what you’re saying– but I think, in some sense, it IS a method of spacing, since you’re making a conscious choice to avoid pacifiers, bedshare, etc. I mean, yeah, it’s totally natural (as is NFP) so you might think “Why does it need approval at all?”…but… it is a conscious means of spacing kids, even if you’re not paranoid about it…

        And I have met Catholics who think that the Church actually demands you have kids as close together as possible, so that ‘breastfeeding to space’ is immoral. (I.e. my Grandma…) So I just wanted to clarify that other means of spacing kids are fine too, even if they’re not NFP, as long as they’re not contraceptive! 🙂

      4. I think it’s more that breastfeeding alone would be irresponsible if you had a serious reason to avoid pregnancy, whereas it’s OK for “Hey, I prefer my kids 18 months to 3 years apart because Irish twins would make me nuts…..” BUT ecological breastfeeding does involve certain choices— so it’s not exactly “yeah, whatever.” either….

  3. Those men who impart the sacrament of marriage , I mean the priests, shouldn’t they go to a mandatory course based on this book?
    Wouldn’t this help the priests to better asses the readiness of a couple awaiting to receive the sacrament of marriage ?
    It may help them, the priests, to become more aware of to whom they give the sacrament of marriage. And as a result, they may witness fewer divorces among the couple they offered the sacrament.
    just a thought…..

  4. Slightly off topic, but I am glad you mentioned redemptive suffering.

    Redemptive suffering is something we need to hear about singles too.

    Since the 2010 census, we live in a society that is more single than married, and only 20% of all households are married couples with children.

    There are a lot of long-term single Catholics who just can’t get married no matter what, in large part because our society is so anti-Catholic marriage.

    But just like engaged couples and newlyweds in NFP are told, “it’s great, it’s neat, it’s cool, it’s more reliable than artificial contraception and builds your relationship too,” Catholic singles keep getting told all the time that being single is great and nothing but.

    We are told that being a Catholic single means you get all the no-strings-attached self-gratification that secular society champions for secular singles, only it just isn’t true.

    Being single is also not a vocation just like being a priest or a nun or a parent.

    There is a lot of pain in a missed vocation to marriage, especially as you get older and lonelier.

    But there is redemptive suffering, which has a value, and that is much more encouraging to hear about than baloney about how single is the best possible state in life.

    Single and faithful has its plusses, but like faithful practice of NFP, it is not all ice cream and candy bars. Honesty, integrity, and realism are the best way to teach the Faith.

    Catholic media, are you listening?

  5. Pingback: Some Honesty About NFP « holinessinmotherhood

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