I’m Single and I Use NFP

It was a few years ago when my interest in Natural Family Planning (NFP) was sparked. I was intrigued by the concept of truly understanding your body and its happenings while also being able to identify fertility markers.

But as much as I thought it all sounded interesting, I never imagined that I’d dive into that world until I was close to marriage.

After all, it seems like everyone learning NFP is over here like:

fertilitycarecentersofamerica - Edited

And I’m here all:

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That all changed when I attended the Vita Institute.

For anyone unfamiliar with the Vita Institute, it’s an intensive interdisciplinary training program for leaders in the national and international pro-life movement. A program of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, the Vita Institute was one of the most incredible weeks of my life. Not only was the educational material top-notch, but the community fostered between myself and the other participants is unmatched.

When I attended in June 2014, one of our lectures was given by Suzy Younger, MS, FCP of the St. Joseph FertilityCare Center. Suzy’s lecture was one of my favorites. The way in which she spoke of NFP as a key to understanding the mystery of the female body hooked me.

Following that lecture, I decided that I needed to learn how to chart via Creighton. I know a bit about most NFP models, but Creighton was the one that has come most highly recommended from friends and family.

And so, in February of 2015, I began to meet with a Fertility Care Practitioner (FCP) to learn the Creighton Model FertilityCare System. I’ve been charting for about 5 months now and wow. So cool.

My reasons for learning Creighton stemmed from past complications in my cycle and the desire to learn more about my fertility. When I was in college, my doctor decided to put me on the pill because my irregular cycles were due to a lack of ovulation. Yet, the pill suppresses ovulation. Hormonal birth control is often prescribed to “fix” a problem, when it actually just masks it without digging to the cause.

Additionally, I know many couples who had a quick engagement and between preparing for marriage, planning a wedding, etc., they also threw learning NFP into the mix. More often than not, I’ve seen friends either stressed by the pressure to learn NFP in a short amount of time, or neglect their instruction amidst the buzz of planning.

Basically, I don’t want to do that. I have no idea when marriage will become a reality in my life, and I also have no idea if my future husband and I will have grave reasons for avoiding pregnancy. Regardless, I intend to enter into marriage as prepared as possible. I desire to be equally spiritually, emotionally, and fertility-y prepared for marriage.

So, this is for any single lady who’s been thinking about learning an NFP method, or anyone who thought that NFP was only for married people. I’ve been in both camps and I want to make a few points.

1. Reading about NFP methods online and from friends is not sufficient for effective use.

I have friends, married and single alike, who haven’t been formally trained in any particular NFP method, but “get by” with borrowed materials from friends and/or online research. From my experience, you will never be able to fully learn any NFP method without formal instruction. I went into my first appointment with my FCP thinking that this would all be a piece of cake. But several follow-ups later, I am convinced that having a practitioner who gives me, my chart, and my questions individualized attention is much better than any Google search.

Do yourself a favor and seek out an instructor before teaching yourself a wonky version of NFP.

2. It IS NOT unethical for unmarried women to learn NFP.

This question was asked in a Facebook group for unmarried ladies who are interested in NFP. Considering that NFP is often misjudged as “natural birth control”, I can understand the worry that using NFP will only encourage promiscuity.

But truly, all NFP methods are focused on learning the unique rhythm of each woman’s body. While you are taught how to identify days of fertility and infertility, NFP is NOT natural birth control. Creighton, in particular, is taught in a way that is cognizant of the human person as mind, body, and soul. NFP sees fertility as a part of health, not a disease to be fixed. Learning NFP can also help to identify biomarkers of abnormalities, which are useful for any woman.

3. Learning NFP is worth the investment.

I’m not familiar with what cost is associated with learning NFP methods other than Creighton, but I’m sure there’s something. It’s my understanding that each instructor is responsible for setting their rates, but I could be wrong. Additionally, I’ve heard multiple instructors say that they never turn away someone because they can’t afford the session fees.

As a single lady trying to live my life off of one income, the price tag attached to learning Creighton was daunting at first. But ultimately, I know that whatever I need to pay to learn Creighton is an investment in knowledge for the rest of my life. After your first year of instruction, follow-ups are more spread out and the majority of the cost comes from materials (once every 6 months).

Additionally, depending on your health care plan, you may be able to get reimbursement for out-of-pocket charges through a flex-spending account or the like. Look into how you can make this work! Giving up Starbucks twice a week would cover my follow-up fees, and isn’t that worth a lifetime of knowledge?!

4. Why wait to learn something that you can implement today?

Sure, NFP is an awesome tool to be utilized within marriage for family planning. However, there is so much more to learning NFP than just knowing when you could make a baby.

Through the observation you’re taught, hormonal imbalances, issues like PCOS or endometriosis, and more is able to be detected. In this information-obsessed society, it seems natural that women would want to know as much as possible about their own bodies as possible. For me, I was interested in learning Creighton so that I can detect potential fertility issues now rather than down the road whenever marriage comes into play.

5. The human body is AWESOME.

How incredible is it that without any high-tech tools, I can monitor where I am in my cycle and my current fertility? Like, talk about being a crunchy hippie. I’m serious about my faith and chastity, but it’s still fascinating to know on certain days: “Huh, my body could maybe make a baby today.”

Just by learning how to make observations and evaluate them, you can take charge of your fertility. NFP gives patients the chance to have a hand in understanding and tracking their health, something that most modern medicine cannot say.

I encourage anyone who’s even remotely interested in learning more about NFP and how to begin learning to check out some of the resources below. And if I didn’t convince you to dig deeper, maybe Kelly can.

Creighton Model

Billings Ovulation Model

Sympto-Thermal Method

Marquette Model

Originally posted at Follow and Believe

10 thoughts on “I’m Single and I Use NFP”

  1. Avatar
    Biking in a skirt

    I’m not Catholic and have no problem with other nonviolent methods of contraception, but I bought the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility and learned their symptothermal Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) while I was celibate and dating.

    My goals were to learn more about my body, to verify that my fertility patterns were normal, and to see whether FAM was a method of birth control I might prefer once I got married and became sexually active. It worked beautifully for all of those goals. I’m glad to hear someone else talking about that.

    I did try hormonal birth control for a few months in our first year of marriage, but had so many bad side effects that I had to discontinue it. I was glad to be practiced with FAM so I could transition back to that without worrying about making novice mistakes while dealing with live ammunition. 🙂

    I enjoy charting and feel so much better off the hormones. And there’s nothing like familiarity with your own body.

    1. Avatar

      Can I just say that I love your username (biking in a skirt)?? I wear skirts or dresses 99.9% of the time, and I’m all about biking (and hiking) in skirts.
      Also, thank you for sharing about your experience with FAM! Catholics seem to talk about NFP/FAM quite a bit, in your non-Catholic circles, do many people talk about it?

      I think that’s SO COOL that you learned it. I’m a Symptothermal girl myself, and I completely agree with you–it is so nice being familiar with my own body, and actually knowing (or having a good idea) of what’s going on with me and why certain things happen throughout the month.

  2. Avatar

    I agree, everyone should have access to the beauty of NFP. This leads to marriage just as contraceptives led to promiscuity and the breakdown of it. Evangelisation and the teaching of NFP are very compatible.
    Children should be taught NFP from the age of 13. Girls should be charting competently by the time they are two years into their menses. They may not want to chart as thoroughly because they will not be using it but they need to learn how it all works so should spend a minimum of 6 months to a year where they do chart. Perhaps classes should be called fertility knowledge and health. If Catholic schools and other schools do teach this PP would go out of business. SS relationships obviously will not be on a parr with the potentially fertile hetero relationships when we bring fertility into the subject. This means our Holy church can teach her message and she can do the government classes as the government dictate. Everyone will learn about authentic marriage and the lies and nonsense will be laughed at.
    Contracepting makes a marriage sterile, there is a greatly decreased difference to a SS marriage when it is used. Our potential for fertilty and periodic abstinence really make a strong contrast between ss and authentic marriage.

  3. Avatar

    I disagree with your point about instruction. You can learn NFP just fine if you have a good book. My favorite is Taking Charge of Your Fertility, which is very exhaustive.

    And thank goodness, because when I needed to learn NFP, I did not need to blow hundreds of dollars on a class. 🙂

  4. Avatar

    I am surprised that the author did not mention The Ovulation Method as taught by Family of the Americas. This is the most widely used natural method in the world. The book “Love & Fertility” by Mercedes Arzu Wilson is already in 23 languages, primarily because it is simple to learn and easy to follow. Check it out.

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