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Friday, March 24, 2006

No news is...

... well, just frustrating. But, alas, no news yet.

So I'll take a little side trip down NFP lane just to keep from being too utterly quiet on the subject.

We've probably all heard the arguments against the pill and other chemical birth control. To a lesser degree, we've heard the arguments against the condom and other barrier methods. The progesterone only methods are not contraceptive but almost entirely abortifacient, a fact that few providers bother to mention to their patients. The combination pill, abortifacient to a lesser degree, brings with it risks of breast cancer, blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, and high blood pressure. The barrier methods reduce the intimacy of the marital act, to say the least.

But one argument I rarely hear is about how artificial birth control affects us psychologically. NFP gets referred to by its detractors as a craps shoot, because everyone knows someone who had a relative who had a neighbor who used NFP and got pregnant. What they don't know is how many, like me, practiced NFP till one day they didn't.

My baby isn't the result of losing at the craps table. My baby is the result of my love for my husband being stronger than my desire to avoid pregnancy. And that is an effect you rarely get with other methods of pregnancy and birth prevention.

You see, when an NFP couple decides to "take a chance," they know full well what the "risk" is. When a woman is fertile, and they decide to have relations, they are opening themselves to life; and this can happen any month. Unlike chemicals, and even barriers, NFP never becomes a habit, something that is automatically done. Each and every time a couple must make an individual decision about whether to open up the possibility of conception. There is no overcoming the unthinking habit of using a condom or a sponge, and there is no need to wait for chemicals to clear out of the body. Each time a couple makes their decision, they have full free choice, unhindered by the hurdles that artificial birth control put in the way.

This is how it is that someone like me, at age 39, already in early stages of perimenopause, and in not very good shape for another baby, can practice NFP and then suddenly find herself expecting, without NFP having "failed."

So the next time you hear about a case of NFP "failure," take a moment to appreciate the possibility that, rather than failing, NFP simply offered the couple the chance to change their minds because love overcame their inhibitions.