Birth Control: why I ditched the hormones and embraced NFP

Before I got married, I went to the gynecologist to get my first prescription for some birth control pills. Even though I was Catholic, it just seemed like it was the thing everyone automatically does. However, a few months before my wedding, I got curious about natural family planning and decided to take a few courses in it. Just so I at least knew what I was turning down.
I must admit, it did seem pretty overwhelming and a hassle for my first few classes. It involved a lot of charting and knowing how your body works. But then I paused and thought a moment. Despite all that extensive sex ed throughout my school days, I had no idea how my own fertility worked! I didn’t know what days I could conceive, I had no idea when I ovulated, and I barely noticed what my body did on a monthly basis. It was blowing my mind how much I was learning about basic female function that had been completely ignored in my primary education.
Then, I started learning more about the pill and the other forms of hormonal contraception, and it just didn’t appeal to me at all. I mean, if I don’t like synthetic hormones in my food, why would I want to be ingesting them daily through birth control? And it elevates your risk for breast cancer? And it just sounded like a pain to have to go to the OBGYN every so many months to get injected or have something shoved up my ….. well, you get the idea.
So I decided to make the commitment to use NFP. Luckily, my husband was very supportive, because he is awesome like that. That is why I married him. And we have never turned back after four years of marriage.
There are several different methods of NFP. They all involve knowing exactly when the woman is fertile and abstaining from sex on those days, which usually lasts about 5-10 days, depending on what kind of cycle the woman is having that month. Or, you can have sex those days if you are planning on having a baby, and you tend to get pregnant WAY sooner than if you are just winging it.
We started with the Marquette method when we first got married, which worked perfectly (with the exception of one slip up that I can only blame on us being newlyweds and throwing caution to the wind). But, Marquette was too difficult for me to use once I started breastfeeding, so we switched to the Creighton Method, which I like a whole lot better.
Common myths about NFP:
1) It is ineffective. False! Its effectiveness depends entirely on you. Instead of you medicating yourself and just hoping you’re not part of that 1-15% that gets pregnant on birth control anyway, you know if you had sex during one of your fertile days that a baby is a definite possibility. And if you do get pregnant, you don’t have to worry about that increased risk of ectopic pregnancy that comes with certain methods of contraception.
2) It is just for crazy Catholics. There has been a huge amount of NFP users in the more crunchy crowd in an effort to reduce their hormone intake and lead more natural lives. And it is great for breastfeeding mamas who are trying to keep their diet as wholesome for baby as possible. Also, a lot of women are finding that hormonal birth control makes them feel ill and want an alternative. It is also helpful for couples that have had some difficulties trying to conceive, and want to find out for sure if they are doing everything right before they spend all that money on fertility treatments.
I always think it is hilarious that people think that couples who use NFP and have lots of children is proof that it doesn’t work. Because who would have lots of children on purpose?! Well, we would. But if you aren’t super into kids right now, that is ok too. NFP will still work for you, with a little bit of self control, and a whole lot more communication and appreciation for the amazing things your body can do.



About sylcell

Wife, mom of four girls, Catholic, insatiable sweet tooth
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9 Responses to Birth Control: why I ditched the hormones and embraced NFP

  1. M says:

    Hi! I love your posts! I just found out that I am pregnant with baby number 3, each will be about 15 months apart. I was wondering if you could do a post on how you manage with 3 under 3? I am terrified! Thank you. Xo.


  2. B says:

    Hi! I just found out that I am pregnant with number 3! Mine will all be about 15 months apart. Do you have any pointers on how to survive 3 under 3?? I’m terrified. Xo.


    • sylcell says:

      Yeesh, a blog post about that has been in the works for a month now. Sorry about that, I’ll get it up tonight. Don’t fret, it can be done! And CONGRATS ON YOUR THIRD!! So exciting 🙂


  3. charybdis27 says:

    I totally have embraced the NFP method! It is ironic because I am Catholic and one of my more religious cousins gave me info about it when I got married, and I was like “whatever, dude, BC for life!” When we did start trying for a baby, I dropped 10 POUNDS just stopping the hormonal BC and got my libido back. Good bye forever, BC! A little legwork in checking cervical mucus and tracking cycles with an app goes a long way. It worked for conceiving my toddler and it’s worked to wait until we are ready for the next baby. Thanks for sharing!


  4. Yay! I do NFP as well! LOVE IT. I was on birth control for about 2 years in college because “everyone needs birth control in college” and I found out I was allergenic to it. My legs swelled up and I had a ton of complications. So no more birth control. I met my husband 4 years later and we tried “condoms” but my husband (a virgin when we married) HATED them. So now we just do NFP and we both love it 🙂


  5. I couldn’t find much online about the Marquette method in my initial search. I’d like to know more about it.


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