If you are single, the idea of learning and practicing natural family planning (NFP) may seem a bit pointless. After all, isn't family planning just something for people who are sexually active? Why should someone who is not in a relationship even worry about learning to prevent pregnancy?
In fact, being single may be the best time to learn NFP, for several reasons.
(confused about what NFP is? Read this)
When a woman is first learning to observe her own particular fertility signs, there is usually a season of extra abstinence involved. This can be hard on a newlywed couple, but obviously it is no hardship for a woman who is not sexually active. By learning NFP while she is still single, a woman will be able to confidently apply the guidelines for avoiding pregnancy right away when the time comes.
Of course, pregnancy prevention (or achievement) is not the only reason to learn to chart your cycles. One obvious benefit is monitoring and taking care of one's health. A woman's menstrual cycle can function as a sort of 'alarm system' for the body - if something is wrong, it often shows up on a woman's chart. Reproductive issues such as PCOS, cysts, low progesterone, etc. can become clear, as well as endocrine, thyroid, or nutritional issues. Charting her cycle can give a woman a window into her overall health, and empower her with the information that she needs to get or stay healthy.
But there are other more subtle, yet very important benefits to charting cycles. Learning about her fertility can give a woman a profound self-awareness, as well as an awe and respect for her own body. And of course a woman's cycles affect more than just her body, they can affect her heart, mind and spirit as well. Charting her signs can give a woman a new understanding and connection to who she is and how she was designed. This is a big deal in a society that shuns menstruation, natural hormonal fluctuations, emotional ups and downs, and other inconvenient evidences of femininity.
What if all women had this deep connection with their own bodies? Would it affect the way we view other women? Would it change the way we respond to how others treat us? Would it change the way we treat ourselves?
I argue that fertility awareness can provide the basis for a healthy self-esteem as well as healthy relationships. It also empowers a woman with the confidence of knowing when she is and isn't fertile, should she have need for family planning down the road. And of course, charting her cycle can help a woman stay on top of her health. And these are not bad things for a single woman to posses at all!