Notice I didn't say 'everyone'. There will always be someone who plain just doesn't like natural family planning, for whatever reason. Maybe they can't get their spouse on board. Maybe they dislike paying attention to their body. Maybe they simply aren't interested, and that's okay.
However, NFP can be for anyone. The ability to plan your family by charting your cycle and modifying behavior is not limited to a select few. I hear people say they don't think they can use NFP because:
They aren't Catholic.
They aren't 'crunchy'.
They are too lazy.
They are too busy.
They have irregular cycles (or no cycles!)
They are breastfeeding.
They really really don't want to get pregnant.
If any of this sounds familiar, you might be interested to know that natural family planning can absolutely work for you, and you may even surprised at how well it fits into your lifestyle.
Let me address some of these right off the bat.
I'm not Catholic! That's okay, I'm not either. The Catholic Church does a fantastic job educating on NFP, but it's not a 'Catholic' thing. It's a science thing. And while the practice of NFP beautifully compliments many spiritual traditions, it is not, in and of itself, 'religious'.
I'm not a hippy. That's cool. While the clean living, healthy, safe, eco-friendliness of NFP does appeal greatly to those trying to live a healthier and more ecologically responsible life, it's definitely not a prerequisite for NFP use.
I don't have time. Really? You don't have an extra two minutes in your day? Because that's all the time it takes to observe and record your fertility signs on a chart. Some people can even do it in less time.
I have an irregular period. The Rhythm Method would never work for me. I agree, it wouldn't. Good thing NFP isn't the Rhythm Method. NFP is based on observing your body's actual physical signs in real time, not relying on knowledge of previous cycles. When your hormones change, indicating the start or end of your fertile window, you'll know. This is true if you have 28 day cycles, 53 day cycles, or if you've never had a predictable period in your life.
But I'm nursing a baby right now. Congratulations! Similar to the answer above, NFP will actually tell you when your fertility is returning postpartum, whether is 6 weeks, 6 months or 2 years after baby. You won't be caught by surprise!
That's all well and good for people who are just spacing out their kids. But I absolutely can't get pregnant. EVER. So I can't risk using NFP. If you are truly adamant about avoiding pregnancy, choosing a method of family planning is understandably stressful. But the idea that hormonal birth control is fool proof is a dangerous one. No method of birth control is 100% effective except for, you guessed it, abstinence. However, NFP effectiveness rates are comparable to popular artificial birth control methods on the market (over 99%), so you don't need to feel like using NFP is settling for a 'less safe' choice.
NFP certainly doesn't appeal to everyone. But chances are that if you want to use it, you can. While there is a little bit of a learning curve, it's really not difficult. And with a little bit of time and effort, learning NFP can give you skills to use throughout your reproductive life.
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos/kongsky