All natural, together
For those who keep themselves open to life, there is Natural Family Planning (NFP). NFP is a method of monitoring a woman’s natural fertility cycle to discern ovulation and identify periods when conception is likely and unlikely to occur. It’s pretty easy actually.
There are many positive things about NFP.
1) It’s natural in the earthy, outdoorsy sense. This tickles the hippie turned earth-mother in me. NFP doesn’t require ingestion of any artificial hormones to trick the body. NFP respects a woman’s health and bodily integrity. It’s green. It’s organic. And the hormonal birth control pill is ranked by the World Health Organization as a carcinogen in the same category as smoking tobacco. NFP helps women stay in tune with their bodies. That is also useful for noticing reproductive health issues.
2) Couples who use NFP have to communicate and stay on the same page. NFP respects a woman’s natural fertility and requires honest and open communication between husband and wife. Women are not just sexually available to men all the time. With fertility always a possibility, husbands and wives treat each other as full persons with the potential to create life in every act. There must be profound trust and respect. (Obviously, many couples respect each other and communicate without NFP. The point is just that NFP is a boon to respect and communication, not a hindrance).
3) It works! Continue reading
To say that this topic is controversial is a misnomer because it’s already settled in the minds of almost everyone. I’m well aware that most women of child-bearing age use some form of it. So comments that I am crazy, backwards and out-of-my-mind are not unexpected. Nevertheless, my husband and I live this insane, counter-cultural lifestyle choice, and so do a lot of people. It’s also something the Catholic Church gets pounded on, so I will attempt to explain our basic reasoning. Please note, this is not a condemnation of persons who use contraception. Perhaps, this will give an open reader an invitation to reconsider the issue.
One, we start with reality as existent and normative. That means that the real things in the world matter and have moral consequences. We are human, and so that means certain things are good for us and certain things aren’t. It means we are truly male and female, not just asexual spirits happening to inhabit bodies.
The first problem we find with contraception is that it blocks nature. (Nature, before everyone goes nuts, has two senses: 1) the natural world, as in plants, mountains, things that grow without man’s intervention. 2) the internal principal of growth within a living thing. This is what we mean when we say “nature vs. nurture,” or “it goes against his nature for such a peaceful man to act violent.” Nature is what we are; it makse a thing to be what it is and directs us to be what we are. This is nature in the Aristotelian and Thomistic sense. A plant’s nature causes the seed to sprout, grow and blossom. A human’s nature causes far more…)
When I say contraception blocks nature, I mean that it interrupts something good and healthy in human beings. The hormonal birth control pill renders the healthy, functioning reproductive system of a woman dysfunctional and infertile. That’s actually worth thinking about, especially considering the first segment of the Hippocratic oath requiring doctors to “do no harm.”
But don’t we use medicine to interrupt natural processes all the time? Nature broke someone’s bone, so we intervene to fix it. On the contrary, this is equivocation between the two meanings of nature as described above. Medicine restores dysfunctioning body parts to functioning. It is quite another thing to turn a healthy system into a broken one.
But why should that matter? Continue reading