by: Shirelle Edghill, CFCP
I don’t know anyone who just loves family planning. Does anyone actually love being on the pill? Going to the gynecologist to have a device inserted into their uterus? Getting rods put in her arm? Having a surgical procedure? Making yet another trip to Walgreens for a box of condoms? Does anyone really LIKE doing these things?
So what about us? For us, that means using The Creighton Model FertilityCare System. Every day I check for discharges as I’m going to the bathroom, we chart them at the end of the day, and abstain during the fertile days.
Do I always love it? Nope. I am often touting the benefits of using a fertility awareness based method of family planning. I am being genuine when I am describing the benefits, but you know, sometimes it sucks. Sometimes I don’t want to check (even though it takes like 20 seconds), sometimes I get cozy in my bed, realize I forgot to chart, and have to get back up and go do it. Sometimes we just don’t want to abstain right then.
But just like most couples in our modern society, we feel a strong call to be responsible in how and when we try to bring children into the world. For us, now is not a good time. So that means avoiding pregnancy.
When I really step back and think about it, Michael and I do a lot of things that aren’t really fun, in an attempt to be healthy and responsible people. We budget, instead of spending all our money and wondering where it went. We cook at home instead of eating out. We go to church when we don’t feel like it. We make our kids eat their vegetables and we pretend to like them too. This is not to say that we’re perfect, but in general, we’re trying very hard to be healthy and responsible people raising healthy and responsible kids.
I believe that when we use things like the birth control pill, the IUD, Depo, Implanon, etc. we’re taking the easy, convenient, but not the most healthy route to avoiding pregnancy.
Those are the “Fix it and forget it,” strategies. and they all come with a cost.
Something is really lost when we make that choice. For one thing, we trade a healthy, functioning reproductive system, for one that’s been overriden by synthetic hormones. We are no longer normally cycling, with the natural hormonal rhythms that have many functions for our overall health. We also lose valuable insight into our health. We, as a society, begin to lose our knowledge of the body’s basic human functions. We begin to take our fertility and all that is connected to it, for granted. We may even begin to fear that which is normal and healthy. Additionally, (and ironically) those pills and devices that are supposed to give us the freedom to enjoy sex whenever we want, have as a common side effect, a decrease in libido. Even with condoms, most people would agree that something is lost in the sexual experience, in the enjoyment and connection, when we put that barrier between us.
What if we could plan our families in a responsible way, and we could gain valuable insight into our own health? What if we could learn to communicate better with our spouse, become better educated about reproductive health, and develop a comprehensive health record over many years? We can. With fertility awareness based methods like the Creighton Model we trade a bit of planning, discipline, and self control for all of these benefits. What if, when we’re ready to start a family, or add to it, we could just do that? Like, tomorrow? Or next week? With the more authentic family planning that fertility awareness offers, we can use the system to both avoid and achieve pregnancy, which means you don't have to make a trip the the doctor to get your IUD taken out or stop taking your pills and hope your cycle comes back right away. You just start trying. Right now.
No one likes family planning. But if we have to do it, let’s do it in the healthiest way possible.
Have questions or comments? I'd love to connect with you!