18 November 2010

NFP Wars - Again

Last night I was speaking with my supervisor for Billings, as she was telling me about how the table at the fertility show went.  Overall it sounds like it went well, except that at one point practitioners for another method of NFP came over and basically heckled the Billings instructors, telling them that Billings wasn't as good as their method and whatnot.  OK, I get it, we all like our respective methods best - that's why we use and teach those methods over another, but once again, can't we see the merits in the other methods?!  I can certainly see the merits in Creighton and Sympto-Thermal, even if I choose to use Billings and prefer that method for me.  NFP isn't something that we should be fighting over, though.  Isn't it better just to get the information out there for those who don't know about it?  And then let them decide.  Of course, it's also perfectly acceptable to just not use NFP and let nature take its course, or to use ecological breastfeeding in that way, etc.  There is no one method of NFP that is morally superior to another, as far as I know, so we should be working together, not cutting each other down.


  1. Well, yes. It would be helpful if the different instructors of the methods were knowledgeable about other methods. I know it's discouraged to be qualified/certified in multiple methods (since it holds the risk of instructor combination-happy invention), but aside from a lack of actual antipathy, a spirit of cooperation would be beneficial.

    We began with the Creighton method after having our first child. Since NFP is so often referred to simply as "NFP" and not with reference to the many methods, we were unaware other methods even existed.

    We're practising Catholics, but even our marriage preparation just said we should be using NFP if we wanted to space children (or achieve a pregnancy) - never mentioning the various methods available and their respective strengths and weaknesses.

    So, we asked our Catholic OB about it, and she referred us to a pediatrician acquaintance who's an instructor. Turns out it was the Creighton method.

    It was a terrible 9 months. I was exclusively breastfeeding, but ovulated 8 weeks postpartum and had my first period 10 weeks postpartum. Although I was regularly cycling, the observations were all over the place.

    We could only rely on external mucus observations, which is all that was allowed in the Creighton method.

    So I often had "slightly stretchy" mucus, and even more often "pasty/creamy" mucus. These meant we needed to abstain. Most cycles we were only able to have intercourse once or twice the entire time. That is a lot of abstinence. It was a very difficult time for us.

    One cycle did not clearly show ovulation (no stretchy/clear/slippery) mucus at all, but ovulation seemed to have happened. We were told to ignore it as an anomaly, because we'd been on holiday.

    Then, finally, we conceived. On a dry day. In fact, nearly all I had that cycle were dry days. It was similar to that anomaly.

    Only later did we learn of the various methods. Creighton was certainly a very, very poor method of NFP in my circumstances. (Post-partum, exclusively breastfeeding, cycling.)

    Other methods allow for internal observations (cervical checks), charting of the basal body temperature (tricky when you have an infant, though), and even checking of the hormone levels with a hormone monitor (eg. Marquette method) - which would at least have allowed as post-ovulatory days of intercourse prior to bleeding. Other methods also have more appropriate "rules" to follow.

    Our instructor told us I had a "difficult chart" and was a more complicated case, and she felt sorry we had such long times unable to be close. But she never ever mentioned that another method might be more suited/useful/helpful to us.

    I wish NFP instructors would be realistic about the limitations of their methods, and when another method might suit a couple better.

    We had very serious reasons for wanting to space births. Everything will work out, I'm sure. But the discovery of pregnancy was a trauma at the time.

  2. Exactly. I'm not knowledgeable about other methods as far as knowing the ins and outs, but I can refer people to other instructors if they think a different method is for them. All the modern methods are good and have different strengths, so women really should know about them. I'm hoping to be able to start speaking at marriage prep sessions, and I will have the contact info for a STM instructor I know in case any are interested in that.