Post 2 – Crisis & NFP

Our regular contributor, Horace, has sent me a link to a very interesting article by a Catholic woman on her experiences with natural family planning. It is followed a large number of comments. He said that he would be interested to hear st.joseph’s reaction. I am interested, too. But we felt it would be best to put this note in as a post in its own right – and this will give others an opportunity to join in the discussion too.

About Quentin

Portrait © Jacqueline Alma
This entry was posted in Bio-ethics, Moral judgment. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Post 2 – Crisis & NFP

  1. Iona says:

    That is indeed a very interesting article. There are so many comments that I’ve only read about half of them and will have to leave the rest for another time. I hope St. Joseph reads it, because she used to teach NFP, – maybe still does.

    Several contributors spoke of the problem of conveying to their husbands information as to where they are in their cycle – fertile or otherwise, – it seems frequently to be a bit of a turn-off. I read of a very simple method – not that I ever used it – a vase in the bedroom and three artificial flowers of different colours. Only one flower is in the vase at any one time. A red flower means “I’m menstruating”, a green one means “I’m (probably) fertile” and a white one means “I’m (probably) not fertile”.

  2. st.joseph says:

    My first thoughts were that she was being provocative as sometimes articles like these will always provoke a comment as we know, and it certainly did with over 220 comments in this case.

    She is a journalist not an N.F.P teacher so therefore her problems are not really of the norm.
    Her difficulty with post partum is not normal, or ought I to say particular to her.
    Women are able to cope with ‘special circumstances’ as in coming off the pill, post partum and pre-menopause. That is the essential reason and why it is so important to be taught by a qualified teacher.(you can tell from the comments who teaches and who doesn’t.).
    Qualified teachers study the physiology – hormones, etc, and are able to easily make things clear to the women learning. It will take some 1 month, or, maybe, two, at most three. A teacher studies for nearly one year and has also learns to counsel.

    I was fortunate to study with Dr Anna M Flynn FRCOG a wonderful doctor in the field of research – both national and international. I was given the opportunity to help in the research on urine testing for ovulation – and to go on to teach teachers.

    There are 2 important comments on Danielle’s blog: the post on the 9th July by Marissa Nichols and the post on the 7th July by Marcha. These are both worth a look if one doesn’t have time to read them all.

    “Abortion Through Ignorance” which Quentin posted on June 24th 2010 has some very useful comments made by a number of bloggers.

    One point I would like to make from Danielle article that is No 1 of her article. She writes that the had problems with post partum and stuck by it because she wanted to mother her babies.
    Ther are many reason why women are not able to breast feed and they ought not to feel guilty because of this. I didnt, but my daughter did fo 12 months with all her children. She did not lose out on being mothered because of me!
    There is on on research so I have every confidence it will suceed as I believe it is the Will of God.

    Thank you Horace and Iona for your remarks, and Iona you did make me smile with your vase of flowers comment, simplicity just like N.F.P. You would make a good teacher. Anyone interested go to the web site NFPTA to which I am still a member, even though I dont teach anymore, I just keep in touch It is good to speak to another female.

    Thank you all again. st joseph

  3. Iona says:

    Thank you, St. Joseph. I have skimmed through the rest of the comments and read in particular the two you mention.
    One point hardly touched on in any of the comments is the fact that “it takes two” to practice NFP. Most of the women commentators seem to have husbands who fully accept the need for periodic abstinence. Clearly none of them are in mixed marriages.
    I think I once read somewhere that Gandhi said “There would be no overpopulation problem if men would but love their wives”.

  4. st.joseph says:

    Iona. It seems like that. My husband was not a catholic.
    I would like to show you 2 letters from a couple who wrote to me and then wrote to my local paper when a doctor was not quite accepting it. the reason I am showing you is that neither were catholics.
    She writes. Dear….. I just wanted to write to you our our news- several months ago……and I decided that we would get married 6.7.89. Having made this decision we also felt ready to ‘beat’ the Natural Family Planning method rules. I am very pleased to say that I became pregnant straight
    away and if all goes according to plan, we will become parents around 21st January 1990!
    I feel like a living advert for NFP thank you for teaching me. … . X
    The same young lady wrote to the paper as I said above.
    Madam. What a shame your article about Natural Family Planning (NFP) didn’t go into more depth and do justice to the subject.
    It sounded that you didn’t believe it could be true but it is not just Mrs (me) how claims how effective NFP can be, as anyone who has read the the World Health Organisation’s publications will know. What was said in the article about the rhythm method only confused the issue-it does not acurately distinguish between fertile and infertile times and thiis is precisley why it is so unsuccesssful at avoiding pregnancy.
    It is a nonsense for the doctor interviewed to suggest NFP needs 12months to learn-he is obviousley not speaking from experience (Mrs….. taught me (and no I am not a catholic) and once I understood why and how my body changes I felt confident in using NFP within a couple of months.
    I found it really liberating to learn and to be able to take responsibility for my body-it should be taught in schools
    I recommend NFP to any women, particularly about the risks involved with traditional contraception NFP is a real alternative Name and address supplied.

    It is times like those Iona that kept me going over the years and was worth all the agravation from catholics and priests and catholic doctors.
    Because I didn’tknow she was writing, and the satisfaction I got from women whod conceived after learning their ferilty and those who found out about health problems, me included.
    I was worth all the time spent on it . And no charge to them. All voluntary.
    Thank you. I thought you might be interested in that.


    Madam. What a shame your article about Natural Family Planning (NFP) SNJ. June 24th. didnt go into more depth and do justice to the subject. It sounded that the writer didn’t believe it could be


    • st.joseph says:

      Sorry about the error, the page moved down and I didn’t realise it.

      • st.joseph says:

        Also excuse the misprints, I am having quite a bit of a problem with my eyesight at the moment,I had my eyes screened with my diabetes, and they are very sore . I really shouldn’t be typing this now , but resting them!

  5. st.joseph says:

    Yes thank you Horace. I didnt only get the spelling wrong but the date the wrong way
    around. Marsha on 11th of the 7th (of course they do it backwards) .
    Sorry Iona if you looked at the wrong one.
    Most of the comments are OK, but I didnt expect anyone to read all of them.
    I printed them out, which was very small to read B.T were working on the Broadband for 2 days and my computer kept shutting down. It still wont let me get into the site today to read any more
    I managed it yesterday I dont know why it wont let me today..

  6. Vincent says:

    It is quite clear to me that natural family planning is a marvelous way to achieve the right family size and at the right intervals. it must be a boon for all those who can use it. But it seems clear that it doesn’t suit every couple. For example, a friend of mine has to work in Germany for 5 days a week, while his wife keeps house for the children in Birmingham. Then other couples have problems because many wives feel most eager round about the time of ovulation (nature of course being interested in maximising conceptions). Leaving them only the duller “safe days”. Of course it’s true that there is no known method which suits everyone. So NFP cannot expect to be a universal answer.
    In a recent TV programme about the Jewish community in England I learnt that the wife is regarded as unclean for up to two weeks a month. And only becomes clean as ovulation approaches. A mixed marriage between a paid up Jew and a paid up Catholic would leave them with about 3 minutes a month.Tricky!

  7. st.joseph says:

    The way I see it Vincent and that is if a wife only feels like having sexual intercourse with her husband at ovulation there must be something lacking in her relationship. It is love -consideration and a lot more than a sexual urge that drives a persons sex life.
    You could make another example of husbands in the Forces- husbands working on the oil rigs- couples who are not able to have a sexual relationship because of illness temporary or permanent . There are lots of time during pregnancy. I know one women who spent a lot of time in hospital to save a miscarriage.
    Where theres a will theres a way. And who would want to put their wife in danger of the pill.
    Marriage is not all about sex.But I do understand what you are saying.
    If a catholic married a Jew, she would have to make some decisions if thats what she wanted to do.
    I wouldnt think that Jews stick to that teaching or else they would not last long or be a bit overcrowded.All females are made the same only ovulate at diffirent times – not necessarily every
    2 weeks as once thought

  8. Vincent says:

    St.joseph, I imagine that anyone of feeling would happily accept particular times when it was necessary to abstain from sexual intercourse in marriage. But that, it seems to me, is different from a system which is having to be followed for many years. After all, making love around 2000 times in a whole marriage would be fairly normal. yet even for a good Catholic family only 4 or 5 conceptions would take place. Important though conception is, it can only occur in a tiny minority of occasions when husband and wife express their love.

  9. st.joseph says:

    Vincent yes, but it is important to know when conception can happen, or do you not think that?. Do you think we ought to have surprise pregnancies ?We as catholics speak so much about free-will Why is that not important to have free will when we want to conceive.?
    Women have free will when they want to abort their babies.So why shouldn’t we have free will to decide when to become pregnant. That is what is called taking responsibility for ones lives.
    If God wanted us to have children all the time He would not have given us a infertile period.
    Men are fertile all the time ( when things are right), so one can understand that, or else it would then be Russian roulette . Can you imagine that! You would be surprised how many men have a low sperm count. It doesn’t all depend on the females.
    Couples use fertility awareness to become pregnant. That is the beauty of knowing ones fertility. It is not all about abstaining! I have taught many a couple who didn’t conceive for various reasons, but knowing their body , they did.
    Vincent I dont know if you are missing the point. But I am pleased you are speaking about it. I dont mind you doing that. Keep on and then I might be able to clear up any misunderstanding and doubts that you may have. Thank you for replying.


  10. st.joseph says:

    Quentin I have been puzzeling over your introduction to this Post. Crisis & N.F.P
    Can you enlighten me as to what you mean by ‘Crisis’.


    • Quentin says:

      st.joseph, Crisis is the name of the periodical in which the article appears. Now that the News of the World is gone, I thought someone should take up dramatic headlines.

      • Rahner says:

        Careful Quentin! Some of the visitors to this blog don’t seem to be very keen on humour!

  11. st.joseph says:

    Quentin, yes of course! Silly me. It still won’t let me in to the site,,it just freezes up I get the dartbord and thats it.My computer is old it needs upgrading.
    I thought you may have been thinking on the lines of crisis in the method ( not that I would call it that). But there is crisis as I see it and that being not enough women are interested or would encourage their daughters. I am so amazed by this. Unless women dont want to speak about it!
    They maybe all teaching themselves, and that is all very well until they come to S/C then the
    doubts and disillusions take over. That is also a crisis . Most females reading the comments in the article would be put off, even though there are some positive ones, but that won’t convince the negative .The other crisis being-not enough teachers
    I do hope and pray that ladies looking in will go to the web site I gave or The
    Billings Family Life Centre. or Life Fertility Care Clinic
    I feel that most will find it a very satisfying experience even if they are not using it. Good teachers
    are important. I am sure there will be some out there.
    Thank you for allowing space for this article.

    • st.joseph says:

      I also think that a person can charge for teaching and some do now. Obviousley I didn’t but there is a saying and that is if someone has to pay for anything it is appreciated more.
      Although one will have to pass a written exam and then a teaching exam. I had to have six couples and six months of their charting-if I remember right. It is a long time ago now and it may have changed One of the posts in the article mentioned by a mother said ‘she helped her daughter with the cost of materials’. One can always photo charts ,and Digital Thermometers ought to be free with a doctors prescription.Just to put the record straight. As it may put some off if they think it will cost.
      At least it was in my time.

  12. st.joseph says:

    What do you mean Rahner?.

  13. Iona says:

    I don’t think Life fertility care charge for their services.

    • st.joseph says:

      I think Iona they do
      A couple of years ago Life Fertility Care were needing Teaching Practicioners in each Dioceses I was interested to finding out more information. The cost to study I believe was
      a lot of money.No more experience I could see that I studied at Bristol and Birmingham.
      But the treatment costs for clients and I am reading this from their leaflet. It says
      ‘The average cost is approximately £1100 for the first year. This is broken down into a series of payments covering charting and medical appointments.’ The treatment lasts approximately 18 month.
      The cost however excludes;
      Private surgical and laboratory costs for fertility investigation.
      Ultra sound scanning.
      Private counselling.
      Iona. N.F.P.T.A. run courses for teachers
      I believe the last one at Birmingham was£60.!


  14. st.joseph says:

    Yes I think you are right. Before they went into infertility care.
    I believe maybe wrongly,but when one had to pay such a lot for training it was
    a way of re-imbursement.
    N.F.P.T.A 2010 cost per person was £200 to cover the expenses for the lectures, or something like that!
    It is very good for all the teaching one receives. I dont think any of the teachers charge,
    The web site gives some info-but obviousley as I have said before it is always better to have one to one teaching.
    Thank you for your interest Iona.
    Not many compared to America! Maybe secondsight hasn’t as many readers as the Crisis Magazine.
    In fact more male than female responded on here.

  15. Momangelica says:

    Mother Theresa came to Cardiff in the 1970’s and during the evening she talked about her education programme on NFP. I bought her book which was a handbook to help a couple become pregnant but obviously it was also to be used to learn when to avoid a pregnancy when wanting to space the family. It was produced for the community in India and the drawing on the cover was of a woman wearing a Bindi on her forehead. Mother Theresa told us, laughingly, that they referred to the programme as Holy Family Planning. I lent it some years later and never got it back – shame.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s