Natural Family Planning: Nature's Way - God's Way

14. NFP: An Art to Be Learned

The title of our manual, The Art of Natural Family Planning, was chosen very deliberately. In practice, natural family planning is an art. it involves a certain amount of skill in observing and interpreting the monthly signs. It is relatively simple, but still it has to be learned. It involves the use of reason in the learning process and in making practical judgments. It involves the use of freedom in making decisions about whether to express mutual marital affection in the coital embrace or in some other way.

As in any art, one's practice of NFP improves through experience. It doesn't require any genius to become skilled in this art, but it does require a little practice in the observation and interpretation of signs in order for the couple to feel really comfortable with it.

In a way it is like swimming. The person who says, "I can't swim and I can't learn and therefore I won't try," will never develop the art of swimming with those attitudes. The person who has an open attitude, follows directions, and practices, soon feels comfortable swimming: An art has been learned. So also with NFP ....

Many women appreciate the self-awareness they develop in natural family planning. They are able to note physical abnormalities sooner than they would otherwise and thus can seek medical attention at an earlier date. Some women may avoid an unnecessary doctor's visit or surgery. Pregnancy tests can usually be omitted when self-awareness is developed. One woman experienced severe abdominal pain, and upon consultation a doctor scheduled her for surgery. Fortunately, she was able to contact another doctor who suspected ovulation as the cause of her agony. His diagnosis was confirmed by examination and basal temperature readings, and this woman was spared unnecessary surgery and additional hospital expenses.

Some women express a sense of satisfaction from knowing just where they are in their periodic cycle. A former user of contraception told us that whenever her period was three days late, she used to worry about being pregnant. When she started natural family planning, she was very skeptical. Within six months she became very confident. She finds she is no longer fearful when her period begins late....

Women can develop a better understanding of their bodily and emotional states through fertility awareness. A married woman writes: I would like to add a personal vote of thanks as a woman for bringing to me a feeling of true-self. That is, now I really seem to grasp the idea of what a cycle consists of - all the changes within me that occur. This is a very deep satisfaction ....

by John Kippley

From the book The Art of Natural Family Planning. Used with permission. The book is available at The Couple to Couple League, P.O. Box 111184, Cincinnati, Ohio 45211 USA. The Couple to Couple League is a leading NFP teaching movement in the USA, now established in many dioceses, and in several other countries.

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