NFP: Not Freaking Practical

When we got married, I knew a few “absolutes.” Tommy was going to snore (I’d heard him do so during naps on the couch), we would probably fight on the honeymoon, there’d be a bit of a learning curve when it came to living together, and we needed to figure out NFP early if we wanted to avoid a February surprise. Snoring I can handle. There are breathe-right strips and earplugs aplenty. As far as fighting on the honeymoon: who cares who’s right or wrong… we’re literally living in a postcard for a week. I’ll apologize first so we can just order another Mai Tai from the bar at the pool. And living together: thank God we have two bathrooms and separate closets. The learning curve was fairly small.

But Natural Family Planning… go ahead and throw up a few thousand Hail Mary’s for us. I think the one thing everyone forgot to mention in marriage prep was that NFP sometimes stands for Not Freaking Practical.

Before I’m condemned for my tongue in cheek description of what I’ve heard described as “the best part of our marriage!” by dozens of couples, let me preface everything else you’re about to read with this simple and truthful statement: my husband and I learned NFP, are practicing NFP, and are discovering the tangible benefits and grace-filled gifts of NFP. But, and I cannot stress this enough: NFP is easily one of the most difficult parts of married life, and I wish people had been honest with us about that sooner.

I’m not writing this to degrade the Church’s teaching on naturally planning a family or being open to the will of the Lord when it comes to having children. I love the Church. I’ve spent the better part of my life learning, teaching, speaking, and writing about Christ and His Church. I love what we believe as Catholics and Tommy and I are committed to NFP because we know it is a good and truthful practice. We aren’t harboring a secret desire to use contraceptives, nor are we privately politicking for the Church to “get with the times” and just allow “modern methods” that are more convenient. Artificial contraceptives have their dangers: the pill has been linked to a myriad of health issues and IUD’s and condoms can lead to using the other, with sex becoming just another recreational activity. This blog isn’t necessarily about that. This is not a commentary on why we chose NFP and why you should too, nor is it a definitive list of the best methods to use or apps to download.

This, just like every other blog we’ve written, is an honest glimpse into our married life. We were asked to write this blog to give a snapshot into the lives of an engaged, and now newly married, couple. So this an honest look at a few of the challenges we’ve faced with NFP in these first months of marriage, and how those struggles have caused fights, a few tears, and forced us to grow.

This, just like every other blog we’ve shared, is a small snapshot into the difficulties of learning an entirely new rhythm to life, while also trying to figure out how to balance a budget together, live together, cook together, and share the covers on our bed (a constant, nightly battle). We took on the practice of NFP because we believe it’s what is best, and we quickly discovered it to be a cross that can be pretty heavy to carry.

NFP has been difficult for us because it’s required intentional routine at certain points of the day. I have to check certain symptoms. The information has to be logged. I have to let Tommy know what’s going on. We have to purposefully and deliberately talk about and pray together about whether or not we’re ready to have children. That takes time. That takes diligence. That takes intentionality, and in the midst of teaching, grad school assignments, traveling, and everything else, the last thing either of us wants to do is sit down and have a little chat about cervical mucus. It doesn’t make for the best dinner conversation.

NFP has been hard because sometimes symptoms are ambiguous and temperature readings aren’t accurate due to lack of sleep or travel, so the “I don’t know, should we risk it?” back and forth begins. So much for NFP being this magic bullet of happiness and holiness… sometimes it feels like a monthly game of Russian roulette.

NFP is a struggle for us because were told by so many people that it was this perfect and beautiful method that led to wonderful dialogue and peaceful moments of prayer in which the very voice of God could be heard. Imagine our shock when we discovered we were more confused and frustrated than anything else. What were we? Bad Catholics who clearly didn’t love each other enough to make this work? Either we were failures or they were lying.

NFP has been difficult because we were both chaste before marriage. We both learned, and believed in, the value of “waiting for marriage.” All the cheesy phrases employed upon us in our youth had worked: modest was hottest, we were worth waiting for, and we had each “saved it” because Jesus saved us. We knew and believed sex is so beautiful and such a gift that it is meant to be shared with your spouse alone, and we are both incredibly grateful we waited to experience it only with each other. We waited our whole lives—we waited for each other—and now, with NFP, there are a few days every month we have to keep waiting if we have discerned against conceiving a child at that time. Like I said… Not. Freaking. Practical.

I share about these challenges because I want to be honest. I heard again and again throughout marriage prep, and even now in these newlywed months, “NFP is so beautiful and wonderful and the best thing you will ever do as a married couple! You’re going to love it!” It’s what we were told. It’s what we were sold. And I feel duped.

It’s time to change the language. Let’s stop leading with “NFP is beautiful and wonderful and awesome,” and instead honestly say, “NFP is hard and challenging, a little confusing, sometimes disheartening and frustrating, occasionally a romance zapper, and, in the end, worth it.” We don’t do young couples any favors by saying, “This is the best thing you can do when you’re first married because it brings you closer together.” Will it make you closer? Absolutely, because if having a discussion about cervical mucus doesn’t bring you closer, then I honestly don’t know what will.

Let’s move beyond the fairytale “NFP is a joy” commentary and get real. The joys of NFP are evident: a couple must discern the will of God together. The benefits are straightforward: no nasty side effects from artificial contraceptives. But, if we just leave it there, we’re selling NFP short. I think couples would be far better served by hearing, “It’s difficult, you will fight and sometimes cry and want to throw your calendar and phone across the room because you are confused.” Only then, after we have shared about some of the honest to goodness difficulties and explained what is fully entailed, will we then be able to articulate the growth that can come from it, showing the ultimate benefits for a marriage.

NFP is not the best part of our marriage. Far from it. The best part of our marriage is our immense faith and trust in God’s greater plan. We met on Facebook, dated long distance for a year and a half, and managed to pull off planning a wedding while juggling four jobs, three grad school classes, and twenty-three ministry events between the two of us. Clearly God was in charge, and our trust in Him has only grown deeper since getting married. The best part of our marriage is the fact that we are brutally honest with each other. Not only does Tommy tell me if something is hanging out my nose, but he calls me out when I’m spinning in circles and not seeing something clearly or properly. He’s the only person in my life who can be this straightforward and honest with me. The best part of our marriage is an unfailing commitment to communicate. We openly discuss, for hours if need be, the big and little things. Whether it’s where the knives belong, how much money we should be saving, what show we should binge watch next, or when we want to have children, we aren’t afraid to talk together and we value that conversation. The best part of our marriage is our desire to grow in holiness together. We are in it to win it: we want to get each other to Heaven, and that requires daily prayer with and for each other, frequent sacrifices, blatant honesty, and constant growth.

NFP is just one experience within our marriage where the best parts of our marriage are lived and practiced. NFP is not the pearl of great price within our relationship. NFP is, at times, the grimy, rusty old nail hanging off the beams of the cross we’re carrying, digging into our backs as we lug that hunk of wood up the hill. And every single time we feel that pain and want to wallow in the remarkable difficulty and seeming impracticality of NFP, we are reminded of the One who hung on the Cross, nails driven into His hands and feet so that we can someday be united with Him in Heaven. NFP is a burden, at times, and it’s taken us a few months to realize that the practice of Natural Family Planning is, in some ways, supposed to be impractical, because so too is our faith.

It wasn’t necessarily practical for the Father to send His only son into the world to reveal the plan of our salvation. A simple memo sent down on a cloud probably would’ve been fine. It wasn’t practical for the Son to be born of a Virgin, arriving as a baby, helpless, weak, and in need of potty training. It wasn’t practical for that child to grow up in a simple home, unknown and unimportant. It wasn’t practical for Jesus to choose twelve ragtag guys to walk with Him through His ministry, nor was it practical for Him to heal the sick (who didn’t even say thank you) or preach to the crowds (who were just grumbling about being hungry). It wasn’t practical for Him to tell us bread changes into His flesh and wine into His Blood, and consuming that will transform us. It wasn’t practical for Him to be arrested, tried for blasphemy, and sentenced to death. It wasn’t practical for Jesus to carry a Cross, hang high for all to see, and die surrounded by crowds of people who hated Him for simply speaking the Truth. It wasn’t practical for Him to defeat death three days later. It wasn’t practical for Jesus to leave a fisherman in charge of His entire Church, nor was it practical to send a Helper in tongues of fire to empower that man to then passionately preach the Gospel and build the Church.

It wasn’t practical for Jesus to come here in the first place, and then die. But, He did, because it is what we needed. NFP doesn’t always seem practical to us because we see the myriad difficulties and annoyances and there seems to be a far easier route. But, we choose to practice it because it is a practice field—a training ground—for the best parts of our marriage. It is a sanctifier within our married life, one that isn’t always practical, but definitely always needed.

Our entire faith is anything but practical, it seems. The Cross is heavy and the path to Heaven isn’t paved with rose petals. We struggle. We fight. We endure trials. We don’t understand it all and we sometimes throw our hands up in confusion. But, at the end of the day, we are called to trust. We trust in the greater plan and divine providence of the One who knows us better than we know ourselves. We believe in His perfect wisdom and understanding, which far surpasses our own. We hold fast to His enduring promises and rely on His unfailing help. We revel in the joy He gives us, knowing that His goodness outweighs any temporary pain we may endure. NFP is a practice within our marriage that allows us—forces us—to grow in faith and remain steadfast in our trust of each other and the Lord.

NFP is tough. Let’s call a spade a spade. It isn’t easy, it can be frustrating and confusing, and I find it remarkably annoying from time to time. NFP is not the best part of our marriage, but it does bring out the best of our relationship when we are trusting and patient with it and each other. NFP is a daily sacrifice, a weekly struggle, and occasionally a monthly toss-up, but no matter how impractical we may feel it can be, NFP has proven to be a remarkably practical way to practice becoming holy, and for that, we are grateful.


UntitledKatie Prejean McGrady is a teacher, speaker, and author of Room 24: Adventures of a New Evangelist. Since 2007, Katie has been traveling throughout North America using her original blend of humor and storytelling along with her teaching of hard-hitting theological truth to engage audiences of all ages. Katie has spoken at the National Catholic Youth Conference, LA Religious Ed. Congress, in dioceses and parishes from New York to Sacramento and has appeared on EWTN, Catholic TV, Radio Maria, and the Busted Halo Radio Show on Sirius XM. Katie and her husband Tommy live in Lake Charles, Louisiana with their dog, Barney. Connect with her through and



  1. We should get back to thinking marriage = family (aka babies). This idea that we can NFP, emphasis on the “plan”, our families makes our intent not unlike our contracepting friends. Then we get angry because we want the sterility they have but it’s much harder for us.

    I was like you too when we got married. Then we had an “oops” pregnancy. Seven babies and 20 years later I am so glad that first baby came when he did to shake me from my stupor and remind me what marriage is about.

    **I realize there are some serious cases for postponing/avoiding pregnancy.

    By Texas | 4 years ago Reply
  2. Concerned the author might not know the Church’s teachings on NFP. Her glib reference to avoiding “a February surprise” suggests she might need some prayerful counseling. My understanding is that when we marry, we should be open to having children. Perhaps she should have completed her education before marrying. I found the article disrespectful and juvenile. I hope it is removed from the site. I hope this couple grows I’m maturity – fast. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but this article is offensive.

    By Mich | 4 years ago Reply
    • I too am slightly confused. My understanding of NFP is that it can be used for spacing pregnancies if there is a “grave” or “just” reason. You need to have children in order to space. Would love some clarification on this??

      By Gina | 4 years ago Reply
    • You say that the author might not know the Church’s teachings on NFP. What might those teachings be? The USCCB website says, “The Catholic Church supports the methods of Natural Family Planning (NFP) because they respect God’s design for married love.” I myself am not married at this point in my life, and I do believe that when we marry, we should be open to having children. I believe the idea the author was trying to get across regarding this topic is that she and her husband have been praying and discerning having children and have reached the conclusion that it is not in God’s perfect plan to have children at that present time. I’m sure that if they were to have a “surprise” that they would gladly welcome that new life into their home as part of God’s plan. I also believe it would be more disrespectful to life and more juvenile to have children when you are not capable to properly raise children, whether it be for financial reasons, reasons of immaturity, or whatever the reason(s) may be. I believe it is more responsible and respectful to pray and discern God’s will for family and life.
      Also, I see this article as more of describing some of the difficulties of NFP, more than their reasons for using it. As the USCCB website says, NFP can be used to help both attempt and prevent pregnancy. Discerning God’s will for our lives and following that will never lead us astray.
      God bless you

      By Charles | 4 years ago Reply
    • I am not at this point married, but I am in the time of my life when many of my friends are married.
      I think that the reality of the difficulty of NFP is something that every single one of my married friends using it has voiced since getting married. I know beautiful, mature couples who were using NFP, yet were “surprised”. They used the word “surprise”, but that didn’t mean they didn’t realize that child was a gift from God- they did. They may have more concerns, but accepted the child with joy and with love. Regardless, it was still a surprise.
      I think that the author voices discernment and prayer over whether God is calling them to conceive a child.
      I really appreciate how honest the author is. I think that my friends would whole heartedly agree with her.
      I know others who have given up on NFP because it isn’t easy and beautiful- it is too hard. Not what they expected. It is often by the carrying the Cross that we are led to the greatest beauty and fulfillment and not sharing this aspect with men and women preparing for marriage understandably makes giving-up on NFP the likely action.

      Strangely enough maybe, reading this I was struck by the beautiful way in which the author recognized NFP as a cross that was leading her and her husband closer to God. Sanctity is not always found in quietly folding our hands and bending our knees, but in the grimy, gritty reality of daily life.
      Thank you for this article, Katie!

      By Patti | 4 years ago Reply
    • Mich,

      While I understand your concerns, I disagree. I think it is unfair to accuse this couple of being immature and unfamiliar with the Church’s teaching on NFP. I’m currently in the process of learning the Creighton Model System of NFP myself, so I speak from experience: it’s practically impossible to take a course on NFP without becoming familiar with the Church’s teachings on NFP, and how NFP is a superior way to go about responsible family planning. Yes, we should be open to children, which is the whole point of NFP: it allows you to plan your family without the chemical barrier of contraception. However, there are good reasons to utilize NFP to abstain from achieving a pregnancy. If you discern that God is not presently calling you to have a child, NFP allows you to abstain successfully. Whatever their reasons, this couple has decided to use NFP to abstain from pregnancy. This does not by default mean they are opposed to having children; it is just not the right time.

      My fiance and I are planning to abstain from trying to get pregnant for a year, because we want to allow ourselves some time to adjust to marriage and our new roles in each others lives. Although we are excited to start our own family, parenting is also a scary prospect; once you have a child your whole life becomes even more radically not your own. Children are a big deal, and when you have one your vocation expands to the heavenly education of these little souls. That’s a HUGE responsibility. Obviously, the grace of the sacrament helps, but my fiance and I want to give ourselves a little time to adjust to our married vocation before children come in to the picture. However, God may have different plans, and we are open to having a “February Surprise” if that’s what He decides. It wouldn’t be our first choice within our first year of marriage (in unintentional solidarity with the author of this article), but that’s okay. NFP allows for our discernment but also gives God the freedom to surprise us.

      All that being said, I agree with the author. NFP is worth it, but that doesn’t mitigate it’s difficulty, and this difficulty can sometimes go un-noted by NFP instructors. I wasn’t prepared for how difficult it is to persevere with the system, when I have a million other responsibilities going on in my life. I wasn’t prepared for how this system actually involves a fair amount of personal and relational growth, which, while good, is not easy. And I’m sure I will be still be surprised at how difficult NFP can be when I finally get to marry the love-of-my-life and have to sacrifice my desires for the good of our relationship. NFP is tough. NFP is difficult. But nothing good is ever easy; I think the author enunciates this clearly enough when she compares it to the sacrifice of the crucifixion. It is another inconvenient yet necessary cross to offer up for the sake of growing in love.

      Thank you for your article. I will pray for strength in your marital sacrifices as I hope you will do for mine.


      NFP has already caused me and my fiance to grow in maturity. It has taught us the value of sacrifice in certain areas of our relationship, just as it has the couple in this post. However, that maturity and growth has been painful, as all spiritual growth is. I am grateful to this author for enunciating what few rarely do.

      By Teri | 4 years ago Reply
    • “I’m not writing this to degrade the Church’s teaching on naturally planning a family or being open to the will of the Lord when it comes to having children. I love the Church. I’ve spent the better part of my life learning, teaching, speaking, and writing about Christ and His Church. I love what we believe as Catholics and Tommy and I are committed to NFP because we know it is a good and truthful practice. We aren’t harboring a secret desire to use contraceptives, nor are we privately politicking for the Church to “get with the times” and just allow “modern methods” that are more convenient. Artificial contraceptives have their dangers: the pill has been linked to a myriad of health issues and IUD’s and condoms can lead to using the other, with sex becoming just another recreational activity. This blog isn’t necessarily about that. This is not a commentary on why we chose NFP and why you should too, nor is it a definitive list of the best methods to use or apps to download.”

      At no point did she say that they would not have welcomed a “February surprise” with all the joy and love and faith-filled hope in the world. She didn’t call a child an inconvenience, she simply referred to pregnancy as a surprise if they did not prepare and learn NFP even before they got married. This article isn’t about the reasons why one should use NFP; the author takes for granted that those reading this article already know why it is a good practice and the proper reasons for using it. This article is for those of us unmarried, who have heard lovely flowery things about NFP, to help us put those true and beautiful ideals in context of true, raw, everyday drudging reality, and then take that drudging reality and join it to the Cross. It’s about her experiences of marriage – just because it may be different from yours doesn’t make it offensive. Their decision to get married while still studying is theirs to make in prayer, and God’s to bring His fruit out of, spiritually, communally and physically. Her entire point is to illustrate how frustrating NFP and faith itself is, but to also explain how worth it it is. How is that offensive?

      By NT | 4 years ago Reply
    • I disagree. The author clearly states that they purposely and deliberately talk about and pray to discern their intentions for family planning each month. #2368 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states “For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children.” Only through prayer and constant communication can a couple continue to grow in their faith and trust in each other and God.

      By D Thomas | 4 years ago Reply
    • I too have a problem with the way NFP is spoken of in this article. It’s not Catholic birth control. NFP is permitted by the Church under certain circumstances after being clarified by a priest upon explaining your extenuating circumstances to him. Why are you getting married if your not open to starting a family.

      By Ana | 4 years ago Reply
      • Clarifying point: There is no requirement anywhere in Church teachings to explain your circumstances to a priest. Holy Mother Church leaves it up to the couple to discern between themselves, without third party approval.

        By Gena | 4 years ago Reply
    • I totally agree!

      By Ana | 4 years ago Reply
    • Yes, be open to having kids, but they may have a serious to abstain due to classes or money or whatever. Why should they deprive themselves of some years of marriage simply because one of them is in grad school. The Feb surprise reference was a little joke, nothing harmful. She was just going over some of the hardships of NFP. Things can be confusing at times, but bring couples closer together with constant communication.

      By Dave | 4 years ago Reply
    • You may have missed the part where she said herself and her husband discerned about having children at this early stage of their marriage.
      Evidently they didn’t arrive at this decision out of the blue and then decide to employ NFP. It clearly took time, prayer and trust as this would be a major decision.
      Yes you should be open to children once married but sometimes this is not always the ideal situation and people have many crosses to carry and burdens to complete before it may be possible.
      Every couple is different and having children may not be practical at this moment in time for them. They are employing NFP like the church recommends so I can’t see a problem and personally quite appreciate her honesty on the topic.

      By Maria | 4 years ago Reply
    • As a young woman who wants to one day have a family and who reads everything possible so as to prepare myself, I though this article was honest, real, and incredibly insightful. When it comes to the morality of a couple using NFP it is important to remember that the Church does not stipulate what qualifies as a serious reason, for that decision is up to the couple to discern in prayer. This is where the subjectivity, freedom, and cooperation of grace of that couple with God comes into play. It is flippant to say that a couple should not use NFP at the beginning of the marriage if they can use it five years down the road for the same reasons. Reasons are reasons, what difference does it make at point in a marriage a couple is at? NFP is not immoral if it is used selfishly, that would be a lack of generosity and it is nobody’s place to judge that. It shouldn’t be used selfishly but even if it is it is not immoral. The reality of NFP being difficult and frustrating is, I believe, because it isn’t natural for the love between spouses to say no to life even if that is done in a morally licit way. We should pray for couples who have chosen for whatever reason to NFP because it is difficult and requires sacrifice, nobody takes it on because they really don’t want to have children, or for kicks and giggles. It is not a contraceptive mentality (even if used for reasons judge to be not good enough by others) by virtue of the fact it is by definition not a contraceptive. It takes maturity to make a prayerful discernment about something which requires so much sacrifice. It is because the author actually does know the Church’s teachings on NFP and most likely basic moral theology that she can use NFP in her marriage for whatever reason her and her husband prayerfully discern with God.

      By Mary | 4 years ago Reply
    • Did you read the whole thing?

      I didn’t find it offensive at all. As someone who’s married and has gone through this, it hit the nail right on the head. Babies are wonderful, yes. Even when you weren’t expecting them. But sometimes avoiding conceiving one for just reasons while also honoring God’s teaching and Church is HARD. We had to abstain for WEEKS at a time after I had my first baby in order to avoid Irish twins. We got to have sex about once a month..and it stank. It was definitely one of those ‘get time off of purgatory’ things.

      By GiannaT | 4 years ago Reply
    • I fail to see what part of her education is lacking. Her post is honest, and we belong to a Church that celebrates honesty. Being open to life doesn’t mean we can’t avoid conception when we have prayerfully discerned that is the correct path for us. It means we must do so by natural means, and if we do conceive unexpectedly, we are to carry, birth and love the child/children to the best of our abilities. Many newlyweds find reason to delay conception at the beginning of their marriage while they adjust to newly married life, while they finish their schooling, or while they pay down an overwhelming debt. We don’t know her reason for avoiding pregnancy at this time, and it is none of our business. That is between her and God. This is an honest snapshot of one couple struggling to live according to the teachings of the church, and we should encourage them in their efforts, not tear them down. God calls older women, in Titus chapter 2, to “behave as befits religious people, … be the teachers of right behaviour and show younger women how they should love their husbands and love their children”.

      By Mary | 4 years ago Reply
  3. I laughed and shed a tear reading this. As a Catholic convert due to Humanae Vitae I have lived my entire marriage of 35 years in this light. I agree: NFP isn’t always easy, but it IS always worth it. Part of the struggle comes in that young couples don’t know what to expect from this part of their lives. I think your article very honestly communicates that.

    By Kathy Corcoran | 4 years ago Reply
    • I laughed too having been married 36 years and nine grown children later. I think God knew what he was doing making it difficult to weed out those who don’t have serious reasons. When we had serious reasons it was much easier, but not easy, to abstain.

      By Kerry Lawlor | 4 years ago Reply
  4. WOW. I never comment on blog posts. But thank you so much for writing this with so much honesty. This kind of honesty is what we need more of in the church, and these are the kinds of conversations we need to be having. As an engaged woman, I’m so grateful to have someone else who’s just a little father along tell me the reality of what it’s like living this out. Thank you!

    By Therese | 4 years ago Reply
  5. This is honest and real, and I commend the author for being brave enough to write this article. I’m quite confident she and her husband know very well the Church’s teachings on NFP, and I’m sure they are not alone in their experience with NFP. Having used NFP exclusively during our 20 years of marriage and having been involved in teaching marriage prep for most of those 20 years, I think it is true that we need to be more honest with engaged couples about not only the beauty of NFP but the challenges and practical realities of practicing NFP in marriage.

    By Michelle | 4 years ago Reply
  6. I would have to disagree Mich. I did not find this article offensive nor did she seem to lack knowledge on the faith and the church’s teaching. I appreciated her raw perspective because it is something many couples face. She never said she was not open to life when she married, but when you are young, working, in graduate school, moving in with someone for the first time, and adjusting to married life having a child immediately could be very overwhelming and intimidating. God has a plan for every individual couple on when He will bless them with a child so it’s not fair to compare a couple that has a child right away versus five years down the line. All I am saying is that passing judgement on her while she is sharing her challenge with other couples to relate to is short sighted. Thank you Katie for your honesty. I am currently going through the same thing shared similar feelings how no one was honest or upfront about the struggle NFP is definitely worth it, but would have appreciated an honest answer.

    By Erin | 4 years ago Reply
  7. Forgive the “out-of-sequence” elements of my last comment; the post messed with my formatting. The last paragraph should be inserted between my last paragraph and final comment. God bless!

    By Teri | 4 years ago Reply
  8. I am afraid I read the article similarly to Mich. The phrase “February surprise” is an expression in point, as well as the whole endeavour of avoiding pregnancy (within this seeming striving for holiness union)… The mentality of the writer is showing the (unwittingly, I suppose) the contraceptive mentality of the age. All babies “must be planned” and must arrive only when it is convenient. Otherwise they are unwelcome. As in the comment above, I feel that the Millennials do not understand that marital relations are primarily always an invitation for new life and that is how God ordained it; and the new life, a baby, is the fruit, the reward of Love rather than something optional and additional. ST JPII talks about the the fact that a couple in love does not even think about it, but just loves in the most intense and carefree way. (There is no talk about NFP in the Song of Songs). The new life, the “fruit of the womb” is Gods reward, and the couples enrichment, enlargement and a path to holiness, fulfillment of Gods plan. (not an accessory or a planned acquisition). To take it on board is hard for a generation, taught that certainty and security are the most important aspect at every step of their life, and also that “babies are optional extra” . I find the question “is this baby planned ?” which every midwife asks a pregnant mother highly offensive and a sign of state interfering into the personal life of the parents. We as adults have a realization that the new baby may come each time we involve ourselves in marital relations. Just being an adult and a realist.

    By Elizabeth | 4 years ago Reply
  9. This is the best article I have ever read on NFP. Thank you for your brutally honest, insanely wise and intentional words of wisdom. Quick question: What are the best books I can read on NFP? 🙂 I want to learn more about it and feel kind of lost and confused. If you could help/direct me, that would be AWESOME!❤️

    By Veronica Valdez | 4 years ago Reply
  10. Thank you for your realness, openness, and humor.
    God bless. Keep fighting the good fight for sainthood!

    By Lauren L | 4 years ago Reply
  11. While my husband and I do occasionally practice NFP, I also find the tone of this article disheartening. As a previous commenter stated, when we marry we should be open to children. If we are not in a position to joyfully accept children (or if we are not ready for them on a practical level) then we should not marry, at least not at that time. I do understand some of the struggles associated with NFP, but I also understand that these struggles, especially the dramatic and difficult ones that the author references, are often self-imposed.

    By Jackie | 4 years ago Reply
  12. I believe the author is open to life. She never says she would refuse the gift of a child from God. Anyways, we get to be co-creators with God… he invites us into a deep spiritual and physical union with him so we are able to discern His will for our families… but isn’t it a life-long discernment? And aren’t we allowed to talk about it along the way? I would also suggest that the fineries of this very intimate union and discernment aren’t always plain to outside readers of a blog. I like Katie’s candor. I have struggled with some of the things she talks about and I too am a very devout Catholic, wholly committed to living God’s will in my marriage. There is one God, but we all have a different path that brings us to Him. Mine and Katie’s paths just crossed. 🙂 Thanks for the honest giggles, Katie! Laughter is the best medicine. <3

    By Jojo | 4 years ago Reply
  13. Thank you for this prayerful glimpse at Nfp Catholic life. This teaching is hard. Holy sandpaper I say. It’s a good cross as all crosses are. Loved the throwing the calendar in the trash. It’s our frustration the greatest prayer? Lord, I’m broken. Please heal me.

    By Heather | 4 years ago Reply
  14. I loved this article! You covered all of the points I try to make when I teach couples the Creighton method. NFP is a discipline, and it does require sacrifice, and people need to know that! It’s so important to be truthful, especially towards engaged couples that don’t hear about some difficulties you may encounter. Being a Christian isn’t easy, and NFP won’t be easy either. As a newly married person myself, I experienced most every emotion you described, but we’ve found that it is worth it and does help you grow closer to God as a couple. Thank you for your honesty, it very well said.

    By Sarah | 4 years ago Reply
  15. Well, I think if you are not ready to have children then maybe wait until you are before getting married. Because a gift is a gift that could be given at any time, and we are only supposed to avoid pregnancy for a serious reason. I didn’t really worry about NFP, I learned it, couldn’t really read the signs, I had no idea when I was fertile or not, and left it mainly up to God. So NFP wasn’t stressful at all. Having 5 children in 5 1/2 years, now that was stressful, but I devoted all my time to these beautiful children, and don’t regret a minute of it. I have 6 children now and would love to be given more. My youngest is 8 and God has not given us any more. Just Trust and all will be well. God provides.

    By Rosella | 4 years ago Reply
    • NFP does involve trust in God when you use it, I think. When you have a just reason, and discern you do need to use it, it takes a lot of trust to keep with it: trust in the Church’s teaching that this is the best thing (versus contraception), trust that the suffering is worth it, and trust that God will sustain your marriage in the midst of that.

      It sounds like you’ve had a beautiful life, and I’m not trying to disparage that at all. I grew up in a big family, so I know how beautiful (and stressful) it can be. But I also know there are a lot of different ways God asks for our trust…sometimes in the same few years!

      By GiannaT | 4 years ago Reply
    • Thank you for this comment. This is really encouraging. I have found a deep peace as I pray for God to give me strength and increase my trust in Him and His timing for our family (we just got married about a month and a half ago) rather than to pray that we don’t have children right away because we aren’t ready. I was terrified a year ago, but now, I just want to walk in love and faith with my husband, to keep watch over my symptoms (which I have a very good understanding of so far with my past 11 months of charting), and cling to God and whatever His plans may be for us–and for the number of children we may conceive. Our Blessed Mother wasn’t ready either–she hadn’t even been with a man!!!–and yet she still said yes to the Lord’s invitation.

      By Tammy | 4 years ago Reply
    • God bless you, Rosella! Your story reminds me of the now canonized couple, Zelie and Louis Martin. Those 6 eternal souls stand in testament to your trust and true love. You are inspiring!!!

      By Mich | 4 years ago Reply
  16. There are other forms of NFP to try besides taking your temperature. I use the Creighton Model and I believe it is so easy to see signs aderstand my body. Sure NFP can be frustrating but not so frustrating that you have write a whole blog article to complain about. Look for other ways to help you there are always options

    By Rachel | 4 years ago Reply
  17. I could have written this article when we were newlyweds 10 years ago. But after our ‘surprise’ early on and the 3 more children that followed the first… I saw what a great gift God had in store I see things differently now.

    Can we lay it at the altar? Can we trust in the outcome being glorious no matter what? Can we relinquish control?

    Because the true beauty of NFP lies in our own selflessness. God isn’t asking us to have 14 children. He is asking us to trust Him and be open to life.

    I propose: Do not chart. Do not abstain. Pray that God’s will be done for you and your family.

    Yes, likely you will become pregnant. Remember that fertility is a gift that not all receive. And one that wanes with the quickly passing years.

    Do not be afraid. Again, pray! There is rarely a time we as comfort programmed Americans that we truly need to abstain. Maybe instead we could abstain from our own ambitions for the benefit of His kingdom.

    By Janalin | 4 years ago Reply
  18. I stumbled upon this article in my FB feed, it was shared by a Catholic friend and I must say that reading it gave me one more reason to be glad I’m not Catholic (or religious in general) any more. I’m very libertarian leaning so if you decide to undertake NFP as a lifestyle choice that’s totally up to you. But listening to your struggles I do wonder why you’d bother? I’m aware that not everyone reacts well to IUDs, complications can arise from the pill and for some, latex allergies can prevent others from using condoms. But the vast majority of the population can use them safely and effectively.
    Thanks again though for sharing your struggles, I’m sure it wasn’t easy. Good luck to you in the future.

    By Robert | 4 years ago Reply
  19. Thank you for stating what most of the population is experiencing.It takes courage to do NFP. Everyone needs to start somewhere and I applaud you for your honesty . It helps to have someone identify with you and encourages those who are closed to even trying this seemingly antiquated way of managing family size that a God loving husband and wife are striving to do. The church teaches us to cooperate with God’s will and I believe that he has given us the tools with NFP to do so. I echo that it is not easy, and never will be,to enter through that narrow gate that leads us home to eternity in Heaven with a loving Father.

    By Mary | 4 years ago Reply
  20. Hi, thanks for a straightforward article which I find very eye opening! I am in a virtuous relationship with my partner, hoping to get married in the near future. We are leading different battles now, but also wondered what fights we ll have to lead after we get married. I believe children are a gift from God we should accept, but he created us in such a wonderful way, that naturally we can ”wait”. Not rejecting His gift, but just ”wait”. I am sure, I have a lot to learn , we all are, since this is part of a great mystery, but please do not be narrow-minded about God’s teaching. I believe there is more to this Mich than you know. God Bless

    By youngman | 4 years ago Reply
  21. I understand the authors’ point about being more realistic about the difficulties of NFP, and I laud her for sharing her perspective. But I just want readers to know that it isn’t the only perspective. My wife and I are newlyweds and we do not find NFP a Burden. Yes it takes work, but so does taking out the trash and doing the dishes- not the most difficult of tasks, but you have to stay on top of it. And Yeah it means no sex less than a week out of the month. But is that really So bad. It’s all about expectations. If you joined marriage expecting mind blowing sex every day of every month so much so that you can’t hold off less than a week of the month then yes NFP is a hugeee burden haha. I’m not trying to minimize the difficulties of some couples who have problems with charting, but there are some amazingly easy and accurate ways to measure such as the clearblue monitor if you prefer testing hormone levels to checking cervical mucus. I agree let’s be real about NFP, but let’s make sure it’s consistent with most couples experiences- perhaps a survey study is needed.

    By Joe | 4 years ago Reply
  22. This couple seems very immature!

    ” and now, with NFP, there are a few days every month we have to keep waiting if we have discerned against conceiving a child at that time. Like I said… Not. Freaking. Practical.”

    Are they complainin because they have to wait a week to have sex again? Offer it up to God. I agree NFP was harder than everyone made it seem, but this article is shockingly disrespectful. I’m guessing they do not have any children, maybe you’d have to have children to really fully appreciate NFP. If you are not ready to have children, then you are not ready for marriage. I’m sure they know their Catholic faith, but maybe just need a refresher on this area. I personally had 4 pregnancy back to back to back, one of them a miscarriage. It was then I started NFP so my body could heal from all the c sections, and I needed a Lil break. And now I’ll be using NFP to actually get pregnant again. It was hard getting my husband to understand and be patient with me at first, but now it’s beautiful and definitely helped our marriage. I just think this the couple in this article have some growing up to do, they have yet to learn what marriage is really about.

    By Anna | 4 years ago Reply
  23. Surprised but not surprised by the cold hearted and ridiculous comments on an internet blog. Thank you for this practical insight on the hardships of NFP as my wife and I begin our journey! Glad to see others striving for a happy and holy and discerning marriage 🙂

    By Bo jangles | 4 years ago Reply
  24. While I am not sure all the wording was perfect in this blog, it is someone’s thoughts and feelings. NFP is something for the couple to grow in their marriage. The Church wisely instructs us to discern if we are ready for children. While one of marriage’s purpose is to have childen, it is not the only one. Nothing here is offensive, but simply honest. NFP is often very hard. Keep working on it!

    By Matt | 4 years ago Reply
  25. I believe some people downplay the difficulties of NFP because, well they want to convince people just to attempt it. I know when I’ve honestly spoken to friends about it I focus on all the positives to encourage people to just try it out. It takes a lot of guts and trust to get off of the pill!

    I think you’ll feel better about the difficulty of NFP over time – at least there’s a lag time in between starting out & becoming more of a ‘pro’ (which is more difficult for some due to their more irregular biology). More days for intimacy become available the more you understand. And as a nurse, bodily fluids become more and more a-okay to talk about the more you do!

    I agree that to be a Catholic there’s always this sense, that nothing’s easy. The way is narrow and difficult, but worth it. How we deal with it is also a dilemma, as there’s this increasing sense as we mature and grow older that there’s great virtue in being able to discuss our difficulties, frustrations, and other icky emotions in a grace-filled manner. Man, I wish it came naturally…

    Hey, I’m glad we have NFP so we don’t have to completely abstain altogether like people used to! But I agree, we should acknowledge it’s difficulties so new users aren’t left in the dark.

    By Kate | 4 years ago Reply
  26. My husband and I used contraception at the beginning of our marriage, basically because we didn’t know better, even being Catholic. So many of my family and friends used contraception, we just went with that. It wasn’t until someone really took the time and explained the truth of what the Catholic Church teaches, that I felt compelled to learn NFP. It was a little confusing to utilize at first, but my husband and I are now so grateful for this method and fully understand the beauty of it in our marriage. We don’t regret anything about using NFP, except not being aware of using it sooner.

    By Marie | 4 years ago Reply
  27. This is a bit negative. Many couples practice NFP and aren’t “frustrated” with it. Perhaps it would be more difficult for someone with an irregular cycle etc. but there are devices out there now that can make it much more accurate. My wife and I practice NFP and this article does not really reflect how we would feel about it.

    By Adam | 4 years ago Reply
    • Describes my experience pretty well. Forget irregular cycles– NFP while breastfeeding can be incredibly challenging. And if you are open to a large family, but really aren’t ready to get pregnant again three months postpartum, then that can mean months and months (repeated after every pregnancy) of frustration and ambiguity. I’ll take honesty over glossy pictures and happy talk any day.

      By Margaret | 4 years ago Reply
    • And many couples practice NFP and ARE frustrated with it. I’m aware of closed FB groups entirely composed of thousands of Catholic women who are living out the Church’s teaching but extremely frustrated with NFP. They created their own private group to encourage one another (and many times vent frustrations). Also, those devices that you mention really aren’t reliable. If you are trying to avoid pregnancy for just reasons, the devices don’t really help. I think the author is just being blunt and honest. Chastity is HARD. And NFP requires a commitment to the virtue of chastity WITHIN marriage. Marriage doesn’t make the virtue any easier to practice. It’s OK to admit that NFP is frustrating or that Chastity is hard. It builds us up to know that marriage doesn’t solve all our problems. We have to keep growing.

      By Everett Fritz | 4 years ago Reply
    • I think so, too, as far as the negativity. I am deeply appreciative of this couple sharing this journey in love for the rest of us, though. We need good NFP discussions!

      I have found as a user and instructor that if NFP is hard, there are reasons and ones that can be worked on. Is there hormonal imbalance? Are you prioritizing so many things, there is not time to sanely practice NFP? Is more work needed to get to deeper levels of intimacy with each other and God so sex can be ordered rightly? The list goes on.

      It is hard not because of NFP, but because it calls me to discipline and reality. But I can work on those things, which is why you hear the glowing stories. Don’t dismiss them- learn why those couples are there.

      By Ellen | 4 years ago Reply
  28. Poor Katie, and her 1st world problems! Sorry, it just sounds so pitiful to complain about NFP, and I had the same frustrations. It is hard, but I never thought it would be otherwise. It should be presented as, difficult but worth it, that is true. I’m just surprised that anyone couldn’t anticipate a bed of roses…. It’s supposed to be hard, otherwise it would be so easy to abuse. Good luck getting over the cringe effect of talking about sex, poor Katie, it does get easier after the first couple kids though. lol Newlyweds!

    By sheri sweeney | 4 years ago Reply
  29. I think there are many comments here that are twisting this article ans placing judgement upon the author. I find it very offensive to be doing that, opposed to one’s open and honest sharing about the challenges of practicing NFP in marriage and exercising chastity.
    For those who do not relate , that does not mean that another is living it poorly. There are a multitude of reasons why people postponement pregnancy , everyone knows their own personal circumstances and the way they are called to serve the Lord. If you’re truly familiar with NFP it’s challenges of charting, or having to abstain for honest discerned reasons than you would alsk validate the heroic virtue and pruning, purifying love it requires.

    I think it is admirable to be so open and honest, it is a necessity today and imperitive.

    I appreciate this article. As a young married woman, by the way I was pregnant two months into my marriage and am expecting my second now and struggle with NFP too.

    Wait, I shouldn’t be married? No.

    By Celeste | 4 years ago Reply
  30. This article nails it right on the head! We practice NFP but it is literally the HARDEST part of our marriage. To each his own on why to not conceive as long as you are open to life! That’s what the Church says. To those who say she is wrong and is a bad Catholic, go read your Catechism again.

    By Ryian Hilpisch | 4 years ago Reply
  31. We also have to be aware of how the world affects and infects us. Are we using a natural means of birth regulation in a secular/worldly mindset or one that makes God the center of our lives and dying to ourselves in order to live in, through and with Him and for others. We have been told a hideous lie especially since contraception has been widely accepted: we can have a baby whenever we want. My husband and I believed the lie without realizing or articulating it. The author and her husband assume that they are fertile; they have no idea if they are. It also demonstrates a rather narrow view of what is hard, a suffering and sacrifice. The people living in cultures where there is poverty, religious torture and persecution and enduring all manners of other henious evils might think that we have much to learn. The Holy Spirit and Our Lady, guardian angel and patron saints remind me of this daily, thank God.

    By Theresa Strenge | 4 years ago Reply
  32. Sounds like the bigger cross is NFP, and that the lesser cross would be letting go and being open to a baby. You might not get pregnant and you are missing out on such a wonderful time as newlyweds to be spontaneous and really enjoy this aspect of married life!

    By BigSis | 4 years ago Reply
  33. Thank you for your realness!!! We have been practicing nfp for 15 years, and I absolutely agree with you. I wish someone would have been this honest with me upfront, so I could have been more prepared for the struggles. Thank you for being willing to say the hard things!

    By Molly | 4 years ago Reply
  34. To compare NFP to the excruciating pain of nails in Christ’s back as he walked the hill to Calvary is one of the most absurd things I have ever read in Catholic blogging. There is real suffering in families and in the world that should be compared to walking Calvary – caring for a terminally ill child, infertility, living with chronic illness, etc. etc. The “Russian roulette” of NFP does not belong anywhere close to the suffering that is like the road to Calvary. Sure, it can be difficult for some couples, but really?

    I am very surprised and disappointed that you allowed this on your site.

    By Emily S | 4 years ago Reply
  35. Thank you so much for your honesty. I love how real and genuine you were. This is a perspective many unmarried couples and single Catholics are missing!!!

    By Madeleine | 4 years ago Reply
  36. Well this article kinda makes me feel oh wow another struggle do I want to get married there is so much to consider before you get married , NFP I always thought to be stunning way to keep couples together it allows to be open in all expect of life .Now the trick part does the world know about it what if one doesnt get married with Catholic guy it can be pretty overwhelming .But will continue praying for Gods wisdom in this matter .

    By Treasure | 4 years ago Reply
  37. Thank you for your clear words. My husband and I are also trying to find God’s plan for our lives. We for ourselves decided to not practice NFP but to use some IUD. As doctor I see my vocation in spreading the gospel to my patients by working properly and being patient. That takes time and that presupposes a secure and easy family planning. I know many couples practicing NFP and being happy with it, but everyone should be informed about the (positive and negative) side effects before taking the decision for/against NFP. So I am very grateful for your honest words.

    By Laura | 4 years ago Reply
  38. PLEASE go to immediately and find a practitioner to teach you the Creighton Model FertilityCare System! I would teach you myself if I didn’t live in Iowa! It doesn’t require taking your temperature, so changing sleep patterns won’t mess it up. It relies solely on cervical mucus observations, but even if you have mucus continuously, your practitioner can still teach you to determine when you’re actually fertile, based on your personal patterns!

    By Cassi Fortino | 4 years ago Reply
  39. I’m sorry but I find this article very confusing. I thought church teaching is that NFP can be used to avoid pregnancy for serious reasons. I have been married 9 years and I’m currently pregnant with my 6 child. We have used NFP between pregnancies just to distance them a little bit. I would’ve never thought of using it as newlyweds, how frustrating! Were we ready? Not really but we were married and had said we were open to having the children God wanted to give us. We were blessed right away and even though it has been hard (not saying openness to life comes easy), it’s been blessing after blessing. It has also increased our faith and trust in God’s plan. He has always shown us how He provides. I really didn’t like the part when she compares NFP to a monthly Russian roulette…that does not sound like they, as a couple, have this “absolute trust in God’s greater plan”.

    By Gabriela | 4 years ago Reply
  40. I appreciate the authors sincerity and honesty, and, having practiced NFP in the past, I can definitely relate to her struggles. It is with this in mind that I would like to share that what ultimately brought my husband and I so much closer to each other and Christ, was not the joint cross of practicing NFP, but taking the thrilling (and at times terrifying!) leap of faith to let God decide when to give us children. After practicing NFP for the first four years of marriage, we were tired of the fights and tears that were often the unwanted consequence. As those consequences seemed to outweigh the benefits of NFP we decided to abandon our marriage and fertility to the One who knows all things and were amazed and relieved to discover that He knew so much better than we did what was good for us! We were also surprised to experience a period of infertility followed by a miscarriage, which taught us that ultimately God is the only one that can open and close the womb. I sincerely regret the times in which we deprived ourselves access to the wellspring of grace which flow from the marital act so early on in our marriage! A wise priest once advised us to take recourse of those graces often as they are very necessary in weathering the trials and crosses common to married life. although we ignored this advice at the time, we now take it very seriously and are very grateful for the immense help that being completely open to life has been for our marriage as well as for our growth as christians. For those who would prefer not to practice NFP but desire or need to space their children, ecological breastfeeding is a Church approved way of achieving that by encouraging a prolonged period of natural postpartum infertility. It involves exclusively breastfeeding your baby as well as keeping your baby close to you often. Many Catholic mothers may find that they already practice this type of mothering without realizing that it has the potential benefit of delaying the return of fertility.

    By Lauren | 4 years ago Reply
  41. Funny and honest! My mom always said it should be called Non-artificial Family Planning…because at certain times of the month it definitely doesn’t feel natural…haha.

    Our marriage prep classes through the parish actually had two NFP speakers come in to explain and encourage NFP. We have practiced it, since before we were married…it helped us get pregnant with our daughter when we were ready…we had two “planned-surprises” after her (we planned to have more but God surprised us with when they arrived)….and now it’s helping us to not get pregnant until if/when we are ready for another.

    I agree that it is beautiful because it helps us to communicate on another level…but it can be very frustrating at times especially when one has irregular cycles and other issues that make reading the signs harder (note the 2 surprises mentioned above) which leads to uber vigilance.

    By Mama Jo | 4 years ago Reply
  42. There has been a conversation throughout history about what exactly the duties of an author are. Specifically in poetry, people have debated whether the poet is supposed to present an ideal to strive for or if they are allowed (even supposed to) present reality as it is, with all its ugliness and challenges? I don’t know the answer to this age-old question, but I think that it is this dispute that has caused the very varied reactions to this blog post.
    Because really, the author is saying nothing new. She lauds NFP for the path to holiness it provides, but chooses to focus on how difficult it often is.
    I worry, however, that the approach the author took is largely unhelpful. First of all, the title is intriguing, and serves to pull readers in, but the use of the key word “practical” throughout the blog post is misleading. I think what the author means is “convenient.” NFP is not convenient. Nor were Jesus’ actions on the cross, the Incarnation, Pentecost, etc. convenient. However, they were practical, and NFP is practical, meaning they are feasible, or “concerned with the actual doing or use of something rather than with theory or ideas.” The slight difference in meaning, even casually used, between “practical” and “convenient” makes a slight dent in the reliability of this post, in my reading of it.
    Moreover, I think it was somewhat unhelpful to disparage other couples for saying things like NFP is “the best part of our marriage” or that NFP is beautiful. Most likely, these couples are not lying through their teeth. I think they assume that the person to whom they say these truths knows that NFP is inconvenient and difficult. Anyone who does some reading into what NFP is or who has been trained to do NFP should be certain that practicing NFP is not convenient. So I think it is very helpful for couples and people involved in marriage-prep to inspire new couples to continue with NFP because of the beauty and fruits they have seen come from it. Amidst the “bluntly honest” approach the author takes, she admits and praises these very aspects of NFP that other couples choose to emphasize over the inconvenience of NFP. So, I disagree with the author’s original statement that telling couples new to NFP that “it will be beautiful” is unhelpful.
    That being said, I think there is a time and a place to just be real about our struggles, to complain that something is difficult, to share the realities and inconveniences of life, because it helps others in the same situation to know that they are not alone, to feel validated. However, I am unsure whether a public, authoritative blog post is the place for that blunt honesty. Perhaps there will be some people reading this who do not have solid friendships or family relations where they can receive validation about their struggle with NFP, so to them, this blogpost could be incredibly reassuring and relatable. However, I think that in most cases, this type of “bluntly honest” approach is more helpful, safe, and less open to any confusion, when it takes place in personal conversations. The trouble with published thoughts is that they are often the end of the conversation, and they do not always display further growth or give the chance for a maturation of the message. I think that in the majority of cases, it is better for a public speaker or writer to emphasize the true beauty of something more than the brutal reality, while still admitting that suffering and difficulty exists. This author chose to emphasize the brutal reality, with a lesser spotlight on the true beauty of NFP. I worry that this approach could be unhelpful or even confusing in the form of a public blog post. The confusion of real, beautiful truths is not something to be taken lightly.
    Still, God intended this blogpost to be written and I know that someone at the point they are at right now, needed to read this. I hope that they also get to see a message at the right point in time that offers an emphasis on the true beauty of NFP.

    By Lily | 4 years ago Reply
  43. Thank you so much for posting! I’m only 18, but I really appreciate that you offered this perspective, especially because I’ve only heard about how beautiful and wonderful NFP is without hearing the hard facts. Again, thanks so much for being honest about this. Knowing what you’ve said has helped me to have a better understanding of what married love requires.

    By MaryRita Gies | 4 years ago Reply
  44. The openness and honesty is beautiful. But it sounds like they’re using NFP as a “church sanctioned form of contraception”… After reading some of the comments I realize I’m not alone in that opinion. Anytime you’re deliberately engaging in sex without openness to time of life you’re not participating in gods plan…

    By Dave | 4 years ago Reply
  45. Very good “real world” refreshing honesty. More couples would in the long run be better served admitting this. I have a question for anyone who’d like to email me: with modern NFP a couple wanting to avoid pregnancy can go on having regular intercourse month in, month out, as long as they observe continence on days deemed fertile. They do presumably this in good faith, and only for just reasons.

    How many would continue in this pregnancy avoidance mode were there no modern knowledge of the days of fertility, as for example the state of knowledge of 100 years ago, and the only reliable way to avoid pregnancy was complete continence?

    Dr. Pedullacom

    By Dr. Dom | 4 years ago Reply
  46. I completely relate to your comments in the article. I have been married 20 years now and have 6 beautiful “surprises” conceived while “practicing” NFP! God knew when we were ready and we feel so blessed! But there were many, many tense and stressful moments and the rusty nail on the cross digging into our backs is a perfect analogy! God bless you with your family!

    By Judy | 4 years ago Reply
  47. I have to agree with some points with the author. Although tbh I don’t see a reason for getting married right away if having at least one child right away isn’t feasible. Marriage is for family, and for the purpose of procreating, not living together w/benefit of sex.

    But saying that, I will say nfp is very hard. I too waited until marriage and married at the age of 21. 2 years later and we have twins. My husband lost his job, I can only find part time work, and my husband (with multiple degrees) is trying to make a career change to better our lives, but in the mean time we had to move in with my parents. Times are tough and we can’t conceive any time soon when we are just making it. I ovulate 2 to even 4 times a month. Always have, always do. Runs in my family, have an aunt with 2 sets of twins, and one set of triplets. While I was pregnant with twins, I had a cousin, and another aunt pregnant with twins at the same time, my mother had twins, my grandmother had twins and my great grandmother. All natural… It takes a lot of strong will to follow NFP when we can almost never have sex. I can concieve almost any point in my cycle. It’s really hard and disheartening. Specially when you really actually would like to concieve, but choosing to would be selfish. If we made enough money I’d never use nfp and just have as many and all children as I could.

    By Vicky | 4 years ago Reply
  48. I don’t know where else to do it so am I hoping that you will read you. Having looked at your section of contraception, I am begging you to include some writing on taking birth control for medical reason. For many years I struggled with the effects of my period, including the fact that the hormone fluctuations associated with my period would set of my gastrointestinal disorder for 7-10 days a month regardless of how diligent I was with my diet, exercise, and medication. After a few months on birth control, my life and my illness have turned around dramatically. While I have some side effects from the medicine, they are much preferable to what I used to deal with. I implore you to include some writings on these things so that young women do not feel like they shouldn’t take birth control for medical or personal reasons. Please. please, please do this.

    By Margaret | 4 years ago Reply
  49. I don’t know where else to do it so am I hoping that you will read you. Having looked at your section of contraception, I am begging you to include some writing on taking birth control for medical reason. For many years I struggled with the effects of my period, including the fact that the hormone fluctuations associated with my period would set of my gastrointestinal disorder for 7-10 days a month regardless of how diligent I was with my diet, exercise, and medication. After a few months on birth control, my life and my illness have turned around dramatically. While I have some side effects from the medicine, they are much preferable to what I used to deal with. I implore you to include some writings on these things so that young women do not feel like they shouldn’t take birth control for medical or personal reasons. Please. please, please do this.

    By Margaret | 4 years ago Reply
  50. Thank you, Katie for your candor in this article! NFP is frustrating! But it’s part of life as a responsible, catholic parent! Keep up the good work!

    By Therese | 4 years ago Reply
  51. What do I do if my Catholic husband does not want to abstain when we have serious reason to avoid another child at this present time? He want to be sexually intimate without intercourse instead. He says as long as we are open to life overall throughout our marriage life, that is what counts, not each individual act. But this seems to be masturbation so I do not agree to it. He gets angry. It is destroying our marriage. What can i do?!

    By Claire | 4 years ago Reply
    • Claire, I am so sorry! I hope you have found good answers to your questions right now. Yes it is gravely immoral to intentionally be sexually intimate without intercourse. What you are supposed to do about it, other than protest your husband’s actions, I don’t know. You’re not the one committing the contraceptive act; he is. I’m sure someone well trained will have an answer for you. I suggest you try calling Couple to Couple league or finding a priest from the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP)/ they tend to give great pastoral answers and are 100% true to the faith.

      By Amy | 4 years ago Reply

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