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Natural Family Planning

April 6, 2011

Here’s the thing, my friends…  I have baby fever*.  Big time.  O will soon be two years old and his baby days are quickly winding down.  Each day we watch him become more a little boy and less a baby, more his own person and less of an extension of his mama (or papa).  It’s all so bittersweet.

I get a lot of questions from readers (usually via email) regarding all kinds of topics.  A favorite is family planning.  So, here it goes…

My body has pretty much rejected every artificial form of birth control I’ve tried.  I’m not sure it’s necessary to get into the specifics, but let’s just say I was beyond relieved when B and I got married and started looking into more natural (gentle) family planning methods.  Once we found a method that would work for us whether trying to conceive or prevent pregnancy, we were thrilled.

B and I have been practicing the Fertility Awareness Method since very early in our marriage.  It does require some diligence and personal responsibility but the upside is that it is effective (for us anyway) and gentle.  It’s important to be kind to ourselves and treat our bodies with respect.  Filling my body with synthetic hormones or foreign devices has never ended well for me.

Another plus to using FAM is that once we decided to conceive O, I was already so in tune with my body I knew exactly when I was ovulating…  No tests or kits required!

Some resources that have helped us along the way:

  • Taking Charge of Your Fertility~  I cannot sing enough praise for this book!  It should be required reading for everyone.  You may even be able to find it at your local library.
  • Fertility Friend~  Whether trying to conceive or not, charting truly is helpful!  FF has a free option as well as a more in-depth paid option.  I use the free option in conjunction with the charting method outlined in TCOYF.

Notes:

  • Please keep in mind, I would never suggest FAM to anyone not in a completely monogamous healthy relationship.
  • I am by no means a family planning expert of any kind; I am merely sharing what works for us.  Please speak to a healthcare professional for help choosing what is right for you.

*I’m telling you those babywearing meetings with all the sweet little squishies aren’t helping much either!  Oy.  Pardon me, do you mind if I inhale your child for a moment? *sigh*

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. April 6, 2011 11:59 am

    This is a big topic of conversation in our house these days! We have done the Fertility Awareness Method, both to get and keep from getting pregnant. But, this one in the oven? This little guy is a testament to our lack of self control when the hormones are running high… We have never done anything else, so in our new, “We don’t want any more babies” mindset, we are scrambling to come up with plan B. The man has even said the V word (vasectomy) which I thought was off the table. I am glad we still have some months before we have to come up with a plan. Six kids is enough, baby fever or not. :)

    I love the FAM for the same reasons you pointed out. I love knowing where I am in my cycle, knowing the exact day we conceived when we do get preggo, and feeling so in control of my body. Even if one didn’t use it for birth-control or to get preg, I think it is just good for women to know it.

    I totally know of the baby fever you speak! It always hits me when the last baby starts walking. You only have one, too, so it is even worse for you! :)

    • April 6, 2011 7:48 pm

      I absolutely agree with you that all women should at least try FAM. You learn so much about your body that you wouldn’t learn any other way. It really is empowering! :)

  2. April 6, 2011 12:12 pm

    I used to get Baby Fever. Now that I’ve had three of them, I know that I’m done. There’s a limit to how many people I can take care of and not feel like I’m slighting anyone. I know there are people out there that can handle many more children – I’m just not one of them! (:

    • April 6, 2011 7:50 pm

      Hi Melissa~
      I’m always interested in hearing about how many mamas just seem to *know* when they are done (or not done as the case may be). There’s something very instinctual and personal about it. Fascinating stuff, really! :)

  3. Amanda permalink
    April 6, 2011 4:04 pm

    I’m so glad you shared “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” with me in the past and would also recommend it! Lol, you may also inhale my child for a moment anytime you feel the need ;)

    • April 6, 2011 7:52 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed TCOYF! I hope you’ve found it as helpful as we have. …and I can’t wait to see you and your sweet little girl again… I’m still amazed at what a strong little peanut she is!♥

  4. Kelli permalink
    April 7, 2011 12:21 am

    Ok..I swore I wasn’t going to comment on your blog THREE days in a row! But I feel like you’re hitting where it counts for me everyday! (I suppose having sons close in age helps). :) Anyway, I spent an entire year battling various illnesses, pains, and even had a few trips to the emergency room with pain that was worse than my natural homebirth to a 10 lb boy. I had surgery and countless visits to various doctors. In the end…it was my IUD. My doctor removed it and within mere hours I was better and have not felt a stitch of pain since. I will never do hormone birth control again.
    J and I are getting the baby itch as well! It will be exciting to see what unfolds in the coming seasons. :)

    • April 7, 2011 11:41 am

      Hi Kelli~
      Please, comment away! I always appreciate feedback :)
      I also had a bad experience with the IUD. I felt terrible with it in place and after six months had it removed because I just couldn’t take it anymore and something about it just felt *wrong*.
      Then during O’s birth, our midwife found scar tissue on my cervix, making dilation difficult and painful. We determined it was likely caused by the IUD :( I would never recommend getting one to anyone. Something about placing a foriegn object inside your uterus and possibly causing damage just isn’t ok as far as I’m concerned.
      I’m glad you were able to determine what was causing your discomfort and get the issue resolved before things got any worse! *hugs*

  5. April 7, 2011 2:13 pm

    We too used FAM from about a year after our 3rd child was born until I conceived our twins! It was almost exactly 1 year to the day that I had gone off Birth control that I conceived. After the twins, which made 5 children for us, I had my tubes tied during their c-section. I can still tell when I am ovulating even though the egg can’t get through. I have to laugh because I knew I had signs of ovulation “again” but said to myself oh I don’t care I already ovulated this month I shouldn’t be again. Low and behold we conceived twins! Always listen to the signs your body gives you!

    A saying that is often said to me when people found out we were doing Natural Family Planning was, “You know what they call people using NFP right? Parents.”

    I just laugh and said Yes you do!

    • April 7, 2011 4:44 pm

      Well, I suppose that’s why they call it Natural *Family Planning* and not Natural *Birth Control*! ;) Hahaha…
      I think the general population misunderstands FAM and sometimes confuses it with the Rhythm Method. FAM uses a variety of bodily signs in conjuction with charting BBT. You do have to be concientious of *all* the signs for it to be effective, as you know well! ;) That said, if B and I were only interested in preventing pregnancy, we would likely use a back up method.
      PS I stopped by your site. Your children are beautiful! :)

  6. April 13, 2011 10:24 pm

    Thanks for sharing this Carrie! Its such a mix of emotions watching the little ones grow up. Camille fell asleep on Chris tonight, something that is becoming more and more rare. He just sat and savored it!

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