When I teach NFP, Leo goes along with me (and, on rare occasions, one or both of the others also go). My comments for this is that it shouldn’t be a problem to have children be there as a reminder that it’s natural family planning, not natural how-to-avoid-ever-having-a-family planning. My friend said I need to use that line, so I think I will.
Really, though, I was thinking about how we perceive NFP. When I told a mother of five that I teach NFP, she laughed that she obviously wasn’t good at family planning. But such a statement assumes that the right kind of planning means planning on not having children. Isn’t that rather backwards?
When we talk about the methods of NFP, a lot focus on “effectiveness”. Effectiveness at what? At avoiding children, of course! While it is good that modern methods of NFP are effective in that way for when it is needed, focusing on that aspect alone I think gets it backwards.
And when I teach couples coming to me for their required NFP instruction during their engagement, I find myself needing to be reminded that it is used for conceiving as well. All too often, the default mode seems to be one of avoiding pregnancy, when we aren’t to use NFP for that purpose without a just cause. Such just causes haven’t been defined (wisely), so I cannot assume a couple’s reasons, but neither should I approach their instruction under the assumption that they will be avoiding. With the limited time for instruction, this seems to be what happens, but being aware of this hopefully I can amend my approach. I should simply discuss how it is a tool, a tool that provides information on a couple’s fertility and allows them to make decisions accordingly. Even I sometimes need the reminder that “it’s natural family planning, not natural how-to-avoid-ever-having-a-family planning”.