Gangs of NFP

There are several types of methods of natural family planning.  The two most common types of NFP (at least in my world) are methods that involved only mucus symptoms and ones that involve both mucus and temperature symptoms.   Within these two general classifications there are multiple methods, each mostly started by a different doctor.

Mucus-only methods include: Billings Ovulation (Dr. Billings), Creighton (Dr. Hilgers)

Sympto-thermal methods include: Couple to Couple League (Dr. and Dr. Kippley), Diocese of Harrisburg method (Dr. Roetzer)

In my short time as an NFP user and instructor of a sympto-thermal method I’ve realized that people feel very strongly about the method that they use.  It is almost like each method is an NFP gang.  You’ll find people are die-hard to protect the name and reputation of their NFP gang.  In my little mind, I could imagine all these NFP couples arguging across a street like in West Side Story, touting the benefits of their methods, about to dance into oblivion:

Sympto-thermal: Oh yeah you think you’re so great, but can you confirm ovulation?  That’s what I thought! (high 5’s all around)

Mucus-only: Yeah, well, maybe not but we don’t need to!  Sperm can’t live without mucus AND we get to sleep in! (Breast-feeding mothers may defect to the mucus-only side at this point)

Sympto-thermal: Yeah well we can double check our symptoms and that makes me feel even more secure! PLUS my husband gets involved by charting temperature! (“oh no you didn’t’s” heard from the crowd)

And it could go on.  But I’ll spare you.

In reality, I’m poking fun at all us NFPers, all claiming to have the right method.  I think its awesome that there are many doctors working on this research (although there could be WAY more!) and have developed different methods that will suite the needs of women with different situations.  It makes NFP all the more accessible (and makes excuses for not using NFP just that – excuses!).  After all, its all about choice right?  We all deserve a natural method of planning our families that doesn’t compromise our morals, our health or kill babies.

I say all this as introduction to the fact that I. have. defected.  I went to a Creighton Method intro class this weekend and I think I’m in love!

Don’t get me wrong, I loved our sympto-thermal method and will continue to teach it.  It is simple to learn and use, is conservative enough to avoid pregnancy in all situations, and, as part of the course developed by our Diocese, is an important part of marriage preparation as we spend a significant amount of time on how NFP enhances the marital relationship and to understand the true sacrament of marriage!  I think for most couples with regular schedules (to facilitate temp taking), this method will work beautifully to  postpone pregnancy and, BONUS!, for couples with normal fertility will help them to achieve pregnancy.

That whole “normal fertility” part is where I start deviating from this group.

While I had near perfect charts to be able to determine with certainty when I was fertile for purposes of avoiding pregnancy, these charts are not as effective at telling me why I’m not getting pregnant.

I signed up for the Creighton classes (mostly per recommendation – you know who you are!) because of the relationship with the Pope Paul VI Institute in Omaha, Nebraska.  While I strongly believe (and there’s published studies) on the effectiveness of avoiding pregnancies using the sympto-thermal methods, because those methods are based on the research of doctors now long gone, they lack the continuity of research on achieving pregnancy.  Dr. Hilgers, founder of the Creighton Method and the Pope Paul the VI Institute, had the foresight to establish his method institutionally and create a standard for which general women’s health can be assessed in order to continue research in the area of fertility health.  This way, sub-fertile women can receive the necessary medical guidance to help achieve pregnancy (and adoption assistance if pregnancy is not possible) using a natural method.  I think its brilliant and am excited to continue!

So while I may be wearing Creighton colors now…I’m forever thankful for my thermometer for bringing me to the point of confirming ovulation and making those months of postponing pregnancy as simple as possible :)

I will always remember my roots (double chest thump).  Peace out.

One of our engagement pictures - done to appease the husband :) The sign behind us actually says something like "Be healthy!" ha!

21 thoughts on “Gangs of NFP

  1. Welcome to the Creighton model! I have been doing it a little over two years and I am so happy I decided to do it! Who knew you could learn so much about your body just from mucus?

    I had to laugh when you wrote that you were “wearing Creighton colors”…because my DH goes to Creighton University and literally as I type this, I am wearing a Creighton t-shirt! :-) I swear I didn’t plan it!

  2. Love the post! And totally understand the change and limitations of our method. While I find that many people are in the gang – I somehow manage to drift between them and have decent conversations with all gangs – including someone who just switched to Creighton and just loves all the extra information she is getting there. Hope it helps for you as well

  3. Cute post! We were in a similar situation (except for PCOS) but similar in that we started out using STM for postponing when first married (which it is great for!) but not so much for non-regular/normal fertility folks trying to conceive. We were trying to conceive for about 8-9 months (which of course for me was only like 5-6 cycles) with STM, but no dice.

    Luckily, we conceived on our first cycle of Creighton, but I know the whole process is great, and nearly every IF/Sub-F couple I know of (in our Catholic world) has used/is using Creighton to try and achieve. I just think it’s more effective for couples without normal fertility. But STM provides a lot of peace of mind for those trying to avoid.

    I love the gang analogy!

    • good to hear! yeah, we’ve narrowed down our “what could be wrong” column a lot already, so I’m curious to see what the doc says! two months of charting can’t go by fast enough!!

  4. I’m actually surprised that you went because sometimes others from other gangs rarely make it to the diagnostic side.

    It’s sad because the side that works for people who have normal fertility, does not work for us whom do not have normal fertility.

    I did couple to couple league and I stumped my teachers and headquarters, they said I was fine. They weren’t able to diagnose based on charts. I could never find my cervix.

    I think longterm wise for fertility care Creighton is so easy to use and it actually gives you the control to understand where you need to go further. Gosh, I love it! I could be the gang leader! ;)

    But I also think that things need to evolve and change and PTL for Creighton! It saved my infertile butt! ;)

    Okay, I promise, I’ll stop!!!!

    • ha you totally could be the gang leader! thanks for the push over the edge to go though :) i signed up like a month ago! and i do agree, the sides aren’t fair. but that’s ok, i hope we can just get the word out to those that need it!

  5. Great post! I think that I don’t really identify with a gang because of how I learned NFP, but the mentality is oh-so-very-strong.

  6. Well, while I’m SO relieved to hear we are using the right method to prevent pregnancy, but with the way this chart is going, if we ever decide to try to achieve pregnancy I will definitely have to keep this in mind!

  7. I’m currently trying to set up an appointment to begin learning how to chart using the Creighton model…glad you love it…I’ll be praying that it helps you and me both acheive pregnancy!

  8. Haha.. Love the dialogue between the methods.. and your engagement picture! That’s awesome!

    I’m a Creighton girl but have to admit that I was taking my temp too, just to get a little more information. So I wonder what that makes me?

    Good luck with it!

  9. Pingback: Our time to leave the Matrix « Matching Moonheads

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