Tag Archives: fertility

NEW Self-Paced Online Course

I am so excited to announce that CCL’s new Self-Paced Online Course is now available!

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Designed with busy couples in mind, this course replaces CCL’s old Home Study course and can be completed in the convenience of your home, at your own pace.

This is an exciting new development for CCL especially as it will potentially meet the need of those couples desiring to learn NFP but unable to physically attend a class, whether it be a scheduling conflict, distance dilemma or a comfort issue. While we always recommend in-person classes as being the best way to learn and to connect and receive support from a teaching couple, sometimes a physical, and even a virtual class, just isn’t possible.

Want more good news? It is only $99! This is an introductory price, and we encourage couples to take advantage of it while available.

Even more good news: course fees for our Live Online and Live Onsite classes have also been reduced. Only $130 each! (Shipping and handling not included.) What a deal! Especially considering that the information gained from learning NFP generally leads couples to a greater understanding and appreciation for each other, which generally leads to healthier choices, which generally leads to healthier lives, which generally leads to healthier families, which generally leads to a healthier Earth. (Whew!)

Each class format has it’s unique benefits, and challenges, but the hope is that couples will find at least one of them to be feasible and affordable, and learning NFP that much easier.

Natural Family Planning: a tool for your health, marriage, family, world. Learn it today!

Laudato Si and NFP

I am only a few pages into Laudato Si, but I am already loving it! Our beloved Pope Francis truly has the heart of St. Francis. He is a poet. He is also challenging me in ways I did not expect.

We have a child with severe food allergies, and from the moment of her diagnosis just about everything in our life changed. There’s nothing like a crisis to instigate change. We had to rethink everything we did, from cooking to bathing and everything in-between. We gained a new vocabulary, learned to decipher nutrition labels, and gained new skills. It took at least a year, if not two, to accumulate an arsenal of new recipes and familiarity with cooking new foods. We removed all allergens from our home, shopped the organic aisle, developed rules about encounters with friends and family, rules about traveling, and in the meantime learned more about natural health. Let me tell you, it was a challenge. Nowadays much of this is routine, but it was a big learning curve.

Reading this encyclical feels kind of like being diagnosed with food allergies again.  We have just been diagnosed with major life changing news, but in this case the diagnosis includes everyone on the planet. Pope Francis, while expounding a bit on the theology of creation and our role as caretakers of our Brother Earth, describes the dire state in which our world lies. We have misused our resources and are placing the planet, and all lives, in jeopardy. He is calling for change and to take responsibilty for the problem. But will others understand his message and the crisis he depicts enough to change?

I recently read an article from the National Catholic Register entitled Birth Control in Drinking Water: A Fertility Catastrophe in the Making? It seemed rather appropriate that it was published around the release of Laudato Si. It cites a recent report by the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) that has found evidence that some fish have been dramatically affected by excreted birth control hormones contained in drinking water. The effects on the fish included reduced fertility (up to the third generation even when not directly exposed), reduced fertilization rates, impaired embryo survival rates (miscarriage), and the drugs’ ability to “feminize” male fish. Sound familiar? As a NFP teacher perhaps my ears are attuned to the numerous stories of couples who are struggling to conceive or who have suffered from miscarriage. How much of this is due to contaminants in drinking water and food? The USGS study, says the article, “adds to a growing body of evidence that man-made endocrine-disrupting chemicals — those that affect hormone systems and numerous body functions, including conception — are damaging wildlife, wreaking havoc on reproductive, immunological and nervous systems.” But this information is being shrugged off and ignored. Something the Pope warns about in this new encyclical.

Reading both this article and the encyclical reignites my passion for promoting NFP. How can people, especially doctors, justify prescribing birth control (and unnecessary medication in general) when scientific research supports that it negatively impacts wildlife, and ignore the logical respective repercussions for humanity? Especially when NFP is just as effective as a means of regulating birth, if not more so. NFP is not simply a moral and religious question, it is a clear-cut solution to the environmental dilemma our world is facing.

Our family is already familiar with label-reading and organic food, but it needs to be taken to a new level. Now we need to think in terms of how all we do and consume impacts the planet. Everything, from shampoos to detergents to medicine, it all weighs upon our common home, and we have a responsibility to take measures to care for and protect it for all to enjoy. This includes NFP and the need to promote it vigorously. We are one family, and all of our efforts, big and small, make a difference.

I hope you will join us.

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New Life & Spring Happenings

Hello NFP Family! My apologies for the long blog silence. God has blessed us with a new addition to the household and it has taken some time to readjust.

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I am always amazed by God’s love. It is so wondrous and creative. He has used the love Jeremy and I have for each other to bring about a totally new human person, complete with body and soul, who will live for eternity. The mystery of creation and of God’s love is so profound and unfathomable, and yet we can hold it in our hands.

How quickly our lives can change! This time last year, we had no idea that we would be loving this new person into existence. Some know that we have been sincerely praying for a while for the blessing of more children, and so we thank those who have joined our petitioning the Lord, with special thanks to St. Joseph for his special intercession.

And so this Spring as we celebrate the gift of new life, and each new day God blesses us with, I will also be attempting to garden without a green thumb. I try to keep in mind, though, that God gives us all that we need to accomplish His will if we ask, including the energy with which to do it, and so as I attempt to find the balance with time and energy I will try my best to stay on top of posting. Note that the key work here is try. My philosophy is that my family gets the best of my time and attention, and as blogging is another skill I am still learning, like gardening, I cannot promise there will not be some lapses. I hope, though, that you will hang in there and continue to follow along as I chronicle the happenings in our little part of the world.

Upcoming Event: NFP Potluck
We are planning a Mid-Missouri NFP Family Potluck in June. Yay! I always enjoy catching up with other NFP families, and meeting new friends. The details will be forthcoming, but it looks like it will be June 28th, so keep that date in mind for us as we would really like to see you there!

Inspirational Reading
I thought I would share with you a post by Haley from Carrots for Michaelmas, in which she offers some tips for when you are not quite yet living the life you dreamed. Haley and her family are preparing to embark on a new adventure which they have been working hard to achieve. I have a feeling that this may speak to many of us. I find it inspirational as I know we are not in our “ideal” place. In our fast-paced world of instant gratification, it is helpful to know that there are others like us out there who through hard work are still achieving a greater dream. Maybe for some, those dreams include having children, or more children, owning a home, having a better and more fulfilling job, and so on. For Jeremy and I, the hard work lies in exercising more patience and fortitude, and continually trying to align our hearts with the will of God through prayer so that we stay true to His calling in our lives, as He knows best what will make us happiest. As the saying goes (in my own words): God always answers prayers; sometimes He says “no,” or at least, “not yet.” For those of you who are also in this situation, and who may be receiving this answer from God, I pray for the patience and fortitude you need, and that God is ready to bestow, to endure this time of working and waiting, while enjoying the blessings of every day.

And may God bless you this Easter springtime with new life!

Pope Francis & Responsible Parenthood

Who can be surprised to hear that the news and social media are portraying Pope Francis incorrectly? I love our Pope! I am so grateful that he fearlessly proclaims the truth in every situation and sees questions as opportunities of evangelization. He recently seized the moment to comment about responsible parenthood, a term coined in past Church documents.

Responsible parenthood refers to each couple’s virtuous decision to plan or postpone mom-20666_1280conception based on the needs of the family, existing and future. In our sympto-thermal NFP classes, through the Couple Couple League, we teach briefly about how responsible parenthood is a guide for couples’ use in planning their family. In class, couples learn a NFP method of fertility awareness. Responsible parenthood is the next step: taking that information home and prayerfully discerning together what God may be calling them to in light of their circumstances.

Of course, the media tried to spin his words, but it has created another opportunity for the rest of us to dialogue on this seldom referenced topic.

Rather than listen to me ramble on, I recommend reading Dr. Greg Popcak’s review of the Pope’s comments, Pope Francis and Catholic Rabbits-5 Points to Consider. After reading them, I am reminded of how powerful this teaching from the Church truly is, and how empowering! The truth sets us free.

 

Book: Managing Morning Sickness

managing morning sickness I’m always on the lookout for good resources, most especially those pertaining to NFP. When I find one it’s like a gem I hold on to. Well today I’d like to tell you one that a friend and fellow NFP teacher put me onto. It is Marilyn M. Shannon‘s book Managing Morning Sickness.

Published by CCL, it totally escaped my attention until recently. It is a small book, but it is packed with research-based self-care options for nausea and related discomforts frequently experienced by pregnant mothers. The simple, home-based treatments Shannon suggests in this book, however, you will not likely hear in the doctor’s office.

Shannon has found research supports that morning sickness may be the result of low blood glucose (hypoglycemia). She then illustrates how this is so, and delineates ways women may overcome it through diet, nutrition and possibly vitamin and mineral supplements. All her suggestions are safe, practical and inexpensive, although she does of course encourage talking with your doctor or midwife before beginning any supplementation, especially as he/she understands any existing health problems you may have.

I highly recommend any woman, pregnant or potentially being so, picking up this book. Statistically speaking, if you have not or do not experience morning sickness during one pregnancy, you or someone you know are likely to in the future, some more severely than others. The tips, tricks and knowledge gained through this reading will help you know how to naturally treat it and so help make your pregnancy more enjoyable and healthy.

Also, in case you are not aware, Marilyn Shannon has another wonderful book, Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition. It is currently part of CCL’s student course kit when registering for the main class series or home study course. My students hear me say this all the time: it is my nutrition bible! It’s the first place I go to whenever I have a question about fertility-related health and nutrition. I cannot recommend it enough. Anything from everyday supplementing to treating annoying PMS symptoms, PCOS, endometriosis, and more, it is a valuable resource with rarely heard but practical, natural, and research-based self-care. Acting on her suggestions could make all the difference for you, like they have for me.

Blessings in the new year!

A Time of Waiting

Advent Calendar

Advent Calendar

I love the liturgical seasons! Right now we are celebrating Advent, the days leading up to Christmas. Beginning Christmas Day, we celebrate the Christmas season for almost two weeks (this year it is eleven days, leading up to the Feast of the Epiphany). For now, daily Mass readings and liturgical observances allow us to slow down, enjoy each day, not live tomorrow before it comes, while also building anticipation and thus a more joyous celebration when Christmas begins.

I have appreciated the daily Advent reflections by Fr. Robert Barron (if you haven’t heard about or receive them, you can check them out here). Reflecting on the idea of waiting, I have been thinking about the concept of abstinence, and how it is misunderstood today. (I feel compelled to clarify that Fr. Barron does not mention sexual abstinence in his Advent reflections.) It seems that some people see NFP as some sort of non-sex program. (Yet, others equate NFP with large families…?) These misconceptions are often are based on assumptions, hype, and inadequate information.

Couples using Natural Family Planning plan intercourse around the naturally occurring times of fertility and infertility they see on their personal charts. If they desire children, they use the fertile times to have intercourse. If they desire to postpone pregnancy, they use the infertile times. The counter-cultural idea here is that a couple would have to wait before satisfying a sexual desire. What many, many people miss is that intercourse that is truly loving is not a matter of merely satisfying sexual desire: it is becoming one with your spouse through an act of self-giving. When the desire to become united with your spouse comes at a time that would not best serve the other, couple or family, couples practice self-discipline and find other ways to show love for each other, and they often find that these practices strengthen their marriage as well.

Abstinence is self-discipline. We discipline ourselves through exercise, by refraining from eating sweets while on a diet, and establishing routines and schedules in our lives, all to achieve goals. Discipline can be difficult, but when we value the goal it is worth the sacrifice, and it makes the goal more worthy, while making us healthier persons.

Abstinence means practicing self-discipline and waiting, as in Advent, to celebrate the gift of each other at the right time. And then! When the time of waiting has passed, the celebration is that much richer.

May God bless us with all the graces needed during our times of waiting, and may we give thanks for them.

A Guide to Contraception

Sometimes it is helpful to have a resource like this handy, for our own questions and those of others: In this article entitled “A What’s-What (and Why It’s Wrong) Guide to 21st-Century Contraception,” made available courtesy of Family Foundations (the bi-monthly publication of CCL), author Kathleen Basi consults physician Dr. Tom Papreck about the different types of contraceptives available.

This article contains information on how they work, why they often are chosen, the moral problems of using them, and a list of other things that people seldom hear about or problems that arise with the use of them. Knowledge is power.

The article is also available on our Resources page (so they’ll be no need to hunt down that old blog post to find it.) 😉

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