Tag Archives: NFP

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.

Your Love Story

your love story header logo

I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to CCL’s new book, Your Love Story: the Couple to Couple League Guide to Engagement and Marriage! Not yet published, CCL is seeking help with funding their publishing campaign, spreading the word about it’s upcoming release, and prayer for it’s success. Can you help?

If you haven’t heard about the book yet, here is one synopsis: “Deacon Bill Turrentine has written a book entitled Your Love Story. It offers a profound challenge to our secular-dominated culture’s shallow and impoverished view of sex and marriage. This book is an unapologetic reaffirmation of God’s intention for sex and marriage. Well reasoned and researched, using personal stories, illustrations, and humor, Your Love Story is the perfect guide for couples seeking authentic, lifelong marriage.”

“This book, Your Love Story, offers the truth about marriage and family in a way that young people can relate to.” We need more books like this! And I know your help in making this one available sooner will be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

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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Prayers for Expectant Mothers

1-baby shoes-001While devouring a good book (this one actually), I read of the author’s experience with the Blessing for Expectant Mothers, and was reminded of the time we received a special blessing during our first pregnancy.

We approached one of our parish priests and asked if he would mind offering a prayer over us as we were pregnant with our first child. He made us a better offer, and arranged to pray the Rite for the Blessing of a Child in the Womb after Mass one day. The Rite is very beautiful. There was more to it than we realized! Though not very lengthy, it contained readings, petitions, and special prayers for the safety and health of mother and child, and prayers for my husband and I as parents. Among all else, it was awesome to be recognizing the beauty and value of our daughter’s life though yet born. The full Rite is available online through the USCCB website, and I’m sure any priest would be happy to bestow this blessing upon your family if asked.

As for individual prayers that could be said anytime and often, I have found a new favorite in this Prayer to St. Anne. Or maybe this Prayer for the Expectant Mother is my favorite. I’m torn:

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When perhaps the Author of Life bestows a gift of life upon you, I hope you find great benefit in praying for your precious child, who will receive many graces and blessings from your heartfelt prayers.

Not to be lost among the expectant and joy-filled hearts, we remember that for some the longing for children and healthy pregnancies is a real living sorrow and cross. Keeping these families in our hearts, below are some prayers I hope are helpful, including a beautiful prayer written by Mother Angelica for those who have experienced a miscarriage (though it also works well for other types of child loss), and prayers for the blessing of a child. May God bless you with comfort and peace.

 

Article: Catholic Experts React to Historically Low Fertility Rate

This is a very interesting article about some commentary regarding our historically low fertility rate: Catholic Experts React to Historically Low Fertility Rate in America.

The article states that according to a recent National Center for Health Statistics report, “the total fertility rate has not been above replacement since 2007, and it has dropped every year since.” Catholic experts speculate things that may have led to this problem include a poor economy and the increase of divorce and cohabitation, especially as unstable relationships tend not to be conducive to producing children. I could paraphrase the heck out this article, but really, you should just read it here.

This article makes me think about the Great Overpopulation Myth. Did you know that it is a myth? I wasn’t enlightened until a few years ago. We do not have an overpopulation problem. We are having an underpopulation problem. Here are a couple of websites that do an awesome job explaining:

Question: Did you know that overpopulation is a myth? Or are you skeptical about it?

 

 

Postpartum Class July 2nd

One of our teaching couples, Mark & Chelle Smith-Vandergriff, is offering a Postpartum transition class on Wednesday, July 2nd, at 5:30pm in Jefferson City. Please contact them if you are interested in attending!

Generally, our transition courses (Postpartum, Premenopause) are scheduled as needed. If you are interested in one of these courses, please do not hesitate to contact us.

The transition classes generally take about 2 hours each, give or take a little depending on questions, size of class, etc., and you must have taken the Main Series course since the update in 2008, otherwise an Upgrade Class is recommended. The cost depends upon the status of current CCL membership, so we recommend contact a teaching couple for more specifics. Scholarship aid may be available, and we encourage anyone who has a need to ask. Our hope is that money will not be a barrier to learning.

If you have any questions about anything, especially whether you need an Upgrade Class, just contact any of us and we will be happy to help!

New Website

Welcome to the new website!

Hopefully the transition is an easy one. Well, besides the fact that I’ve changed all the authors so now it looks like I’ve written everything on this blog. I haven’t. I hope to be able to correct the mistake, but meanwhile, know that Kathleen Basi is really the genius around here (who has a really awesome blog of her own). 🙂

All of our subscribers should have been transferred to this new website, so if you have not received notification of a new post from the new website, please try resubscribing on the new website, then let me know if that does not work.

If you have not yet subscribed to our website, please do so! Subscribing builds up the NFP community, and keeps you informed of upcoming classes, events, and news. Even if you’re not 100% on-board with all that NFP encompasses, it is a great way to learn a little more with each post. Don’t forget to tell others about us.

The hope is that our new website address will be easier to remember and more searchable. The old website will remain active long enough to ensure all traffic is redirected here. If you have any questions or feedback, it is surely welcome! Thank you for supporting Natural Family Planning. It truly makes a difference in marriages, families and society!

Blessings!

Maria

The New Evangelization & NFP

How do the two go together? Kind of like this…

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Photo by Tomaz Silva/ABr (Agência Brasil)

Usually I am a fast reader, but when it comes to papal documents I can only absorb bits at a time. I am only a few pages into Evangelii Gaudium (the Joy of the Gospel), but already I feel the joyful spirit of Pope Francis’ words reinvigorating my zeal for proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. In this document, Pope Francis is asking us to do just that, you and me, in our own homes, communities, in our everyday interactions with those we meet, to renew our lives with the love and joy of Christ. Personally, while reading his words I hear the Holy Spirit calling me to increase my efforts in proclaiming God’s Good News particularly in promoting Natural Family Planning. How is that evangelizing?

Natural Family Planning (NFP) builds up a culture of life, which means a society that respects the dignity of life from conception to death. NFP does this by freeing couples, and thus society, from the harmful effects of contraception, and the mentality that often corresponds to its use (i.e. “It is okay to harm my body to satisfy my desires or for convenience”). When couples begin to use and understand NFP, they naturally begin to understand and respect their bodies more, and they come to see themselves as more than just a body. They are persons.

When men and women begin to see themselves as persons with dignity and worth, they begin to see others that way as well, and so a proper self-love grows and also becomes a love of “my other self.” Parents who have a proper self-love and love of others transmit this image to their children. Then these people who see themselves and each other as beautiful become a beautiful, holy family. This beautiful, holy family, in turn begins to evangelize society with their loving witness. This is the work we do person to person, couple to couple, when we teach and promote Natural Family Planning.

And thus, this is one small way I can participate in the New Evangelization.

Do you feel Pope Francis’ call to spreading the Joy of the Gospel?