During Natural Family Planning Awareness Week, I encourage you to learn more about your fertility. A new website with this aim has just launched, and this is the perfect time to tell you about it. IuseNFP already has a wealth of information, including instructional resources, statistics, personal stories, graphics with promotional messages, and more.
Here is a phrase from their mission statement: “Through the use of NFP we desire that men and women see themselves as equal partners with the responsibility to prudently manage their family, to recognize their bodies as deserving of the respect which only NFP promotes, and gain self knowledge which will lead to greater overall physical and emotional health.” Seriously, what other fertility program offers all of that?
This new website aims to educate everyone about Natural Family Planning from “a non-religious, non-sectarian” perspective. If you are looking for resources about NFP from a Catholic perspective regarding marriage and family, you can find information and links at this post.
I chose to highlight the button above because in the women’s studies course I teach I strive to counter the idea that women’s body processes are diseases. Modern medicine sees menstruation, pregnancy, lactation, and menopause as “conditions” that require “fixing,” usually in the form of pharmaceuticals or surgery. Known as medicalization, this attitude has convinced women that doctors and pharmacists know more about their bodies than women ever could, and that the working details of their fertility should remain mysterious.
Among causing other problems, such as a high maternal death rate when giving birth (the U.S. has the highest rate in the developed world), the medicalization of a women’s fertility also discourages interest in Natural Family Planning, a low cost, organic, health promoting method of fertility control based on science. When you learn how your fertility works, and see the signs of hormone cycles acting in your body, you participate in your own healthcare. You can be confident that you are healthy when your body is working as it should.
On the other hand, pharmaceutical contraceptives discourage knowledge of the fertility inherent to women’s bodies, and cause side effects that negatively impact women’s health, all at a monthly cost. In addition, contraceptives are meant to stop your fertility from working as it should, causing a hormonal imbalance that can take up to a year to return to normal. There is also evidence that the contraceptive hormones not used by the body pass through the urine into the water supply, thus exposing many more people as well as animals and plants to artificial reproductive hormones, with negative consequences that we are only beginning to understand.
In a world where organic food, farming, and living are gaining more advocates, Natural Family Planning should be included in our efforts to live naturally and greener. For those of us who believe that fertility is not an illness, this moment is the perfect time to share our knowledge of NFP with others. Learn more about your fertility, and share what you have learned with others interested in a healthy lifestyle.