This month’s column is taken from tobinstitute.org and is by Lisa Price, who was accredited to teach the Billings Method in 2012 while still living in Trinidad. She has been actively teaching for six years and together with her husband Dominic, mentors couples preparing for marriage. She believes that fertility awareness, understood through the lens of the Theology of the Body, has the power to transform the world. Lisa now resides in British Columbia, Canada with Dominic and their three children.
I wear many hats. Most people know me as a wife and professional mother. To my kids, I’m the designated constructor of forts. (Okay, I will admit, the forts are really for me!) Others know me as a Zumba-loving baker, who’s happiest while dancing…regardless of whether or not there is music.
But what few people know about me is that in my ‘spare’ time, I am an accredited Natural Family Planning instructor—in other words, a person with the unintended ability to cause awkward silence to completely descend upon a room by the mere mention of those three little words.
At the age of about 16 or 17 years, I resolved to never put a contraceptive drug or device into my body. This was in large part influenced by my Catholic faith, which teaches that the procreative and unitive aspects of sexual union are inseparable. But I also placed a priceless value on my body and my health and simply had no desire to do anything that would harm the precious gift of my fertility.
This resolve led me to seek out one of the many methods of Natural Family Planning (NFP)—the Billings Ovulation Method of Natural Fertility Regulation—during my preparation for marriage. Once I began practicing NFP, I was blown away by how much I was learning about my body and its natural signs of fertility and infertility which occur over the course of each reproductive cycle.
NFP lit a fire within me, and my heart burned with a desire to share this knowledge with other women and couples. The next step for me was to become accredited in teaching the method.
As an NFP instructor, I have helped couples struggling to conceive to welcome a child into their lives. I have helped couples to postpone pregnancy when they had a serious reason to avoid becoming pregnant. And I have helped women to understand their reproductive cycles—regular or irregular—and navigate through the changes caused by life events such as breastfeeding, stress, or pre-menopause.
Lately though, I’ve been feeling a bit like I’ve kept the ‘light’ of NFP under a bushel, choosing to keep this aspect of my life mostly private, sharing with few and only when asked. I know that many people do not share my view, due to the contraceptive mentality of our culture which frames fertility as a problem to be nullified, rather than something to be embraced, valued, and understood.
But this contraceptive mentality is only nurtured by the radio silence on the other end of the conversation—by those of us who are living something radically different, but are too afraid to step forward due to fear of ridicule. Believe me when I tell you I have had my fair share of fear and it can be daunting!
It is not my intention to spark a heated debate or wag fingers, but to step forward and simply muster the courage to share my story with my whole heart, because in NFP I have discovered something truly profound and worth sharing!
As it turns out, NFP is not simply about planning family sizes, nor is it just a “Catholic thing”. NFP is a way of life. It has forced me to pay attention, to look inward, to learn and understand what makes me uniquely female, and to be aware of my fertility as something at the very core of who I am as a person. It has helped me to be fully present to my husband and it has, in turn, revealed to him who I am as a whole.
TO BE CONTINUED NEXT MONTH