My Experience with NFP

The first seeds of NFP grew in my mind on a cold evening in late October of 2010. Daniel and I were two crazy kids who had only been dating for a month and were in a serious conversation about marriage, the future, and whatnot. We did not start our relationship casually. We both started with intent to marry, hence the deep conversation after only a few dates. Almost every conversation we had in private was deep, because Daniel had recently converted to Catholicism and we had a lot of catching up to do. I also knew next to nothing about the Catholic faith and I would listen intently to anything Daniel volunteered about his mysterious beliefs.

After a wonderful date, we were sitting on a blanket outside in the woods surrounding my house, waiting for the stars to make their appearance.* I don’t remember exactly what we were talking about, but somehow, kids were mentioned and we began discussing if we had ever thought kids were in our future. That’s when Daniel began explaining to me about the Church’s teachings on contraception. Unfortunately, he paused there for a while as we sat and talked about our own thoughts on it, and my mind was spinning as I thought of all the large families I knew, and if we could afford a large family. It wasn’t that I believed in contraception, because I hadn’t really thought about it too much until that point. It was just that I had no idea there was anything to postpone a pregnancy and how would we make it without our own big family reality TV show to help pay the bills? Apparently, my optimism prevented me from over worrying though, and when asked what I thought about it all, I replied very honestly, “I think I want a big family,” and it was the one thing I knew I wasn’t afraid to do in my life. It was only then that Daniel went on to explain NFP and an openness to life. It all made perfect sense to me.

Through the years, I’ve learned that openness to life doesn’t automatically mean you are going to have a big family. And sometimes, openness to life means being open to God’s plan even if that means that he doesn’t give you a baby right when you want one. I’ve learned that it can often mean, “wait,” and I’ve witnessed many other women and mothers who have learned the same thing. For many women it can mean “patience to put your kids first,” but, for others (myself included), it can mean “patience to wait on God’s timing” even if it takes years. All in all, I believe patience is as essential to “openness” as butter is to bread.**

After Daniel and I got engaged, I began exploring the world of NFP the best way that I could without being Catholic. I didn’t know about the classes and courses that were offered and I didn’t have a family member explaining anything. Of course I was much too shy to ask anyone about it, so my efforts went into reading all about the subject and teaching myself through literature and folded up charts in the back of books. As I learned, I was excited about the new knowledge I had about my own body. I loved the “Natural” in Natural Family Planning. I was also doubtful though. I admit, a little part of me wondered (especially after we were married) if I really knew what I was doing with NFP or if maybe I was a woman who struggled with fertility. I thought that there was no way it was because of my efforts that it was working well to postpone pregnancy in our early marriage.

But that was the point.

It wasn’t me or infertility or even JUST Natural Family Planning.

It goes back to that openness to life. In the end, we are open to life when we practice NFP. And even deeper still, that means that we are open to God and His will for our life.

There are many benefits to NFP and there have been many better bloggers out there who have covered them, so I just want to leave you with my personal experience and account of it.

To me, when I practice NFP, I choose to give myself to God. I freely choose to let him be my God in the most intimate ways of my life. NFP is just a tool that I use to help me give myself to God and He uses it to bring me closer to Him through His will.

All of that being said as someone who was practicing NFP to postpone for the time being, what do I have to say about the most recent event in our life?

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It works exactly as it was meant to and once again (in a new way), I joyfully give myself to God and His will for our life. 

*Daniel and I reserve the right to call ourselves the sappiest romantics ever. No shame

**Butterless bread makes me depressed.

A Chapter in a Life (Ch. 9)

Yikes! It certainly has been a while guys! Life has been a bit of a whirlwind of activity of late and I seem to have a hard time keeping up with what day it is let alone anything else. It seems like October is always like that. It arrives in a rush and leaves with a whoosh!

Good Catholic Literature

Ora Et Labora for the Holy Souls – Clan Donaldson – Just a beautiful post by Cari and I loved the last picture on the picnic blanket. This was a perspective kind of post for me. It really made me think!

Easy ways to be a little (more?) crunchy – All for Heaven’s Sake – Amy wrote this post and the title says it all. I even gave it a go this week and I’m trying to be more conscious of food waste!

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How to Be My Friend… When You’re Expecting and I’m Not. – Molly Makes Do – This was a powerful post. Read this, please! I think we can all learn from this post.

A Call to End the Mommy Wars – To the Heights – I don’t remember if I posted this one, but it was also a good read! Daniel and I both read it and discussed it at length. In the blogging community, I often witness these Mommy Wars and boy can they get ugly! I really don’t think it’s necessary and I hope more Moms can find peace with their decisions and peace to leave others to their own specific calling.

A couple of other posts I enjoyed: Elise at In Endless Song put up some beautiful Christmas card pictures (baby bump included) and it put a smile on my face clicked over. It’s a new blog I’ve been following and I’m really enjoying it! I know I’m late in posting All Souls Day stuff but these over at Carrots for Michaelmas also looked great and I hope to do them next year! 

Family News

– Work has been fantastic! I’m learning so much still and getting to know my coworkers. I’m still buying a ton of books too…

– Cooper has been attempting to off himself (dog + halloween candy = up until midnight with an extremely hyper golden retriever who can’t sit still).

– Cooper seems to protest lack of overeating in the house by his forward actions of trashcan grazing. (At least it’s not the drool on the couch anymore…)

– Aela seems to be especially traumatized lately and won’t leave my side… I don’t know what’s gotten into her!

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– I got to babysit some really sweet little kids recently and I was thrilled to get a chance to do some personal childcare! It’s been so long since I’ve done any kind of nanny jobs and I often miss the excitement of children. Not to mention that these four kids just melt your heart right out of your chest!

– Daniel has been a better housewife than me lately. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, errands, and all while still diving into school. I don’t know how he does it but I really don’t deserve him.

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– My parents came to visit! And then I cried like a baby after they had left. No comment.

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– My orchid is still barely alive. I’ve neglected it for two weeks and it has one little bloom left. It’s a miracle plant!

– The apartment smells like garlic because we bought this Italian seasoned bread that looked better than it tasted at the store… Lesson learned.

Becoming a Better Reader

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I’m enjoying Pope Francis as one of my recent purchases at work. It’s neat to know more about the man who is the Pope during our current time and I think this book reads really easily! I’ll write a little more later when I’ve gotten a farther into it. I’m only in the first few chapters of the books.

DIY

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So I apologize for the HORRID selfie shot. This is what happens when the house is a wreck and I don’t have any space to set up the self timer. Ironically, the house would have been clean had I not actually sewn this shirt! Haha. I just did a simple alteration of one of Daniel’s old sweaters because I wanted something to wear at work that wasn’t long sleeve but would keep me a little warmer than a t-shirt. I really love 3/4 sleeve shirts and I wish I had more of them. This alteration went well, and if I get the material for another one, I think I’ll dive right in!

Well, that wraps up this Chapter in a Life and hopefully you’ll see another regular post before you find another Chapter post. But you know me…Thanks for following me through all of that and I’m glad you’re here!

Remember you can find me on Pinterest to see what our hobbies are currently. Feel free to shoot me an email at hannahsalisbury@outlook.com too as I would love to hear your thoughts and get to know you!

Peace be with you!

Hannah