Before I was married, my now husband and I decided to be the very best Catholics we could be and use Natural Family Planning as our method of contraception.
Unfortunately, Natural Family Planning is a crock. Six weeks after my wedding, my body said I was not ready to have a baby so I engaged in newlywed enjoyment. Later that day, I ovulated. I felt that pinch, and I knew an egg had escaped from my ovary. It ran full speed toward the inevitable, creating an explosion of cells in my uterus.
Did I mention that this was six weeks after my wedding? I was also 26 and completely overwhelmed by my new marriage, the renovation of a post-WWII home, and the care of my many animals. I was not ready for a baby.
Here’s a confession. I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to have kids. I babysat, spent time with younger relatives, but I never felt connected to any of them. I always felt so awkward trying to play Barbie’s, or color, or do whatever it was they wanted to do. I was an imposter, not a real playmate. So, when I got pregnant, I was gob smacked. How the holy hell would I be able to do this?
My husband was not much help. He was young and terrified, having no experience with kids. He thought the first few years of his marriage would be spent prancing free in the wilderness of Ohio. Or, at the very least he thought he wouldn’t have the pressure of shaping and molding a very tiny human.
I slapped him silly and told him to grow a pair. I was not going to screw up this kid all by myself. If I’m going down, he’s going with me.
Eventually, he manned up and became a wonderful father to our little boy. In fact, my son’s first sentence was, “I want my daddy.”
A year and a half later, when my husband I decided to add to our family, we tried to use Natural Family Planning in reverse to know when we could have some sexy time and create a little life that would bring us as much joy and pain that our first child did.
Eight months later, nothing. Natural Family Planning failed me again. It was torture. Day after day, month after month I took my temperature, checked my mucous (yes, it’s as gross as it sounds), and hoisted my legs high in the air after every time I had sex with my husband.
The stress took its toll on my marriage and I was about ready to throw in the towel when I discovered a miracle—ovulation sticks. They told me when I was ovulating, when obviously my body could not communicate with me. Next month, I was pregnant with my daughter.
Seriously? That’s all it took? All of that frustration, anger, and depression for nothing? I peed on a stick, it told me when I was ripe for baby making and I acted. Miracle of life my ass.
So, yes, I have two wonderful children, no thanks to Natural Family Planning. I may not be popular in the Catholic Church for my general dislike of their version of birth control, but I’m ok with that. I have a couple of munchkins who love me, for who I am, except for when I am being, in their words, a “pickle pants.”