You might think that, unless you are a crunchy granola 20-something who chants to the moon or a devout middle-aged mama with 12 babies, Natural Family Planning (NFP) isn’t for you. Not true.
There are many damaging lies and misconceptions floating around about NFP. Let’s bust some myths!
Myth #1: NFP is Only For Married People
Fact: The earlier you learn about NFP, the better. Charting is an important part of NFP. When you chart, you are recording the fertility signs that you observe about your body each day. In this way, your chart is your biological diary. Constant connection with your body not only teaches you information you deserve to know, but also empowers you to form a healthier relationship with your body.
When I learned to chart, I was amazed by what body does without my help, and even more amazed that I could tune into what was happening. These positive feelings about our bodies begin to chip away at the negative ones that burden us. Charting also may help you diagnose a health issue (such as endometriosis), and the earlier catch it, the sooner doctors will be able to help you heal. Never fear if you have not yet begun to chart; it’s never too late. The resource list at the end of this article will help you get started.
Myth #2: NFP is an Ineffective Way to Avoid Pregnancy
Fact: Many methods of NFP are just as effective, or even more effective, than birth control. Don’t be fooled by the CDC which reports inaccurate effectiveness rates based on out-of-date studies. According to FACTS (a collaborative that educates healthcare professionals using medical evidence), with typical use, the effectiveness of NFP methods ranges from 85.8% to 98.4%, based on high-quality studies.
Myth # 3: NFP is Only For Catholics
Fact: While NFP is fully in line with Catholic teaching, it’s not only for Catholics. Your body doesn’t change how it operates based on your religion! All women benefit from learning about their fertility. Presenting NFP as a predominantly Catholic lifestyle excludes many people who would love to learn about it. The growing movement to spread NFP is about empowering all women to learn about their bodies.
Myth #4: NFP is the Rhythm Method
Fact: Thanks to advancements in science, modern NFP methods are far more effective and beneficial for your health than the outdated Rhythm Method. Sadly, because of the politicization of women’s health issues, the mere mention of NFP will sometimes spark negative responses. It’s as if people are worried that if they acknowledge that modern NFP is not the ancient and ineffective Rhythm Method, they will be forced to change their opinions about everything.
Myths busted…now what?
Get to know your body! Get to know yourself! Check out these awesome resources:
A version of this article was first published in the beautiful magazine Radiant.