Monday, October 17, 2011

Fertility Awareness and an Interfaith Dialogue

I had learned of fertility awareness in my first foray into Catholicism. When I was converting, I knew that Catholics couldn't use artificial birth control but they could use a natural method. For a long time, I wanted to learn about it, as well. However, my period in Kenya made me question, as I ended up using the pill to help my periods and loved it so much, I figured I'd just stay on it. In addition, seeing women in poverty with eight kids-including one nursing baby and one in utero-made me a tad protective of my lady parts. Of course, then I couldn't take the pill anymore because my doctor was concerned over my liver and then I fell in love with a wonderful Catholic man. I was still nervous, because I didn't really trust condoms (18 instructions-you really going to follow them in the heat of the moment?) and felt I was unprotected. Then, I did my research.

Lo and behold, Planned Parenthood and the University of Maryland both supported Catholic sources saying that fertility awareness methods were effective-as long as you and your spouse (yes, both of you) were diligent. One of my married friends sent me a copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility (written by a non-Catholic woman who doesn't feel any moral qualms about premarital sex or the use of barriers on fertile days) as well as some charts and a basal body thermometer. I was reading the book on the metro when a Muslim lady approached me and told me, "Oh, that book is awesome! I've been married ten months and it WORKS!!!!!!!!!!"


We had a wonderful conversation about marriage and ended up exchanging numbers. I have to tell you, this woman did me such an act of mercy. Unfortunately, even most Catholics would tell me to use birth control. My own family doesn't know too much about it-my mom once told me it was for couples who need help getting pregnant. Others will say, "What do you call a couple who uses natural birth control? Parents!" Or, "abstention? That's too much to ask of a man!"

Yet, after that conversation and perusal through this book, I too am falling in love. I can actually know what's happening in my body, prevent AND achieve pregnancies, not have any side effects, not spend money (except on software to keep track and on a class, if I feel it necessary), AND my guy HAS to cooperate. I can't imagine a better form of birth control.

My body, my choice. :D

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