Oh, NFP week. Wherein everyone wanted to tell you of the “beauty and marriage building” of NFP. I’m glad more people are coming out to speak about the tough aspects. It doesn’t always work seamlessly for all of us, but that’s ok.
When we were first married, I only heard the “beauty” rhetoric and even have a few NFP teachers go so far as to tell me it was my fault NFP didn’t seem to work for us. The people who tout this do all seem to have one thing in common – they don’t seem to have what I’ve come to refer to as “hyper fertility”.
Sure, it all “works well” and you can have only a handful of children delightfully spaced to allow for recover and sanity retrieval when you have a normal level of fertility, but not all of us do.
We hear about the cross of infertility (definitely a hard one!) and pregnancy loss (I’m with you here. So, so tough!), but can we talk for a minute about the craaaazy of hyper fertility? The one where the words “ecological breastfeeding” make you laugh? Seriously. I’m a walking, talking pacifier and I still get pregnant.
I spend the first ten years of marriage either pregnant or breastfeeding and usually both. It’s a beautiful, messy, difficult life, this one to which the Church calls us. And when you take your vows before you can legally consume your champagne toast, you know full well that a twelve passenger van is probably in your future. And today, that van is a badge of big family mama-hood I wouldn’t turn in for anything, but it wasn’t necessarily easy to get here.
Pregnancy is hard. Breastfeeding is hard. Trying to avoid pregnancy and seeing that pink line…again (and again and again) is hard. But hard is not the same as bad. Admitting that it’s hard is not failing. Six kids in ten years is the single largest source of joy and pride for every member of this crazy family.
Admitting it is hard is not the same as wishing it were different. The difference is that when we admit to the weight of the cross of hyper fertility, we aren’t met with sympathy. When the world sees your choice as wrong or preventable, and then you dare to whisper that it’s tough, all it gets you is a big fat eye roll, huff, and sigh. There isn’t a lot of support out there for the seemingly crazy who supposedly bring their problems onto themselves.
There are so many things in life that are hard, but we do them anyway, because the end result is so much better than the hard road to get there.
I used to wish that NFP was more effective, easier to use, more black and white. But now I know that the gift is in the trusting of God with your future. How many times in life I think I know best, only to learn that His way is so much better. The beauty of NFP is that it’s a hard, rocky road, but in the end, God’s gifts are so much better than the future we would have created on our own,