By Jennifer Willits
According to an August 2010 national study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics regarding the use of birth control in the United States between 1982 and 2008, the leading form of contraception used by women was the oral contraceptive pill. While the NCHS report focused on what tens of millions of Americans did to address their contraceptive desires, it failed to detail what led them to use contraceptives in the first place.
It is my firm belief that if women only knew the truth of how their reproductive systems truly worked, the billion dollar industry of contraceptives wouldn’t even be necessary.
When presented with the following options, which would you choose?
Synthetic or Natural?
Side effects or no side effects?
Costing money or free?
Group 1 carcinogen or zero risk of cancer?
Harmful to marriage or marriage affirming?
Immoral or moral?
Notice a trend in those questions? The second option in each question provides a safe, ecologically friendly, positive option while the first options in each question are directly linked to the number one method of contraception today: birth control pills.
With options like these, why would any person willingly choose the harmful ones? Yet, when it comes to women handling their reproductive health, millions are being duped into doing just that: harming their bodies, harming their relationships, and harming their souls.
But the list of problems doesn’t end there. They just get worse. Chief among them being the abortificiant nature of the pill. Most woman are completely unaware that an additional potential outcome of the pill are abortive miscarriages that occur without the woman even noticing because it will just look like a normal menstrual cycle.
Rather than women receiving full disclosure about the harmful truths about the pill from their trusted medical professionals, they instead get deceptive statements that prey upon their ignorance and from a misunderstanding of their own female reproductive system.
Women often hear statements like: it’s safe and effective, convenient, grants sexual freedom, cost effective while also protecting from undesirable risks, etc.
Women should be outraged that the harmful nature of the pill is, in a majority of cases, being willfully kept from them. But the truth is documented and proven for anyone who takes the time for basic research on the topic.
The Positive Alternative for Your Health and Marriage
Considering the detrimental aspects of the pill and other artificial contraceptives, what moral methods are available to help women and their marriages?
The answer is Natural Family Planning, commonly referred to as NFP.
Setting religious and pro-life positions aside, let’s look at NFP from a basic biological lens:
Let’s start with a healthy married woman under the age of 44 who has a normal menstrual cycle. Her reproductive system naturally has periods of infertility and fertility with each cycle. Simply put, her fertility only lasts for approximately one-third of her cycle, while the remaining two-thirds of her cycle are infertile.
That means that for two-thirds of each cycle, a woman cannot conceive a child. All women are naturally infertile for the majority of their cycles!
Additionally, after the age of 44, a woman’s fertility drops significantly, therefore becoming more infertile as she approaches menopause.
If a married couple takes the time to understand the signs of female fertility as easily taught in NFP, and they have discerned that having a new baby would not be prudent at that time, then they simply abstain from sexual intimacy during those fertile days. No worries, no cost, no mess, no risks, no harmful side effects and no innocent babies aborted in the process.
Now I can already hear some men and women groaning with some common complaints like: “What about my sexual needs and desires? Do you really mean to say that I can’t have sex with my spouse for seven to ten days depending upon the woman’s actual time of fertility? We should be able to have sex whenever we want since we’re married, right?”
These are all valid questions and concerns.
Married couples who desire sexual relations with each other have every right to enjoy that gift. Christ-centered religions (like the Catholic Church) who oppose contraception, are not interested in suppressing your marital rights. It’s actually quite the opposite. The Church wants you to love your spouses fully and completely!
The comparison between the love of Christ and His Church and that of husband and wife can be clearly seen through couples living chaste marriages where the marital act is experienced without chemical or physical barriers.
Take into consideration that Jesus loves us fully and completely by his sacrificial act on the cross. Jesus does not love us up to a point and then shuts a door on us. Yet that’s what contraception does in our relationship with God and with our spouses. It’s our way of shutting a door to the possibility of God’s life-infusing power happening inside the woman’s body. The world would call that outcome a risk to be protected from. God calls it fruitful multiplication.
It is WE that put up the boundaries and restrictions on love, not the Church.
It is WE, not the Church, that say, “I want to hold back and not fully give completely of myself to my spouses.”
It is WE who want instant gratification.
It is WE who think we are slaves to our own temptation of carnal desires.
By promoting practices like NFP, the Church is trying to show us a way that will actually free us from this type of sexual bondage by freely and completely giving of ourselves within marriages in the same way Christ freely and completely gives Himself to us.
As Servant of God Archbishop Sheen wisely noted in his book Life of Christ, “There are only two philosophies of life: one is first the feast, then the headache; the other is first the fast and then the feast. Deferred joys purchased by sacrifice are always sweetest and most enduring.” How right he is when applying this wisdom to the way humanity approaches sexuality. Whether we choose to acknowledge this or not, we know that waiting is always better.
True love does not depend on sex. Rather, true love merely includes it. You can still love your spouse just as powerfully while abstaining from sexual intimacy by embracing NFP in your marriage! In fact, periodic marital abstinence gives couples that opportunity to refocus on all the other ways they can express their love for each other outside of the sexual act.
If you think having sex is the only way to love your spouse, you’re wrong. For example, when my husband can demonstrate self-mastery during periods of abstinence, he is actually showing me the highest form of sacrificial love in our marriage, by showing me I’m worth waiting for. It’s out of love that we abstain, not out of oppression. Periodic abstinence as prescribed in NFP is simply another form of love.
Natural family planning is the natural choice, the safer choice and one worthy of investigating immediately. It’s free from side effects, free from costs and free from the risk of cancer! It affirms the marriage and is in alignment with the way God designed our sexuality. It doesn’t break a part within a woman that was never broken to begin with - a woman’s reproductive cycle!
Find our more about Jennifer Willits and her husband Greg here.