by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The archdiocese is sponsoring two events for Natural Family Planning Awareness Week, celebrated July 19-25.
“It’s to draw attention to the goodness and the spiritual — as well as health — benefits for couples of natural family planning,” said Brad DuPont, consultant for the archdiocesan office of marriage and family life.
The first event is a Mass at 7 p.m. on July 23 at Curé of Ars Parish in Leawood, celebrating the promulgation of Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical “Humanae Vitae.” Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann will be the main celebrant and homilist.
The second event is a natural family planning “Date Night” for families who practice NFP on July 26 at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Leawood.
“It’s an opportunity for fellowship with other couples and [for couples] to be enriched in their own marriage and have some takeaways for strengthening their own marriage,” said DuPont.
The featured speaker at the date night will be Dr. Laurie Heap.
“She will be speaking about insights from neuroscience to help couples with some of the harder parts of NFP, so they’ll become an asset for them,” said Libby DuPont, consultant for the archdiocesan office of marriage and family life.
“The difficult parts of NFP shouldn’t be something a couple just struggles with,” she continued. “Those harder parts can be used to a couple’s benefit. They can become the key to a lifelong, passionate romance.”
The date night will begin with a social hour at 6 p.m., featuring appetizers and drinks. Heap’s talk begins at 7 p.m., and the evening concludes at 8 p.m. The door prize is a raffle of a $50 restaurant gift card.
Date night is a free event, but couples are asked to RSVP online at: www.archkck.org/NFPdatenight or by calling Brad and Libby DuPont at (913) 647-0301.
For information about NFP Awareness Week visit the website at: www.archkck.org/family.
For a series of articles by Brad DuPont about NFP, go to the archdiocesan blog “No Place Like Home” at: https://archkckblog.wordpress.com.
One of the nice things about natural family planning is the variety of methods available: the Billings method, the Creighton Model, the Couple to Couple League method, and the Fertility Awareness method.
Brook Gonzalez, executive director of FertilityCare Center of Kansas City, said they use the Creighton Model because they feel it is most effective and easiest to use.
“We have an extra component, which is NaProTECHNOLOGY, which deals with the medical aspects of the women’s cycle,” said Gonzales. NaProTECHNOLOGY, within the Creighton Model, utilizes biomarkers to monitor the occurrence of various hormonal events during the menstrual cycle. It can be used to identify fertility problems and works cooperatively with the woman’s procreative and gynecologic systems.
“It’s a new reproductive science that works naturally with the reproductive cycle,” said Gonzalez.
In addition to classes, FertilityCare Center offers educational opportunities, including mother-daughter teas.
“It helps moms talk to their daughters about becoming women,” said Gonzalez.
The next mother-daughter tea is from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 26 at St. Robert Bellarmine Parish, 4313 S.W. State Rt. 7, Blue Springs, Missouri. For information, call (816) 858-0198.
Myths about NFP abound, but it is a simple option
Myth: NFP is too complicated to be used by most people.
Reality: NFP can be used by anyone.
NFP information is easy to learn. In fact, the methods have been successfully adapted to suit the needs of people and cultures all around the world. The key to using NFP effectively is for couples to learn together the information about their combined fertility and to change their behavior, applying the guidelines according to whether they wish to achieve or postpone pregnancy. This process is learned in NFP education, where the couple can practice observing and charting the wife’s signs of fertility. This is not hard to learn, but will take effort. NFP couples say that NFP is worth the effort because many benefits will be gained, including stronger communication, mutual responsibility and greater respect for each other.
Myth: NFP is not a reliable method of family planning.
Reality: NFP is indeed reliable.
Since NFP methods are not contraception, their effectiveness works both ways — for achieving and postponing pregnancy. When couples wish to achieve a pregnancy, they can time sexual intercourse to the fertile window of the menstrual cycle, thereby optimizing the possibility of becoming pregnant. When wishing to avoid pregnancy, studies show that couples who follow their NFP method’s guidelines correctly — and all the time — achieve effectiveness rates of 97-99 percent. Others, who are unclear about their family planning intention (i.e., spacing or limiting pregnancy) or are less motivated, will not consistently follow the method’s guidelines and have a lower effectiveness rate of 80-90 percent.
Myth: There is no difference between NFP and contraception.
Reality: NFP methods are different from and better than contraception.
There is a big difference between NFP and contraception. NFP, as opposed to contraception, does not deliberately frustrate the procreative potential of sex. So, NFP is morally acceptable, while contraception is actually sinful and never morally right. NFP is unique because it enables its users to work with the body rather than against it. Fertility is viewed as a gift and reality to live, not a problem to be solved. Ultimately, NFP respects God’s design for married love.
(Source: USCCB/“NFP, Myth and Reality”)