Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Natural Family Planning: Evangelizing to My Doctor

One year and 6 weeks ago
One year ago today I had my 6-week check-up with my doctor following the birth of my two precious babies. Believe it or not, I still remember that appointment.

Just to clarify, I like my doctor a lot, she's super nice and compassionate but also gets down to business. We do chat a little, but not a lot. I feel like she gives me the time I need but she also gets to the point. She's busy, it's a busy practice, but I never feel rushed. Because she also had a baby last year and was on maternity leave and because of the high risk status of my pregnancy I actually did not have her as my doctor for the last three months of my pregnancy and someone else did the delivery. But my doctor did my follow-up appointments.

At that last follow-up I had with her we talked a bit about when I would see her again. "Don't need to come back for another year," was the consensus. But then she added, "unless you get pregnant before then."

She and I have gone round and round on the whole NFP thing. I have issues, I can see it in my chart; someone I know who is a former OB/GYN can also see it in my chart. But my doctor, as much as I like her, has no clue. She obviously puts no stock in using NFP as a way to avoid pregnancy for a period of time.

I know she respects my decision (mine and my husband's) but she doesn't trust it. Which is fine, I'm not asking her to use it and I appreciate that she does respect my choice. I also appreciate that she no longer asks me about birth control. In a city that has very few choices for NFP-friendly doctors and no NFP-only doctors (OB/GYNs, anyway), that's all I want. Respect and no one asking me repeatedly about something I have clearly stated I morally object to, more than once.

I know her final statement was made in light of her distrust of anything NFP. It doesn't bother me (I know it would bother some), it actually kind of makes me laugh. My husband and I have talked about adding to our family, but we have discerned that we need more time; not just because we have twins and that by itself is a lot of work, but also for my health.

Funnily enough, I do need to call and make an appointment since it has been a year now. I have the desire to point out to her that it has been a year and we have successfully avoided conception for now. But I most likely won't do that, probably not polite to do so.

I prefer for her to put the pieces together herself and recognize that maybe, just maybe, there is something to this whole NFP thing. I prefer evangelizing through my actions rather than my words; plant the seeds and let them take root where they may. In this case especially, I can witness to my doctor what using NFP is really like and maybe she'd be more open to it when the next NFP patient comes along.

I can dream!

P.S. Speaking of NFP, NFP Awareness Week is coming up July 22-28. I'm sure many bloggers will be posting NFP-themed posts and I'll probably add my voice to the mix as well. Something to look forward to!


  1. happy late birthday to those beautiful babies!

  2. Although I have not yet been able to "educate" my anti-NFP OB/GYN on the benefits of NFP, I have enlightened her on EBF and tandem nursing! She never before has had a patient who has been breastfeeding, become preg, continue breastfeeding through that preg, and beyond! I am proud to say she has asked me MANY questions about it and has even told her other patients of her approval of it. Last year, after #7 was born, she asked if she could pass on my ph # if any newly pregnant moms wanted to speak with better believe I said YES!! Baby steps, I guess you could call it!

    1. Wow, angie, that's great! Baby steps for sure. You never know when those baby steps will turn into something bigger. Keep at it!

  3. one thought- maybe if we NFPers told our docs the method (not that it is really their business and some non-contracepting women are 'providentialists in any case)- but if I tell my doc I 'use' (sort of hate this word) the sympto-thermal method of NFP or Creighton NFP they might think there is more to it than NFP from 50 years ago

    1. I tend to agree with you. I think just saying "NFP" causes people not in the know (including doctors) to glaze over and in their mind lump it all together with the old rhythm method and Fertilty Awareness stuff that is not nearly as reliable as Sympto-thermal, Creighton, and others. Referring to the actual methods we prescribe to and not even using "NFP" at all can at least put it more in medical terms and help facilitate a recognition of the scientific facts behind these methods as opposed to it just being some NFP thing that doesn't register with those who have already assigned a negative connotation to "NFP."

      And yeah, using the word "use" doesn't really give it justice, I see what you're saying. Not sure we have a better word for it. :)