Natural Family Planning: Nature's Way - God's Way

24. Haiti: Soured on the IUD, Moving toward NFP

Action Familiale conducted a survey among 821 couples in June-July of 1979 to learn why they chose the Sympto-Thermal Method (STM) in preference to artificial methods. Their main reason is that the natural method does no harm.

At this time the number of insertions at government clinics of the IUD is minimal: 329 in 1978, and 132 during the first half of 1979. STM-users outnumber them. The pill is also feared. Complaints form a veritable litany. In the city of Gonaives, among the 555 users of the STM, 40 percent had switched to this natural method after experience with contraceptives; among them were 136 former pill-users.

Other reasons for preferring the natural method include: the friendliness of the teachers;, reversibility of the method; the perfect absence of expense; and the peace of conscience they enjoy. Pill-users who live where there is no government clinic may have to make a journey to the city to obtain pills. If there are medical complications from pill use, they must pay for treatment. Some doctors refuse to remove an IUD which was inserted by another doctor. The cost of removal in a private hospital runs as high as $10.

People have their own logic about peace of conscience and birth control. "If the artificial methods were according to God's will, then why do they make us ill?" they ask. Baptists and Adventists also say that they find peace when using the natural method.

Couples also tell us that they are happier with the STM because they gain better knowledge about their bodies and their mutual relations; there is an improvement in sexual relations, a deepening of love, an openness to dialogue.

Some specialists claim that illiteracy is an obstacle to NFP. This only shows how little some specialists know. In Haiti, 65 percent of the followers of NFP are illiterate; 24 percent have a few years of primary school; 11 percent have completed primary school.

Effectiveness: Up to now we have not found a method failure of the STM when used according to the formula of coitus in the postovulatory period, calculated according to the three CLER (Centre de Liaison des Equipes de Recherches) points. Unforeseen pregnancies occur, of course. Among 1849 couples there were 70 pregnancies in 1979. Perseverance is high: among 1849 couples, only 92 dropped out in 1979 for lack of interest.

Abstention, of course, is the main problem. But the problem becomes manageable through the employment of judicious means: - Information about the fertile and the infertile days must be given in a clear and precise manner.

-The educator must take care to listen to the couple, to create a climate of confidence, and to respect the couple's convictions and their gradual progress. Personal rapport between the educator and the husband and wife is of utmost importance.

-The approach should be positive: full of confidence with respect for the child and its value, openness to a deepening of conjugal love, trust in the good will of the partner to live up to expectations. This positive approach achieves better results than talk about overpopulation, the misery of poverty, etc. Although fear may serve as a starting point, it can never become the basis of solid motivation.

Economic deprivation prompts Haitian families to start thinking about regulating births, in almost all cases. But fear does not give continuous and adequate motivation in the long run if more ideal motivation does not develop gradually. The ideal is something deep down in the hearts of the couple, although perhaps dormant; the challenge to the couple and to the educator is to make this ideal dominant.

Truly, the natural way is a method of love. Husband and wife do not know how much they love one another. NFP helps them discover that.

by Fr. Michael Welters

Next Page: 25. NFP in Krakow
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58