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

6. We Actually Felt Desperate: John and Jeannie

Jeannie: John and I have been married for six years and have three beautiful children: Chrissy is four, Mary is two and a half and Jimmy is one. So right after Jimmy was born, John and I thought seriously about birth control, more than we ever had before.

There are still many fertile years ahead of us. The costs of raising the family are constantly increasing. We were also worried about our ability to cope with the situation of more than three young children just as this time.

We actually felt desperate. Ever since we were married I was either pregnant or nursing, and I felt that I needed a break, both mentally and physically. We had to do something- something that works and that is reliable.

John: To give you a better understanding of our dilemma, let me tell you a bit about our background. I was raised as an Episcopalian and converted to Catholicism just before I married Jeannie. Jeannie was raised in the Catholic Church all the days of her life, in a very strict atmosphere concerning the teachings of the Church.

After we had thought about and discussed all the methods of birth control available to us at the time, we decided that I should have a vasectomy. I pushed this on Jeannie for several reasons. First, it was effective and safe; but more importantly, I would be having this done to my body, not to hers. We were having enough internal strife and grief and guilt feelings as it was and I figured that she will feel less guilty if I had it done to my body. I felt that I could live with myself and God, and rationalize this major decision.

Jeannie: Because I still was not sure that this was the right thing to do, we asked our parish priest to come to our home and talk to us about birth control. We asked for the Church's views on birth control and we were looking for guidance. Father explained that every couple has a unique situation and that we would have to search our own minds and souls for the answer to our particular situation; and that what we felt was right with our conscience would be okay with the Church.

We understood Father's problem of trying to meet the needs of his parishioners and at the same time to follow the guidelines of Humanae Vitae. We found that we could just not live peacefully with ourselves by following this rationale. We also feel certain now that if Father had been aware of NFP, he would have told us about it then.

John: After Father left, we still had no firm resolution about the Church's requirements, and I proceeded with making an appointment with a urologist to have the vasectomy performed. When I told Jeannie that she would have to come with me to the doctor's office in order to sign the papers stating that we understood that this was an irreversible procedure, she became afraid. She just could not face the fact that we were never again going to have the chance to have children. She felt as though she was selling her soul to the devil.

The following Sunday I read a notice in our Church Bulletin on NFP. It caught my interest and I showed it to Jeannie; she felt as though this must be a message from God. So we signed up and went to the series of four classes.

Jeannie: It was the best thing that we ever did. We found the answers to all our problems. NFP is safe and effective; and even more important to us, it is safe in the eyes of God. John and I share the responsibility of planning our family. And NFP has made us much more aware of God's law in our lives. We realized that we had been getting caught up excessively by material considerations when trying to run our lives and plan our family; actually it is God who rightly has the final say in everything, even in planning families.

John: NFP has changed our lives in many ways, all for the better. We have become much more sensitive to each other's thoughts and needs; this refers not only to sexual matters but to a whole range of things in our relationship. NFP involves both of us, and so we both have a share in the responsibility and in the understanding of its use.

We have found that abstinence is not a concern or problem at all, and that it has definitely made intercourse more meaningful. In fact we might say that we have discovered that "Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder."

Jeannie: John and I have also discovered a new respect for life itself, because we are no longer afraid, and we find ourselves in complete control over planning our family. We no longer have that desperate feeling that we had before we came into the knowledge of NFP. In fact, we are now looking forward very much to having another child. As you can see this is really a complete turnabout from the way we felt before.

Next Page: 7. NFP in New Zealand
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