NFP is for Pious Catholics and FAM for Vegan Heathens. Apparently.

I listened to an awesome podcast on fertility awareness the other night while I was working on Kindara’s kickass stuff. The radio hosts got to the part where they had to recognize the slight, but definite difference between FAM and NFP. Although many of you reading this already know, I should probably clarify here what that difference is. NFP (associated with the Catholic church) calls for abstinence during a woman’s fertile window, if she has need for postponing or avoiding a pregnancy. FAM (not associated with any religion) “allows” barrier methods during fertile times if a woman wishes to avoid pregnancy. That means condoms, diaphragms, spermicide, etc. (I hate to use the word allow, because it makes it sound like there’s some kind of corporal punishment if you don’t adhere to rules, when really, it’s your body*.)

They said on the radio show that “they didn’t want ‘angry pious Catholics’ coming after the ‘vegan heathens’ – so they wanted to clarify that they were promoting the non-religious method of FAM.

I’m Catholic, ok. (Well, obviously.) But I promote women and body awareness no matter what. If FAM gets women charting and increasing knowledge, I’m all for it. What goes on in the walls of their bedroom (or anywhere else, for that matter) is none of my business.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – fertility doesn’t identify with a religion. It identifies with biology and the origin of life. Whether you’re Catholic, or Buddhist, or Atheist, fertility is still going to be there. Male AND female, fertility affects everyone. Why would we keep charting exclusive for only Catholic married/engaged women? (And only pious ones at that!) I personally, whole heartedly promote FAM to women of all backgrounds. I support healthier women, more knowledgable women, women fortified with information on their body so that they can take charge of their well being. If that means condom use a few days out of the month, so be it. I would hate to think that women are turning away from fertility charting because they think they “have” to abstain one week out of the month. I know, I know, you can argue that the abstinence is good for a relationship and that it gives you a honeymoon every month. And as they said in the podcast “by not doin’ it during that fertile week, or so you get real good at doin’ it without doin’ it.” Maybe. But let them figure that out.

So, to you “vegan heathens” (I’m not vegan, but I’m pretty damn crunchy, so we probably have more in common than you think.) I have no beef (get it? Vegan – beef? No? Not funny? Ok.) with a woman who wants to use FAM over NFP. Firstly, that is a personal choice between you and your partner. Secondly, there are still many physical and emotional benefits of both FAM and NFP over hormonal contraception, if your situation allows for it. (In a monogamous relationship, both partners been tested, able to keep a daily chart….) Those couples using FAM are still going to have the opportunity to experience mind blowing body and health awareness, a higher sex drive, a connectivity to their biology, and a hormone free lifestyle. And I’m all for that.

I also heard this towards the end of the podcast, and I died a little bit, because it was so damn accurate and poignant.

“We garden to get close to the origin of our nourishment. We chart [fertility] to get close to the origin of our existence.”

*There’s a lot of emphasis on the word “choice” nowadays. “My body. My choice.” I support that, always have, always will. But I’m also always going to stand by fertility charting over hormonal contraception because it has been so life changing for me. So please take no offense if you are a hormonal contraception user because you have made (hopefully) the choice that is best for you and your situation.



10 responses to “NFP is for Pious Catholics and FAM for Vegan Heathens. Apparently.

    • I agree, but the argument then becomes the lesser of two evils….a new human life is going to put a bigger footprint on earth than condoms.

      Of course, as Catholics, we are called to value all human life – environmental footprints aside! I think if you aren’t rooted in Catholic doctrine, condom use makes the most “sense”.

  1. Now that I know NFP, I would be super uncomfortable with using condoms during fertile times, even if I didn’t have religious objections. Condoms don’t have the highest efficacy rates and when you are using them during fertile times, if they do fail, that’s the worst possible time for it to happen. Although I totally get why someone would want to use them if they didn’t have a moral objection. I don’t know of any NFP User who only abstains for a week when avoiding pregnancy. It’s usually much closer to two weeks and that is a LONG time!

    • That’s the big reason why why we don’t use condoms. Less intimacy; higher risk of pregnancy; why bother?

      As for the abstinence. Average abstinence with STM is 13 days, average with Billings is 10. BOM has the least abstinence—and the smallest margin of error. IMHO, STM is more conservative than what most couples need.

  2. I’ve been a self charter for about a little over a year now. I’ve been using sympto-thermal because it’s easy and I’ve just been tracking for health. Now that I’m engaged, we’re actually going to go through classes and stuff (in June). Very excited to have an actual instructor to work with! If I was following the rules, my window is pretty small, usually 6-10 days (including the 4 day tack on). Which is actually kind of concerning to me. (I mean, maybe my fertile window opens without signs?) IE why I am excited for an instructor.

    As much as I have read/studied about fertility, I forget that I have a long journey ahead of me in putting it to good use! I love connecting with readers, and just want to say I LOVE your marrying young section on your blog. Do you have any advice for dealing with the nay-sayers?

    • Who’s naysaying? I would gently remind them that it isn’t their business depending on who it is. For someone that you do want to share with, I would give statistics and hard facts about NFP… give them the success rate of your method (which your instructor should be able to provide you with), and share a bit of the science behind NFP with them. I have had so many friends who have been blown away with what their bodies do that they didn’t have a clue about! They also had no clue about the risks of HBC (much like me when I was on it a few years ago). So far only one has come over to the NFP/FAM side, but planting seeds is important.

      • Oh boy do I wish sometimes I could say “none o’ your business”. Mainly my peers that either a) don’t know me and my fiance that well or b) people in my industry (film) that think marriage and a potential family will ruin our careers. I have drawn the line in my life where I will talk about cervical fluid, NFP, charting etc with just about anyone. But my intimate life and personal choices are private.

        HBC was a terrible experience for me. My migraines flared up, my acne got worse, and I had some other strange bodily reactions. I think a lot of women experience bad reactions but just don’t make the connection that it could very well be hormones.

  3. I think what bothers me the most is that the pious angry Catholics cannot seem to understand the concept of ‘the lesser of two evils.” If i had to pick between someone using hormonal contraceptives vs FAM I’m going to pick FAM hand down, every time.

    A lot of times it just takes getting them to trusting their body before they’re willing to take the next leap. And let’s be honest, people aren’t stupid. We’re all aware condoms exist and it doesn’t take a genius to put two and two together. A couple taught NFP is quite capable of making it FAM without anyone’s suggestion.

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