My husband and I have dabbled in Crossfit – and if anyone cares to know, I have done quite a bit more than him… Maybe it is just us that get weirdly competitive about those things, though. There are many great things about being a member of a Crossfit gym. You get to compete against other gym members each day. You get a ton of support from the greater Crossfit community. Your trainer can be a fantastic motivator and push you past your limits like you could never imagine. And, maybe the most important perk of membership – you get to brag forever and always about that one time you did the hardest WOD (Workout of the Day), the Filthy Fifty, without puking! Crossfitters are chronically stereotyped as being ultra-obsessed with sharing with the masses that they are a member of this elite group that laughs in the face of burpees, eats bacon with all three meals per day, and practices climbing things in their spare time. I can count on getting eye rolls behind my back from all of my friends when I start talking about the wicked circuit we did that morning at MY (yes, I somehow feel personal ownership of that warehouse space) Crossfit gym.
So what does this have to do with Natural Family Planning (NFP)? Well, if your sister, best friend, or cousin is using NFP, you have probably also heard way more about that topic than you would care to! And you know what? I think that is fantastic. So what if women frequently become obsessed with sharing about what they discovered when they went to the bathroom? Or the new pattern they identified on their chart? Or the way their husbands still gets a bit squeamish when they talk about the stretchability of their cervical mucus? (If you haven’t ever heard the term Spinnbarkeit, check it out.) I think it is about dang TIME that we break the stigma of the topic of fertility! And what sets NFP and Crossfit apart is that, although your sister may share way too much about her mucus to you privately, it is very unlikely that she is posting about it on her social media pages or bringing it up in conversation when her friends are discussing their woes with the Pill. So be a patient listener and good supporter to her.
There is still a massive amount of stigma that surrounds the topic of NFP, largely due to the misconception that NFP comes down to inaccurate averages of determining fertility based on a calendar, creating a Pope-approved contraceptive, or worse, committing to scheduling to finally have sex with your husband again in another two years when you are ready to try to achieve another pregnancy. Thank goodness that is nowhere near the truth! But as long as we continue to feel ashamed to discuss our family planning with others – that includes the huge joys it brings to our marriages, the real struggles we can have at times, and the confidence we have in knowing that current methods are evidence-based and highly effective – then we will continue to have to silently squirm when the jokes about Catholics and the Rhythm Method come up.
So I am asking my fellow NFPers to step up, own up, fess up, however you view it, and share with those that are interested in learning about your marriage and family. Break the stigma of using NFP. #IUseNFP