FRESH GROUNDS: The Gift of Life

I highly prefer and recommend Natural Family Planning (NFP).   I am a Christian, but my religion and cultural background are not the sole reason for my preference.  Rather, it was based on my personal experience as a woman.  I was only a teenager when I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.  I couldn't forget how my doctor back then told me that this condition would affect certain hormonal changes in my body most especially pregnancy.  Depending on how my body would react to these changes, I could end up either too fertile (which is what I was hoping for, of course) or worse, I might have difficulty getting pregnant.  I hoped for the best.  Like most women, I dream of having my own children and experience that wonderful gift of motherhood.

When I got married later on, I prepared myself for the worst. During the first year of our marriage, my husband and I had the opportunity to learn more about NFP while attending various seminars for couples.  With my condition, I initially felt that this was irrelevant, so it was merely out of curiosity that I tried to discover what is was all about.  I was not exactly convinced yet of the need to practice such method.   However, through NFP, I learned so much about my own physical body, its natural beauty and the basic process of how it prepares to nurture life.  That’s why later on, and unexpectedly, when we found out that I was pregnant, I was so happy and excited to finally nurture life inside of me.  Unfortunately though, 8 weeks into my pregnancy, I had a miscarriage.  At first it was difficult for me to accept that this precious life inside of me was gone.  But my husband and I never gave up hope that one day we will finally be blessed with a child.  And indeed, 2 years after, I finally got pregnant once again and this time gave birth to a happy, healthy baby boy.

Life is too precious to waste as I have personally learned from this experience.  What I love about Natural Family Planning is not only does it teach us to control or postpone pregnancy, but it also teaches us the perfect timing to get pregnant especially for those like myself, eager to achieve pregnancy. As opposed to the use of contraceptives, the term “contraception” itself is very limiting.  Contraception (birth control) prevents pregnancy by interfering with the normal process of ovulation, fertilization, and implantation”.  This is a definition I got from the Encyclopedia of Children’s Health. The very fact that contraceptives are defined as such is enough to discourage me from resorting to it.  I remember my mom once shared with me that getting married at a very young age somehow gave her reason back then to take birth-control pills for fear of having too much responsibility of raising children at a young age.  She stopped when she discovered how certain physical side effects were affecting her body.   And with this decision, she also freed herself of her fears and was blessed with 7 children, whom she deeply loved and cared for and learned to embrace the benefits of a big family in spite of the challenges.   

With Natural Family Planning, which can also be defined as “fertility awareness”, it promotes life in itself by allowing us to learn to appreciate our body, be aware of our fertility cycle and physical capacity and most especially, gives us an opportunity to know what’s going on.  Most of us would probably agree that what is “natural” is always the better, safer option. I, for one, truly prefer the “natural” way.  What’s more, another important benefit of NFP is that it promotes mutual respect and bond between a husband and a wife. It allows a husband and wife to have open communication to discuss their goal of whether they have the desire to achieve or postpone pregnancy, share with each other option and realities such as timing a woman’s fertile day if hoping to get pregnant and days on which to abstain for those postponing pregnancy.

Life is such a precious gift which we, women, were given the special privilege to nurture. My conviction to be pro-life is my own personal way of somehow, though indirectly, give life once again to my supposedly first-born child whom I lost due to miscarriage.  It is an act of love for my unborn child that he gets to live once again with every new life born into this world. I believe that if every new life was made and born out of love, there should be no reason to prevent it, rather welcome each life as a gift.