Probably I’ll come back to the subject eventually–it is part of my life, after all–but for now, just a few more things.
I talk about NFP because it’s what we practice and because it was an awareness week, but really I’m mostly just trying to encourage general non-hormonal methods that are actually reliable (sorry, condoms and withdrawal). So, in my book, if you’re looking into FAM, that’s awesome.
“But you’re Catholic aren’t you trying to take away all my pills ISN’T THAT YOUR REAL AGENDA?” asks the reader of this blog who’s new around here.
I don’t want to take away pills so much as I want to encourage a worldview where a woman’s fertility is something to be celebrated, not dreaded or feared or dismissed, and as long as the Pill is an assumed norm that’s probably not going to happen. Also, I want to encourage education and knowledge and freedom and taking charge of one’s self. Also, I weep for those mothers who feel like they have to put their daughters on birth control just in case they get raped. Talk about the exact opposite of female empowerment. (I vote for the spike-toothed female condom in that instance, myself.)
“So what, you’re okay with FAM and condoms? What kind of terrible non-pill-stealing Catholic are you?”
Like I’ve mentioned, I was initially drawn to NFP because I’m Catholic. It helped that I had no desire to be on the Pill if I didn’t have a health problem that needed it and that I’ve always thought condoms sounded like an awkward thing to try to work into having sex. But look, NFP requires abstinence if you don’t want to have a baby because it recognizes that abstinence is the only sure-fire way to avoid having a baby.
(I didn’t talk much in my other posts about birth control failure, or how I mourned for that woman in the Buzzfeed post wanting to “control” her life because let’s be honest, life can’t be controlled and she clearly wants to control it and is only ever going to be disappointed. And birth control fails just like everything else. Abstaining is literally the only guaranteed way not to have a baby. Because sex and babies generally go together. Sex, even from a primarily biological/non-philosophical standpoint, has two functions: bonding between mates via pheromones and endorphins all that jazz, and babies. This reality is a paradigm shift for most people. I get that.)
Abstinence is a pain in the butt sometimes. NFP couples all have their own ways of dealing with it (friends of mine are slowly working through Star Trek: TNG; I’ve played a lot of Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer while my husband plays Madden). Catholic NFP couples, however, also have a whole theological structure underpinning and giving meaning to their sacrifice, as well as a whole theological structure explaining why abstinence is better than all the alternatives. Sometimes, it’s still not enough; sometimes, it’s at least enough to cling to; but it’s there, and unchanging (if constantly developing), and yelling at God about it will only reinforce it in their minds.
Non-Catholic NFP couples might have something similar, or they might not, and without that kind of support, well, FAM makes a lot more sense. So does indulging in those let’s call them non-Church-sanctioned extracurriculars during fertile times.
(I try to have this as my approach to many of the more difficult or “controversial” Church teachings. If you’re Catholic, they make tons of sense! If not, I see why you’d muddle through in a different direction. Might be the wrong direction, but I see how you’d have good intentions and still end up there. The world is a loud, powerful place after all, and even those of us with strict guidelines still stumble and fall.)
I just feel very passionate about women’s health, and mothers’ rights, and about education, and about not relying on the Pill if you don’t need to, and about recognizing systemic oppression of women and that it won’t be reversed by asking all women to “choose” to deny part of themselves. That’s all there is; there isn’t anymore.
(Okay, this is me, there’s a lot more. But this will do for a start.)