Natural Family Planning
Hello! My name is Sarah and I live in South Wales, UK. I first discovered Natural Family Planning back in 2016 when I realised that the combined pill was no longer suitable for me due to a previous medical condition that doctors might not have paid much attention to. This medical condition means I could be at increased risk of stroke or blood clots if I use synthetic oestrogen. Given this, I discussed my concerns with my doctor and she recommended I try the mini pill. After a week of using it, I did not feel like myself at all. I felt foggy, distant and down compared to my usual happy self. A week into the second pack of pills, I began to spot/bleed randomly and often had menstrual cramps despite the pill being one where you aren't supposed to bleed at all. After that second pack, I decided to quit and devoted myself to learning the Symptothermal Method of Natural Family Planning.
It was hard at first since it was just me, lots of books and a whole lot of fear and doubt. Society leads us to believe that we, as women, are fertile every single day of our reproductive lives (that is, between menarche and menopause). This is simply not true. Through studying the method, I learned that our eggs can only live for 24 hours and only be fertilisable for around 12 of those hours. I also learned that sperm can live inside the female body for 5 days in the right conditions and that good quality cervical fluid is essential to those looking to start or expand their family. On a more general note, I learned that our cycles are not just about menstruating and that we have so much more wisdom to harness as women, we just need to give ourselves the time and patience to learn. This experience expanded my horizons to a place far beyond simply providing a safe family planning method for myself and my partner, it allowed me to see what we had never been taught at school and the misinformation society promotes.
After 6 months of learning NFP alone, I decided to work with an instructor who really allowed me to collate my thoughts and work through some confusing aspects of the method. I was very grateful for her input but wished she was within the same timezone as me just for the sake of convenience. It was then that I decided I wanted to train to teach NFP. Shortly after, I enrolled on a course, spent a year studying and working with clients and, in October 2018, I qualified as a NFP instructor. Now, I hope to share my passion to allow other women to experience what I did - what it is to find peace with your own natural rhythms because,in my opinion, fertility is a sign of health and not an illness we need to 'treat'.