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  • Katie Ratliff

The NFP Baby



We’re going to talk about the thing that NFP people don’t really like to talk about:


The NFP Baby.


Meaning, when you get pregnant while practicing NFP when you were trying to avoid it.

It’s a topic most of us in the NFP world would like to skim over, especially since NFP already has a pretty bad rap in our culture as it is.


(My doctor literally laughed at me and said I was playing Russian Roulette when I told her I wanted to practice NFP… but that’s a whole other blog post...).


It’s also a topic that can be really hard for anyone who has experienced infertility. When you would give anything to conceive a child it can be extremely painful - and even infuriating - to hear that other women are upset about being pregnant. We get it. And we absolutely do not want to dismiss your pain and your suffering. We hope everyone takes the time to read our blog post, Infertility and the Conflict within Us.


Now before we go any further, there’s just one more thing we want to point out - people get pregnant on contraceptives too.


But for some reason when that happens, people’s reactions are something like, “Wow, that’s crazy” and then it’s just accepted as a fluke.


But when it happens to someone practicing NFP, the reaction is something like, “Well of course, that’s because NFP doesn’t work.”


In other words, in today’s culture contraceptives are allowed a margin of error. NFP is not.

But the truth is that just because a woman finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, does not mean that NFP doesn’t work.


It may be that a certain method isn’t right for a particular woman’s body, or there was a misinterpretation of the method - not that NFP doesn’t work.


Okay now that that’s clear, we can get back to the topic at hand: The NFP Baby.


This happens. And it’s really hard. Really really hard.


There’s shock: How can this be? This is not part of the plan. How did this happen??


And fear: How are we going to do this? What is my husband going to say? How can I possibly tell my boss? We can’t afford another child...


And embarrassment: How did I mess this up? What did I do wrong? What are my friends and family going to say?


As pro-lifers, we’re supposed to be joyful for all new life. But when our emotions don’t match our convictions, we endure the pain of inner turmoil. We feel guilty and ashamed that we’re not happier to find out we’re pregnant. I must be a bad mother/person/Catholic…


In our guilt and shame we can become isolated. We fear that if we tell our NFP friends, we will be judged for not joyfully embracing our fruitfulness. And we certainly can’t tell our contracepting friends because they’ll just look at us with an “I told you so” type of face. I can’t even talk to anyone about this...


We can also start to feel trapped by the Church’s teaching on contraception. We know it’s the truth. And it’s beautiful. But it seems impossible to live. And the fear of another pregnancy takes hold of us. Why did God make this so hard??


There may be temptations to blame NFP, or maybe even your instructor. And even the desire to stop practicing NFP altogether. I can accept this pregnancy, but there’s no way I can get pregnant again after this...contraceptives would make this so much easier...


The flames of our inner conflict are fanned when people in our life feel the need to share their own opinions about our pregnancy:


“That NFP thing sure works.”

“Are you crazy?”

“You know how that happens, right?


Sisters, if you are experiencing any of this, or have experienced it in the past, we are with you.


If you are struggling to accept a pregnancy with joy, you are not a bad person. You are a human being. And most of us humans struggle to accept things when they aren’t in line with our plans. It’s normal. And it’s okay to feel that way.


It’s okay to admit that it is hard. God knows this path is not easy for you. But perhaps in your suffering, He is quietly inviting you to draw closer to Him.


So once you’re done screaming, “Why me, God?” take a deep breath and ask, “What for God? What do you want me to learn? Help me to understand your will for my life.”


And then find peace in knowing that God wanted this child to exist - even more than you did. The mere thought of this tiny life delighted Him so much, He could not resist creating him or her.


If it still feels impossible to view your circumstances as anything but unfortunate, remember that God is the Author of Life, not us. He knows that His story would be incomplete without this child. So even if the timing for a baby doesn’t seem right for you or your family, this new life is coming at the exact perfect time for the world.


Finally, look to God and say, “I surrender. I trust that you will solve the million objections and worries running through my head. I trust that your plan is better than mine, and that your yoke is sweet and your burden is light.”


We know that NFP is not all sunshine and rainbows. We will be the first to admit that. But we also know that in the hard times, when NFP seems to have failed you, God is accomplishing something through you.

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