Both are totally different. With contraception, we’re deliberately intervening in the natural conclusion of sex. We are essentially saying: “I give you my everything, just not my fertility.” Or, on the flip side, “I receive all of you, except your fertility”. If this is the case, I wouldn’t actually be giving myself entirely to my husband like I promised on our wedding day, I’m really giving just some of me. Now, this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t consciously and intentionally plan our family. In fact, when deciding the number and spacing between children, we’re called to be both responsible and open to life. And we must do this while considering our current physical, emotional and financial situation, as well as many other special circumstances.
Our bodies were designed so beautifully and so perfect that we have a built-in family planning method that actually works. Since women are infertile most of the cycle, possible pregnancies are already naturally spaced. We have very objective periods of fertility and infertility which we can identify and use depending on our intention of postponing or achieving pregnancy. So, if you’re trying to avoid pregnancy, you select days of infertility for intercourse and abstain during the fertile window. This fertile phase lasts around 6-9 days per cycle, and outside of it a pregnancy is not possible. Fertility Awareness methods (FAM’s) are NOT the “Rhythm” or the Calendar method. FAM’s are based on different biomarkers, such as cervical mucus, and their effectiveness and application have been studied for over 30 years. The Creighton Model, for example, has been found to be up to 99.5% effective in avoiding pregnancy.
One of the best parts of using a natural method? I get to include my husband, I don’t have to do this alone! Family planning is not just the woman’s responsibility. My husband and I get to talk, express how we’re feeling about our family and future projects, and just be honest about how we’re really doing. Are we ready to use fertile days this month? Or is it responsible of us to love each other in non-sexual ways during those days? We have learned so much about communication in these past 8 months! I mean, if a couple can talk about cervical mucus… you know the rest. This is also an opportunity for the couple to develop self-control in other areas of life; maybe in stressful or upsetting situations, with eating habits or with any other urges one might be struggling with. I mean, don’t get me wrong, It’s NOT easy at all, but honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way.
And finally, the most popular question: Does every act of intercourse need to result in a baby? No. Our reproductive physiology doesn’t work that way. The woman’s cycle allows us to enjoy times that are meant for bonding only during which procreation will not be possible. Other times, i.e. fertile times, there will be bonding and very possibly a baby! Thats’ just the nature of sex, and being aware of our fertility is just a better, healthier way to live it out.