What would a mother of nine know about infertility? Well, before you scoff and discount my viewpoint, I will answer, “A lot.” While we had little trouble conceiving our first daughter, our second only came after a miscarriage and 2 years of trial. This was followed by a second miscarriage and five more years of infertility and female troubles. I was plagued with chronic and painful ovarian cysts and modern medicine’s only answer was the pill.
I am no stranger to this medicine. We had chosen it as birth control early on in our marriage. It was so simple and easy and seemed like everyone but the Church was behind its use. I’m not sure what broke through to my hardened heart and stubborn pride, but my heart was changed and suddenly I could no longer use contraception and be at peace. My husband was fully supportive and we self-taught the Billings method of Natural Family Planning (NFP). Used it to allow the chemicals to clear my system and then to achieve my first pregnancy. We would never look back. And over time and through obedience, God gave us the gift of understanding and knowledge and we truly embrace the beautiful and deep teachings of the Catholic Church.
Fast forward past two healthy pregnancies and babies and two miscarriages and once again the doctors want to prescribe birth control. I was at a loss. Since I was using NaPro Technology to chart my cycles and knew my problems were related to progesterone deficiencies, I couldn’t understand why the doctors wouldn’t look at natural alternatives. My questions fell on deaf ears. I cried and I prayed. I remember distinctly asking God what it was that I should do as we were trying to live according to His will. Within a month a NaPro/NFP-only doctor started practicing 20 minutes away from our home. It would be two more years, but we had a baby boy and then five more babies in the following six years.
But it is those five years that we carried the cross that I will never forget. It was five years of riding the roller coaster of emotions: hope, anticipation, disappointment, and hope again. Five years of wondering if it was punishment for past sins, of loneliness and of empty arms. Five years of trying to enjoy the children we already had while grieving the ones we lost and those that may never be. I worried about causing scandal–that others may think we were closed to life. Finally, I prayed for peace. I asked God to bless me with children if it were His will and if it would bring glory to Him, but if more children did not come I promised to still be faithful and begged him to please show me His way, The way.
God answered us by blessing us with six more children. I am often asked if we are done. How could I tell God “No?” To be done would mean that we would make steps in a permanent way to ensure being done. I won’t go back to that place of ignorance and darkness. God has shown me the light. We will always be open to new life, but are grateful NaPro Technology for the ability to know our bodies so well that we can space our children and use discernment and prayer to decide our family size.
I teach my daughters this method as well as a tool to learn their bodies and to become empowered. Too many girls and women are diagnosed with gynecological issues that doctors solve by prescribing birth control pills. We need to spread the word that these issues can be resolved at their source instead of using a bandaid treatment that will cause more problems. Increase in cervical cancer, breast cancer, infertility, depression, and blood clots are just some of the side effects. It makes my heart hurt to hear these stories when I know there is a better way.
The same is true for couples carrying the cross of infertility. Most doctors are quick to suggest IVF with high costs, low success rates and controversial techniques that involve highly immoral procedures, which include: fertilizing embryos outside of the marriage act, freezing embryos, destroying embryos and selective reduction (code for abortion) of multiple pregnancies. Meanwhile, NaPro Technology has a 99% success rate in avoiding pregnancy and an 81.8% success rate in achieving pregnancy. And I’m living proof that it works.