Today I was asked to give a presentation to seminarians about Natural Family Planning (NFP), which is one of my areas of expertise. I've been teaching the FertilityCare System for something like eight years now, and I've spoken to many groups about the Catholic Church teaching on sexuality and human life.
So, I got to get all dressed up and professional-like while Olivia spent some QT with her cousin and aunt. It is actually pretty energizing for me to give a presentation now and then. Adult conversation and all that. Don't get me wrong...I love being home with Olivia. But sometimes it's also nice to be reminded that I still have something to contribute to adult society and that my brain has not turned to mush.
Anyway, my standard presentation on this topic has an added dimension now. I can talk about our experience with infertility and our journey to Olivia.
You may not think that my experience can contribute anything to the discussion of NFP. But, amazingly, it adds a whole new dimension. The central point of Catholic teaching is that couples should be open to the possibility of new life. They can use NFP to avoid pregnancy (and successfully) by using naturally-occurring infertility patterns in the cycle. But by avoiding hormonal or physical barriers to conception, they are always open to the possibility that life could be created.
Our adoption story adds a new dimension by reminding us that fertility is a precious gift, not a given. We were open to life, ready for conception to happen at any time. It didn't, but our openness to life led us to pray about adoption and gradually discern that we should open the door to the possibility. Once we did, we were parents within three months. Coincidence? I think not. God has a plan.
I think my favorite thing about NFP is that it requires us to communicate OFTEN about our family planning intentions. For most couples, this is a monthly discussion about when to add to their family and what obstacles or frustrations are happening in their lives to make avoiding pregnancy more attractive at this time. For us, our constant battle with infertility keeps turning us more and more toward trusting God with our finances (because adoption isn't cheap) and praying about when and how to start our next adoption process.
And now, here's a token pic of the princess, because I know that's why you keep showing up here.