Fertility as a Cross: Does NFP highlight a massive design flaw?
Updated: Jul 15, 2019
For my first blog post, I was tossing around the "should"s. I should write about Marquette Model-- what it is, why I teach it, why I use it, etc. If not, then I should write about why I chose the name Feminine Genius Ministries. Or if I really couldn't get on board with either of those, maybe just write a bit more about myself. Those all seemed like appropriate first blog post material. Non-threatening. Ruffle minimal feathers.
So naturally, for those who know my personality firsthand, I went with none of the above.
This is actually the most organic starting point. Because it was my starting point. My own struggle with understanding and accepting my God-given gift of sexuality and fertility is what catapulted me into instructor training. Realizing this burden was shared by my friends gave me the courage to speak at my parish's moms group on this topic, which set in motion a train of speaking gigs that I never saw coming. Admittedly, I crashed and burned once or twice. Pro tip: squeezing three hours worth of content in to one hour is a recipe for jumbled thoughts, word vomiting, and a confused, semi-disoriented audience.
This post will be a launching pad. I cannot cover all of my thoughts on this. I have enough to write a manuscript. #2019goals
Hopefully I can organize enough coherent thoughts to assure you, mom of 2, 4, or 8 kids, that you are not alone. That is Satan's favorite lie: you are the only one.
Look up any forum regarding fertility, listen to a podcast episode on it, or have a conversation with a few trusted friends. You will quickly discover the truth: you are not the only one. Many women are shouldering a burden when it comes to their fertility.
Crosses. Can fertility be one? Not just infertility. That is a heavy burden to carry, for sure. I'm talking about us heterosexual, fertile Catholic couples who can have All. The. Babies. What about this might possibly be burdensome for us?
Real quick reminder: Don't compare crosses. It's counter productive and simply exists to divide us. My dear friend who has had infertility for five years, and my cousin who has four kids and feels totally maxed out at 31 years old are both hurting. Why? They are trying to navigate this broken world and understand their fertility within the confines of respect for God's design and natural law (aka: choosing moral options).
Ah, speaking of God's design. It's my newest favorite "critique" of NFP.
"NFP says that if you want to have a baby, you abstain when a woman is in a fertile time of the month. But that's when women biologically most want sex. Isn't that a design flaw?"
I hear you, sisters.
It would be a design flaw....if that was the original design.
Let's jump in to Genesis 2. Adam and Eve. In full union with God, walking in the garden with Him. Verses 24 and 25 tells us that they were one flesh, they were both naked, and they were not ashamed. So, they are in full communion with God AND having sex.
Our sexuality and fertility were designed to be in full communion with God. Not burdensome. Not a cross.
Enter: the fall. The choice of Adam and Eve; the rejection of God and a life of full communion with him. THIS is what put into motion the topsy-turvy understanding we have of sexuality today. Women are either objectified for their sexuality or for their ability to bear children. Rarely are the two beautiful truths integrated.
So here we are. In God's redemption plan. With a Church helping to guide us through this world we are until we can once again be in full communion with God.
We have to get this right. God's original design. His original character. The key to carrying fertility when you walk through hard seasons is entrusting your life to Jesus. But there is no way in hell I'm fully entrusting myself to someone who designed fertility to be burdensome to women and deprive us of pleasure the times we crave it most.
Thankfully, God didn't design it that way. His character is the same as it was when Adam and Eve were in full communion with Him. Circumstances have changed a bit; we aren't exactly living in Eden. God is the same, though. Trustworthy. Merciful. Wanting us to have abundant life.
Over the next few blog posts, I'll go through four steps for carrying the cross of fertility.
This is step one and the foundational step. You have to trust God's character and understand his original design.
Sometimes I'm cruising along with peace and understanding, and then I get 21 high days in a row, and my second postpartum cycle is drunk and needs to go home.
In those times, I have to return to this step. I must ground myself in this firm foundation. God is a loving, merciful father. If a wound or fear or sin is preventing me from knowing this truth, that must be addressed first— through prayer, spiritual direction, therapy, or whatever is needed.
Only then can I move on to the next steps of entrusting my fertility to Jesus, accepting my counter cultural calling, and being a light to the world.