Sorry this is coming in late in the day – technical issues at this end and we’ve just got the internet back at our place!
I don’t feel like I warrant a legitimate place as a BF-er if I blog about the same topic several weeks in a row. But here I go…
Since getting back from the Worldwide Billings Ovulation Method conference (and missing a week of BF posting by pure forgetfulness), I have absolutely floored to say the least by the positive responses I am receiving about Billings.
I guess I had this notion that people, including friends, would scoff at the idea – say “That’s nice, for you and all you Catholic folk…but we, less backward sort, we don’t need your ‘natural methods’ and laa dii daa…”
Boy was I wrong. Every single person I’ve spoken to, from friends on the touch rugby field, to colleagues in the office, from internationals to locals, from the elite to the underprivileged, the response has been positive. And not only as a way to avoid pregnancy, but especially as a way to monitor reproductive health, and to achieve pregnancy.
What I’ve realized is that
- there’s nothing socially just about promoting a natural method that isn’t highly reliable (and that’s what some people now do, naming no names), in the name of ‘statistics’ and ‘it’s a numbers game’. I’m sorry, if I’m a woman relying on a method and as a couple we decide it is truly not prudent to bring life into the world right now, I need something reliable. Dumbing down and compromising on science for the sake of increased coverage does not work for me…
- I haven’t yet spoken to a woman who thinks the Pill is the most brilliant invention ever. Every…single…woman I have spoken to, and ok, not a lot, but women of a wide spectrum of cultural and moral values…none have yet to say “Yes, I was on the Pill, and I loved it…” They all show reservations, they all say “I was on it for this long…(pause) but I don’t like being on the Pill…”
- The heartache for woman who have borne the burden of contraception all their married lives is very real. We’re not talking ‘sexually liberated’ ‘I’ll do whatever I want’ types, but simply women who are trying to do the best thing for their family. A lot of husbands, especially here, won’t have a bar of anything that makes the sexual experience awkward for them, never mind what impact the other alternatives have on their wife.
- Infertility and sub-fertility causes as much if not more anxiety than unexpected pregnancy and, while I don’t have the stats on hand, the levels of these are no less so in developing countries compared to the developed. Just the other day a woman told me “I wish I had known about Billings…my husband and I just separated over the fact that we’ve been unable to have children for many years.” If we’re all about ‘free-ing’ women and giving them the ‘choice’…but we give them the ‘choice’ to avoid pregnancy but don’t give them the free, empowering ‘choice’ to know their bodies enough to maximize the possibility of conception before turning to expensive, invasive and dragged out IVF cycles…where’s the social justice in that? Why should the anxiety of a couple needing to avoid pregnancy be any more important to settle (and contraception doesn’t really settle it…) than the anxiety of the couple that is desperate to conceive…? Why should the latter have to fork out piles of money when the former are being thrown ten different, artificial options everyday?
For many years I’ve always held firm to the Catholic teachings on why we have natural family planning etc etc…theology of the body…etc etc…and in a way it shouldn’t surprise me that when I get the privilege of starting to walk alongside women and they open up to you.
This is part of why I, sadly, hung up my Being Frank hat again this week. As the demand is growing where I am to teach and share the Billings Ovulation Method, I realize I can’t do it all. It has been a pleasure writing for Being Frank but I also know there are others who can give this more than I can. I think I’ll do a couple more weeks of blogging but in the meantime, pray for all those couples who are just struggling to find that life-giving, fruitful, loving answer to living out God’s plan for man and woman and the family…