Thanks to practicing natural family planning, I respect myself more than I ever have.
Like a lot of women (I won’t say “most,” but I suspect it’s a common problem), I don’t have a very accepting attitude towards my body. It just never quite lives up to my expectations. It’s not just about what I’d change about my appearance if I could; it’s more than that. I wish I had more energy, more stamina, more strength. My body’s not the only thing I’m not thrilled with. I also wish I were more confident, more intelligent, more … everything.
That’s how it’s always been, my whole life. But then, I began to realize something was changing. I have a lot more respect for myself now that I used to. And the more I think about it, the more I realize that I probably have NFP to thank for this new attitude.
I’m practicing NFP seriously for the first time in my life because it’s not the right time to add a new member to our family. I’m looking forward to when it is, but for now, everything’s charts and test sticks, and I’m paying a lot more attention to my body and its rhythms and functions than I ever before. And as it turns out, that knowledge is good for me in more ways than one.
I’m used to basing my self-image on how I appear to the world — not just physically, although that’s a big one, but also how interesting I am, or how intelligent or funny I seem. After all, that’s the kind of thing that people notice and respond to. Those are the sort of things that get people to like you.
Suddenly there’s something new to focus on: what’s going on inside of me. The knowledge I walk around with for those few days of the month when I know that if we chose, we could (probably) bring a new baby into our family, and a new person into the world, that knowledge is giving me a new awareness of the aspects of my existence that nobody else sees. I can’t help but remember how complicated and capable and powerful my body is — and it’s reminding me that my body is about so much more than how it presents to the world.
The rhythms of my fertility are secret. Nobody but me knows them (and it took me forever to figure them out, too!). Nobody but me knows when I’m ovulating, or when my body is silently working to prepare a safe, welcoming place for a newly fertilized member of the human race.
So now, regularly, I find myself marveling at this secret function of my body, which is totally immune to the world’s approval or disapproval. It’s just amazing — not amazing because people are delighted by it, like beauty, or because it impresses people, like energy and confidence, but just because of its secret, silent, functionality.
My fertility is something I’m grateful for beyond measure, and it’s very healing to me that one of the most wonderful things my body can do is something that the world can’t see and can’t judge.
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