Instructor Q&A: Sympto-Thermal Method

Meet the Heberts

Jonathan and Taylor Hebert have been married since June 8, 2018 and together since 2008, when Jonathan was a freshmen in high school and Taylor was in 8th grade. They have been using NFP for almost two years now, and live in Rayne, LA (born and raised), where they attend church at St. Joseph Catholic Church.


1 What made you want to become a Sympto-Thermal Method (STM) instructor? 

We learned STM during our marriage prep process, and we really enjoyed our teachers’ enthusiasm in sharing their knowledge with us. We loved the idea of using NFP instead of having to put hormones in my body. We also wanted to bring more awareness of NFP to younger couples.

2 What was the process like to learn to become an instructor? What were the costs (time, money, etc.)?

It consisted of strictly online courses with six months to complete the entire course, working at our own pace, with some requiring review from the Couple to Couple League (CCL) staff. We simply submitted a witness talk about why we wanted to teach NFP, and there were no costs to be enrolled in the program. There were approximately 32 lessons with a quiz concluding each lesson. We had to make an 80% or higher on each quiz to pass. The lessons consisted of an overview of CCL’s background and statutes, a witness talk, the method rules, theology, breastfeeding and postpartum, and teaching preparation. 

3 Can you briefly describe the way this method works in light of the particular biomarkers it tracks?

STM tracks basal body temperature (BBT), cervical mucus, and optional cervix checks. Mucus observations help establish the opening of the fertile window, and a shift in BBT confirms ovulation. The position and feel of the cervix also indicates fertility. For example, a hard and closed cervix is a sign the fertile window is closed.

4 What are the main reasons you’ve encountered for why women choose this method? Is there any area you think this method particularly excels? Can improve?

Having multiple biomarkers to track is a huge plus. . We also think this method provides the best opportunity for both husband and wife to stay involved. The husbands are encouraged to check the BBT and enter the reading into the wife’s chart. The CCL provides a welcoming community with many available resources to answer any questions or concerns about the method.  It can improve by developing rules for hormone testing equipment (i.e.ovulation test strips). 

5 How has being an instructor enhanced your understanding of your own fertility and/or faith?

We have honed our charting abilities and can confidently determine where we are in a given cycle based on the combination of biomarkers we track. We must communicate with each other every cycle about avoiding or achieving pregnancy, and this year in particular has enhanced our faith through NFP. In our case, we are currently postponing pregnancy due to medication side effects to treat symptoms from Lupus, which could be potentially hazardous to an unborn child. We had to remain faithful to the church’s teaching on NFP despite the request from the rheumatologist to be on two types of birth control. We, along with our Catholic OBGYN, were able to convince the doctor that this is an effective method to prevent pregnancy. 

6 What resources can you share for women interested in learning more about this method? Communities, books, websites, etc.

We recommend visiting the Couple to Couple League’s homepage. There’s also a CCL community on Facebook. For those interested in a book, check out The Art of Natural Family Planning Student Guide by the Couple to Couple League.


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