Roxanna is the brain behind @mycreightonjourney, an Instagram account where she shares her triumphs and frustrations with Creighton, NFP and all things fertility awareness. She and her husband have been successfully applying Creighton to postpone children throughout their marriage of almost 2 years.
1 What led you to choose this method of fertility awareness? What’s something you have learned that you wish you knew at the start?
It began with my OB/GYN. I was more concerned with which OB/GYN I worked with than which fertility awareness (FA) method I practiced. I wanted someone who could support my decision to avoid hormonal birth control and help me use NFP instead, and the physician I chose happened to be someone trained in “NaProTECHNOLOGY”. I would love to tell you I carefully reviewed my options, but I simply trusted the direction my doctor pointed me. Because NaPro works in conjunction with the Creighton Model FertilityCare System (CrMS), that’s where my FA journey began.
What did I wish I knew before I started? How about everything? I think the first shock was discovering that my regular and fairly unproblematic cycle didn’t mean learning FA would be a cakewalk. Imagine my horror during the first month of charting when my chart did not at all look like the charts found in the literature. Ah yes, that’s one thing I really wish I knew – practically no one has a textbook perfect chart.
2 Had you used other methods previously, either of fertility awareness or birth control? If so, what were they, why did you switch, and what was the transition like?
I have not used other FA methods, but I am very curious to begin studying them. From my conversations with other women, it sounds like the postpartum switch to Marquette is inevitable, but for now, Creighton is working for us. There IS postpartum Creighton protocol that very well could work for us, so for now there’s no reason to begin introducing other methods or cross-checks aside from just being super curious to see what that all looks like. One way or another, I will always be a Creighton charter because it’s the method my OB/GYN uses to help provide gynecological healthcare.
3 Fertility awareness, while not impossible, does have a steep learning curve. What were the costs associated with this method? Financially, emotionally, intellectually?
I personally found the costs to be reasonable given the immeasurable value I was getting in return. If the cost is seen as a hardship, FertilityCare Practitioners (FCP) are willing to work with clients one way or another. I think you will find that most trained educators want everyone to have the opportunity to learn such crucial health information, but as users we should still respect the time and financial commitment that equipped such educators with the skills needed to train us. As for the cost, once you complete the follow ups within the first year of training, you only need to check in twice a year at best. Aside from the optional biannual check ups, the only other cost to keep up with are the inexpensive charts and stickers.
Emotionally,the biggest advice I can give to someone learning any FA method is to budget time for meltdowns. I think most methods indicate that only 3 months or so are needed to begin effectively using the method. If you’re that confident of a person, super! I am not, and I knew myself well enough to know I needed more time, so I began studying in advance. Regardless of which method is being studied, there are probably going to be different stages of excitement, confusion, anger, and doubt. Give yourself some grace though, because it takes work to unlearn the years of poor fertility education most of us come in with.
As for intellectually, learning FA is a mindtrip. We live in a world where hormonal birth control is king and that without it, we might as well already be pregnant. That said, it took my husband and I six months of applying CrMS for TTA (trying to avoid) purposes before we began to relax and really trust the method. Even with a new and well-informed fertility education, your mind will try to revert back to what it used to know, so be kind to yourself if you have a hard time shaking off the doubt.
4 What do like about this method most? Least?
I like that this method is mucus only, so all I really need is toilet paper to make an observation. I also like that this method is used in conjunction with NaPro, which is a new women’s health science that helps monitor a woman’s reproductive and gynecological health. For example, charting with CrMS helped reveal that my PMS is not as normal as I thought and was actually a symptom of an underlying health concern. I would have never known this without charting and NaPro protocol.
What I least like about the method is how dated the materials are. The information and content within it is groundbreaking, but making a hard sell for CrMS is difficult when the visual materials and literature haven’t been touched up in what feels like 30 years. If you’re considering CrMS, I encourage you to look past how antiquated things look – I promise the information inside is wonderful!
5 How has using fertility awareness affected your faith life and marriage?
It’s affected our marriage in the sense that it’s given us the confidence we need to responsibly postpone children a little longer. As a woman in her early 30s, I feel grateful that FA has provided a detailed gynecological audit that can be interpreted and addressed by my NaPro trained physician. If there was something in my charts that could indicate conceiving a child could be difficult, my FCP and NaPro physician would have caught it, and therefore we hope this means there will be no lost time when we do decide to grow our family.
Even as a successful TTA couple, you will be surprised how FA has an affect on your view of life. FA can ensure that we practice a method that cooperates with our reproductive health, but even with an effectiveness rating just as good (if not better) than hormonal contraception, it does NOT guarantee surprises won’t happen. Spoiler alert, all family planning methods have a failure rate, which somehow FA helped really sink in. Even with the careful selection of how to use or not use fertile days, life (and babies) just happen, and as a couple we’re challenged to be willing to accept what life (or God) has in store for us.
6 If you met someone interested in learning fertility awareness, what would you tell them?
I’d probably begin sharing resources that have helped me along the way and encourage that person to look to online communities for support if they don’t have FA friends within their inner circle. I’d also encourage that person to study with a certified instructor rather than pursue the self-taught route. Above all, I’d reemphasize how modern FA is NOT the rhythm method, that most methods are extremely effective, and therefore they shouldn’t be spooked in the event friends, family, or even physicians make comments in poor taste. We shouldn’t have to defend our choices or explain ourselves, but it doesn’t help to have some stats in our back pocket just in case. Finally, I’d enthusiastically affirm to this person that they are about to make one of the best health investments of their lives.