Next week is Natural Family Planning (NFP) Week 2022. Before social media feeds (especially Catholic-leaning ones) fill up with cool things about NFP, I want to highlight one really important aspect of NFP that is difficult for many:
Sometimes, for loss parents, NFP is the worst.
Until recently, many miscarriages probably occurred without parents knowing. Before easy, easy-to-access, at-home pregnancy tests, the process of “confirming” a pregnancy involved a bit of waiting or a medical provider (which in turn usually requires a bit of waiting). Often people did not know if they were pregnant until later on, as early miscarriages, especially those in the 4-8 week range, are be easy to miss without tools such as those at-home pregnancy tests.
Lots of people say that knowledge is power, but I don’t think that’s always true. Natural Family Planning gives many people a better sense of what is going on with their bodies, especially regarding hormonal health and fertility. But it can create a heavy burden for families in that it can help identify miscarriages that families may not have even realized occurred.
Sometimes, there is beauty in oblivion, a peace in never knowing the grief that could so easily be sitting within your heart.
We all have near misses with death every day that we don’t comprehend. And myriad miscarriages happen every day without anyone knowing or realizing. Parents continue their lives, having given the world an amazing gift without realizing it, having experienced an excruciating loss but not knowing and therefore not needing to grieve. I can’t help but occasionally stare at my chart from certain months and wonder, What if I just hadn’t charted that week, or those few weeks? What would life have looked like if this little one was known only to God?
It isn’t selfish to wish you never had the grief of knowing your child is dead. Rather, I think that desire reflects our innermost convictions that we were meant for more than death.
Loss parents, if you’re grateful for NFP letting you know that your child existed, even for the briefest time, I see you and I am grateful on your behalf for the gift of knowing and therefore of loving more uniquely.
Or, if you resent NFP for making you carry a grief that your ancestors probably would not have carried, I see you and I am sorry for the pain within that.
And if you’re both, I’m right there with you.
This NFP week, I’m planning to share two more NFP-related posts: one more about loss and one featuring a lighthearted and beautiful interview with an instructor I admire. Follow this blog, or join me on Instagram or Facebook, for updates.
This NFP Week, I’m planning to share two more NFP-related posts: one more about loss and one featuring a lighthearted and beautiful interview with an instructor I admire. Follow this blog, or join me on Instagram or Facebook, for updates.