A CATHOLIC DOCTOR ASKS FOR HELP IN PROMOTING NFP IN HIS OFFICE AND HOME LIFE
I am a family physician that recently came back to the Catholic Church. While I was away I had a vasectomy and am in the process of a reversal (7/22/2009 - pray for me please). I stopped prescribing birth control late last year and now would like to be more comfortable with NFP for both personal and professional reasons. I would like any information I can use for my office and my personal life that you would suggest.
.... A. Doctor
I am delighted to learn about your spiritual journey back to the Catholic Church and to God’s plan for marriage, spousal love and family.
You must realize that it was because of God’s grace that you were able to rediscover your faith and return back to the sacraments. Mere human efforts would never be strong enough to accomplish so great a thing. I rejoice with you and encourage you to stay close to the Lord, to his sacraments, to reading the Sacred Scriptures, and the life of the Church. That is the source of all our strength.
When you decided to stop prescribing birth control, you became a member of a very elite group of family doctors and ob/gyns. Only one percent of these Catholic doctors are following God’s plan for marriage and spousal love. The others are perpetuating, and adding to, the problem.
I encourage you to share your journey with other family doctors and ob/gyns. Help them to understand the values that you have rediscovered when you rejected contraception and sterilization and embraced God’s plan for spousal love. You will speak from personal experience, which is always very convincing. Explain simply in medical terms why you would never prescribe contraception again.
Now I encourage you to learn NFP thoroughly so that you can recommend it to your many patients. There are several major providers of NFP in this country. The most medically advanced method is the Creighton model ( American Academy of Fertility Care Professionals - www.aafcp.org). It also requires the most training. It is especially helpful in dealing with women who are experiencing medical complications with their cycles and with infertility.
The Billings method is also very successful in helping with medical complications ( Billings Ovulation Method Association - USA - www.boma-usa.org). Worldwide, the Billings’ method is the most used one, since it is so simple and inexpensive.
In this country the most popular method is that of the Couple to Couple League, who provides both teacher training and training of local promoters (Couple-to-Couple League [Sympto-thermal method of NFP] - www.ccli.org). You can find the websites to many other groups at our website, www.NFPOutreach.org. Click on “NFP Links.” All three groups provide training for medical personnel.
When you advertise yourself as a totally pro-life doctor, all the pro life people will come to you, as well as others your patients will recommend. Many pro-life doctors find it useful to advertise in Catholic parish bulletins. Pro-life couples are always looking for a totally pro-life doctor.
You may find it helpful to be in contact with a moral support group of doctors who share your values. To locate those near you, go to One More Soul’s website: www.OMSoul.org click on “NFP DIRECTORY”, and then type in your ZIP code. Then all the MDs, nurses, and NFP teachers will appear, together with their phone numbers and addresses. You can also click on “DOCTORS BY SPECIALTY.”
All three major providers provide literature that could be used in your clinic. Ask them for samples. One More Soul is a great resource for brochures, CDs, pamphlets and books on NFP, and the harms of contraception/sterilization.
Here are some more resources for you to consult:
- Free downloads at One More Soul: http://www.omsoul.com/one-more-soul-publications.php
- An interview with Dr. Mary Martin
- NFP Q&A columns on our Website, especially #30
- The NFP Professionals list: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/subscribe/nfpprofessionals
- Billings teacher training and conference in OKC in November Brochure
NFP is much more than a technique for spacing pregnancies. It is a marital spirituality, a way of life. It is a concrete expression of God’s plan for marriage, spousal love and marriage. When we promote NFP, we are promoting strong marriages and healthy, happy families.
You are in my prayers,
Fr. Matthew Habiger OSB