Part I: NFP and the Military - Creighton Model
This post is Part I of a series discussing four different types of Natural Family Planning methods and how they all can be successfully used by military families.
"I know the statistic that the majority of Catholic women are on some form of birth control, and so up until recently, I just assumed all the Catholic women I knew with one, two, or three kids must all be on it. Imagine my surprise when I began to realize that most of the Catholic women I knew at our duty station - with one, two, or three kids - were practicing NFP. Some of them even had the same instructor as me! The encouragement of meeting other military spouses who practice NFP was a big help."
-Army Wife and Creighton Model User
What is the Creighton Model?
The Creighton Model is a natural way for a woman to identify ovulation. She observes her cervical mucus every day, every time she goes to the bathroom, and determines the sensation the mucus creates (dry, smooth, or lubricative) as she wipes. If mucus is present she will finger test it, noting the degree of stretch and it’s color.
As ovulation nears the cervical mucus becomes increasingly clear, stretchy and/or lubricative. After ovulation there is an dramatic change, where all three mucus qualities, clear, stretchy (an inch or more) and lubricative, are absent. The last day she observes mucus that is clear, stretches one inch or more, and/or is lubricative, is her Peak Day. Because ovulation can occur up to three days after the Peak Day, the next three days are also indicated as fertile. By these mucus observations the couple is able to pinpoint their days of fertility and infertility, and plan sexual intercourse based on their intentions to achieve or avoid a pregnancy.
Who can use the Creighton Model?
Couples having difficulties achieving a pregnancy. Many couples effectively use NFP to assist them in achieving a pregnancy.
Couples who would like to plan the spacing of their children without using artificial contraception.
Couples who have experienced miscarriages or ectopic pregnancy.
Women wishing to care for their own gynecological health, including those with problems such as PMS, irregular cycles, unusual bleeding, polycystic ovarian syndrome, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, postnatal depression and other conditions.
Couples wanting to learn about their fertility and plan their families.
How military families are using the Creighton Model:
Anonymous, Army Wife
"One fear I had about NFP was that it wasn't compatible with military life. One way that it works really well with military life is that to learn the Creighton method, you need a month or so of abstinence to learn the method. For me, I was able to just time it with my husband's next TDY, and it worked out really well!"
Emily, Army Wife
"My husband and I began practicing NFP during our engagement and prior to him commissioning into the active duty Army. As practicing Catholics, NFP was always something that we knew we were going to do as wedding preparation, but had no idea going into it how much it would help us actually prepare for our marriage! Now having practiced it for almost 4 years, NFP has without a doubt been the biggest blessing to our relationship.
We originally began learning one method and quickly decided it was not for us - Creighton was our next choice, and we are so glad for it! It has been a simple and effective method to lead us through our first years of marriage, even with the craziness that the Army throws at our schedules. We avoided a pregnancy at the beginning of our marriage as we moved cross-country twice in the first year. After that, Creighton not only helped us successfully achieve a pregnancy, but also helped our NaPro doctor identify a major risk factor in the early weeks that most likely saved our baby's life! I believe that the Creighton Model has empowered many couples and families to totally appreciate their fertility and the life it can create."
Grace, Air Force Wife
"In spring of 2015 we began learning Creighton for secondary infertility and miscarriage. We have absolutely loved it! The fact that it is integrated with women's healthcare is amazing. My charts in STM (Sympto-Thermal) looked pretty textbook, but my Creighton charts indicate several issues that we need to address. We are also awaiting info from Pope Paul VI so that we can begin our consult with them. We are so excited to see what happens! As far as charting goes, I have always done that by myself. Unfortunately my husband's unpredictable scheduled makes it difficult for him to help me, but we do discuss it frequently."
How can I receive instruction in the Creighton Model?
Regardless of where you live, instruction in the Creighton Model is available. Contact Erin Welsh, FCP, at HolyFamilyFertilityEducation@gmail.com for more information or to schedule your Introductory Session via Skype (three-way video chat means that everyone can participate in the session, even if your spouse/fiancée is in another location). You can also schedule your Introductory Session today by clicking here to see available times and to register.
"Creighton has been a simple and effective method to lead us through our first years of marriage, even with the craziness that the Army throws at our schedules."
- Emily, Army Wife and Creighton Model User
Erin Welsh, FCP, is the coordinator for online NFP sessions for the Archdiocese for the Military Services. She is the Director of Holy Family FertilityCare and a Practitioner of the Creighton Model. She currently resides in São Paulo, Brazil, where her husband is posted with the U.S. Department of State. Erin can be reached at HolyFamilyFertilityEducation@gmail.com or 402-261-0841.