My Favorite Thing About NFP

People who know me know that I am not the world’s more organized person. I am messy, I am a procrastinator, and I am often running late.

However–I DO like planning. I like knowing what is coming up, and what we need to do to prepare for those things. I am very dependent on my calendar, and my husband and I are constantly updating each other on our goals and plans for a given day or week. Sometimes those plans are big events that require a lot of coordination ahead of time, like when Matt needs to travel for work, but most of the time they’re little everyday tasks like “pay the bills” or “go for a walk.”

We talk about our long-term goals, too—Matt’s career goals, my hope to stay home with the kids if we can work out the finances, what schools might be the best choice down the road, what we can do to improve our health… everything.

One thing we don’t talk about that much is how many kids we want to have.

Both my husband and I grew up in families of 4—mom, dad, son and daughter. Picture perfect. The American dream! Or at least the American statistical average.

I think that before we got married, both Matt and I pictured our eventual family the same way: mom, dad, two kids. And with Baby Carney #2 on the way, many people are already assuming that after this, we’ll be “done.”

But we’re probably not done. Although we won’t be in any hurry to conceive again (which is good, because my fertility didn’t return until 17 months after Alex was born!), we are hopeful that someday there will be a #3.

But who knows? Maybe we’ll have difficulty conceiving a third baby. Or maybe our circumstances will change in the next year or two, and another baby will not seem prudent. Or maybe we’ll get a surprise arrival sooner than we expect. Maybe it’ll be twins!

To me, the beautiful part of Natural Family Planning is that it doesn’t ask you to decide NOW how many children you ever want. You don’t need to know right now what you will want or need in 2 or 5 or 10 years. Every month, you have the opportunity to prayerfully consider whether you’re able to welcome another child into your family, or whether it would be more responsible to avoid pregnancy. And next month, you get to decide again.

I find this wonderfully relaxing. There’s no expectation that you have to have your whole life for the next 10 or 20 or 30 years figured out RIGHT NOW. You can take your time, and make your decisions one by one, and know that God is walking with you on this journey.

Because who knows what our life will look like 5 years from now? We could be living in a different state. We could still be living on a pretty tight budget, or Matt could have gotten 2-3 promotions and we could be footloose and fancy-(and-debt)-free. I do not want to decide right now whether we will be ready for more children at that point. It’s too important a decision to base it on imaginary circumstances.

So while I have a lot of ideas and plans for our future, when people ask whether we’re “done,” all I can say is this:

We’ll see. We’re taking it one at a time.

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