To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth- Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles. Proverbs 1:2-6

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Interview with Christian Family Planning Network founder

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Sure! My name is Stephanie. I'm a 25 year old Bible College graduate. I've been a work-at-home-wife since June of 2008. The CFPN is my full-time job! My husband, Daniel, and I have been married for three years. We used the Fertility Awareness Method to avoid pregnancy for our first year of marriage, and have been waiting for child #1 since then.

What is the purpose of the Christian Family Planning Network (CFPN)?

The purpose of the CFPN is to educate engaged and married Christians about their options for birth control beyond artificial or hormonal contraceptives. We hope to overturn the common misconception that all natural birth control methods are the Rhythm Method of decades past.

How is this purpose accomplished?

Primarily through our message board. We have a vibrant community where women from all walks of life, and all theological perspectives, can come together and support each other in their decision to not use hormonal birth control. Some of our members join the community while still on the Pill, or the Shot, or the Ring. In situations like this, members of the community who have been in their shoes will come alongside and support them, answer their questions, and encourage them that they are doing a good thing!

Many of the women on our “Avoiding Pregnancy” forum have been using natural methods their entire marriage. Some of our long-term members have avoided pregnancy for up to four years, before deciding to try to conceive their first child. Now some of those members have given birth to their first child and are avoiding again with FAM or NFP postpartum!

In addition to supporting women who are avoiding pregnancy, we also have forums and buddy groups for women who are trying to conceive, are dealing with infertility, are pregnant, or parenting. We encourage all of our new members to join a buddy group and to plug into the community where they need support.

Our first online course began in January. The first section is FC101A: Just the Basics, and teaches people how to begin charting their fertility signs so that they can know when to avoid or abstain, or have sex if they're trying to conceive. FC101B: Beyond the Basics covers more advanced charting techniques, like what to do if your temperature or cervical fluid sign is unreliable, if you're not ovulating, or if you're post-partum. FC101B also covers the effect that exercise, nutrition and lunaception (moonlight) affects your cycle.

Why did you decide to start the CFPN?
Back in summer of 2007, when I was engaged, I joined a secular site that promotes the Fertility Awareness Method. I noticed that there were a few other summer brides asking similar questions to me. We wanted to know what to expect on our wedding night as we were all virgins and new at this whole charting and being married thing! So, I started a "buddy group", which is a small group of women who are all interested in the same thing. This gave us our own place to ask our questions of each other and get answers. Throughout the summer, our group grew in number, as the 2008 brides began to get engaged and research their options, and circumstances of the 2007 brides began to change.

In the spring of 2008, we split the original buddy group into three groups: 2007 brides, 2008 brides and those who were trying to get pregnant, or were already pregnant. By the Christmas of 2008 we had enough babies born that we started a parenting buddy group. About that point, the administration of the website we were on made a decision to support a pro-choice view of emergency contraception. I had been thinking that we needed to move our network of buddy groups (at this point we had about 50 women) to our own website for a few months, and it seemed like a really good time to do it!

January 17, 2009 was the first day we were on our own website. We stayed there for a few months, but we quickly realized that we were no longer the "Engaged & Newlywed Network". In order to change our name, we had to change our URL. So, the moderators decided that we would pay for our own hosting and our own domain, and we became the Christian Family Planning Network on May 15, 2009 at our current URL. As our name changed from one site to the next, so did our purpose, and that's how we got to where we are today!

Who can join the CFPN?
Anyone who is interested in learning about how a woman's natural fertility cycle works! This means men, women, young, old, dating, engaged, married, etc. You do not need to be a Christian or agree to our Statement of Faith to be a member, but all our leaders do hold to our Statement of Faith. Christian values such as marriage between only a man and woman, abstinence before marriage, and the sanctity of life are all upheld by our leaders, and we do hold those in high regard on the message board as well.

For women who are not engaged or married, we have a section of our message board called "Just Curious". This is for people who are not engaged or married, who are "just curious" about what their bodies are doing. We encourage them to participate there, and in the off-topic parts of the board, but ask that they refrain from joining the buddy groups for people who are actively using (or planning to use) the method in a marriage relationship until they are engaged.

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