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Natural Family Planning

After Gareth and I drunkenly decided to try for another baby a couple of months ago, we have since decided to have a more sensible discussion about expanding our family. Our initial decision came after a few glasses of red wine and viewing One Born Every Minute. That programme never fails to make us broody, plus our youngest had reached 9 months and was starting to feel less like our baby (though he is still very much the baby and absolutely adorable).

Our month of trying did result in a pregnancy, but unfortunately I miscarried shortly after discovering I was pregnant. To begin with we were both keen to try again straight away and have not taken precautions since, I think we were very much driven by a desire to know we could experience another successful pregnancy. As the weeks have continued I’ve started to wonder whether we should wait a little longer.

Another aspect that concerns me is whether I will be able to get pregnant and carry a baby successfully as I get older, I will be 35 this year and I know that fertility reduces in your late 30′s. Having said that I have known many women who haven’t started their families until this age.

Our eldest son at 13 becomes more independent every day and spends most school holidays with his father. However, he has reached a point where he needs more emotional support than ever and help with school work as he is starting to struggle. I would like to have the time to help him.

The two younger children (aged 2½ and 10 months) are lovely together, but often hard work. They still both need to be in the buggy most of time and it is amazingly heavy to push around. I have a heart murmur which means I get short of breath easily and this problem is only compounded by pregnancy. If I am being completely sensible I do need to make sure I am able to cope with the two small boys I have and a pregnancy, whilst I know I would manage, I want to more than manage, I want to enjoy it. I want to enjoy them all.

So, after a (sober) discussion we have decided to wait before trying for another baby.

Here, the next issue arises, what about contraception? I detest condoms, they are a complete mood killer for me and I am sure I always get thrush after we have used them. I have tried many different contraceptive pills over the years and none of them have agreed with me. Each time I have given up taking them as I have hated the side effects so much. I even tried the contraceptive injection, which I continued for a year, this actually amazes me now as I bled for an entire year. Every time I returned to the GP they told me it would settle down, but it never did and eventually I gave up. I have considered the coil, there is still one without hormones, however a traumatic experience of a GP trying to fit one after the birth of my first child means I am reluctant. Also, we are planning trying for another baby next year and a coil tends to be a longer term option.

After asking for some advice and doing a little research online we have decided to try natural family planning. I am fortunate that my menstrual cycle is very predictable and so feel happy to chart my fertile periods. I also plan to measure my basal temperature in the mornings to help predict when I am most fertile so we can avoid sex at those times or use the dreaded condoms. We are in the fortunate position where if I did get pregnant it wouldn’t be the end of the world, however we would prefer to plan when we have our next baby. If I did fall pregnant I would be naturally thrilled, though I would like to attempt to take a little control over the situation.

As summer nears and I finally start to feel like I am getting back in shape I feel ready to get back out on my bike and to get fit, not being pregnant will make this easier.

At the moment I am still waiting for my first period after the miscarriage, it is possible that I am already pregnant but if not we will continue with our plans to not try for another baby just yet. We have now set a date for our wedding, we plan to get married next year, on the anniversary of the day we met (27th April), we won’t start planning that until next year (it will be a small affair) but perhaps there will be a honeymoon baby after that? I don’t know what the future will bring, but for now I am happy spending time with my growing boys and lovely partner.

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