Billings practitioners Lisa and Dominic Price find natural family planning strengthens their marriage
By Agnieszka Krawczynski
The B.C. Catholic
Caption: The Price family poses at a park near their home in Surrey. Lisa and Dominic have appeared on TV and taught hundreds of couples how to achieve or avoid pregnancy naturally, without drugs or side effects. Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic.
Women in the Western world don't know enough about themselves, say natural family planning practitioners Dominic and Lisa Price.
"We really need to get back to teaching women about their bodies," said Lisa.
"When you have a cold, you sneeze, you cough, and you have a sore throat. You know that you're sick. (Natural family planning) is the same thing: just paying attention to what's happening to your body. We are not taught as women to pay attention to these things."
Few couples are as enthusiastic about using NFP as Dominic and Lisa Price. The pair from Trinidad has appeared on TV and taught hundreds of couples how to use the Billings Method to achieve or avoid pregnancy.
"If you look at the cycle and you look at God's design, He created women with naturally occurring cycles of fertility and infertility," Lisa said.
"These are all naturally occurring phases," that women are generally not taught to watch for, with the exception of menstruation.
"Contraception has been promoted as a fix-all. When you get into the complications of using it, the side effects of using it, there's a heavy price you pay."
Lisa said Billings, one of three major methods of NFP, is better for women's health and their relationships than contraception.
"There are no drugs. There are no devices" or side effects, Lisa said. "You already have something that works!"
On average, it takes a woman three months of paying attention to her body and tracking the signs to learn to tell when she is fertile and when she is not. Knowing her body can also help her catch illnesses such as endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome.
"We are complex beings, but I think beautifully complex, and it's sad that we can be so out of touch with all of this that's going on."
Her husband, Dominic, introduced NFP to their relationship.
"Right now we live in a world where you go to buy a car and there's a scantily clad woman on the picture of a car," he said. "We live in this world where (sexuality) is so much out of context, and we've lost the point of reference. Where does this fit?"
Everything clicked for Dominic after he came across Pope John Paul II's theology of the body. "Going through puberty myself, embedded in this world that's all over the map, hearing mixed messages from every different sphere: when I encountered John Paul, it made sense," he said.
"Finally, there was somebody who said something that brought all the points together." Theology of the body helped him understand "this is where (sex) fits. This it where it will always be good. This is where it will always be a win."
After he and Lisa began going out, he brought up Pope John Paul II and Christopher West, another writer passionate about theology of the body.
"I was hooked," Lisa said. "It just made a lot of sense, especially at that time: I was a young adult, so many mixed messages, so much confusion, but this, you know in your heart that it's truth."
The Price pair, married in 2007, found NFP brought them closer together. "It has enriched our marriage in many ways: on a communication level, I feel more respected and I feel more confident," Lisa said.
Dominic agreed. "It allows me to draw close to her in a way that no one else is. I know her hormonally!"
"Once I pay attention, I start to see how this impacts, not just her fertility, but her everything. Sometimes her moods are different because of what's going on biologically with her. It is amazing and beautiful. Why wouldn't you want to know your wife?"
The couple, who moved to Canada in 2012, now have three children, aged 7, 4, and 1.
They say although both can be used to avoid pregnancy, NFP and contraception are vastly different.
"It's really about intention," Lisa said. "One is a direct intervention to stop conception from taking place, whereas the NFP response is: 'I respect what is happening here. This is an invitation for me to participate in procreation, but at this time we can't, and the only appropriate response is to abstain at that time.'"
Dominic said "there will never be" a contraceptive that is 100 per cent effective.
"God has designed the procreative and unitive elements that happen during sex to be together, so there's no way of separating it," he said.
"You don't need to separate it. You can just let it be. You can do this on a relationship level that's beautiful. There's a time of abstinence, but that's normal and beautiful. Sometimes people are sick. That's normal. Sometimes somebody is out of the country. That's normal. Or you had a baby. That's normal. That's life," he said.
"The call of abstinence is not out of reach. You're doing it already. You're doing it every day."
Lisa said a Billings-approved app, called Fertility Pinpoint, is a helpful tool for women to understand their bodies. More information about Billings is available at www.billings.life or from firstname.lastname@example.org.