"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Maybe Shakespeare has it right, but I don't really like the term "Natural Family Planning". Don't get me wrong, I am an advocate of using a woman's fertility signs to determine fertility to either try to achieve or avoid pregnancy, it is only the name I dislike. Natural Family Planning sounds too much like Catholic Contraception.
I just don't think that we (humans) should be doing all the planning. I have found that so many times in my life, I have made plans, but God had something different in mind. I worry more than I should, and trusting God completely has been something that I have had to work on for many years. It is difficult to take that leap of faith, to "let go and let God." There are just some things though, that cannot be planned, but God in his wisdom allows them to happen. No one plans infertility, for example. I have known several Catholic couples who planned to have children, and even thought they might have many children, only to discover that no matter how well they charted and planned, pregnancy was never achieved. And even when we do get it "right", there is still the possibility of a pregnancy that ends in miscarriage or stillbirth. What about unplanned pregnancies? Are they a mistake? Did NFP fail? Has Planned Parenthood has sold the lie to Catholics as well; we are always in control, we can choose exactly when we will have 'X' number of children, and there will be no surprises. But, does each pregnancy that a woman has need to have been planned ahead of time?
I like to think of Fertility Awareness. For some reason I seem to hear this term more often in secular circles. But I feel that Fertility Awareness accepts and respects a woman's fertility. It is good for women/couple's to be aware of their fertility. Our fertility is a gift from God, and He has given us the knowledge of how a woman's cycle works. We can then use this knowledge to try to achieve or even avoid pregnancy. In my own marriage there have been times that we felt we needed to avoid pregnancy, but then there were other times when we were just open to God's will, not necessarily planning to get pregnant. Every act of intercourse during the fertile time of a woman's cycle does not equal pregnancy (although many times it does).
I wish that the Church would promote a more God centered Fertility Awareness model rather than a woman or couple centered Planning model. Catholics, let us learn to trust our gift of fertility back to the God who gave it to us.