By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
Natural Family Planning methods benefit couples trying to achieve or avoid pregnancy and also single women who want to be proactive and knowledgeable advocates for their health and fertility, says a practitioner in training.
Cassidy LeClaire, 29, a member of St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City, is training to become a Creighton Model FertilityCare practitioner. As a single person, she practices the method as a way to monitor her health and prepare herself for marriage and family life, a vocation to which she feels called. She looks forward to being able to help single, engaged and married persons learn this sympto-thermal method of Natural Family Planning, which can help couples identify times of peak fertility and determine possible signs of hormonal imbalance. These NFP methods demonstrate an accuracy of about 99 percent in identifying times of fertility and infertility, according to the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology. NFP is the only method of family planning approved by the Catholic Church.
As a regular attendee of the annual Culture of Life dinner at St. Wenceslaus Parish in Iowa City, LeClaire saw individuals receive scholarships for Creighton Model FertilityCare training. She listened to interns and practitioners share their stories. She felt the Holy Spirit tugging at her heart to apply for a scholarship but, as a busy chemical engineer, she wondered if she would be able to devote enough time to training and teaching.
Over several years, she gained more confidence in the calling. She saw other busy people find ways to make it work. She also felt the Holy Spirit nudge her “by revealing to me people that I could help if I was trained appropriately.” Friends had confided in her, she said, but at the time, “I didn’t know enough to be able to help them.”
Last year, she took a leap of faith and applied for the training. “As I applied and was accepted into the program, I remember praying to the Holy Spirit and saying, ‘I’m willing to do this if it’s God’s will, but I’m trusting you to figure out how, when and where I’ll make the time!’ Over the past nine months, his providence has not failed my act of faith.”
Even persons beyond their child-bearing years can support the growth of NFP. “There are many ways they can help with promotion, marketing, fundraising or seeking financial support to help the movement grow and make the knowledge and service more available to more people every day,” LeClaire said. She noted that the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids area have more practitioners than ever before, and a physician who is working toward becoming certified as a NaPro Technology-trained Medical Consultant in the FertilityCare system. The St. Wenceslaus Knights of Columbus grants, like the one LeClaire received, help make it possible for more people to be trained.
She is grateful for the opportunity to learn to teach NFP and hopes to finish her FertilityCare internship by the end of the year. “I hope to be able to provide this education and service to couples and individuals in order to empower them with knowledge to make healthy choices in their lives. Where applicable, I intend to help clients identify if there are potential underlying issues they may be unaware of that could potentially negatively impact their health and/or fertility.”