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Weight gain, mood swings, headaches and more! Not exactly the perfect things to get you in the Christmas spirit, right?! Still, thousands of women are suffering from these and other side effects from taking hormonal birth control.

ICYMI in the past month, negative side effects were a hot topic when news was released of a male birth control study that was discontinued due to unpleasant side effects.

This news bothered a lot of women because they suffer the same side effects from their birth control, or difficult symptoms from cycle irregularities, yet they are still expected to shoulder much of the responsibility of birth control. Who can blame their frustration when this seems like such an unfair standard? Why is there such an expectation that women are solely responsible for birth control?

But I ask, honestly, why should anyone have to deal with side effects of birth control that are not only annoying but potentially harmful? No one should, and they don’t have to because of the solution of natural family planning.

Natural family planning has absolutely zero side effects. It helps you to learn the natural cycles of the woman’s body so you can determine when you are fertile or infertile. There are no chemicals, devices or artificial hormones involved, so no side effects to worry about. And of course it is difficult when one spouse has to shoulder all of the responsibility for birth control, but with natural family planning shared responsibility is encouraged and often naturally grows. Yes, the woman must still do the observation of her fertility signs (although many husbands help with temperature by handing the wife the thermometer and recording the data), but most couples talk about the cycle and interpret the signs as a team. The open communication between spouses about practicing the method and deciding whether or not to postpone pregnancy also develops this shared responsibility.

“Unlike birth control, the responsibility [with NFP] does not rest on one partner; it can be shared equally between spouses. So, yes, Adam did begin to chart my fertility signs during our engagement. At the end of every day he would ask me about my observations and record them in my chart. Now that we’re married, Adam still records my fertility signs at the end of each day. He also sticks the thermometer in my mouth every morning when our alarm goes off. I look on his efforts to help me chart as a daily reminder of his love for me.” —Pilar 

Read more of Adam and Pilar’s story here.

So with NFP there is no need to stress over who should suffer the side effects or who should be “in charge” of birth control. Take the weight of this stress off your shoulders by learning natural family planning. Zero side effects = zero worries for you and your health so you can focus on more important things this Christmas season.

— Megan Imwalle
Communications Intern