by Monika B. Potocki
April 3, 2018
Editor’s Note: This interview with the user of a fertility awareness based method (FABM) is part of FACTS’ Interview Series through which we highlight the benefits of these methods of family planning. Although FABMs are perhaps not for everyone, most women who hear about these modern, evidence-based methods are intrigued and interested in learning more. Once educated, many women choose to try a method, discover they learn a great deal about their bodies and fertility, and benefit in many other ways, feeling empowered and healthier. Mrs. M’s experience summarized below is one example, and she ends with a timely message for healthcare professionals.
The Marquette Model: One Woman’s Story
Mrs. M began using the Marquette Model (a Sympto-Hormonal Method) in 2009 after the birth of her first child. When she was younger and newly married, her doctor gave her a list of conventional contraceptives as the only options for family planning, and she started a birth control pill. Years later, when she informed her obstetrician she would be using an FABM to avoid pregnancy, the doctor laughed and joked, “I’ll see you in nine months.” Undaunted, Mrs. M continued to use the Marquette Method, and ended up much happier with this approach than with the pill.
Since she received no professional guidance or support with this method of Natural Family Planning (NFP), Mrs. M turned to a friend, the Internet, and an on-call Marquette Method nursing phone line for instruction. She chose the Marquette Model after a friend recommended it and felt like a pioneer, since the method was relatively new when she began using it.
Mrs. M had small children and liked the method’s convenience. She felt she didn’t have time to track her body temperature, which is required by some other FABMs. Initially, she felt hesitant to learn the method online rather than under a doctor’s supervision, which she recognized as the ideal way. Still, she felt she knew it well within three months, and within a year she felt extremely comfortable with it.
Her Experience Speaks for Itself
After many years using the Marquette Model, Mrs. M adapted it to her needs, and now only uses an average of five test strips each month. She knows what to look for, has regular cycles, and knows that she tends to ovulate early. She has become so comfortable with the method that she feels it would be easy to learn even without the monitor, but early on she appreciated having the monitor to double-check or reinforce her observations. She also finds the monitor useful when factors like stress cause her mucus observations to vary from her baseline. She mainly uses the method to avoid pregnancy.
This Safe, Effective Method Met Her Needs
Mrs. M likes FABMs because they are hormone-free. She believes they are healthier for married couples, as they help people respect life and their marriage. Using these methods prompts couples to set healthy boundaries and communicate, strengthening their relationship and leading to more of a partnership. She appreciates that FABMs do not suppress or remove anything natural and healthy from a woman’s body. She noted that when she began using the method, she learned a great deal about her body. She does not find the cost of the Marquette Method to be prohibitive. She spends about ten dollars monthly on the method, which is not more than she would spend for a copay for a conventional contraceptive.
Mrs. M recognizes that using FABMs requires self-control and discipline. She also noted that about once every ten months, the ClearBlue monitor does not pick up ovulation. The first time this happened it was very unnerving. However, the Marquette Model has protocols for what to do in that situation, and she is now comfortable managing this as well.
A Message for Healthcare Professionals
Mrs. M would like healthcare professionals to know that, in her experience, Marquette is a highly reliable method to avoid or postpone pregnancy. She was upset that the physician who prescribed the pill for her did not offer NFP or FABMs as an option. She believes that FABMs should be listed among the family planning options doctors offer patients.
Author Bio: Monika B. Potocki is a fourth year medical student at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. She participated in a FABM elective taught by Dr. Marguerite Duane during her fourth year. Upon graduation, she plans to specialize in Obstetrics & Gynecology.
 The Marquette Model was developed in the late 1990’s at Marquette University and incorporates 21st century technology (the ClearBlue Easy Fertility Monitor) for natural family planning.
 The mission of FACTS is to educate healthcare professionals about the science behind modern FABMs so women and couples receive the education and support needed to maximize each method’s effectiveness.
 As when using any FABM, to maximize the method’s effectiveness and reliability, users should follow the Marquette Model’s instruction closely (even once comfortable with the method).
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