Q. Tell us about your family and where you are living.
I’ve been married for almost 20 years to Jacob, and we have three children, ages 16, 14, and 10. We live in Southeast Louisiana about an hour north of New Orleans. Two years ago, we returned home after being gone for eight years. During that time, we lived in South Texas near the border of Mexico and Washington, D.C.
Q. Tell us about how you happened to convert to Catholicism and the Billings Method. How did all of that happen?
My conversion to Catholicism is a pretty long story. The short version is that I grew up in a Christian home. My father is a minister. However, I met and fell in love with a beautiful Catholic man and, staying true to my upbringing, knew that if I was going to be married to a Catholic man that I would have to become Catholic. I did it out of obedience to the word of God and in submission and respect to my husband as the head of our household. Over ten years or so after getting my master’s degree in religious education at a Catholic university and reading “Humanae Vitae” and Theology of the Body, I came to a very deep appreciation and understanding of the truth of the Catholic Church's teaching on marriage and contraception.
As for my conversion to Billings, I began my NFP journey by teaching myself a sympto-thermal method after learning the truth of how the Pill can work as an early abortifacient. When I had my conversion after reading Theology of the Body, I talked to my priest. He encouraged me to be certified in a method of NFP. I didn't even know that was a thing, and I had been through RCIA three times by then! It was 2013! The Billings Method was the one promoted in our diocese, so that is the one I chose. Even though I charted sympto-thermal, I was not interested in getting into a potential argument with anyone about methods, so I decided to go ahead with the Billings Method since that was the one promoted in our area.
Q. What inspired you to become a Billings teacher?
My priest. I had no idea there were people out there helping other couples learn how to use fertility awareness-based methods. The other thing that inspired me was I saw this was a huge need in the Church. Our culture and the Church have completely bought into the contraception lie. Once God opened my heart to the Church's teaching about God’s plan for love, marriage, and the marital embrace, my eyes opened to the reality of the contraceptive mindset and how far we’ve fallen in this area. The sexual revolution could not have occurred until the development of reliable contraception. Contraception is not a new idea; we have just never been as good at it as we are now. We are so good at, in fact, that we have forgotten the natural reality that sex leads to babies. We are so good at not getting pregnant, that we feel we have a RIGHT not to get pregnant. We feel we have a RIGHT to sex without consequences, so when the natural consequences occur, we feel we have a right to negate those consequences. Our culture views children as an unfortunate outcome of what should be all about pleasure. Contraception leads to abortion. Abortion is the final answer to failed contraception. I’ve shed many tears and prayed many prayers about this connection that few seem to make.
Q. While you’re taking some time off now, it tends to be in the blood for years and years. What would you say to encourage others to recommit to teaching?
When I teach an intro session, I get a good response, but follow-up is almost always nonexistent. My advice is just to do what is in front of you. If that means one couple, teach the one couple. I tried to anticipate what could happen in a sort of "if you build it, they will come" mentality. Nobody came. Now I do what is necessary, even if it means not teaching at all until a couple asks. Also, find others who teach. We are invigorated by each other's successes and passion. Don’t do it by yourself.
Q. For a while, you were with the St. Augustine Foundation. What kinds of projects did you work on for them?
My first project was an online course for the Billings Method, but we quickly realized that video-based courses don't turn into real clients, and without proper follow-up, method effectiveness rates decline. Next, I created a 13-week online course in sex education. This class included sections on moral decision making, sexual morality, chastity, sexually transmitted infections, pornography, relationships, and basic fertility charting. My goal for this course was to lay a foundation and promote body literacy that would give young women the tools to understand their bodies. They would know the parameters of a healthy vs. unhealthy cycles, and how their body speaks to them through their charting. With this foundation, the jump to using NFP for family planning would seem like a natural transition.
I see a really big hole in our education of women. We begin to talk about cycles and charting when they’re engaged and preparing for marriage. In this culture, it’s too late by then. Most women are already sexually active, on the Pill, or both. We’ve got to get to our girls when they start menstruating. Doing this in conjunction with a chastity course and sex education is a natural fit.
Q. Your involvement with bringing the Billings Method to the United Nations (UN) is so interesting and impressive. Tell us about that.
The WOOMB International team goes to the UN to attend the Commission on the Status of Women every March. Our mission at the UN is to educate and promote the Billings Ovulation Method worldwide. We had the wonderful opportunity to partner with the Holy See twice to promote the method. Most years, however, we host parallel events where we present the method and lately have added others who share in our mission to raise awareness regarding natural methods of fertility management. Fertility awareness-based methods of family planning are a natural fit for women in poverty and refugees in particular. Women in these situations have no access to doctors to manage contraceptive prescriptions or the side effects of those prescriptions.
Additionally, women in African countries do not want the contraceptives. A more natural approach to fertility is more in line with their culture. However, our main goal at the UN is to promote the authentic use of the Billings Ovulation Method for family planning for women all over the world.
Q. As one of our faithful monthly donors, what would you say to encourage others to give monthly? We want to boost that end of our financial base, so hearing from someone who has been committed to giving for a while means a lot.
It takes money to do the work. The more I do in philanthropy, the more I recognize the need for funding. My monthly giving is for that very reason. I see the necessity of consistent funding, and I want to be a part of the solution for that.
BOMA-USA provides education and training for The Billings Ovulation Method® which is a natural method of fertility management that teaches you to recognize the body's natural signs of fertility.