By NBF News

•Prof.Ojewuyi (right) with some members of cast of Seven

Love and Life Billings Method of Family Planning (Ninth Edition) by Leonie McSweeney, African Universities Press,

2009 PP177
Procreation and love are quite germane to marriage in Africa but most families when babies are born usually frown at the latter. This is especially when a woman gives birth to only baby girls without a baby boy.

This phenomenon is linked to many unforeseen circumstances to the extent that the woman is denigrated not only in the family of the husband but also by the society as if a female child is worthless. In fact the married couple in the course of experiencing absence of male children could start witnessing marital unhappiness which most times lead to breakdown of the marriage.

The forgoing situation is what Dr. John Billings' research on Natural Family Planning (NFP) addresses with the offering of a solution. When this study which started in 1953 is applied by couples, it is expected to help them restore their understanding and happiness.

The 177-page book Love and Life by Leonie McSweeney dwells extensively on this NFP method by Dr. Billing. The book written in 12 chapters with appendixes also stresses how the family planning referred to as Billings Method was named after the researcher. It helps the childless couple to achieve pregnancy and to live happily together while their baby is breastfeeding in addition to how to limit the size of the family, how they can select the sex of the baby, help husband and wife understand their combined fertility through a dialogue that brings them together with ever increasing peace, understanding, unity and love.

Apart from the foregoing, Billings method also helps husband and wife to achieve or avoid pregnancy with intelligence and freedom as they desire. This is why it is advisable that the husband studies the method together with his wife.

With this, the compendium explains that Billings Method which teaches a woman to recognize in her body one sign, which tells her clearly and without doubt, that her ovulation is coming, does not involve the artificial method in which the pill, coil, condom, or withdrawal system is used.

The Method is not like the old Safe Period or Rhythm Method because it does not make use of thermometer or calendar. With Mucus sign Billing Method uses to inform women that their ovulation is coming, the woman can achieve or avoid pregnancy the way she desires with her husband, even as it helps to pre-select the sex of their baby. In fact once a woman is able to identify the time of ovulation and understand its significance, she would know how to control her combined fertility.

This section, Love uses only chapter one, Love and Sex, to observe that there are so many mistaken concepts of love and as such sees love from the context of relationship between sex and love in marriage. The book explains that though sexual intercourse is surrounded by fear and ignorance, God created the act for two closely related reasons. The long term reason is the continuation of human race, while the immediate reason is to provide man and woman a unique means of expressing love to each other in marriage.

Other issues treated in this chapter are occasional abstinence, one's deeper feeling and Sex-genital and non-genital, the triangle of marriage, oneness, climbing the mountain, falling from the mountain, the plateau, reaching the mountain top together, the cheated husband, the power of women, the power of men, and the role of women—passive, yet full of life and facilitated by plenty of time. Others include special problems, frigidity, overcoming frigidity, libido and ovulation, intercourse and ovulation, intercourse during pregnancy, intercourse while breastfeeding, impotence in man, premature ejaculation, withdrawal (coitus interruptus), the menopause and other key factors in marriage.

In chapters four, five and six the reader learns how to use the chart, fertile or infertile and fertile respectively. In chapter four, readers are guided on how the PLAN chart in page 74 of the book is used. It also teaches on how to chat each day, what to chart, when a beginner should start charting, where charting dates are specified.

In chapters seven, eight and nine, Eggwhite, Breastfeeding: The Four 'Rs,' Irregular Cycles and Pre-Menopause are well explained, while chapters ten, eleven and twelve treat a childless couple, boy or girl and other issues like the missed menses, missed ovulation, when pap mucus is absent, dysmenorrhoea (painful menses), alcoholics, pre-menstrual eggwhite, fungus discharge and continuous eggwhite.

However, one captivating thing about the book is that before treating the chapters, the author presents some of his teaching materials on the subject matter. Some of these materials include a list of books, audio and visual tapes. The essence of this is to help people learn Billings Methods in the privacy of their homes or in group situations like in pre-marriage classes. The author in a 34- minute video tape, discloses how the experience he gained over many years of medical practice led to the teaching of the Billings Method of Natural Family Planning among over 7,000 couples.