Martinez de Carillo said that while she would like to bring even more methods of NFP in Spanish to the Diocese of Phoenix, she is proud of what they already have to offer couples.
“It is a reality that we can do more for our Spanish speaking community and offer them more resources, like offer more NFP methods in Spanish, but right now we feel confident that [with] the number of classes we offer with the [Family of the Americas] method, we are serving our Spanish-speaking community greatly,” she said.
There are some specific advantages and unique challenges to teaching NFP to Hispanic populations, some instructors told CNA.
Guadalupe Carral, who teaches the Creighton method of NFP in the Archdiocese of Miami, said that because NFP impacts so many aspects of a couple’s life, it is best if couples learn the methods in their native language.
“This is so personal. I mean, human sexuality involves so many things. It's something spiritual, physical, intellectual, communicative, emotional. So being able to express yourself in your mother language, I think it's definitely a difference,” Carral said. “There's a lot of different feelings and thoughts that are related to couples that decide to do NFP that I definitely feel like it's important for them to feel comfortable to express all that they want to communicate with a person that's going to completely understand that.”
Carral first learned about the Creighton method of NFP through a friend, and she became an instructor in the method because of her passion for helping couples who are experiencing infertility. She said once Hispanic couples decide that they are going to really practice their Catholic faith - a faith they typically inherit from their families - they are open to learning and practicing NFP in their lives.
“When they want to go down to their roots and live their faith well and do what God asks us to do, I think that they're very open to NFP, especially when they listen to the success rates [of NFP],” she said.
Carmen Santamaria, another bilingual NFP instructor in the Archdiocese of Miami, first learned about Natural Family Planning during marriage preparation classes. At the time, the Archdiocese was recruiting instructors, and Santamaria believed so strongly in what NFP could do for married couples, that she and her husband became certified teachers in both English and Spanish.
Santamaria said she has been involved in efforts to improve the Spanish NFP resources for the Couple-to-Couple League in the past few years so that they speak more directly to Hispanic populations. The league’s sympto-thermal method has always been taught in Spanish, she noted, but updated materials were necessary.
“Unfortunately, sometimes Spanish language programs in the Church tend to be just translations of American or English programs,” she said. “And that's fine, they can meet a need. However, it doesn't necessarily speak to the reality of the Hispanic population or, it's not necessarily where they're at.”
Santamaria, who is Cuban American, said the Hispanic population in the Miami area “runs the gamut” of cultures and socioeconomic statuses, from “migrant workers to professionals.”
With the help of technology and Hispanic instructors, Santamaria said they were able to create NFP resources that represented a variety of Hispanic cultures.
Another challenge to teaching NFP to Hispanic populations can be the cultural taboos surrounding topics of sexuality and the nitty-gritty of fertility, instructors told CNA.
“There is the taboo that exists in Hispanic cultures around sex. It is something that it is hard to talk about because there is no sex education or too little in Hispanic cultures. You can see how the couples open up once you start talking about sex with them, the call for marriage that God has, and when you also even joke around it, this relaxes them and you can see how they open up,” Martinez de Carillo said.
Santamaria said she has also noticed an initial discomfort in talking about fertility in the couples she instructs, but she said the courses can be especially eye-opening for men, and that the communication involved in the methods ultimately strengthens marriages.
“Obviously NFP is really focusing on the woman's fertility, and the man has to learn these things,” Santamaria said. “And I think that it can really strengthen a relationship, especially a marriage, because...it makes the men change their focus.”
There is also another challenge facing anyone teaching NFP to any population, Diaz said, which is convincing couples that they do not have to use contraception to plan and space their children and families.
“We always have the same challenge no matter if the message is for the Anglo or Latino community; this is to provide the message of a unique natural method, approved by God and the Catholic Church, and healthy for a woman’s body, to achieve or avoid pregnancy.”