Thy Will Be Done

This article was posted on: July 24, 2023

Maggie and Kaleb Frawley live natural family planning

Like most tween and teen girls growing up in Oshkosh, Maggie had a lot of experience babysitting—enough experience to convince her that she never wanted kids of her own. She and her family were Catholic, attending Mass every weekend. Her dad, who is Lutheran, would join them occasionally, most often on Christmas and Easter. In college, Maggie went to Mass on and off. Her animosity toward a family life remained fueled and continued into her professional career. She had a few relationships here and there, but for her, love was subjective and objectifying. Choosing an intrauterine device (IUD) as her form of birth control, she was admittedly unhappy and empty in life and work. While she was working in Utah for a Wisconsin-based dairy company, she made good friends and returned to regular Mass attendance. Her overall life plan was to work in Utah for a few years, then move back to Wisconsin to work at the company’s location in Richland Center, ultimately moving up to the company’s headquarters in Green Bay.

At the same time, Kaleb, living in his hometown of Richland Center, was working as a financial advisor. As a boy, he was a reliable altar server. His mom was the secretary at the local Catholic school, and he and his family grew up surrounded by people of Faith. His great-aunt was a nun and one of his uncle’s best friends was a priest. “Priests were always in my life,” reflects Kaleb. “My dad picked them up from the airport when they arrived to lead our parish. He’d bring them home to share a meal. I don’t remember a Christmas where we didn’t have priests in our house.”

But even with a Catholic foundation and devotion, Kaleb had professional struggles and personal temptations not unlike many young men in their late teens and 20s. “I finally went to confession,” Kaleb says confidently. “The sacrament of confession has always been very meaningful to me. I’ve had a lot of good feedback in the confessional.” He attributes all of his success over temptation and sin to the regular practice of reconciliation, including additional spiritual direction from trusted priest-friend-mentor, Father Emmanuel Famiyeh.

Maggie, Kaleb… and a spark

Through his dedication to the Catholic Faith and pursuing a call to marriage and family life, Kaleb bought a book on natural family planning called “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler. Wanting to have a healthy understanding of human sexuality, he educated himself on all things concerning male and female fertility and reproduction. Now, Kaleb openly and candidly speaks about natural family planning and its positive benefits.

Kaleb and Maggie met at the parish festival in August of 2015. Kaleb’s dad and a fellow parishioner brought Maggie over to where Kaleb was sitting and introduced them. “I didn’t have much to say, so she just walked away,” recalls Kaleb. A few days later, he contacted her and learned her intentions were for a friendship. She was already dating someone else and had no desire for long-term, small-town living. But Kaleb knew he wanted to marry her. When he learned about Maggie’s position on having kids, it was a challenge he accepted. For Maggie, it was a turn-off and reason to put more space between her and this man pursuing her. “Two weeks after meeting Maggie I told her I was fairly confident I loved her,” remembers Kaleb. “But we fought a lot in our friendship because she was on an IUD. She was not open to life.” So, Kaleb, once again, relied on Father Emmanuel for a source of direction and advice. Kaleb says, “Father Emmanuel told me, ‘People believe sex leads to love, but really love leads to sex. People get the formula wrong.’ He told me to just be patient and let God work on His time.”

Maggie admits she tried to keep their friendship casual. “I had just broken up with my boyfriend, and Kaleb was very persistent and intentional about dating. I finally broke down and decided to give him a chance.” After several months of friendly courtship, they took an opportunity to go on vacation together to St. George, Utah. Kaleb had a business partner there, and Maggie had her older Mormon/Latter-Day Saints friends from her previous work connections. “My friends teased me that the only consequences to Kaleb were being open to life and family,” Maggie laughs. “Of course, these things are really not consequences.” But at the time, she was still not convinced. Maggie was following a Paleo diet with a connection to what one online Paleo advocate coined Paleo birth control in which the fertility awareness method (FAM) is practiced. Kaleb argued that this method of natural birth control is also called Natural Family Planning. It was a case of tomato, tomâto, and they both returned frustrated. They agreed to disagree.

From beginnings to babies

Maggie still did not want children. “Before I was on an IUD,” she says, “I never had painful menstrual symptoms or heavy bleeding. But after it, there were times during my periods that I had very heavy bleeding and intense pain. There were times I couldn’t stand straight (because of the pain).” She was on a non-hormonal IUD for just over a year, but when it was removed, her cycle went back to normal with no pain or heavy bleeding. “This is when I started practicing taking my temperature and charting mucus,” she shares. She had her own reconciliation and was ready to start a life with Kaleb. They married on Feb. 25, 2017. Nine months later they had their first daughter, Grace. “This was our only ‘surprise’ pregnancy,” they reflect. “We were using a fertility app that tracked our information. But the app sent us an ‘update’ to say that basically there was a mistake, and the ovulation date should really have been two days later.” In 2019, they had Jake, who was planned. Then they began using the Marquette method. “We know the conception date of all our kids because of Natural Family Planning,” they say proudly with 1-year-old Max, born in 2022 crawling up, down and around them.

Maggie admits that in her 20s, it was selfishness that rooted her notion of self-preservation, “I didn’t want to give up traveling or doing what I wanted to do.” But now, pregnant with their fourth baby and due in September she says, “The blessings of family life are knowing that you’re needed.” Kaleb shares a story of how Jake, 3, dons his ski helmet, goggles and safety gear and tells mom that he has to go to ‘work’ to help dad cut wood. And how Grace, 5, wants to lead prayer at mealtime so that she can put in her request for the new baby to be a girl!

Sharing the journey

In their parish, they’ve led openness to life talks for engaged couples, and Kaleb was a former grand knight for the Knights of Columbus. They both still help out, volunteering where needed. Maggie now promotes NFP to others. “Find somebody in your parish that you can talk to about NFP. Join a Facebook group. You have to advocate for yourself.” Kaleb agrees, “NFP increases knowledge for both the wife and the husband; women know their bodies better and men will know, based on the charted information, more about a woman’s fertility.” He also makes an interesting observation. “It’s a green, natural way to regulate your family. If we don’t want chemicals in our food or our environment, why would we ingest chemicals into our bodies (in reference to contraceptive birth control methods).” Kaleb even talks to clients, when it’s appropriate or requested, on the subject of human fertility, sexuality, women’s health and NFP.

The Frawleys are also grateful for all the help they receive from family and friends in raising their young brood. And now Maggie, ignited with a special love for her own children says, “If we know we’re fertile and we’re open to having another baby, we pray, ‘Thy will be done.’”

Story by Marcy Stenstrom
Published in the July/August 2023 issue of Catholic Life Magazine

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