I don't know if I'll find any answers here. I looked at other forums and found no answers from other people's posts so I thought I'd request advice on my particular problem. My husband and I are both Catholic. We do our best to follow what God want for us. We have 3 children (5,3,2) and are pregnant with our 4th (our first boy). From the beginning of our marriage we were both open to children and accepted the responsibility to raise them to know God. After our first child we started to learn CCL. This didn't work very well for us as my cycle is VERY complicated and I have some medical issues that made the rules difficult to follow. We got pregnant with our second (22 months apart). While we hadn't "planned" it THROUGH NFP we were very happy. After this child we used Crieghton Method which was supposed to help with my cycle difficulties. I also started seeing a GYNO dr that believed in NFP. While still trying to figure out my cycle and being on TONS of different medications to regulate my cycle, I got pregnant again (18 month apart). Again we were slightly surprised but very happy. We continued to work on my cycle issues through Crieghton and with my dr, more medicines and more confusing charts. Each time, just when I think I'm starting to understand my charts I get pregnant. My charts show that I'm VERY fertile. I've come to worry whether I can trust my cycle and charts. I worry that even though I want to do the moral thing of, if we want to avoid pregnancy, to use God approved forms of methods that it just won't work.
I'm due with my 4th child in July. After a child I'm fertile pretty much every day. Following Crieghton that means no sex usually for around 6 months at least. This is difficult for my relationship with my husband. He's very understanding but we tend to grow slightly distant during this time without the physical intimacy of intercourse. Even when my cycle has leveled out as much as it will post baby we still can manage to have intercourse MAYBE 10 days out of the month. That doesn't mean we'll have sex 10 days; him, one of the kids or myself will be keep us from using one of those days.
In all honesty I was happy with only having 3 children, I've of course become very happy to have the baby inside me and look forward to his birth. I have a college degree and worked very hard for it and had planned to use it in a career. Once I was pregnant with my first I knew I was being called on to be a stay at home mom. I love it, its where I'm supposed to be right now. However I can't help but feeling that I'm in a never ending cycle that I have no say in. I feel like I must continue to have babies with no way of avoiding pregnancy except continued abstinence with my husband. Until I hit menopause, I feel like I will always be carrying babies, and messing with diapers, never being able to move to new phase in my life, never getting to really start a career.
I know so many women who have MANY kids and are so content and complete. Is it wrong if that may not be for me? But I feel like with my situation there is little else I can do. If it were allowed, I would sterilize myself. My husband has said if it were allowed he'd get a vasectomy simply because I've made many sacrifices with my body and medicine already. It feels hopeless and I feel like a terrible person for wanting it. I love being a mother and I think abortion or abortive means are not right but I wish there was a way to simply say "I will raise my children to love and honor God but I'm done having any more children." I have gone to a therapist, I pray every day, I've cried until my chest hurts.
Many of the comments here, I expect, will be telling me to open my heart to more children. I know that may be what God plans for me and I'm trying I guess but is there no other answer? My heart hurts daily from this conflict....
I know where you are coming from. I have 3 kids and I really did not want #3. I was very upset for a long time. I kept praying and I felt the Lord's hand in it. So in the end I came to love #3....it was a hard road.
I made a decision to take birth control. It was right for me. I am getting older and need my time and sleep. I LOVE my children and even love my #3. I do I really do. BUT for me I just can not have anymore. So I understand.
I am not catholic. I just wanted to tell you I understand.
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I'm a witchy mama to DS ('06) and DD ('10) with DH, Stormie, a heathen homemaker daddy.
This is such a difficult spot to be in. I am sorry for your pain. Have you tried any other methods besides Crieghton? I believe Billings is also approved by the Church, and it was simple enough to follow in my opinion. However, if you really are that fertile (and I do believe you, my three kids are born in thirteen month increments), it doesn't matter which method you use. The only way to get sterilized and stay true to Church teachings is to have a medically necessary reason for it, other than just being done having kids. For example, I need to have a hysterectomy due to endometriosis. It would render me sterile, but it would not go against Church teachings because the purpose of the hysterectomy was to treat endometriosis, not to cause sterilization. I am very sorry you are going through this distress.
One Mom, Three Kids. Life is Great.
Using responsible contraception puts us in mature partnership with, not opposition to, our God when it comes to procreation. Suggesting that responsible birth control demonstrates disrespect for life is also bad theology. The Church should make a clear moral distinction between proactive and reactive birth control (i.e. abortion).
I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
I think you have to do some soul searching of your own. The reality is that the vast majority of Catholics in the US examine the church's teaching and come to a different conclusion. You might feel you have no choice and continue to have many more kids, despite the toll it takes on you and on your other children. You might not.
I come from a very large, extended, and largely observant catholic family, although I am not catholic. None of my myriad sisters, or sisters-in-law rely on NFP.
But I wanted to say this. I would think that your God would want you to take some responsibility for your own situation. It kind of reminds me of the joke about the man stuck on his roof in a flood, and three people in boats come by, but he keeps sending them on claiming that he's waiting for God to save him. When he dies, he asks God why he didn't save him, and God tells him he sent three boats, what more did he want? That's not the exact wording, but it's the basic idea.
If you were being attacked, you wouldn't sit back and simply take it, right? You would fight back, defend yourself, try to protect yourself. You might pray as you do it, but you wouldn't just take it and pray and hope that God saves you.
I think this is a situation where you need to consider that doing what is right, what is good, what your God wants you to do, might not be exactly what your church thinks you should do. Four children is obviously a lot to handle, and it's very clear that you are quite fertile. So you have to ask yourself if you really want to find yourself with 8 or 12 or however many kids within the next however many years of fertility you have left? You have to think about whether or not you can financially and emotionally support more children, and just how much you're willing to sacrifice (or how much you're willing to ask your other kids to sacrifice) to have more children. Consider, too, things like: If having more children means you end up on public assistance, would your church consider that a good thing? If having more children means that your entire family ends up suffering from living in a home that's too small to really contain all its members, or from poor health because you can't afford insurance or doctor's visits, or you personally end up suffering because your body starts to break down from the stress of repeated pregnancies with very little breaks between them - is that all stuff that your church would consider good? Or let's say your church would say all that is fine and good, as long as you aren't using birth control, but you know God would rather you used birth control if it meant that you didn't have to rely on others to support your family and you wouldn't be putting your health or that of your family at risk. If it came down to knowing that your church would say one thing but God would say another - which one would you rather have the approval of: your church, made up of people who are not perfect and are interpreting things in a way they believe is best, or God, who (in your belief) is perfect and all knowing and would certainly know exactly what he wanted for you?
I'm not trying to tell you that you absolutely should get on birth control. I do, however, think that if continuing to have children doesn't seem like the best option for you, it might be time to consider going against the church for this. There are plenty of people who don't agree with everything their church teaches. It doesn't make you a bad person. It makes you someone who can think for themselves, and who does what's best for them, even if it's not what someone else thinks they should do.