Hi everyone! This is my first post and the reason I joined this group. I am currently struggling with what I feel is a moral dilemma. I suppose I already know the answer just from my religious teachings, but here goes...
I have been married to my husband for two years. We are very happy and very much in love. Sometimes I am amazed at his level of patience and concern for me even after years of being together and dealing with some of my issues. Basically, we have a very healthy, stable marriage.
I am Catholic, he is a convert to Judaism (born a Methodist). He has great respect for my faith and loves that I have strong beliefs and that I try to lead a life that reflects those beliefs.
Here is our problem. I am bipolar. I have been hospitalized (before we met) for a major depressive crisis where I was a danger to myself. I have recovered thanks to both medical science and much prayer, but I still struggle with my condition almost daily. I take a number of medications to control the disorder, several of which would lead to severe birth defects if I were to become pregnant without realizing it. I have tried many times to reduce my meds but the reality is I will likely be on psych drugs indefinitly. On top of that, last week I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia after spending every night for the past several weeks in extreme pain when I laid down to sleep. I am now on another med for that which is also teratogenic. I am 36 years old, my husband is 32.
I cannot** get pregnant accidentally. It would be incredibly unfair to an unborn child to be exposed to the medications I take in the earliest time of life before I even realized I was pregnant. Even if the baby survived, the risks of mental and physical birth defects would be very high. Also, it has been reported in psychiatric studies that bipolar women are not only at very high risk for postpartum depression (which is destructive to the maternal-child bond), but we are also at risk for pathologic episodes.
My husband loves me very much and completely agrees that children are just not in our near future, if at all. We accept this together as a couple, and it is my strong belief that God does not intend for everyone to be a parent. We have several nieces and nephews who we adore and give our love to. We work hard in our community to serve God through our vocations as a veterinarian (me) and a high school teacher in a low-income, high-need neighborhood (him). I feel that we try our best to be good people.
So it boils down to this. I need completely reliable birth control. I have been taking the pill since college--not because I was sexually active, but for very severe periods. My other meds decrease the efficacy of the birth control portion of the pill. NFP is great in theory, but frankly, a 92% success rate in the real world is just not good enough. We have decided along with my doctor that an IUD is really our best option. My husband and I have not had sexual intercourse in many months, mainly due to my worries about pregnancy. I fear the effects that abstinence could have on our relationship eventually, because I crave that connection with him, and he feels the same. I know that this goes against the principles of my faith, but I have prayed on this and do not feel I have another option. So, does this damn my soul? Will I be in constant violation of mortal sin? I know the short answer is "yes" but I hoped some of you may share your thoughts on this difficult matter. I feel like even a confession would be inadequate as the use of birth control would proceed afterward anyway.
Sorry for such a long post, but I wanted to make sure I got all of my feelings across. Thanks for your time and hopefully for your advice.