My wife and I have been strong proponents of NFP and are both staunch believers in the Authority of the Church. We have been married for 8 years, and we already have 5 beautiful children, ages 1 to 7.
We’ve used several methods of NFP, including the sympto-thermal method, fertility monitors, and the Creighton Model System (NaPro), and NONE of them has worked in our avoiding pregnancy. We didn’t start out trying to avoid very hard, but after our second child being born only 18 months after our first (using the S-T method), my wife NEEDED a break. Well, after trying to use the Creighton system under strict guidance by our Creighton councelor, she was VERY upset, scared, and angry, when we found out she was pregnant with our 3rd child, who was then born 18 months later.
O.k., now we were very serious…my wife was on the verge of a mental breakdown with 3 kids in diapers/pull-ups, and pregnancy was NOT an option. Well, 8 months later the Creighton model failed again…even our councelor could not figure out how she conceived our 4th child born only 15 months later! We were very distraught, and were doing everything we could to hold her and our marriage together (we were not able to be physically intimate hardly at all by now, due to fear of pregnancy).
We dropped the Creighton method because it didn’t seem to do anything for us, and we bought a fertility monitor (ovacue). The owner of the company, although wouldn’t “officially” say that the unit could be used for “avoiding” pregnancy, “verbally” told us that it was a very good way to know when ovulation occured. Needless to say, it didn’t help. My wife cried for days when our 5th child was conceived 15 months later…it didn’t matter how supportive I was in telling her it was going to be o.k., that God was going to provide. She COULD NOT go through pregnancy again, much less try to take care of 4 children under the age of 5, along with a newborn!
Now, we don’t have sex…haven’t for over a year. My wife has now officially lost her ability to appreciate this Church teaching, and wants her tubes tied. She still acknowledges that the Church’s teaching is “beautiful in theory,” but has no faith in it in “reality.” She has women in their 60’s that she used to run into at daily mass (not any more, she can’t attend due to the kids), and they said they went through the same thing…tried to follow the teaching, but their marriage was torn apart by not being able to bond physically with their husbands. Following this teaching has given us 5 beautiful children, yes, but our marriage has suffered immeasurably…contrary to all the theories about NFP helping a couple bond way better than other couples using A.C.
We have always been open to life, but my wife is not physically or mentally able to have another child…ever. And since she is only 34, her fear will continue until she is post-menopause, or until she is infertile.
What does the Church teach about such circumstances? We truly want to follow Her, but are increasingly losing our faith in “this” teaching…and it doesn’t help when our pastor says that the Holy Spririt will guide us in our decisions, and that the Church has not ever made any infallible statements “from the chair” about artificial birth control or voluntarily becoming infertile.
Please help…we are distraught, depressed, and angry. This is so far from a healthy family situation for us, OR for our kids. (sorry about the long-winded post)