Complicated dilemma RE: Medical/contraception stuff


#1

Hi, I’m obviously new here. I’m trying to figure out a dilemma. I know the Catholic Church’s stance on birth control/contraception. I’m just not sure what to do in my situation. I have a rare disease. They have not conclusively proven a genetic link but there is enough anecdotal advice to believe there is. I want to either have my tubes tied or have a hysterectomy so that there is no chance of ever being pregnant. In the event I had my tubes tied, I would also have to use a back up form of contraception. An oops baby is not something that can happen. It would be too dangerous and I could never abort. I wouldn’t wish this disease on anyone, even my worst enemies. It has completely destroyed my life. I can’t in good faith play Russian Roulette with a kid’s life and I can’t honestly believe that God would want me to do that either. I don’t want to live my whole life single because the other option is no intimacy at all if I were to get married which doesn’t work and wouldn’t be fair to whomever I marry. I don’t trust natural family planning because I know that my body doesn’t do anything predictable. I feel stuck by the churches rules. I don’t want to disobey and go against them, but I feel that I’m being led this way with every fiber of my being. What do I do?


#2

What you're saying in effect is that your life is completely devoid of all joy, hope and meaning. So much so that you - and everyone connected with you - would in fact have been better off if you just didn't exist and had never been born.

Have you ASKED everyone connected with you if they think they'd be better off if you hadn't been born? Perhaps asking them what it means to them to have you around might give you a different perspective on what your life (and human life in general, including the life of any child you might have) is actually worth.

Then of course there's God. To whom you mean so much that not only did He give of Himself (His breath, the Holy Spirit) to give you life, He suffered and died in the most horrible way imaginable - infinitely worse pain and suffering than anything you could possibly experience - so that you might be healed of all the doubt and despair you're feeling at the moment, so that you might see that your suffering actually has meaning, as would that of any child you might have, just as His did.

Doesn't sound like someone who thinks your life, or the life of any child you might possibly have (for whom He would do exactly the same) is meaningless or worthless at all - quite the contrary, He sets the highest value possible upon it.

Might I suggest that you prayerfully read Pope John Paul II's writing Salvifici Doloris. It's all about the value of suffering, written at a time when he himself was in the very worst stages of his Parkinson's disease, and thus truly knew a thing or two about what it means to suffer.


#3

[quote="curlingfan, post:1, topic:194295"]
Hi, I feel stuck by the churches rules. I don't want to disobey and go against them, but I feel that I'm being led this way with every fiber of my being. What do I do?

[/quote]

No, you feel stuck by God's rules. The Church teaches what God has revealed to be true. YOu are contemplating a definite sinful action with a definite sinful purpose, because you mistakenly believe it will prevent a possible bad outcome. that logic is faulty in any case.

If you feel you are being led this way it means you have not yet been properly taught or understood what is the truth, so your first course is to learn more about all aspects of this--including the illness itself--so you can conform your conscience to the truth instead of allowing fear and lies to govern your actions and choices. You also need more reliable up to date info on NFP. You also have the option, one many people faced with a dilemma like yours, of remaining unmarried. Above all you must pray, constantly, and continue to have frequent recourse to the sacraments, you need to stay as close to Jesus and in his grace so that he can turn the sad circumstance of your illness into an occasion of grace for you.


#4

[quote="curlingfan, post:1, topic:194295"]
Hi, I'm obviously new here. I'm trying to figure out a dilemma. I know the Catholic Church's stance on birth control/contraception. I'm just not sure what to do in my situation. I have a rare disease. They have not conclusively proven a genetic link but there is enough anecdotal advice to believe there is. I want to either have my tubes tied or have a hysterectomy so that there is no chance of ever being pregnant. In the event I had my tubes tied, I would also have to use a back up form of contraception. An oops baby is not something that can happen. It would be too dangerous and I could never abort. I wouldn't wish this disease on anyone, even my worst enemies. It has completely destroyed my life. I can't in good faith play Russian Roulette with a kid's life and I can't honestly believe that God would want me to do that either. I don't want to live my whole life single because the other option is no intimacy at all if I were to get married which doesn't work and wouldn't be fair to whomever I marry. I don't trust natural family planning because I know that my body doesn't do anything predictable. I feel stuck by the churches rules. I don't want to disobey and go against them, but I feel that I'm being led this way with every fiber of my being. What do I do?

[/quote]

Out of curiosity, what is your disease?


#5

I’m interested to know what the disease is, too.

Without knowing:

First…you’re young and female, intelligent enough to have made it atleast through middle school, if not above judging by your writing and healthy enough to be considering a marital relationship, which means that you plan on living at least a few more years.

Second…you’re relying on genetic guesswork…and remember children inherit two sets of genes

Third, your disease hurts you. But heck, there are many genetic things that hurt people, Cancer, Dyslexia, autism, athshma, photo-sensitivity, pygmy, deafness, blindness, and so many other diseases that cause partial or total handicaps are genetic. Yet many people don’t stop having children because they fear their child will have those problems. Also, medicine advances. So even if you were to meet a guy today, have a year or two of dating/coutship, a year long engagement and then got pregnant soon after marriage there are still 4 years of scientific advancement that can be made in the meantime. And that’s if you were to have a relationship today and get pregnant right away. I mean it could happen but it’s not likely.

You’re trowing stones from not yours to yours. books.google.com/books?id=Rtw__rWs9qEC&pg=PA496&lpg=PA496&dq=%22from+not+yours+to+yours%22&source=bl&ots=tt8T828M6h&sig=WKPbCwl7LpptwR_4ynbkH03Gvyk&hl=en&ei=S9fBS9asL4P7lwfHkYHdBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CA8Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=%22from%20not%20yours%20to%20yours%22&f=false This story is about a man who was careless with his future for the sake of making today OK. It’s a good read.


#6

[quote="curlingfan, post:1, topic:194295"]
Hi, I'm obviously new here. I'm trying to figure out a dilemma. I know the Catholic Church's stance on birth control/contraception. I'm just not sure what to do in my situation. I have a rare disease. They have not conclusively proven a genetic link but there is enough anecdotal advice to believe there is. I want to either have my tubes tied or have a hysterectomy so that there is no chance of ever being pregnant. In the event I had my tubes tied, I would also have to use a back up form of contraception. An oops baby is not something that can happen. It would be too dangerous and I could never abort. I wouldn't wish this disease on anyone, even my worst enemies. It has completely destroyed my life. I can't in good faith play Russian Roulette with a kid's life and I can't honestly believe that God would want me to do that either. I don't want to live my whole life single because the other option is no intimacy at all if I were to get married which doesn't work and wouldn't be fair to whomever I marry. I don't trust natural family planning because I know that my body doesn't do anything predictable. I feel stuck by the churches rules. I don't want to disobey and go against them, but I feel that I'm being led this way with every fiber of my being. What do I do?

[/quote]

I'm very very sorry that you have such a disease that you would want to have yourself sterized and/or contracept on top of that. Like Flyingfish, I'm curious as well. Did your doctor direct you to sterilization/contraception? Are you going to have the genetic testing done?

But you know that the Church will not condone taking contraception for the purpose of not have children (you can only take contraception to treat an illness, not to avoid pregnancy). And besides that, depending on your disease process and treatment, if you can't trust NFP, it's likely you can't trust contraception anyway. Diseases and medications can create havoc in your body.

What exactly are you led to with every fiber of your being? Being childless? Perhaps you're being called to be chaste? Would it really be the end of the world if you were?

I can't recommend enough that you talk to your family priest. He will know what to say to you, and how to make you understand the rules of the Church. I can predict that some of the posts that will follow this thread will be quite caustic and uncharitable. Though I hope and pray for you that they will not. So, I also recommend you please not get upet and turn away from the Church, and most importantly, from God. You seem (from this post only) to be very spiritual, or you wouldn't be posting here for advice. God loves you, and everybody and I mean everybody, has burdens in life - in one way or another. This might be yours. What you do about it will either build you up or bring you down. The choice is yours. Just don't let anger make that choice for you.

Good luck!


#7

God never leads us to sin.

If you do not want a baby, do not marry.

I have a severe, chronic, lifealtering genetic condition. I thank GOD for both of my children (one on earth, one in heaven), and have used NFP for decades to avoide when my health could not support a pregnancy.

If you will not accept a child from God, imperfect as he may be, then, you cannot marry.


#8

Very good points made by Purplesunshine, you should consider what the post says with an open mind and an open heart!


#9

You sound very overwhelmed and I will keep you in my prayers. We are not doctors, and the specific disease you have does not impact Church teaching, but I recommend finding a Catholic doctor who can provide you with medical options that do not conflict with Church teaching.

If you just found out about the disease or were just diagnosed, try taking things one day at a time. Ask God for the strength to get you through each day. Down the road, there might be a medical breakthrough providing doctors with the means to treat your disease, and perhaps prevent it from being passed on to your children.

I will keep you in my prayers.

Sincerely,

Maria1212


#10

Thank you for all the replies.

I feel with every part of me that I need to remain childless and do everything in my power to make that happen.

This isn't about not accepting an imperfect child. It is about sparing that child the pain, anguish and torture I've been through.

I have Cushing's Syndrome. In my case it is caused by tumors on the pituitary gland and possibly more tumors on the adrenal glands, I'll know more next month when they're removed. This is why carrying a child would be dangerous. My body will no longer make the stress hormones that are essential for life. It's tricky enough on a good day to balance them without adding a child to the mix. Cushing's Syndrome wreaks havoc on every system of your body from the heart to your bones. The testing process takes years in many cases for a conclusive diagnosis and doctors are told in medical school that we are so rare that they will never see a case of us in their practice, which is not the case. Medical school textbooks only have 1 page about us, if that. This further complicates things because there are so few doctors in the world that can accurately diagnose and treat. I travel several thousand miles a year to see my specialists.

One cannot understand the depths of Hell that I have walked through with this disease. From the physical symptoms to the psychological. Even my family does not understand what I've been through. At times, I do wish I wasn't here and there are aspects of my life that make me question whether or not I'm too much of a burden on my family. Most of the time that's not the case, but when it gets really bad I have to ask God, why? Why would you give humans a disease as horrible as this? It can be hard to see what you have to offer others when your whole world has basically imploded and 99% of the time you feel completely useless. I do know that there are a few people on earth that truly would miss me if I wasn't here and I do make the world a little brighter for some.

There isn't any genetic testing because there are so few researching this disease. But I have anecdotal evidence of the link throughout many families. There isn't any hope for a cure or even a decent treatment option. If a viable treatment option comes available, it will not be in my lifetime.

My doctors have not led me to do this. They have not influenced my decision at all, in fact, I'm the one who has come to them regarding this.

I guess my only option is not to marry. That really stinks. Most of the time I'm happy being single, but every now and then it would be nice if there was someone else there to help and comfort me. God is good, but honestly, his arms just can't give a really good bear hug.

In some ways this stuff has brought me closer to God and in other ways, it's driving a wedge between us.


#11

[quote="curlingfan, post:10, topic:194295"]

I guess my only option is not to marry. That really stinks. Most of the time I'm happy being single, but every now and then it would be nice if there was someone else there to help and comfort me. God is good, but honestly, his arms just can't give a really good bear hug.

In some ways this stuff has brought me closer to God and in other ways, it's driving a wedge between us.

[/quote]

It is tragic that our society has driven such a wedge between people that we see a sexual or romantic relationship as the only way to have intimacy and support from our fellow man.

Your friends, your family, they can all give you hugs. They can be there to share your ups and your downs, to laugh and cry and scream and dance with you. Do not discount friendship. Scripture sings the praises of friendship, of friends who stick closer than a brother. The Church teaches us:

2347 The virtue of chastity blossoms in friendship. It shows the disciple how to follow and imitate him who has chosen us as his friends, who has given himself totally to us and allows us to participate in his divine estate. Chastity is a promise of immortality. **
*Chastity is expressed notably in *friendship with one's neighbor. Whether it develops between persons of the same or opposite sex, friendship represents a great good for all. It leads to spiritual communion.

Develop friendships with faithful Catholics. Lean on the Saints.

God gives those of us who suffer a special grace, but, we must first embrace our cross!


#12

[quote="curlingfan, post:10, topic:194295"]

One cannot understand the depths of Hell that I have walked through with this disease. From the physical symptoms to the psychological. Even my family does not understand what I've been through.

[/quote]

Even if there was nothing morally objectionable to getting sterilized, I think it would be way too soon for you to make a decision like this. It sounds as though you have been recently diagnosed and are still emotionally reeling from the implications. You need to take a lot of time to process your emotions and educate yourself about your disease. I highly recommend you join a advocacy group such as the Cushing's Support and Research foundation: csrf.net/ Another good source of information is the National Organization of Rare Disorders: rarediseases.org/ It sounds like any radical decision you are contemplating right now is caused more by depression than by actual medical necessity.

I don't have Cushing's Syndrome, but I do have two other chronic medical conditions (not fatal) that affects my day to day life and it did take quite some time to get over the life sucks-why me pity party I threw for myself. One of my conditions is treatable with medication and another one I just have had to learn how to adjust my life around the symptoms. I read a comment once that I think is accurate. The person that wrote it had cancer and said "I used to think the world could be divided between the sick and the not sick. Now I realize that the world is actually divided between the sick and the not sick yet." Wait till middle age. More people I know are dealing with some chronic medical condition then are perfectly healthy. The good news is that there is still plenty of joy!

On another personal note....our eldest son died when he was seven months old. The autopsy showed that his death was caused by a genetic problem (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency). The genetic counselor our pediatrician referred us to did a work up and told us that we had a 25% chance of each baby being born with the same disease. We now have five healthy biological children (although one baby needed unrelated open heart surgery for a different birth defect-he's now a healthy 16-year-old). I will admit though that the few days after giving birth while waiting for the blood test results for SCIDs were always excruciating nerve wracking. It did help that both our pediatrician and obstetrician were both pro-life Christians that supported our decision to keep giving birth. Our pediatrician also kept us up to date on experimental treatments should another baby have been born with SCIDs. I'm not saying that our choice was better than going the route of adoption, but I am recommending that you NOT make any decision now. How you feel right now about having biological children may change. It took us three years after our child died to actually contemplate having another.


#13

Thank you for all the responses.

Thank you for the groups. I will look into them.

I do have a few special projects that I am involved in that do bring me considerable joy.

I do have a few very good friends that I lean on, but it's still not the same coming home to someone who genuinely cares and loves you. It's not the same as having someone there to watch the sunrise or a sunset with you from your balcony or enjoy a laugh after your favorite TV show or bring you breakfast in bed.

I'll give up the ghost and live a solitary life. It's not worth the hassle and it's not worth the worry about "what if?" After all the crosses I've had to carry throughout my life, what's one more, right? I've always dreamed about that wedding day, but like every other dream I have, this one will go down in flames too. Yeah, it hurts, but like everything else, I'll get over it in time.

Everyone always says God only gives you what you can handle. I don't believe it. If he did that, you'd never have to lean on him.


#14

[quote="curlingfan, post:13, topic:194295"]
Thank you for all the responses.

Thank you for the groups. I will look into them.

I do have a few special projects that I am involved in that do bring me considerable joy.

I do have a few very good friends that I lean on, but it's still not the same coming home to someone who genuinely cares and loves you. It's not the same as having someone there to watch the sunrise or a sunset with you from your balcony or enjoy a laugh after your favorite TV show or bring you breakfast in bed.

I'll give up the ghost and live a solitary life. It's not worth the hassle and it's not worth the worry about "what if?" After all the crosses I've had to carry throughout my life, what's one more, right? I've always dreamed about that wedding day, but like every other dream I have, this one will go down in flames too. Yeah, it hurts, but like everything else, I'll get over it in time.

Everyone always says God only gives you what you can handle. I don't believe it. If he did that, you'd never have to lean on him.

[/quote]

Take an NFP class or two and start charting. Then make your decision to live without marriage.


#15

Don’t deny God the plans that He has for you. You could quite possibly marry a sterile man if that’s in God’s plan. If you are called to marriage it may not be for a couple decades until your fertility has naturally passed.

Life isn’t about what God gives you to handle and weither or not you depend on Him but RELATIONSHIP with Him. It’s about what you give to Him and what He puts on your heart, not what you think is too much for you to bear.


#16

Don't arbitrarily "give up the ghost" as you said; discover God's plan for you. Who knows what it is? Also, I'd strongly suggest speaking with multiple doctors about Cushing's. It's important to note that Cushing's usually renders women infertile. In fact, it's very rare that a woman becomes pregnant with this disease; a bit less rare when it's treated well, but still pretty rare. And, unfortunately, there is a much higher risk of miscarriage and preterm birth when a woman becomes pregnant with this disease.

But, please do note that there are many diseases and conditions that increase the risk of miscarriage and pre-term birth. My wife has several of them; she has a bicornuate uterus and a rare genetic disorder that causes blood clots when her hormones are disturbed. We didn't find out about this until after our son was born very, very prematurely. Thanks to God he's fine now, but just a few months after he was born we found out about our daughter!

Well despite having endured an emergency c-section on a uterus that is shaped differently and leads to preterm birth, our daughter made it nearly 37 weeks before she was born, again via c-section but this one was scheduled. Any future kids will have to be born a few weeks before their due dates and via c-section to avoid the risk of uterine rupture and my wife will need blood thinning injections during pregnancy to avoid the clots but our daughter is proof positive that it can be done and without extreme bedrest or anything liek that.

Learn about your disease. Talk about all your treatment options. Go live your life without fear and cross these hypothetical bridges when you get there. Living your life in abject fear because of a medical disorder is no way to live.


#17

I’ve never been a big fan of the “God only gives you what you can handle” quote either. That, and “Don’t worry, I’m sure everything will work out.” I like you’re take on it, that we DO need to lean on God when we’re past our own ability to endure things. I do strongly believe though that God has a plan for you and your life

I think you’ve watched too many romantic movies though if you think of marriage as watching sunsets and breakfasts in bed since I don’t need any hands to count the number of times that’s happened in my own marriage. :smiley: I’m not trying to dismiss your feeling of loneliness. Please stay open to anything that God has planned for you. It may or may not involve marriage (too soon to give up on that either). I believe it’s very important to get to the point in your life where you are happy whether or not you are married. After being married for 26 years I will tell you that marriage was invented for holiness, not happiness. I don’t know anyone married for long that hasn’t had serious second thoughts about what they’ve gotten themselves into. In the end, happiness comes from within, not from other people, not from good health or a great career. It comes from a close relationship with God though all the ups and downs of life.


#18

[quote="Sirach_43, post:17, topic:194295"]
I've never been a big fan of the "God only gives you what you can handle" quote either.

[/quote]

Then they look at you like :eek: when you tell them the Bible nor the Chuch teaches that!

[quote="Sirach_43, post:17, topic:194295"]
I think you've watched too many romantic movies though if you think of marriage as watching sunsets and breakfasts in bed since I don't need any hands to count the number of times that's happened in my own marriage.

[/quote]

Amen, preach it.


#19

[quote="curlingfan, post:1, topic:194295"]
I don't trust natural family planning because I know that my body doesn't do anything predictable.

[/quote]

[quote="Seatuck, post:14, topic:194295"]
Take an NFP class or two and start charting. Then make your decision to live without marriage.

[/quote]

I second this advice. Modern methods of NFP (Creighton Model, Marquette Model, sympto-thermal method, Billings Ovulation Model...) don't depend on the woman's body to be predictable, but depend on readily observable signs of fertility. You don't know that it won't work for you until you try it.

Other than that...It's really too soon to make radical decisions about sterilization, especially if you are not sexually active and not planning on marrying. What's the rush?


#20

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