Contraception dilemma. What’s a girl to do?

I’m going to find it hard to word this for fear of being judged… so please find it in your heart not to give harsh words.

I’m happily married with children. To me our family is complete and my husband and I don’t feel we could cope with any more kids. There are so many factors why… physically (complicated last birth which was difficult++ on my body), financially, emotionally, mentally etc. I won’t go in to all the factors here but trust me we would really struggle.

If we happened to get pregnant again however the child would be loved, however at the minute we do not want to plan for this - as I say it would be incredibly difficult.

I know as Catholics we are supposed to be “open to life” and I am (in that if it happened of course I would love the child etc), but in a way I am not open to life, because I am doing everything to avoid this happening. And I really dislike myself for thinking that way.

All our children were planned… we planned when we would like to conceive and thankfully it happened easily for us. Before/between those planned conceptions we used contraception (condoms… I have never used anything else).

Since my last child was born, I have had a conversion of sorts and my faith has deepened so much. I no longer want to do anything that offends the Lord. I have confessed all past sins, including the contraception. Since the last child was born we have not engaged in intercourse/anything sexual. There are many reasons for this… mostly because of the damage done to my body, but other factors too. I won’t say how old my child is but this has been a long time!

We’re now at a stage where we could be ready to be intimate again. But I now am afraid to! I don’t want to conceive a child… but I don’t want to use contraception.

I have polycystic ovary syndrome and therefore an irregular cycle, therefore I can’t trust NFP.

I am at such a loss. Please can anyone advise? By withholding relations from my husband I am not being the loving wife he deserves (though it is not just me declining and not just me who doesn’t want any more children). So therefore am I sinning?

But by being intimate with him, I would have to resort to contraception, which I now will not use!

Or the third option I can see, is to engage in relations and accept more children… which I know most of you probably will advise I should do. But I know deep down, I will not be able to enjoy intercourse because of the fear of conceiving.

I know I am not sounding like a good catholic by thinking that way. Please do not judge me.

Is there any possible solution?

Because I am new to the faith again I do not know our local priests. Our current parish has been closed since March because of covid. It’s going to be difficult to speak to a priest about this sort of thing. So I was wondering if anyone here had any pearls of wisdom.

Thanks for reading.

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I can’t offer you advice, and I apologize for answering your post- but please know I’m praying for you. Your situation sounds so difficult.

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The best advice is to find a physician familiar with NFP and Catholic values. Obviously, there are no loopholes that allow the use of contraception.

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I am not an expert on NFP. Thankfully, my wife has a very regular cycle. But in an irregular cycle, do other ways of monitoring still work, such as temperature and mucus?

Again, I’m no expert, but if these do still work you may want to look for some coaching and take some time to practice monitoring for some months before engaging in relations again.

May God bless you.

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Thanks for your response. Yes you monitor those sorts of things. To be honest I’ve never tried NFP because of the gynae issues I have, but I suppose you’re right in that those factors might help me. I think I will look into this more.

Can I ask… from a man’s point of view… does the monitoring and organisation required for NFP cause difficulties and put you off, or does it work ok?
My husband isn’t as deep into the faith as I am and would likely prefer contraception to NFP if he had his way. I can’t see him being very patient with it all. Anyway this is something I will discuss properly with him. Was just wanting some perspective.
You can message me privately if you prefer!

The NFP process doesn’t put me off. Two points I’ll add to that. First, I’m not the type to plug my ears and leave the room when my wife starts talking about certain things. And second, in the last five years or so I’ve become serious about my faith, and it’s important to me that we take care in this area. The sorta-scheduling is fine by me.

I know some men feel very weird listening to those types of things.

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Thank you. You sound like one of the good ones!
God bless you

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I’m going to suggest you start with taking a class and getting real information on NFP from an instructor. And there are multiple types of NFP. Sounds like Marquette may be an option for you to consider, with both observation and fertility monitor.

“Irregular cycles” are not an impediment to NFP because NFP does not rely on averages or calendars but on actual, daily observation of fertility signs.

The more information you have, the more confident you can be.

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Thanks for the advice. I have other gynae issues as well as the irregular cycle… don’t want to gross you all out by discussing it here, but I would imagine certain symptoms would interfere with the indicators.

I am not casting NFP totally aside though, and definitely will look into it more - thank you.

In my experience, every opportunity to grow in discipline has improved intimacy in our marriage. And I am definitely not “a good Catholic” in this regard, to say the least.
The cooperation that NFP requires improves a marriage through better communication and the practice of patience. The spark will become more intense, not less.
It’s worth the struggle to do your best.

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I’m going to add a really ignorant question but it’s been bothering me as I write my comments.

Is NFP not a type of contraception, in a way?
If one actively monitors their cycle, temperature, mucus etc etc so thoroughly, in the hope they won’t conceive… that is not being open to life?

How is that any ‘better’ than using a barrier method of contraception?

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I think there is a method of NFP that will work for you. I use the Creighton model and polycystic ovary syndrome is listed in my manual with instructions. I have a very irregular cycle, with lots of “weird” things going on. It took me a little longer to learn the system because of that. But I’ve used it successfully to conceive and not to conceive for over 4 years now.

My instructor used my case as an example to get her full certification as an instructor, since it was so involved. She also uses it anecdotally when she teaches, “it could be worse… like my one client ZemD!”

But back to your question. As a practicing Catholic your options are NFP or to abstain. To use any form of contraception would be a sin.

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NFP is just information. The exact same information can be used to have children as well.

The actual “method” that prevents conception is simply the act of not having sex.

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Contraception is a sex act that is not ordered to conception.
NFP helps plan conception. Abstinence is not a sex act.

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It is “better” because if God wills you to have more children, even if you follow the system, you could. You are not putting any barriers to any of the “ingredients” needed to make a new life.

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Thanks so much. I will look into this.

If my options are NFP or to abstain…
Lets say NFP doesn’t work for me, or let’s say I can’t enjoy intercourse using this method… therefore my only option is to abstain…

Well trust me, my husband and I are young, but I will happily abstain the rest of my life rather than use contraception. It won’t happen. But by abstaining… am I then being a rubbish wife, not enabling an intimate relationship, and therefore sinning that way?

This is where my mind is - which is less pleasing to God… contraception or being a useless wife?
Both are awful.

My wife can’t have relations right now, and we are both capable and one of us is desiring. I do not consider her useless at all.
Don’t reduce your relationship to utility.

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God would never lead you to sin, or want you to be a bad wife. And I don’t think those are your two options. I will send you a private message a little more about NFP now so anyone who doesn’t want to know that much about it won’t have to read

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No my relationship isn’t based on that don’t worry. We are very loving and when we haven’t been engaging in any sexual acts recently (I’m talking a period of years) my husband has been great. I don’t base my reputation as a wife on how I can fulfil that need.

That being said, we are young, and I would like for the deeper intimacy to return again, at some point. After all isn’t that what marriage is for.

I could if I had to, abstain forever, and right now, realistically that is looking like our only option.

The Creighton Method has been helpful for my friends with PCOS

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