Converting and a Fear of NFP


#1

I'm at the beginning of my conversion journey so please excuse my naivety and know that I am sincerely looking for enlightenment.

I understand and accept the reasons that utilizing birth control is a sin I'm about confused about why condoms and pulling out are. Most importantly though is my underlying fear of failure of the NFP method. My husband and I have a 7 months old daughter, and while we can and do provide her with a good life at this point we couldn't do so for any additional children.

Even more concerning to me is that despite earning a respectable salary following graduation it is likely that I will be working strenuous hours for several years as I intend to become an attorney. I can't imagine being able to provide more than one child the care and attention necessary to ensure they receive a good Catholic education and plenty of time with their parents while maintaining a career.

I do not want to be resistant to the word of God, but I am so concerned with this. Is the only solution to abstain completely from sex? While my husband is supportive of my decision to join the church and even to raise our child(ren) Catholic he himself is not interested if finding any real faith (although I plan to work on this with him) and I'm nearly sure that if I told him we could no longer be physically intimate he would eventually leave me or at least grow to hate me.


#2

You say you understand why "birth control" is a sin but then say you don't understand why condoms and coitus interruptus are sinful. They are both contraception, so perhaps knowing what about them you believe to be different would help pinpoint where your understanding of church teaching diverges. And, I do want to point out that the Church doesn't teach that "birth control" is a sin (birth control is simply the spacing and planning of children). She teaches that contraception is an immoral *means *of birth control. This is an important distinction.

Regarding NFP, remember that because contraception is intrinsically evil, NFP (periodic abstinence) is an alternative to* complete abstinence *not to contraception. I'm not sure what you are basing this "fear" of NFP on.

As for the rest of your post regarding wanting to be a lawyer and only wanting one child, I would simply suggest you pray, open your heart, and see what God has in store for you.


#3

Congratulations on your conversion, and just continue to pray for God to open up your heart to understand the teachings surrounding the gift of fertility within marriage.

However, if you do feel like this is a just reason to avoid conception at this time, then contact your diocese and just start the process of learning the methods. Normally there are local NFP classes available, where you can talk to an instructor, voice your concerns and fears, and hopefully become educated and feel more confident in your decision...

My personal experience with NFP has been wonderful. I know the stresses you are voicing... having young children and relying on your income is stressful and overwhelming. Pray for God to help you through this time... but also TRUST in His design... it's beautiful and it does work! We've been married over 10 years now, and have 3 "planned" children... and would love more one day!


#4

[quote="Bporte00, post:1, topic:230076"]
Even more concerning to me is that despite earning a respectable salary following graduation it is likely that I will be working strenuous hours for several years as I intend to become an attorney. I can't imagine being able to provide more than one child the care and attention necessary to ensure they receive a good Catholic education and plenty of time with their parents while maintaining a career.

[/quote]

I'm not sure why you think lawyers, in particular, are less capable of raising multiple children, managing time/finances, or successfully practicing NFP.

My father is a lawyer. He and my mother successfully used NFP to space their two children. (This is especially impressive given the fact that my father is Lutheran and is not morally obligated to follow the same rules regarding contraception as my mother, who is Catholic.)

As a future lawyer, you are actually likely to be at the high end of the "NFP success rate" spectrum. Let's face it, NFP requires intelligence and restraint--two qualities absolutely necessary in lawyers. If you don't think you have the qualities required to faithfully practice NFP, law school will eat you alive.

If you genuinely believe that becoming a lawyer will prevent you from fulfilling moral obligations (such as not using contraception), do not go into law. I don't believe God calls anyone to a career that will wound her soul.


#5

[quote="Bporte00, post:1, topic:230076"]
I can't imagine being able to provide more than one child the care and attention necessary to ensure they receive a good Catholic education and plenty of time with their parents while maintaining a career.

[/quote]

Your example of your fidelity to the Church's teachings, all of them, is the most "Catholic" education and the best gift a Catholic can possibly give to one's children. Period. Catholic teachings in our culture are extremely difficult to accept, even for most Catholics. Don't expect an overnight good "feeling" about these difficult truths. Our culture of killing and materialism is deeply rooted in most of us Catholics..


#6

[quote="1ke, post:2, topic:230076"]
You say you understand why "birth control" is a sin but then say you don't understand why condoms and coitus interruptus are sinful. They are both contraception, so perhaps knowing what about them you believe to be different would help pinpoint where your understanding of church teaching diverges. And, I do want to point out that the Church doesn't teach that "birth control" is a sin (birth control is simply the spacing and planning of children). She teaches that contraception is an immoral *means *of birth control. This is an important distinction.

Regarding NFP, remember that because contraception is intrinsically evil, NFP (periodic abstinence) is an alternative to* complete abstinence *not to contraception. I'm not sure what you are basing this "fear" of NFP on.

As for the rest of your post regarding wanting to be a lawyer and only wanting one child, I would simply suggest you pray, open your heart, and see what God has in store for you.

[/quote]

From what I understand, and I know at this point my knowledge is rudimentary at best, is that contraceptive is immoral because it can lead to the abortion of a child.

My fear of NFP comes from the notion that it is not very successful, especially for those who are not on a regular cycle. It is slightly ironic considering I have never been on contraceptive because I do no think it is wise to mess with body chemistry so lightly, but I still fear, probably because the idea if foreign to me.


#7

[quote="Em_in_FL, post:3, topic:230076"]
Congratulations on your conversion, and just continue to pray for God to open up your heart to understand the teachings surrounding the gift of fertility within marriage.

However, if you do feel like this is a just reason to avoid conception at this time, then contact your diocese and just start the process of learning the methods. Normally there are local NFP classes available, where you can talk to an instructor, voice your concerns and fears, and hopefully become educated and feel more confident in your decision...

My personal experience with NFP has been wonderful. I know the stresses you are voicing... having young children and relying on your income is stressful and overwhelming. Pray for God to help you through this time... but also TRUST in His design... it's beautiful and it does work! We've been married over 10 years now, and have 3 "planned" children... and would love more one day!

[/quote]

The parish I've been attending doesn't offer any classes, however I will look into the others in town since there are 4 good sized ones all within 5 miles or so of us. I'm starting to see the hardest part will be letting go of my own feelings and desires and accepting God's plan for me.


#8

[quote="Bporte00, post:6, topic:230076"]
From what I understand, and I know at this point my knowledge is rudimentary at best, is that contraceptive is immoral because it can lead to the abortion of a child.

My fear of NFP comes from the notion that it is not very successful, especially for those who are not on a regular cycle. It is slightly ironic considering I have never been on contraceptive because I do no think it is wise to mess with body chemistry so lightly, but I still fear, probably because the idea if foreign to me.

[/quote]

I bolded the part that I agree with 100%!!! It always shocks me when my liberal friends brag about their "green" lifestyles...but they use contraceptives. :eek::eek::eek: Hormonal methods are abortifacients (you already knew that) but are also linked to breast cancer. I'd definitely rather miss out on a few nights of intimacy than increase my risk of breast cancer. :(

As an adult convert, it also took me awhile to grasp why non-abortifacient contraceptive methods (condoms, "pull out") were immoral (but now that I do "get it" we'll never go back!) One enjoyable book that covered some of the basics is Holy Sex! by Gregory Popcak (you can probably find it at a local library.) It's not perfect, but it is a "quick read" (I read it in two evenings). Others will respond to this thread with in depth theological explanations, but a lot of that is out of my league. :o I liked the simple language of Holy Sex! and the way Popcak connected theological concepts to their practical use within marriage.


#9

[quote="Augusta_Sans, post:4, topic:230076"]
I'm not sure why you think lawyers, in particular, are less capable of raising multiple children, managing time/finances, or successfully practicing NFP.

My father is a lawyer. He and my mother successfully used NFP to space their two children. (This is especially impressive given the fact that my father is Lutheran and is not morally obligated to follow the same rules regarding contraception as my mother, who is Catholic.)

As a future lawyer, you are actually likely to be at the high end of the "NFP success rate" spectrum. Let's face it, NFP requires intelligence and restraint--two qualities absolutely necessary in lawyers. If you don't think you have the qualities required to faithfully practice NFP, law school will eat you alive.

If you genuinely believe that becoming a lawyer will prevent you from fulfilling moral obligations (such as not using contraception), do not go into law. I don't believe God calls anyone to a career that will wound her soul.

[/quote]

It's not that I feel I would be incapable of raising more than one child EVENTUALLY, just not in the near future while I'm struggling to finish law school and getting a foot in the work force. After of course, I still fear not being able to give more than one child enough quality care, of course I'm sure that this is a concern of parents everywhere in nearly any circumstance.

I'm still very confused on children and the church. Obviously, the church does not expect us to all be the "Duggar's", but having only one child by choice is obviously a no-go, and so where is the in between? I have a lot to learn still
.


#10

[quote="Augusta_Sans, post:8, topic:230076"]
I bolded the part that I agree with 100%!!! It always shocks me when my liberal friends brag about their "green" lifestyles...but they use contraceptives. :eek::eek::eek: Hormonal methods are abortifacients (you already knew that) but are also linked to breast cancer. I'd definitely rather miss out on a few nights of intimacy than increase my risk of breast cancer. :(

As an adult convert, it also took me awhile to grasp why non-abortifacient contraceptive methods (condoms, "pull out") were immoral (but now that I do "get it" we'll never go back!) One enjoyable book that covered some of the basics is Holy Sex! by Gregory Popcak (you can probably find it at a local library.) It's not perfect, but it is a "quick read" (I read it in two evenings). Others will respond to this thread with in depth theological explanations, but a lot of that is out of my league. :o I liked the simple language of Holy Sex! and the way Popcak connected theological concepts to their practical use within marriage.

[/quote]

I feel the same since of shock over the contradictions of some with the "green" style. Thank you so much for the book suggesion, I will put it on my reading list ASAP.


#11

[quote="Bporte00, post:6, topic:230076"]
From what I understand, and I know at this point my knowledge is rudimentary at best, is that contraceptive is immoral because it can lead to the abortion of a child.

My fear of NFP comes from the notion that it is not very successful, especially for those who are not on a regular cycle. It is slightly ironic considering I have never been on contraceptive because I do no think it is wise to mess with body chemistry so lightly, but I still fear, probably because the idea if foreign to me.

[/quote]

Well I'm not an expert on NFP, but I've heard that when it's used perfectly, it's just as effective as the pill.
About the regular cylcle thig, again I'm not an expert or anything, but I've heard before that that's only if you use the "rythyme"or the "calender method".

Well anyway, good luck with your conversion& Pax Christi!


#12

Welcome! Thank you for your post and for taking the time to come here and to share your story!

So many worries,I will keep you in my prayers and pray for your concerns...remember Jesus loves you so very much! Worry is the enemy. You have a young marriage, a beautiful young baby and a bright future. God bless you and praise be to Jesus Christ for so many blessings in your life. You are LOVED.

**Artificial **contraception is not okay, but practically spacing your children and discerning how big of a family you are open to is fine. Isn't this funny, but NFP is many times more reliable then artificial contraception?!?!?! I think that is because it is part of God's beautiful plan.

Not sure where you heard that "only one child by choice is obviously a no-go" this is not true. Each of us is called to be open to where God is calling us. Some people are called to have 10 children, some people are called to have one, some people struggle with infertility, some people have children with disAbilities, some people have children that sadly pass away in infancy...

Try not to worry too much about giving another child quality care if that is where you find God is calling you. Unless you have a medical or other concerns that would come into consideration. The world would have us all beleive that children need their own bedroom and the best of toys and the best of clothes and the best of educations and the best of daycares. I can tell you that no other gift a parent can give a child will ever equal the lifetime gift of a sibling. This is not to put pressure on you to have more children...but if you feel called to do so it is a wonderful calling!

Talk to God, pray to him and listen. Listen for his voice. He knows what is best for you and your family. He has a plan for you that is perfect.

I can see by your post that you are troubled with some anxiety. Take this anxiety and imagine you are laying it at the foot of the cross. Ask Jesus to help you with your anxiety. God bless you on your journey of faith!


#13

To the Original Poster:

With all due respect, but I think your decision of only having one child must be questioned. By doing that, you and your husband would not even be replacing yourselves; having a single child, by choice, really is doing less than the bare minimum when it comes to God's command to "be fruitful and multiply". Catholicism makes it hard for a fertile husband and wife to have only one child or no children and that's a good thing!

I understand, however, that you would face some challenges in raising a larger family, but obviously there are millions of parents who have successfully nurtured a number of children to adulthood by giving it their all and putting their trust in God's providence. In fact, I would say that the notion a child can only receive the best upbringing when there are no siblings to share in the parents' dedication (and income) is one of the most baseless and destructive ideas ever to come out of the mind of secular man. Besides, the logical extension of the argument that since raising children is hard, one should only have one child, is that it makes even more sense not to have children at all.

So, I urge you to rethink your plans. Look into your heart and ask yourself: should having a fabulous legal career really be your life's top priority?


#14

[quote="Augusta_Sans, post:8, topic:230076"]
I bolded the part that I agree with 100%!!! It always shocks me when my liberal friends brag about their "green" lifestyles...but they use contraceptives. :eek::eek::eek: Hormonal methods are abortifacients (you already knew that) but are also linked to breast cancer.

[/quote]

I don't think you should overstate the issues related to hormonal contraception. It is simply not a fact that hormonal contraception is abortifacient. You may be interested in this article: religioustolerance.org/abo_emer2.htm

Similarly, a link between breast cancer and hormonal contraception is at best very weak and does not seem to hold for all types of hormonal contraception: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hormonal_contraception#Effects_on_rates_of_cancers


#15

Every type of hormonal contraception is an abortifacient.

The link to breast cancer is not weak. The world health organization classifies the pill as a carcinogen. The "studies" that some have done have not included the main risk age...pre-pregnancy. Many of them only over 50. This has greatly skewed and hidden the risks.


#16

[quote="Persuader, post:14, topic:230076"]
I don't think you should overstate the issues related to hormonal contraception. It is simply not a fact that hormonal contraception is abortifacient. You may be interested in this article: religioustolerance.org/abo_emer2.htm

[/quote]

I don't think you should post articles that contradict Church teaching and pretend they are in any way relevant to a discussion among Catholics.

The article you posted argues that "Because there is no consensus on when pregnancy begins ... the two groups end up with opposing beliefs about whether [emergency contraception] is an abortifacient or a form of birth control."

However, Catholics are NOT confused about when life begins--we don't worry about the "consensus," we worry about the truth. Catholics know that life begins at conception. This article argues that if you kill a baby before implantation (about a week before implantation), it is not technically abortion. Sorry, but this article is not relevant to persons who follow the Catholic teaching that life begins at conception, not implantation.


#17

[quote="Bporte00, post:6, topic:230076"]
From what I understand, and I know at this point my knowledge is rudimentary at best, is that contraceptive is immoral because it can lead to the abortion of a child.

[/quote]

This is not the foundation of the Church's teaching against contraception.

Each act of the marital embrace must be as God ordered it-- ordered to unity and procreation. That means each act must be unaltered in any way. A couple can choose to engage in the marital act or not, but if they do engage in it they cannot alter it so as to sterilize it.

[quote="Bporte00, post:6, topic:230076"]
My fear of NFP comes from the notion that it is not very successful, especially for those who are not on a regular cycle.

[/quote]

I don't know where you got this idea. It is inaccurate. I suggest you take a class in one of the four main methods of NFP:

Sympto-Thermal
Creighton
Billings
Marquette


#18

[quote="Monicad, post:12, topic:230076"]
some people have children with disAbilities

[/quote]

I am sorry to interrupt the thread, but I have to thank you Monicad for this statement. It means a lot to me to see someone with this view point.

As for you dear OP, I've heard nothing bad about NFP. At least from those who understand it. The ones whole only have a grasp of it, or skim the books I find are often the ones to point out its downfalls. But when you look at it, condoms, ABC, etc all have failure rates. Only they don't like to mention that point.

I never temped. Just went by mucous and cervical location/opening.


#19

By the time you make partner, you will be old (older), less energetic, and tired, and not likely to want to have another child/more children. Have kids while you're younger. Hire a housecleaner or other help if you need to.

Love is so much better an investment than lifestyle. :thumbsup:


#20

[quote="fkjuliano, post:13, topic:230076"]
To the Original Poster:

With all due respect, but I think your decision of only having one child must be questioned. By doing that, you and your husband would not even be replacing yourselves; having a single child, by choice, really is doing less than the bare minimum when it comes to God's command to "be fruitful and multiply". Catholicism makes it hard for a fertile husband and wife to have only one child or no children and that's a good thing!

I understand, however, that you would face some challenges in raising a larger family, but obviously there are millions of parents who have successfully nurtured a number of children to adulthood by giving it their all and putting their trust in God's providence. In fact, I would say that the notion a child can only receive the best upbringing when there are no siblings to share in the parents' dedication (and income) is one of the most baseless and destructive ideas ever to come out of the mind of secular man. Besides, the logical extension of the argument that since raising children is hard, one should only have one child, is that it makes even more sense not to have children at all.

So, I urge you to rethink your plans. Look into your heart and ask yourself: should having a fabulous legal career really be your life's top priority?

[/quote]

...this post pisses me off. a LOT.

it is NONE OF YOUR BUSSINESS wether OP has one or twenty kids. so BUTT OUT.


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