At what point do we “use common sense” as Ive been told by priests in order to avoid future pregnancies when NFP, even with a coach, has failed due to medical issues? I have a medical condition that has made pregnancies harder each time and have made tracking ovulation very difficult. We would abstain for weeks and sometimes months because the charts were difficult to read for our coach. There was no cycle, no visible ovulations, for the entire 2 years we did my temps, ceevical checks and d/c charting. We have been open to life and have been pregnant 6 times and have also adopted. Currently I am suffering through another pregnancy while my children do what they can to help although they are little and need their momma. I am already scared of the possibility of becoming pregnant again in the future. I am now having major organ damage and am in danger of being admitted into the hospital for the remainder of the pregnancy which is several weeks and I dont know who will care for my current children. My disease has also effected my children, one coded at birth and another was a miscarriage. I have been told by several priest that I need to sterilize before we have to choose between life of the mother and life of the baby especially since NFP dailed us. I voiced that I know what the Catechism states about sterilization and they pretry much either told me “yes but the option of NFP doesnt work for you” or “we were also given common sense.” Your thoughts?
I’m sorry you are struggling. I had a rough pregnancy and ended up hospitalized before and after birth due to issues with my organs. I absolutely sympathize.
The Church says that sterilization is a no go ethically. None of us can advise your to do anything contrary to that without potentially incurring sin ourselves.
By discussing this with your priest, you have been following the best course of action.
I’ll pray for you and your current pregnancy.
Using common sense means that you would need to move from periodic continence to complete continence when periodic continence isn’t possible and you have a reason to avoid pregnancy.
When do you make this shift? When you, your spouse, and your doctor discuss the situation and you and your spouse take it into prayer and decide you cannot have another pregnancy.
I am very sorry that you are having such serious medical issues and that you and your family are under such stress.
I am also sorry that a priest would encourage you to commit an act that is grave matter against the commandments. He will, of course, have to answer for giving you such bad advice. And, you will have to answer for what you do with that advice knowing it is wrong.
I am not sure why the priest didn’t counsel you that at this juncture, total continence would be the solution. Is that easy? No. But that is the moral way to avoid future pregnancies.
Removal of your uterus would be legitimate if the organ is damaged, not for pregnancy prevention.
It wasnt just 1 priest either. Ive seen 5 total and 4 recommended contraception, not pills, but other forms, or sterilization citing that full abstinence for the remainder of my fertile years would not be Gods plan for marriage and ultimately harmful to the marriage. One went as far to explain that “pulling out” uses knowledge of the fertilization process to avoid pregnancy the same as NFP uses knowledge of ovulation to avoid pregnancy. I even wrote a letter to the Bishop years ago explaining that the preists here were recommending sterilization and wanted his advice, I never heard back so I called and I never heard back. Then I got pregnant 2 more times and things have spiraled for the worse. Ive changed drs several times because I got tired of the “i told ya so’s”.
God help our priests. This is terrible.
Um, I’m sorry, but withdrawing has a high failure rate. And, a priest talking about “pulling out” is just weird. And, this priest seems to lack the proper training in moral theology.
I’m really appalled.
God bless you for being faithful in this difficult situation.
Total abstinence is definitely a cross to bear, but we are called to be faithful.
God bless you as you continue on your journey.
I’d say total abstinence until you hit menopause. It’s a very tough one. I’ll be praying for you x
Go to your nearest EF parish. They should advise you there. You have my prayers.
Have you contacted the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction? They have a website with a phone number for medical consultations.
I think you may need a specialist in natural family planning. When I studied one of the methods years ago, they told me they sent women’s charts to experts. Have you only had the one coach?
Being pregnant six times can make it hard to actually learn a method, especially if you’ve been breastfeeding at all. Were the two years of charting total, or all at one time?
Maybe using some extra tools, like a monitor or LH strips would help in your situation. Or finding another method altogether that works better- but also taking several months to learn the method while abstinent. Also, many couples restrict any intimacy to the period after ovulation.
Honestly, if my life was in that much danger from pregnancy, I believe my husband and I would probably both agree to be abstinent indefinitely. You already know what the right thing is, even if individual priests have given you advice that is against church teaching.
The only morally acceptable way to avoid pregnancy would be to abstain from sex. If those priests were suggesting using contraceptives, they’re simply wrong, and they need our prayers.
It would be hard to completely abstain from sex, but that might be the only morally acceptable option you have, unless you’re able to find better NFP methods.
I have had more than 1 coach. One of our coaches had been teaching it for over 25 years and was baffled. She would say “i think this may be something but Im not sure.” She would tell me to not exercise too strenuously to see if it was that, or change my diet to see if it was that. We also looked into PPVI and was told we would be given pricing for their services and it wasnt cheap. Maybe they would take a charity case for the sake of learning?
I really think you need the top expert. All knowledge costs money. Even my internet bill costs a lot. You could definitely indicate your financial situation. They are likely Catholic and longing to help you. Plus there is time ahead of you to pay for things behind you. What if they have the answer that really helps?
I think you are right and will need to just ask and be billed. We have 2 special needs kiddos that we owe thousands in medical bills. Its discouraging to see it all add up and feel like you owe everyone. I am truly worried though about another pregnancy. I want to live and care for my babies.
Have you tried Marquette or Creighton? I’ve heard good things about both. Marquette because it can give you peace of mind somewhat with a fertility monitor. Creighton can be good to track tricky cycles (but you need a trained instructor). They both cost $ though…
Do you use sympto-thermal right now? I was never consistent with it, but I thought you have to have a normal-ish sleep schedule for tracking temp to work (which I’m sure you don’t have with 6+ kids…).
Definitely praying for your family and your health.
This sounds more like a systemic than a personal failure. You have nothing to be discouraged about. The only people you owe is the extortionists in the medical establishment who up treatment prices to make profit, and the system that allows it. I will pray for you to Our Lady in the struggles you are facing.
You and your spouse may have to decide to avoid all sexual relations. Pius XII speaks about this in the Address to Midwives, in the section where he says it is not too much; it is not impossible.
I don’t know how helpful this is but I promise abstinence within marriage isn’t the end of the world . We had to for about a year and as long as you have cuddles kisses prayer and a good dose of sense of humour it’s possible.
You are unlikely to get useful answers here; just more pain.
It would be more like 10+ years. Im not near menopausal age. We abstain throughout pregnancy for medical reasons so I know long stretches are possible. I just dont see how indefinetly wouldnt hurt the marriage or just lead to other sins like taking cuddling too far. It just seems like a distortion of the marriage, not what God intended at all. We have 6 children, we havent been closed to life. This is very confusing. Its like choosing which avenue hurts the unit less.
That makes me sad. I feel stuck because the priests say one thing and the advice here is polar opposite.