Deciding against children


What are your thoughts on a couple where the woman has always been unsure about children. Generally imagining that the ‘clock’ will kick in at some point but not yearning for a baby.

Meets a wonderful man and gets married. He wants children but again no great yearning for the time being.

Cue getting married in Catholic Church.

5 years later, time is getting on (now in 30s) but the woman is still deeply unsure. Doesn’t want to give up lifestyle for child. Man loves woman very much. Tells her that if she does decide not to have children, he will be content with just loving her. However, woman knows man does want children.

Woman narrowed down pro/cons to:

Having a child

  • not wanting to miss out and regret it later
  • doesn’t want man to miss out on being a father (he would be great)
  • family expectations (parents wanting to be grandparents)
  • looking after woman in old age
  • if anything happened to husband, woman would be all alone
  • friends having babies
  • religious reasons
  • not using contraceptives for a while


  • feel would end up resent child as so much hard work and would have to have lifestyle changes
  • fear of regret of having child
  • woman panicking when getting pregnant and having an abortion
  • stopping lovely lifestyle of doing what woman wants when she want
  • missing out of doing some more travelling ( travelling to adventurous countries totally unsuitable for children)
  • totally 100% commitment to Man. Woman would never leave Man once children are in the picture (eg even if marriage was terrible etc) At the moment, woman could reverse any previous decision (divorce, selling house etc). Having a child is irreversible.

Yes, woman is myself. Easier to detach from whole situation.

I have given it to God many times to tell me what to do but He is not answering!

Also, out of curiosity, as I wasn’t totally sure about having children when I got married, is my marriage valid? Similarly, I got married before I came back to the Church so always had divorce at the back of my mind as an option? Are we still valid?

The pros don’t look good to me at all.

I don’t have the best advice, sorry. Be open to life first (you should not be using contraception but instead Nfp). Abortion is also clearly not an option. If you get pregnant, trust in God.

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The purpose of marriage is both the union of a couple and the possible creation of children.

However, IMO, as long as you are not using conterac ptives/aborting, and living within the Church’s rules regarding married couples, I think you’re fine.

Well, you have to be open to having children. Practicing Natural Family Planning is allowed; however, using contraceptives is not. The Church doesn’t believe in Divorce, so you’d have to pursue an annulment.

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And if we are using contraceptives? NFP just wouldn’t work for us at all. The problem is that I already know the answer. It’s not good, is it? The rules are so black and white…

I have no intention of annulling but out of curiosity, in this situation would those reasons (unsure about children, still thinking a divorce is an option) be valid?

What if a partner is open to children pre marriage but post marriage decides against children? What happens then?

If NFP doesent work, and you don’t want kids, don’t have sex. Simple as that.


I’ve heard, over and over, from various married men,
that they wished they had more kids. I didn’t ask their reasons.

There was a joke…
" Why do I have four kids ? ?
Because I don’t want five "

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Thanks for your reply. Unfortunately, I imagine abstaining would just damage and erode away my marriage. We do use sex as a unifying factor.

That may be true, but you can’t use contraceptives to meet that end.


I can only imagine what you are going through. I will be sure to pray for you.


Sounds terrible but I wish I’d had less choices and experiences in life. I think my expectations would have been humbler and I would have been content with just raising my own small family. I actually envy women pre ‘having it all’.

My generation has had so many choices that we don’t know which ones to choose. We’re told from a young age that we can have it all but we don’t really know what we want at all.

I would suggest some deep study on what the Sacrament of marriage is vs what society imprints on us about marriage.

Begin with Fulton Sheen’s classic work “Three To Get Married” then move to some of the Papal writings.

Free copy of

US Bishops


You’re correct, it’s not good. Ideally, this should’ve been discussed before marriage. Now, it’s a big problem. You both need to consult a Priest.

Unless you’re gonna remain celibate until your ex-spouse dies, you’d have to pursue annullment. To be blunt, once divorce enters the conversation, you’ve got HUGE marital problems. You both need to consult with a Catholic Priest and pursue marriage counseling.

That would be very bad for the marriage and definitely not good in the Church’s eyes. Perhaps it would aid in obtaining an annulment; however, that’s up to the Tribunal.


If you don’t mind me asking, how do you know Nfp won’t work? And what do you mean by that?

I don’t want to sound preachy but Catholics believe that we should not use contraception as sex needs to be open to life


Ideally, the OP and her husband would’ve attended Catholic Marriage Preparation.

No, you’re not being preachy at all.
Basically, my husband feels that no contraceptives is trying for a baby. Whilst, I know he wants children, he doesn’t like surprises. He would never agree to NFP unless we were actively trying for children.
Also, not to be graphic, I sincerely doubt that we would ever have the willpower to abstain on certain days. We’re much too impulsive for that.

Long story but we didn’t have marriage preparation and when it was kind of mentioned by the priest, we said what was required to get married at the church we wanted. I would have told the poor priest anything he wanted to hear. We weren’t praticising so we didn’t care just had attachment to building.

Just going back to your other point, I meant if divorce being a future option if it didn’t work out/ unsure about having children were at the time pre-wedding.

I have been discerning some things recently, and can give you a discerning advice… Don’t ask God to tell you( give you a sing) without first looking in the Bible for what God has already revealed to us.
The second thing, it is my opinion that you need to look at your motives. If your motives are selfish, where you only think about your own pleasure, satisfaction, entertainment, and convenience, then it looks like that is against God’s will…because God calls us to live self-sacrificing love for others. I think that the will of God for a married couple is to sacrifice oneself for the other…that is Love…
Sacrifice your comfort zone for your husband, and potentially for your future children.
May God bless you and lead you!


With all due respect, you seem to be having more problems than having children?

This isn’t true. The female body is fertile only for a certain period. It would do him good if he learns about the female body.

:joy: this is understandable but unfortunately, this would not be a valid reason for committing a (mortal) sin.

This is something you should honestly work out ASAP.

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