Discerning when to have children

I don’t post on here much because I tend to be mainly a lurker…but this is a bit of a subject I can’t discuss with my family without them being either extremely happy or extremely worried.

My DH and I married June 2009 and recently just celebrate 1 year of being truly abundantly blessed by God! :extrahappy:

But it has also been a very difficult year. We found out we were pregnant with our first child Sam in September 2009. The pregnancy was not planned, but we were both excited because of the blessing from God. At the end of October, however, when we went in for the 12 week check up we found out Sam was not alive. It was a very sudden miscarriage with no symptoms. Due to poor guidance and a lack of testing from our OB/GYN practice I ended up having an emergency D & C, which took two months to recover from due to complications. Now I am perfectly healthy, but emotionally I still struggle to accept that God had a greater plan for Sam that meant he could not stay with us. :frowning:

DH and I had agreed even before being married due to college debt, saving for a house, and creating a safety net so I could stay at home that we would not have children for at least 2 to 4 years. We felt these were justifiable reasons to practice NFP to avoid pregnancy, but certainly we are also open to God blessing us with children on his timing as he did when he allowed us to become pregnant with Sam.

But now that we’ve had Sam for such a short time it’s like a switch has been reversed in my mind to where I have a strong desire for children now and I don’t know if morally our reasons for avoiding pregnancy are justifiable. Since losing Sam I don’t know how to wait 4years to have a child. I feel motherhood is much more of a calling than any kind of career I could aspire to.

The worry sets in for DH and I when we think of how we would pay down debt and or save for a home if we did have a child now. We would never be able to pay down the $30,000 in debt we currently have or a save for a down payment if we solely relied on DH’s income. These are DH’s main reasons of why we should wait and up till now I agreed with him. Now I am not sure.

We’re not shooting for the stars with what type of house we are wanting to save up for and we live modestly in attempts to pay down this debt (we don’t have cell phones, we didn’t take a honeymoon, no cable, don’t got to movie theaters, we pack lunches, etc). I understand as a married couple our vocation calls us to be open to life, but I also don’t want to lead our family into a financial hole we would have been able to avoid had we waited 2-4 years. Are our reasons for NFP to pay down debt and save for a down payment valid reasons for avoiding pregnancy?

I guess my question to those of you who have children or are expecting children: Did you plan to have them when you did? Do you regret the timing of not having all of the ducks in a row (i.e. debit paid off, house, etc.)? What would you have done differently? How did you know you were ready to have children?

I am struggling to determine if this is desire God calling us to parenthood because our reasons for avoiding pregnancy for the moment are wrong or my heart grieving the loss of Sam. :shrug:

I don’t have children (just so you know where I am coming from) but it does sound to me like this is a case of grieving for Sam.

Before you were pregnant you saw nothing sinful in waiting 2-4 years and it seems the only thing that has changed your mind is Sam.

Also, and I hope you understand the love that is intended in the following statement. When God does bless you with another child, that child will deserve all the love a mom will give him. It would be a heavy burden for a child to carry that he is a ‘replacement’ for Sam. Please make sure in your heart you can grieve Sam and consider your next child as an individual in his\her own right


I’ve dealt with miscarrying before too. It really is so emotionally draining no matter what stage it occurs at. I’m sure your husband is hurting some as well.
The two of you are the only ones who can decide what a good reason is to not have children. I hate to say it, but perhaps there was a reason you won’t know for a long time regarding why this happened. Do you know why you got pregnant - was there something about the method you used that maybe wasn’t working for you? I know how it can be being a newly wed - it can be almost excruciating to wait after waiting soooo long to get married. Mostly, PLEASE, don’t try to get pregnant again until you can both say you are sure that you are ready and willing to have a child (with no - but we really think we should be doing -blank-before hand. In the mean time, (I know this helped me), throwing yourself into work will help you more than one way. You will be able to help pay down the debt and you’ll stay busy. When my husband and I got married, we knew we wanted kids but for some serious reasons (some health) we decided to wait. But honestly even if there hadn’t been a health issue, we had decided that we wanted to spend time together for at least the first couple of years so we could get to know each other better as a married couple and so we could also save up and have time to enjoy each other (our Priest agreed this was a valid reason). We love kids but we’ve also seen other couples (and I know this isn’t true for all but this is our experience) - we would see people either get married pregnant or get pregnant soon after the wedding and who really went from learning to live together as husband and wife straight to being mom’s and dad’s-this was especially hard on those who had not lived together first.
I have had multiple friends tell me they wish they had instituted a plan like we did prior to getting married. We had goals we wanted to achieve that we felt were serious enough to put off having a child. Give yourself some time to mourn - don’t get pregnant because you’re upset about loosing Sam - mourn Sam and (I know this is hard) accept the loss (both of you) - one thing that helped us was knowing we could pray for the children who did not survive pregnancy and could ask them to interceed with the next pregnancy. Please make sure you know why you got pregnant while using NFP if you don’t know already. Also, one thing is for sure, regardless of what type of NFP, birth control or whatever you’re using (I know you said you used NFP)- if God believes it’s your time to be pregnant, you will get pregnant. I apologize if some of this came out bossy - of course this is only from our experience and the experience of some of our friends. Please, enjoy the time you have alone with your husband now - soon enough you will have children that need your attention 24/7 (it will seem) and you may find yourself thinking “I remember when we could just be alone together - all we had to do was turn off our phone and unplug the computer…” Children are a blessing but they also deffinately eat in to your romantic, alone time. Perhaps you could look at some of this time alone as a gift from God where the two of you can learn more about each other and enjoy each other. Pregnancy, as I’m sure you know can bring out a whole other person in a woman- even in a man. I’m really glad that I got to know my husband and he I while being married. When I have been pregnant, this has helped him understand what was me and what was fear or hormones messing with me and in turn messing with him. (not saying you’ll have those problems just know it happened with me).
God Bless
p.s. remember, Sam can help you out - what is more innocent than a child - one who although didn’t get to walk the Earth is now walking with Jesus and Mary in Heaven. I’m sure all who will read this will pray for you!

it is a good thing to have a child, i have to say

I don’t have any specific advice, but just know you will be in my prayers.

My only general advice is to cling to and pray with your husband… constantly. Rely on each other… lean on your sacramental vows… and grow closer to Christ as a couple. Don’t let little disagreements become big ones… more than anything, you need each other right now.

God bless you!

My wife had a miscarraige 2 years ago. Our story is a little different from yours. At that time, we had already been married for 3 years, owned a home, and had already had a little boy. But the miscarriage was difficult on us. It was about that time that I began to pray agin ( I had been away from the Church for a few years before that). The first few months after we lost our baby, we were very upset. I was even thinking that maybe we would just have our 1 child, though before the miscarriage, we had both wanted several children. That fall, unexpectedly, we became pregnant again. We now have 2 little boys with a 3rd on the way. I think back now, and realize that it was all part of God’s plan. He knew that that summer was going to be difficult for us and being pregnant would have been hard on us (there were a few other incidents that took place, causing alot of stress) and that we weren’t ready to have that second baby yet. I look back now and see that that miscarriage not only enabled us to have Parker (our second son), but also was the beginning of a new chapter in our lives where we became closer than before. More importantly, I began to get closer to God. I guess, in my own long-winded way, I am saying that in instances such as these, we must give ourselves completely to God. He, and He alone, knows what is best for us. If He thinks it is time for you to become pregnant again, then it will happen. It will be difficult, and you may question when the time will come, but it will come, and it will be a gift from God. God Bless and I will pray for you.

So sorry for your loss. I’ve never been married or pregnant but I find it hard to comprehend such a loss and how I would overcome it myself. All my prayers go out for you and your family. :thumbsup:

this is simply normal. Normal response to the miscarriage (praying for you), normal response to simply being newly married. Wanting to delay preganancy, even for good and prudent reasons, is what works against our normal, natural inclinations and you will have to work through that if you discern it is why to delay pregnancy at this time, but that is something you do together, just make sure the priorities are stated properly, and you are realistic. For instance, waiting “until we can afford to have children” will make most parents just laugh as there is really no such thing.

Schrode - Thank you for the advice about finding out why we got pregnant in the first place. We are using the sympto-thermal method but unfortunately my cycles tend to be very long (my average is between 40-60 day cycles and this current cycle is pushing that 60 day mark). As a result of my cycle’s inconsistency of reliable symptoms we have learned to be a lot more conservative than the method normally suggests almost to the point of being too cautions sometimes. I know there are other methods we could try, but I’m not sure how they would help us with 3 month long cycles. I was tested right before we got married by an NFP doctor for any fertility issues that would be causing my cycle to be so long, but they did not find anything out of the ordinary. Unfortunately I am in a new city with no doctors that support NFP and the OB/GYN I went to right after the miscarriage was very insistant that birth control solved everything. :mad:

cmscms - You made some very good points about how I did not find waiting sinful before we lost Sam. That is part of the reason why despite the fact that we do want children we are not rushing into this decision. I do want to make sure we are ready in every sense and that we are not rushing to find a band-aid. I feel silly sometimes for being so upset at times over Sam because it was only 12 weeks and miscarriages are fairly common, but we really were thrilled.

jfmarm81 - I appreciate the testimony of how God used the miscarriage to bring positive out of a difficult situation and it gives me hope that someday positive will come out losing Sam. I know God will reveal the reasons for this in His timing, which is always the hard part. I know I should be very happy that our child is with his Heavenly Father, but it doesn’t always bring us peace.

I know despite everything I spouted off it would be better off for us to wait to have children. We do 1) Need to be spiritually and emotionally ready and 2) Be financially ready, neither of which we are at the current moment. I guess I just don’t see my current career as something I wake up excited about every morning. I think if anything I’m kind of just working waiting till I can stay at home with our kids. I don’t want to give anyone impression I don’t see DH and I as a complete family now with just the two of us, I just realize it isn’t God’s design for us to avoid pregnany permanently and both of us really do have children as a priority. God designed marriage to have the blessing of children when possible (I realize it certainly is not possible for every couple though). How do you wait? How do you let go of that nagging feeling?

I’m glad to hear that my reaction doesn’t sound crazy because for the past few months I’ve felt as if it was. Little things used to make me upset like sitting next to an infant in mass or hearing about my co-worker’s pregnany, who is expecting in August, reach milestones we never reached with Sam. Thankfully it has gotten better. :o DH has been incredibly supportive in letting me feel the loss of Sam and not just brush it aside. I do think despite how difficult it has been we’ve grown closer and that is the blessing I see out of this all.

I’m so sorry about your loss. Of course this is a very emotional time, that is entirely natural. The whole spectrum of emotions would be normal at a time like this, including all of them and none of them, by turns.

It is probably a good idea to do what you’re doing: reflect a lot and change very little immediately. You’ll undoubtedly go back and forth a hundred times before things clear up. That is just fine.

I guess you ask yourself this: If these financial conditions were indefinite–that is, if we always had to rent instead of owning a home, if I knew I would have to put our kids in daycare soon after they were born so I could work outside the home, if we never managed to put a “safety net” away–would we conclude we did not have the means to have children at all? Maybe in that light, you sacrifice more, get out of the spot sooner, and lower your expectations of what “ready” is, maybe you do what you’re doing, maybe you go ahead now.

Spiritually ready? I don’t think there is anything in waiting that will warm you up for the crucible of parenthood. I cannot name all of the people who were quite sure they did not have sufficient patience to be parents who later learned that parenthood would be what gave them patience they did not think themselves capable. So if you have patience enough for the state of life you’re in now, you’ll probably be OK. If you are not even mature enough for today’s problems, that would be a different thing.

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