Does the Church hate me for not having children?


#1

My first post and I am a bit nervous as to the responses I will get! :blush:

Anyway, a bit of backplot…my husband and I have been married for 10 years. At the time, I was still in school and didn’t think the time was right for having children. However, in the ten years since, I have discovered that I have panic attacks around children (dizziness, hyperventilating, sweating, loss of rational thought, etc.). I just do not like children. I have been told numerous times “it is different when they are yours” statements. The problem with this statement is that, if it turns out to not be true, then I am on the hook for the rest of my life. And I have several very close female friends who have told me that they really hate their lives since having children. This is my biggest fear. What if I hate my life? :bighanky:

My husband has been very supportive of me and these fears, but recognizes that our decision to not have children has always come with the caveat: “for now.” I am 34 and am getting to an age where things become medically more difficult for both mother and child, so a decision needs to be made soon.

I guess I would feel better if I felt any support for my situation from the Church. However, I am really struggling because I don’t think the Catholic Church does a good job with DINCs. They are great with students and singles and families. But they really don’t provide any support for married couples who do not have children. Everything I get when I try to talk to people in the Church about my issues is “suck it up…this is your job as a Catholic female…so just forget about it and get on with making babies.” :eek: And honestly, this really does not help at all. In fact, I have been so upset by this treatment lately that I am thinking about leaving the Catholic Church for some place that can be more helpful to me.

So I am just looking for advice (beyond the “it is different when they are yours” philosophy…that one has not helped) from anyone who has been there. I am quickly coming up on the point where a decision needs to be made and don’t really have anywhere else to turn.

Thank you in advance for any suggestions you might have! :o


#2

The Church doesn’t “hate” anyone.

If you have mental issues-- which it appears you do (panic attacks from merely being around a child are NOT normal)-- the correct place to get help is from a mental health professional.

“Leaving the church” because you do not perceive there are any “groups” or “help” for married couples without children is rather short sighted. Do you believe that the Catholic Church is the Church that Christ founded? Do you want the grace of the Sacraments? Do you acknowledge the bishops as the lawful authority over us, set there by Christ? If you do, you know that cutting yourself off from the Church is not the answer. If you do not, well you have bigger issues than not having children.

Leaving the Church is not the answer. Coming to understand the difference between what you think the Church teaches and what it actually teaches is the answer.

When you married if you were sincerely open to having children, then your marriage is valid. Subsequent mental health issues have prevented you from having children. That is something you should seek professional help for. Perhaps they can determine the cause of your anxiety and help you work through your issues.

No competent professional would tell you to have children as a “cure” for your anxiety. That could be harmful to both you and your child.

Only you and your husband can determine whether or not you are able to welcome a child into your family. What does your husband want to do?


#3

It’s okay not liking kids, I don’t like them either. You shouldn’t feel expected to live by the status quo. There are a lot of older kids looking for a home anyways.


#4

[quote="Hosh, post:3, topic:181745"]
It's okay not liking kids, I don't like them either. You shouldn't feel expected to live by the status quo. There are a lot of older kids looking for a home anyways.

[/quote]

That's a really good suggestion! :) It would mean the world to a lonely 15 year old, who nobody wants, for you to take them in for a few years. And they'll for the rest of your lives be family :)


#5

[quote="Hosh, post:3, topic:181745"]
It's okay not liking kids, I don't like them either. You shouldn't feel expected to live by the status quo. There are a lot of older kids looking for a home anyways.

[/quote]

The ultimate, ultimatum when you have to discipline your children, tell them either behave or they are going to live at Hosh's home for a couple of months. lol:D


#6

I think you are worried about being judged, reflect upon who casts the first stone, and think nothing more of it, yet be true to your heart when it comes to being open to still having a child regardless, for you know what’s believed upon there among Catholics.


#7

Hi WithoutChildren

Think we all were nervous the first time we started a thread – but then we probably felt the same way when we pushed the send key the first time we replied to a thread.

Two things I find helpful to remember is that responses on CAF tell you a lot about the person who made it and not to always take a response literally as some people send a quick response and do not always get the tone correct.

I never wanted to have children (or to get married). Not because I dislike children but I am uncomfortable around babies and toddlers them because I do not know how to interact with them. Once they get to 5-6 years I am more comfortable but I recognise that I would never have been prepared to give them the time they need.

Have you talked to your doctor or other health professional (eg counsellor) about your reactions to children. Someone who will really listen and not fob you off with the platitudes you are currently getting. They may also be able to help with relaxation exercises – you can’t make good decisions when you are constantly aroused!!!

Also how much experience have you had of babies and young children? I’m sure the first time my mother changed a nappy was when she first changed mine. She was, in effect, an only child as she only had one sibling 12 (a brother) years older than her. I must admit I have never have changed a nappy.

Think sometimes people don’t know what to say and sometimes they say things that are either unhelpful or hurtful.

And yes, some will tell singles to get on with it, get married and have babies as not doing so is selfish!

Also used to get told that if I didn’t marry and have children I would have an unhappy, unloved old age. (I never believed that as I had a number of unmarried (great)aunts and cousins who certainly didn’t.)

I’d suggest being discerning who you talk to at Church (and elsewhere) about the situation rather than leave.

Also depending on where you live you may be able to find a support group for people facing your situation which would reduce your dependence on parishioners for support.


#8

I'm speechless. Why would you get married, then? I don't understand.


#9

[quote="SeekingWisdom, post:8, topic:181745"]
I'm speechless. Why would you get married, then? I don't understand.

[/quote]

Probably because they believe in love.


#10

[quote="Hosh, post:9, topic:181745"]
Probably because they believe in love.

[/quote]

I was referring to the instructions by the Church that we are to be open to life. Wouldn't a condition such as the OP is expressing preclude her being able to get married in the Church?


#11

Shes is open or else she wouldn’t be asking this question. She is just realizing that maybe she wants to be closed…what are we talking about again… oh right. Damn you dirty mind! would an asthmatic choose to climb Mt. Everest without oxygen? ****, that’s been done… would a midget train his whole life in the long jump for his dream of winning Olympic gold?.. there we go, that’s a better analogy. She might not feel right/ready for the task.


#12

I’m so sorry to hear about your panic attacks :console:. I’ve had them and they are NOT fun. I can’t imagine having them triggered by something as common as children!

Sounds like you really want to live according to what God wants for you - you just need help figuring out what that is. What might help is prayer :). Pray, pray, pray - especially a prayer like the Rosary or the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Ask Mary for her help. While you’re praying up a storm, go see a good mental health professional. There are lots of things out there that can help with panic attacks, and a good therapist can help you get to the root of your anxiety.

Hope everything improves, and I’m sorry you’ve dealt with people who obviously aren’t really listening to the problems you’ve having.


#13

[quote="WithoutChildren, post:1, topic:181745"]
My first post and I am a bit nervous as to the responses I will get! :blush:

Anyway, a bit of backplot...my husband and I have been married for 10 years. At the time, I was still in school and didn't think the time was right for having children. However, in the ten years since, I have discovered that I have panic attacks around children (dizziness, hyperventilating, sweating, loss of rational thought, etc.). I just do not like children. I have been told numerous times "it is different when they are yours" statements. The problem with this statement is that, if it turns out to not be true, then I am on the hook for the rest of my life. And I have several very close female friends who have told me that they really hate their lives since having children. This is my biggest fear. What if I hate my life? :bighanky:

My husband has been very supportive of me and these fears, but recognizes that our decision to not have children has always come with the caveat: "for now." I am 34 and am getting to an age where things become medically more difficult for both mother and child, so a decision needs to be made soon.

I guess I would feel better if I felt any support for my situation from the Church. However, I am really struggling because I don't think the Catholic Church does a good job with DINCs. They are great with students and singles and families. But they really don't provide any support for married couples who do not have children. Everything I get when I try to talk to people in the Church about my issues is "suck it up...this is your job as a Catholic female...so just forget about it and get on with making babies." :eek: And honestly, this really does not help at all. In fact, I have been so upset by this treatment lately that I am thinking about leaving the Catholic Church for some place that can be more helpful to me.

So I am just looking for advice (beyond the "it is different when they are yours" philosophy...that one has not helped) from anyone who has been there. I am quickly coming up on the point where a decision needs to be made and don't really have anywhere else to turn.

Thank you in advance for any suggestions you might have! :o

[/quote]

There is no agreement in the Church on this issue. Some will say that "panic attacks" is not a sufficient reason to not have children, others will say that it is. The Church itself has never given a list of what is or isn't a "just reason" for not getting pregnant, and has deliberately left it up to the couple to discern.

You have to make the decision and do what you think is right. You can definitely find plenty of people in the Church who will be supportive of your situation.

You should also keep in mind that the Church's understanding of marriage has been very fluid, it is only relatively recently that the "unitive" purpose of marriage has been raised up with the procreative purpose. Who is to say that in the future the requirement to be open to children will not be removed from what makes a marriage valid altogether. There is after all much, much more to a marriage than procreating. Any infertile or post-menopausal couple can tell you that.

It's interesting though that some of your female friends say they hate their lives since having children. Why do they hate their lives?


#14

[quote="SeekingWisdom, post:10, topic:181745"]
I was referring to the instructions by the Church that we are to be open to life. Wouldn't a condition such as the OP is expressing preclude her being able to get married in the Church?

[/quote]

Being open to life is not the same as actually being able to produce children. Many people can't produce children. The question is whether the OP's reason (panic attacks) is a just reason to use NFP.

Did she get married thinking "I will never have children period", then it would make the marriage invalid.

On the other hand, if she got married intending to have children once the just reason for not having them went away, then I would say she was open to life at the time of the marriage.

(Chevalier might disagree, we have been discussing this in more detail in the thread about Canon Law.)


#15

the Church does not hate anyone, she loves everyone, especially sinners. If you have something in your life you are now coming to recognize as sinful the solution is the same as for all sinners, sacramental confession and return to the Eucharist. If you have something in your life you recognize as objectively sinful, but don’t know if it applies to your particular situation, the solution is the same, plus personal counselling with a priest on your own situation. Even if you think you know what his answer will be, still ask for the counselling to help you distinguish between anxiety, psychological afflictions, and real sin. If you have medical issues, get medical help to address them. If you have psychological issues, see a therapist, and if you have spiritual issues, ask for help of a priest.

Neither the priest nor the Church will “punish” someone who uses sinful means to avoid pregnancy, because that condition carries its own punishment, in its harm to the intimacy of marriage and barrier to God’s grace in marriage, and the specific ill, the lack of children, and most of all separation from Christ in the Eucharist.

You might want to visit threads here from couples whose heartache is infertility and the inability to have children, and unite your own sufferings–those that moved you to avoid children–with theirs. In praying for them you might find insights in dealing with your own particular griefs.


#16

Start a group at the Parish - heck, sounds like you could teach the NFP class, if you have used it to avoid for 10 years you should be experts by now!


#17

The Church or more importantly, Jesus, loves everyone, but He calls us to serve others, not ourselves!!!

You said; “And I have several very close female friends who have told me that they really hate their lives since having children. This is my biggest fear. What if I hate my life?”

i am sorry if this offends you or anyone else, but, anyone who would say or think that must be seriously immature & self absorbed.

**Sure children can be challenging & the days of doing whatever you want are gone, but the rewards are infinitely greater than any personal freedoms lost!
**
Jesus taught us; “And he said to all: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Lk 9:23)

Jesus didn’t say ‘take up your personal interests, your friends, your dinner dates, your parties, your career, your shopping…& follow me’, He said “let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

**Our greatest joy comes from loving others. Not the modern love, ‘i love my car’ kind of love, but the Love of God kind of Love, Agape Love, the total giving of oneself for another!
**
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!

mark


#18

Wow…that was a lot of responses I logged in to see! Thank you all for your responses and their honesty and candor. :slight_smile:

A few points of clarification…

First, when my husband and I got married, we both wanted children. I wanted 2 and he wanted 3…they always say you want what you grew up with. :stuck_out_tongue: But I was at a very different place in my life, wanting to finish school and create a situation that would be conducive to having children. However, when I had gotten there and was faced with the reality that we could have kids at any time, I started to really get very uncomfortable with the idea and with the idea of hating my life.

As for having friends who have told me that they “hate their lives after having kids,” some of the comments here have been very unfair, assuming that these are selfish women. They did have children and they are great mothers. They give everything they have – spiritually, emotionally, personally – to the raising of their children. What they have acknowledged to me is that they recognize that they sacrificed a lot in their lives to do so. And they do not enjoy the constant mommy duties. They would not ever give up their kids, of course, and they love them tremendously. A lot of people, Catholic and not, make assumptions that everyone will be happy with the lifestyle of being a parent and I think, knowing this women, that it is naive to assume that to be true in every single case.

As for the panic attacks, I am working with a mental health professional on them. I don’t have problems with infants or teenagers…maybe the idea of adopting a teenager has some merit (and maybe the parents of teenagers reading this right now are laughing their heads of reading that :stuck_out_tongue: )!

Lastly, I will say that I have the most supportive, loving husband on the planet. He said he supports whatever decision on make on it. In fact, he even said that the world would be a lot better place if everyone put as much thought and deliberation into the decision of having kids that we are! :slight_smile: But in answer to the question “why did you get married if you do want kids,” all I can say is 1 Cor 13:13, “…the greatest of these is love.”

So thank you for the comments and suggestions. I still have a lot of work and praying to do.


#19

LOL - well if that’s the case then it hates a lot of people, including me and my husband! :smiley:

The church doesn’t have the capacity to hate as it doesn’t have emotions like humans do. If what you’re reallly asking if God hates you for not having children, I’d say the same thing applies.

But that’s just one long-married middle-aged woman’s opinion.


#20

Sigh. I really don't want to get into the question of validity here, but some of the statements made have been incorrect.

[quote="flyingfish, post:13, topic:181745"]
There is no agreement in the Church on this issue. Some will say that "panic attacks" is not a sufficient reason to not have children, others will say that it is. The Church itself has never given a list of what is or isn't a "just reason" for not getting pregnant, and has deliberately left it up to the couple to discern.

[/quote]

The problem *from the point of view of validity *is not whether panic attacks are a sufficient reason not to have children but whether one 1) did not exclude children from marital consent (c. 1096) and if not, then 2) had the psychic capacity for at least being open to life (where we will inevitably differ in interpretations, but constant compulsive denial of marital relations or constant compulsive use of contraception qualifies).

The Church itself has never given a list of what is or isn't a "just reason" for not getting pregnant, and has deliberately left it up to the couple to discern.

That has no or little bearing on validity (it may have some little bearing when tracing circumstancial evidence leading to bigger things, but not directly).

Having already touched the subject of validity, there is something I need to say to avoid troubling the OP needlessly:

The OP says she was open to children at the time of marriage and, what's more, she even says she positively wanted 2 or 3. This means there was no exclusion by her. I would prefer not to get into the subject of psychic capacity because we aren't an ecclesiastical court.

I'm sorry this is all I have to post, but I'm neither a married person nor anyone qualified for counselling. I can only (but I do) offer my prayers. I suggest that you (I mean the OP) pray, trust God (nothing is impossible with Him) and talk to a priest.


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