Feeling Guilty-NFP


#1

My husband and I have been married for four and a half years, and have an almost three year old little boy. I've been struggling with feelings of guilt lately because we only have one child.

Our first 10 months of marriage I pretty much did no charting. I became pregnant and it was an extremely difficult 9 months. I had severe morning sickness (I was not diagnosed with it, but everything I've read about hyperemesis gravidarum describes my experience exactly.) I lost weight, had to quit my job, had to go to the emergency room once for IV fluids, threw up multiple times every day, had horrible dizziness/vergito, couldn't drive, could barely bathe, etc. It did ease up about the 3rd trimester, but never fully went away.

Praise the Lord, our son was born healthy. But the thought of going through that again has been a major fear of mine. I don't know how I'd take care of my son all day while in this condition. The fear has even brought on panic attacks (I've read there's a 95% recurring rate for this kind of severe morning sickness). I've charted very conservatively since then. We absolutely want more children (actually thrilled at the thought of another baby!), are always open to life, and I'm willing to go through it again, but life circumstances mean it probably won't happen for maybe even another year. Our son may be 4 of 5 before he has a sibling, and I feel terrible about that. But I need to make sure we're in a situation where he will suffer as minimally as possible because of it. Also, both of our families live several states away, and we don't know a soul in our new town - so I don't even know how'd I'd get to prenatal appointments with my husband at work all day and no help.

I feel like the only one in the world who's not pregnant or has more than one child. Pregnancy just seems to be no problem for SO many women. They're tired, or sick for awhile (which I'm completely sympathetic too, don't get me wrong!), but can pretty much carry on as normal. I also worry about infertility too. I know I need to just give it over to God, but I'm terrified that I've been selfish because of my fears and our diligent use of NFP. I read things about how it's sinful to use it unless you're going to die or something - but in my heart I know this cannot be true, and it's not what I learned in my formation, but I sense a scrupulosity in my friends who worry about what a "serious reason" is, which sends me questioning our reasons too. I'd love to be a frequently pregnant Catholic mom, but that is just not going to be a reality for me. I have to give up that dream.

Am I being selfish?


#2

Is it selfish to want to take care of your child while your pregnant? Nope.

A 5 y/o can be more functional than a 3 y/o. Mine could make themselves a sandwich, get water, go potty, and dress themselves at that age. More than willing to snuggle with mommy when I wasn't feeling well. A 3 y/o... needs more attn. he/she can't necessarily even get food if you're strapped to a toilet puking your brains out...

It doesn't sound like your waiting until your child can drive you to the delivery room... Just waiting for some time in case you become a little less dependable...

This is of course MY OPINION...

In the mean time.. talk with a dr. about possible treatment for extreme nausea. The fact that you weren't dx'd tells me MAYBE you have a solution that you're not aware about... Here's to hope for that!

Best...


#3

Selfish?? You say you'd love more children, but significant health and logistical issues impede you. I too have AWFUL pregnancies and unlesssomeone has thrown up constantly for months on end, they cannot judge. You know in your heart what is right for your family.


#4

I second the opinions here :thumbsup::slight_smile:
and just wangted to say I spilled my water reading this

:smiley:


#5

I am in the same position as you :(. My first pregnancy was bad - lots of nausea (not HG), and severe depression. My son is 18 months old. We figured since I was being treated for depression/anxiety, this pregnancy would be different!

Wrong.

I was bedridden from week 6 to week 15 with nausea so severe I nearly ended up in the ER for fluids. I had to take serious anti-nausea meds from week 6 until about week 16. These made me sleep for approximately 16 hours a day; the other hours were spent like yours - on the couch, barely able to shower, etc. My husband was basically a single parent.
I am now 18 weeks. I still have to take benedryl to knock out the nausea. If I wake up earlier than 9 am, I throw up. This makes a lot of logistical issues :p. I am still very, very tired as a result of the severe vitamen/nutrient deficiency (I lost a good bit of hair).

I am so incredibly grateful that I can go out in public now, even if for limited amounts of time. I can sometimes manage to help clean and I am able to crochet things for the baby.

We know in our hearts that we cannot do this again soon, or cannot do it again at all. I will need a nanny. We also have no family close (though we do have lots of friends). It breaks my heart. I love babies and want lots. We are planning to adopt (always were), but now we are thinking that when this one is two, we may start the proceedings to do a private infant adoption, so I can still breastfeed them.

It all works out in the end. It's hard to give up those dreams of a constantly pregnant mama, though. :(


#6

First off... I sympathize.
I know you'll be surprised by this... but I'm pregnant with our 4th. I've lost weight during every pregnancy due to the extreme vomiting - I KNOW what you've gone through. I have to take Zofran (a prescription nausea drug developed for cancer patients on chemo) on a DAILY basis... that is, *AFTER *I throw up in the shower every single day - same story for all of my pregnancies.
I'm on the verge of gestational diabetes - migraines, dizziness, breathing issues, etc...
It's miserable... I *truly *understand.

But, I know it's temporary... 9 months isn't a lifetime.
Please take this with the utmost charity... I wonder if you could benefit from counseling to help you work through the fears on a mental/emotional level??? Could it possibly be a psychological issue that could help you get past that "fear" barrier?

It's just a thought/idea... maybe something to consider if you're really desiring another child.

Either way - you have my sincerest prayers... I've suffered from depression and anxiety, I've sought help myself.


#7

As you can see from the above replies, you are certainly not alone. More specifically, you are not the only one who has only one child and is not pregnant. I have only one (18 mos), and do not plan to conceive again for at least 6 months.

While my pregnancy was nowhere near what you're describing, I completely understand feeling like you won't be able to take care of the child you have while pregnant with another. My pregnancy was a breeze compared to yours. I was very tired the whole time, but I had very little morning sickness after the first trimester, and my only other problem was sciatica. As mild as that kind of pregnancy is, I can't imagine running around after my son while dealing with it. And the difference between my time-frame and yours for conceiving again is perfectly understandable given the difference in our pregnancies.

There is a very good reason that the Vatican does not hand down a list of grave reasons that justify the use of NFP to avoid conception. "Grave" means different things to different people, so there's no way to have a cut-and-dry list of grave reasons. Financial, emotional, psychological and physical reasons can all be grave individually. If you have one or two from each category that aren't grave, they can together become a grave reason.

That's why it all comes down to prayer. If you truly believe that having another child will make it difficult to care properly for the child you have (and I can see no reason to think otherwise), then you simply pray that God understands you reasoning and reaffirm that you will accept whatever He chooses. That is the beauty of NFP. With your words and your actions, you are showing God what you want while accepting what He chooses to give.

Out of curiousity, why do you feel bad about your son not having a sibling until he's older? If it's for your son's sake, then don't worry about it. There is no such thing as "optimal" child spacing. My nephew was four when his brother was born, and (at least for right now) they get along very well, whereas my brother and I are two years apart, and while we'll always be there for each other, we don't get along at all without serious effort. In my opinion, it's all about parenting. The reason my brother and I will always be there for each other is because we were taught that by word and by example. My nephews get along because my sister and BIL make them. It has become habit for the elder to accomodate the younger, and for the younger to not overstep his bounds (to the extent that he is able). That habit, which was formed by discipline, allowed for love and affection to grow naturally. Now, at six and two, they get along quite well. They still have the expected sibling squabbles, but their parents keep it in hand and it doesn't affect their overall relationship.

Finally, I'd like to recommend that you visit Living the Sacrament if you're not already a member. It is a female-only website dedicated to NFP, and it is a great community to be a part of for support.


#8

[quote="Em_in_FL, post:6, topic:244169"]
First off... I sympathize.
I know you'll be surprised by this... but I'm pregnant with our 4th. I've lost weight during every pregnancy due to the extreme vomiting - I KNOW what you've gone through. I have to take Zofran (a prescription nausea drug developed for cancer patients on chemo) on a DAILY basis... that is, *AFTER *I throw up in the shower every single day - same story for all of my pregnancies.
I'm on the verge of gestational diabetes - migraines, dizziness, breathing issues, etc...
It's miserable... I *truly *understand.

But, I know it's temporary... 9 months isn't a lifetime.
Please take this with the utmost charity... I wonder if you could benefit from counseling to help you work through the fears on a mental/emotional level??? Could it possibly be a psychological issue that could help you get past that "fear" barrier?

It's just a thought/idea... maybe something to consider if you're really desiring another child.

Either way - you have my sincerest prayers... I've suffered from depression and anxiety, I've sought help myself.

[/quote]

It's pretty normal and healthy to fear misery. I'm not sure there is anything to be "fixed" when one has endured an unpleasant experience and does not wish to endure it again. Frankly, I am not sure any psychologist or counselor would agree to help a woman ignore normal feelings of wanting to avoid self-induced, unnecessary suffering. Counseling and psychotherapy are therapeutic when someone has irrational or unhealthy fears - not when the fears are valid and reasonable. What is there to work through? She had a horrible experience, and if she becomes pregnant again, it will likely be round two. Not everyone wants to be a martyr or sign up for that. Not everyone's pain ends after just 9 months, either.


#9

I hope the source of your guilt isn't some of the terribly uncharitable posters here on CAF who insist that so very few reasons count as "grave" enough that virtually no woman has a good enough excuse not to have child after child after child. You can see by my sig how badly my own pregnancy went, but I've had multiple posters tell me that conditions that involve a 60% chance of death for the baby and 25% chance of stroke or permanent liver damage for me isn't serious enough because, as a particularly unkind and confrontational poster on another thread pointed out, women die in childbirth all the time. Maybe it's because that poster and others like her are single and childless and therefore have NO CLUE AT ALL what it is like to have a life-threatening pregnancy and feel the terror at the thought of going through it again, but they don't really care whether we live or die. If you're not willing to risk your life and the life of your child they think you are a bad Catholic for not having enough faith and they will tell it to you right to your face. Ignore those people. If the doctors hadn't checked my platelet count just 4 hours before they were planning to send me home for outpatient care after a week in the hospital, I would have died. I would have gone home and bled to death because not long after that I had so few platelets I was bleeding under my skin and out of my nose because my blood couldn't clot. Anyone who says that's no big deal is not worth your time or mine. (Can you tell how angry posters like that make me?)
And beyond that, what the Cathechism actually says is that you need a "just" reason to avoid, which it specifically says includes financial, emotional, and psychological reasons. The word "grave" never appears in it, and only gets tossed around CAF because a certain wellknown NFP promoter used it in his book. Unfortunately the word "grave" has a much, much more serious conotation and gives the impression that even a life-or-death reason may not even be good enough. The connotations of that word are why so many posters play armchair theologian and make judgement calls about who is and isn't using NFP properly, and who's marriage and soul are in danger for it.
So basically, you can't avoid having kids because you don't like them or because you won't be able to afford your yearly vacation to Hawaii and your weekly manicure, but you can avoid pregnancy if it will pose a genuine hardship on your family. In your case, it definitely would.
I hope you can get help to overcome your fear of another pregnancy, but don't let anyone guilt you into thinking you'll go to hell if you don't. I know how scary it is. I found out I was starting to developed preeclampsia the day I reached 23 weeks, which is too early for all but a small percentage of babies to survive. I spent the next 9 weeks worrying anther my baby was going to make it because it could have turned serious enough for them to deliver her in just days, so I didn't know if I'd have her too early and have to slowly watch her slowly die in the NICU. It's a horrible feeling and it's not one I want to go through with it. I made it to 32 weeks, but she was still only 3 lbs. 2 oz. and about the size of two soda cans stacked together. It could have easily ended very badly.


#10

[quote="Charlotte1776, post:9, topic:244169"]
And beyond that, what the Cathechism actually says is that you need a "just" reason to avoid, which it specifically says includes financial, emotional, and psychological reasons. The word "grave" never appears in it, and only gets tossed around CAF because a certain wellknown NFP promoter used it in his book.

[/quote]

:eek::blush: Wow...now I feel bad for not having done my own research, and assuming that reasons must be "grave" just because others have said so. Thank you so much for clearing that up!!!!

And, OP, I think that makes it even more clear that you are not abusing NFP, but using it as it is meant to be used. :thumbsup:


#11

[quote="MaryAnne77, post:8, topic:244169"]
It's pretty normal and healthy to fear misery. I'm not sure there is anything to be "fixed" when one has endured an unpleasant experience and does not wish to endure it again. Frankly, I am not sure any psychologist or counselor would agree to help a woman ignore normal feelings of wanting to avoid self-induced, unnecessary suffering. Counseling and psychotherapy are therapeutic when someone has irrational or unhealthy fears - not when the fears are valid and reasonable. What is there to work through? She had a horrible experience, and if she becomes pregnant again, it will likely be round two. Not everyone wants to be a martyr or sign up for that. Not everyone's pain ends after just 9 months, either.

[/quote]

Sorry, I wasn't meaning it in that way at all... I was just trying to offer *suggestions * (looking into nausea medications, counseling, etc) to consider if this was something that was bothering her and she was looking for a *possible *solution.
My apologies if this was, in any way, taken poorly. :(

I agree with the other posters about serious reasons for using NFP... I've used it to space all my children and am a huge advocate for NFP... so I share nothing but support on that front. I agree that this is a very valid and just/serious reason to use NFP... without a doubt.


#12

[quote="Charlotte1776, post:9, topic:244169"]
I hope the source of your guilt isn't some of the terribly uncharitable posters here on CAF who insist that so very few reasons count as "grave" enough that virtually no woman has a good enough excuse not to have child after child after child.

[/quote]

This. I also hope its not because of people you know in real life making snarky comments.

I am one of those that has to take Zofran every day and was sent to the ER for IV meds and hydration by my doctor. I sometimes feel the same way you do. But people just don't get it if they haven't lived through it. Well meaning comments like, "well, maybe it won't be so bad next time" don't help either. I am worried about being able to take care of my child that has needs beyond chilling in my uterus, thankyouverymuch. All that said, I think we are going to TTC in January and I am a little terrified of being able to take care of DD.

We also use NFP VERY conservatively. I would like DD to be a little bit more independent before I am most likely knocked out for the better part of 9 months.

So I get it. You're not alone :o


#13

[quote="Lil_Cat, post:12, topic:244169"]
Take Zofran every day and was sent to the ER for IV meds and hydration by my doctor. I sometimes feel the same way you do. But people just don't get it if they haven't lived through it. Well meaning comments like, "well, maybe it won't be so bad next time" don't help either. I am worried about being able to take care of my child that has needs beyond chilling in my uterus, thankyouverymuch.

[/quote]

You are all very, very lucky you can tolerate Zofran. I can't - it makes me MEAN. I have to take phenergen. Phenergen - well, it works. You also sleep and sleep and sleep and sleep. It also doesn't stop nausea, just vomiting. So I had/have to take benedryl on top of it, plus B6. Y'all count your blessings. I had a choice between basically miscarrying or sleeping for 16 hours a day.

It is better now, though not completely. But being that sick is a serious strain on my marriage and on my son, who is very small and still needs a lot of mama time. Some people are able to get help/soldier through it - some of us can't. It's pretty heart-breaking to those of us who can't, who know that having another baby soon/ever is not feasible.

For example, I'm on the computer right now. DH is feeding DS. I have a pounding headache and I'm exhausted - I slept for 12 hours; woke up at 1 pm; went to a late lunch; went to the zoo in 84 degree weather for a half an hour (mostly in the indoor portion), and went to Wal-Mart for ten minutes. That's ALL I can manage right now. I really wish I could be playing with DS right now :(. I miss him.


#14

OP - I think you have very just and valid medical reasons to delay pregnancy right now.

I wanted to recommend a resource for you - beyondmorningsickness.com - so you can talk with other women who dealt with what you did, and can maybe get tips for surviving a 2nd pregnancy (when you discern that time has come). :slight_smile:


#15

Please don't feel guilty. You are allowed to consider you're own health issues.

Just a thought though....I have acupuncture for pain and anxiety. Its really good and means I don't have to take medication. It might help you to prepare for a future pregnancy that way?

I'm sure when you overcome your fear and when you have something you trust to help you will be able to go ahead and enjoy a new pregnancy.

My first pregnancy was awful but my second wasn't as bad. The third was better still.

It doesn't always follow that you have one bad experience that the next will be the same.

Good luck with it.....courage is fear that has said its prayers

Stepper


#16

[quote="pentecostbaby, post:13, topic:244169"]
You are all very, very lucky you can tolerate Zofran. I can't - it makes me MEAN. I have to take phenergen. Phenergen - well, it works. You also sleep and sleep and sleep and sleep. It also doesn't stop nausea, just vomiting. So I had/have to take benedryl on top of it, plus B6. Y'all count your blessings. I had a choice between basically miscarrying or sleeping for 16 hours a day.

[/quote]

Eh, Zofran didn't stop the nausea either, it just kept me out of the hospital, but I digress.


#17

[quote="s27dolphin, post:1, topic:244169"]
Praise the Lord, our son was born healthy. But the thought of going through that again has been a major fear of mine. I don't know how I'd take care of my son all day while in this condition. The fear has even brought on panic attacks **(I've read there's a 95% recurring rate for this kind of severe morning sickness). I've charted very conservatively since then. **We absolutely want more children (actually thrilled at the thought of another baby!), are always open to life, and I'm willing to go through it again, but life circumstances mean it probably won't happen for maybe even another year.

[/quote]

First, it sounds like you have serious reason to avoid right now. I too have had 3 nearly identical pregnancies, in that I've thrown up everyday until my babies were born. I'm on Zofran the entire time, and it's not easy!

With all that said, I'd also say this: fear that brings on panic attacks is something that needs to be dealt with. Avoiding a situation that you fear isn't going to help anything, especially when you've stated that you and your husband definitely want more children. I agree with Em that maybe talking with someone about how this fear is paralyzing you might be a good way to overcome it.

[quote="MaryAnne77, post:8, topic:244169"]
It's pretty normal and healthy to fear misery. I'm not sure there is anything to be "fixed" when one has endured an unpleasant experience and does not wish to endure it again. Frankly, I am not sure any psychologist or counselor would agree to help a woman ignore normal feelings of wanting to avoid self-induced, unnecessary suffering. Counseling and psychotherapy are therapeutic when someone has irrational or unhealthy fears - not when the fears are valid and reasonable. What is there to work through? She had a horrible experience, and if she becomes pregnant again, it will likely be round two. Not everyone wants to be a martyr or sign up for that. Not everyone's pain ends after just 9 months, either.

[/quote]

Fear that causes panic attacks is something that should be dealt with, especially since she wants more children.

In my case, I know what I'm in for with the morning sickness (which is putting it gently!) if I get pregnant again. I don't want to endure that again, but I will, because I want another child. It sounds like the OP is in the same position, except that she can't get over the fear on her own. Seeking help with that is healthy.

It sounds like you're very bitter. I'm sorry you've had such a tough time.


#18

Please stop beating yourself up! God will give you the desires of your heart but it is is God's time. He is never too soon or too late. Enjoy your precious child. Do not worry about what should be. He is the one who will direct you. God bless you! I will keep you in my prayers!


#19

Marilyn Shannon just came out with a new booklet on managing morning sickness. It sounds like some of the posters may have more severe medical conditions, but for others it might help.

She mentions stuff like freezing vitamins to help with the nausea, and using over the counter digestive enzymes and such.


#20

[quote="pentecostbaby, post:13, topic:244169"]
You are all very, very lucky you can tolerate Zofran. I can't - it makes me MEAN. I have to take phenergen. Phenergen - well, it works. You also sleep and sleep and sleep and sleep. It also doesn't stop nausea, just vomiting. So I had/have to take benedryl on top of it, plus B6. Y'all count your blessings. I had a choice between basically miscarrying or sleeping for 16 hours a day.

It is better now, though not completely. But being that sick is a serious strain on my marriage and on my son, who is very small and still needs a lot of mama time. Some people are able to get help/soldier through it - some of us can't. It's pretty heart-breaking to those of us who can't, who know that having another baby soon/ever is not feasible.

For example, I'm on the computer right now. DH is feeding DS. I have a pounding headache and I'm exhausted - I slept for 12 hours; woke up at 1 pm; went to a late lunch; went to the zoo in 84 degree weather for a half an hour (mostly in the indoor portion), and went to Wal-Mart for ten minutes. That's ALL I can manage right now. I really wish I could be playing with DS right now :(. I miss him.

[/quote]

This might be a complete shot in the dark (there are a million and a half possibilities to your severe symptoms), but ask your doctor about testing for anti-phospholipid antibodies. I just recently ran across some research that tapped into why some mothers' bodies seem like they are rejecting the baby in womb. Its not a commonly done test and often not thought about. It could show if your immune system is fighting the pregnancy. The women I read about was treated with intravenous immunoglobulins. WHY SEX—REALLY? By Douglas Fox
Published by US News & World Report, 21 Oct 2002


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