HELP! Wife set on Birth Control!


Unfortunately, my wife has set her mind to choose birth control. Here is some background:

When she was pregnant with our last child (#4), she had Hyperemisis, which means she was very sick and almost died. Her doctors have told her that the chances of her dying if she gets pregnant are high. Because of this, she has decided (against my will) to use some form of BC. She has not decided which. I have tried to discuss NFP but she says it isn’t effective enough and she does not trust herself enough to risk her life.

I am really hurt by this whole matter and at a loss at what to do. I am a cradle catholic and she is a convert. She has since stopped attending Mass and even fights me about going. I think she is upset with God, and she now says she does not believe in organized religion. I know this is off topic, but I thought some background info would be helpful.

I am at a loss for what to do. We have abstained during the whole last pregnancy (she was too sick), and have been abstaining all postpartum (three months). I believe this is tearing us apart. If she goes ahead with BC should I continue to abstain?

I have even thought of getting a vasectomy thinking that if I put the sin on me, then she would no longer be at fault and since I don’t want to do it, and would only do it to save her soul, then perhaps it would not be mortal since there is no intent. I know it sounds like warped logic, but I am desperate. I have prayed so much about this, and I feel like my prayers are being ignored.

Please give me your thoughts.


I will keep you and your wife in my prayers. Has your wife taken a course on NFP? If not, I would suggest taking the course, without putting a lot of pressure on her. Maybe once she learns more about it, she will be open to giving it a shot, but if she feels to pressured, she might close her mind to it before learning any more about it.

I am single so my advice might not be the best. I recommend speaking to your priest about this. I will keep you and your wife in my prayers.




We have not taken a course. I have been in contact with a local teacher and would LOVE to take the course. But my wife is/was a nurse and when it comes to medical stuff, she can be very stubborn. I am afraid that she has already made up her mind. I think all I can do now is to continue to pray.


Speak to a good priest. If the priest you speak with recommends consenting to BC, speak to another priest, and then another, and another. BC tears marriages apart.

In the meantime, find some other ways to express your love for your wife. Small acts of service and self-denial. Heroic forgiveness. Deepen your own relationship with God by strong acts of will. Go on a retreat with a good priest or religious order.

As far as prayer goes, since this is probably the worst thing you’ve ever dealt with, have you considered having Mass offered for your wife? Mission Masses have low fixed offerings, and the person specified as the intention never hears about them. Having Mass offered gives the living person the graces she would have received had she been at that Mass.


Pray and sacrifice for her, but do not mutilate your body.


Go talk to your priest for guidance.

Do not get a vasectomy.

There is instruction from the Vatican on this subject. It is a guidance for priests in the confessional. But, I think you should read it. It does address the unwilling spouse who cannot stop another from contracepting.


If your wife chooses to use birth control against your will, you do not have to abstain from marital relations. Talk to your priest.


If she goes ahead with BC should I continue to abstain?

I think there have been some statements that say, depending on the type of BC, the spouse is not obligated to abstain.

However, abstaining might be something worth considering. Spend an hour contemplating a crucifix and Ephesians 5. How as Christ loved us, so are you supposed to love your wife.

It would send a mighty powerful message to your wife. “I love you so much, that I would rather abstain the rest of my life, than to see you tear yourself away from God.”

Then pray like Jesus did in the garden that your wife will return that love to you.


Since your wife is a nurse, maybe contact an NFP only Dr/nurse and have them talk to her. has a listing of NFP practitioners. They also have articles by Drs she might be able to read and get something from. Though there aren’t a ton of such NFP only drs/nurses, they DO exist. Maybe that would give her food for thought. imho, it would be only fair of her to take an NFP class with you before she decides. Knowledge is power and will help allay her fears if she knows something about NFP. Not all nurses are trained in the basic knowledge of NFP.

Hope that helps!


My wife also suffers from Hyperemesis. Her last preganancy (our 3rd child) was the worst. She lost 12 pounds and did not get back to her pre-pregnancy weight until month 7. I know how difficult this condition can become. On top of the hyperemesis, she had to give herself two injections of Heparin in the stomach each day for a blood clotting condition. The injections lasted the entire 9 months and 4 weeks after.

The reason I tell you all of this is to let you know that you are not alone. It is very difficult for both the husband and the wife during this time as the other children need to be taken care of as well. I will keep you in my prayers as I know this is a difficult decision your wife is dealing with.

Regarding the BC, I would recommend a site( where you can receive a free copy of a talk by Dr. Janet Smith called “Contraception: Why Not”. Dr. Smith does a phenomenal job explaining the church’s teaching on the use of BC. Since your wife is struggling with the church’s teaching, this may open her heart to understand and appreciate the church’s teaching.

Don’t give up on this issue. I will say that my wife and I have never considered BC as an alternative. We did discuss using NFP as a long-term family planning method after our third child. As a matter of fact, my wife just recently completed the course and she is now a certified NFP instructor.

Oh, and I forgot to mention one more thing. My wife and I are expecting our 4th child this December. We knew that the pregnancy would be difficult, but after looking into the eyes of our new-born baby, it was all worth it. So far, this pregnancy has not been as difficult. We believe that this one must be a boy. She tends to be sicker with girls. Of course, she vomits every day, but she is still able to get out of bed and take care of our other 3 children. We are so blessed. As my wife always says, “It’s not about the pregnancy, it is about the life that comes from it”.


I don’t think that information is off topic at all. Something changed if she went from being a faithful, Mass attending convert to no longer believing in organized religion. I don’t mean to make light of your concerns about contraception–which are quite serious, (if you read other threads in the Moral Theology forum, you can find more discussion on that issue.)

The change in your sexual life reflects the change in her spiritual life, and perhaps that changes only reflect some other change that’s happened. Perhaps something beyond her recent problem pregnancy bothers her. Why do you think she is upset with God? You wrote you’ve abstained three months post-partum. Could she be suffering from post-partum depression? Is she finding it difficult to cope with the new baby and raising your other three children too? If so, is there something that could be done for her in the way of household help? In any case, whatever is going on there, I think that needs to be addressed.


this is going to seem like a really dumb statement - I know that if your wife is using birth control against your will that technically you will be able to have sex with her. Do you want to have sexual relations with someone who is deliberatly going against Church Teachings? I know you love her very much but it sounds to me like she is blackmailing you out of fear for her own life. I understand it, it is obviously not ‘out there’, I think it is an almost normal reaction when someone tells you you might die if you get pregnant again, but I do not hear any talk of the kind of self-sacrifice necessary when handed this type of cross by Our Lord…and please, forgive me if I sound kind of harsh. I don’t mean to…honest.


I was like your wife and did not think I could do NFP until I wnet to the class. we have been doing it for just about a month now,.They realy helped me get it right. Its not there job its cause they want to be your friend and help you get it right. I can call my NFP teacher anyday at her HOME. I’m breast feeding and they say that is the hardest time to learn but we are doing it. have her just try the class and then she can go from there. You will be right there with her so she is not doing it my herself. Good luck and you will be in our prays.


OK really in matters of health I thought Catholics could use birth control. My ex wife was on it for endometriosis and had the blessing of her priest. If the intent is not to avoid pregnancy but the symptoms associated with it wouldn’t it be ok to go on the pill?


I believe I tried speaking to your wife on this at another board.


**I have been where she is, but she doesn’t believe me? I guess she thinks if anyone had truely been where she is, they’d just have to agree with her.:frowning: **
My sorrow for her anger and lonliness is genuine.
I think more than anything else in the world right now, she needs to heal.
It’s been a very tramatic year for her, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
I know she is leaning towards a permanent method of birth control (tubal).
I would not be able to support that for at least 3 reasons.
1. Her body has been through hell, it needs to heal.
2. No major permanent medical decision should be made out of fear and anger.
3. NFP is safer and in line with Church teachings.

I wouldn’t be thrilled with any other form of BC, but at least it’s not permanent. There’s room for a change of heart.

I tried to be as gentle as possible with your dw.
**I think she is simply at a place right now where the only thing she can hear is roaring of fear in her veins.:frowning: **

My very best advice for both of you is this:
Take 6 months away from this subject. Abstain for those 6 months and use the time to heal. Enjoy that hard earned baby. Eat chocolate. Have quiet nights over dinner together. Let her meds and hormones level out.

This is not a decision that has to be reached NOW. But you both need time to HEAL your marriage and her body.

She is having a crisis of faith. She feels abandoned, alone, expendible, by you, by God, and her faith has been shatterred. And she’s angry about it. At you, at God, at everyone.

If I were you I’ve shower her in love, pamper her in every way you can without leaving the truth of your faith. And I would lay all the petitions for her to change her heart at the feet of Mary and Jesus and the Holy Spirit, rather than continue to bombard her with them.

Continue to go to Mass. Take the kids. But I wouldn’t act angry with her for not going. She can use the time alone to soak in the tub, take a nap, or whatever she needs some peace and quiet to do.

Your wife is talking divorce she is that angry and scared right now.

**I can’**t say this enough. There needs to be HEALING in your home. More than anything your wife and your marriage need healing.

I’m praying so very hard for your family.
Feel free to PM me, or have your wife PM me.
**I doubt she will. I think I just enraged her on the other board, no matter what I said or how I said it. She just didn’t want to hear it.:crying: **


Dose she need some facts to hepl her understand that the pill is wrong not only in Gods eyes but bad for your body.
Here are some facts about the pill.

The 1999 Physicians Desk Reference reads:
“Progestin-only oral contraceptives prevent conception by suppressing ovulation in approximately half of users, thickening the cervical mucus to inhibit sperm penetration, lowering the midcycle LH and FSH peaks, slowing the movement of the ovum through the fallopian tubes, and altering the endometrium” (p. 2201).

“Combination oral contraceptives act by suppression of gonadotropins. Although the primary mechanism of this action is inhibition of ovulation, other alterations include changes in the cervical mucus (which increase the difficulty of sperm entry into the uterus) and the endometrium (which reduce the likelihood of implantation)” (p.713).

Both pills (progestin-only and combination) act to prevent the release of an egg from the ovary (ovulation). However, because the hormone level in pills has been lowered in recent years due to serious physical complications, women can and do experience occasional breakthrough ovulation - meaning that an egg is released from the ovary and is available to be fertilized by the sperm.

Both types of pills also cause the cervical mucus to thicken, making it difficult for the sperm to reach the egg. It is possible, though, for the sperm to occasionally break through the mucus and to fertilize the egg. Both types of pills change the lining of the uterus (endometrium), as you read above.

If fertilization has occurred (i.e., if the sperm and the egg have joined forming a union that denotes the beginning of a new human being), the Pill, by altering the lining of the uterus, may prevent the 5-10 day-old human from attaching to the lining of the uterus (implantation), where it would receive the nourishment needed to grow.

If implantation does not occur, then this young human is expelled from the body during menstruation. This “post-fertilization effect” may cause a “chemical abortion”; the Pill may be referred to as an abortifacient rather than a contraceptive.

Some women may be taking the Pill for various reasons (ovarian cysts, heavy periods, etc.) to relieve medical problems. The Pill may relieve symptoms; but there are natural methods of relieving those same symptoms and of curing the root problem that are just as effective and much safer.

The side effects of taking the pill, especially for long term users are, but are not limited to, acne, weight gain, increased risk of breast and cervical cancer, lowered immunity to STDs, and the possibility of sterility later in life.

“Fertility problems are only the tip of the iceberg for many women…‘In 1960, when the pill was first invented, the incidence of breast cancer was one in 25 women; today it is one in eight women,’” says Kathy Raviele, M.D., an Atlanta physician.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) supports Raviele’s supposition that there is a definite link between pill use and breast cancer. [see JAMA, 11 October 2000, vol.284, pp.1791-1798, family history risk of breast cancer with oral contraceptives].

According to the Physician’s Desk Reference, women who took the pill as teenagers are at higher risk of developing breast cancer when in their 30s than women in the population as a whole." [Family Resources Center News, Jan/Feb 02]

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That’s actually a very interesting opinion…the only thing is that if it’s someone who has other children to take care of it might not be the wisest idea to make that kind of self-sacrifice.

To the OP, I can’t think of anything more to say that hasn’t been said already except try to encourage her to take a class on NFP. It might help her learn more about it.


Endometriosis is serious, and you and your ex-wife have my sympathies. But I think in such a case the intent is to avoid pregnancy in order to avoid the symptoms associated with it.

Pray for the priest, and forgive him.


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