MS, Birth Control, and Pregnancy?


#1

No idea where else to post this.

I have a question. Currently still going through RCIA, and the last few weeks I have begun to feel extremely disturbed by the fact that I have an IUD in (have had it the last 3 or so years) and wondering how many babies I have inadvertantly aborted. I don’t want to think too hard about it. Today I scheduled an appointment with my doctor to have it removed.

Here is my question: I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis just over a year ago, and take a weekly injection. Women are instructed to NOT become pregnant, as there can be serious health risks to the baby. I guess I am just suddenly terrified of getting pregnant while on this medication (if I want to get pregnant I am supposed to go off the medication during that time). I don’t know a lot about NFP, and the accuracy. I know I suppose if I have a big fear of it, than I shouldn’t have relations with my husband. Except that will not cut it for him…he is not a member, and as it is our marriage runs the risk of falling apart because of me becoming Catholic.

I don’t know, I wonder if there is anybody else out there (on this forum) that has MS and may struggle with this issue, or know anybody that does? I’m not saying I want BC…I just need a little more information I guess.

I hope my question was clear…answers will be very helpful!


#2

Wow, tough situation. Objectively, contraceptives are gravely immoral. But it is a legimate concern not to grow distant from your husband during this time. You definitely don’t want him seeing the Church’s teaching as something that is dividing your marriage and putting your vulnerable health at risk. This could lead to further resentment and be very hard on your marriage. And couples do have conjugal rights. For one spouse to just decide “we’re not going to have sex anymore” again hurts the marital unity, builds resentment, etc, etc.

I believe what you need is pastorial guidence as to how to approach this. Other posters are probably just going to give you the cold objective moral facts and just be like “live with it.”

I would set up an appointment with your pastor to talk to him for maybe a half hour about your situation and to see what advise he can give you. Pray that God will open up a path for you: that He will protect your marriage, protect your health all while giving you a path that is morally good to follow.


#3

First of all pray for guidance. The Holy Spirit has brought you to this point; you are aware that it is wrong to have an IUD. Thanks be to the Lord!

I remember many years ago asking a question of the priest in confession about my fear of displeasing my husband with regard to my desire to do the right thing,(no birth control) and my husband not understanding why. My husband was baptized a Catholic, but not catechized a Catholic. Before our marriage he took instruction (briefly) in order to make his first Confession and Holy Communion. The story is longer, but I will stop here. The priest gently reminded me that although we are married, we are on different roads to salvation.

I am 74 years of age, and have been a widow for 12 years. Finally, in the last few years of his life he came to understand and appreciate what the faith was all about. From experience I can say it is so true that husband and wife are to help each other to get to heaven. It was a painful marriage, but with spiritual direction and coming to know more and more about my faith I had all the support I needed. He had a beautiful death, surrounded by our eight children from all over the United States who were praying and also sharing about the happy times they had with him. The last solid food he had was the Holy Eucharist when our priest came to our home, four days before his death.

I am sure I was a pain in the neck to my husband as well. :slight_smile: All I can say to you, again, is to pray and talk to a holy priest who is loyal to the Magisterium of the Church. Fall into the arms of Our Lord Jesus Christ and Our Blessed Mother!

God bless you!


#4

I think what you need is to take a class on NFP as soon as possible. You may have to abstain from relations for a little while, while you switch over from IUD to NFP. But, after that, you should be fine.

There are four main methods: Sympto-Thermal, Creighton, Billings, and Marquette. Google them and research. Talk to your family life coordinator in your parish or at the diocese and find out what classes are available locally. You can also find classes through the method websites.

Also, I suggest you talk to Rayne89 and Crohnie4Life, both members on CAF who have used NFP for over 10 years to avoid pregnancy due to serious medical conditions.


#5

According with the Pope’s last statements regarding the use of condoms it would be the less “immoral” thing to do. But pay attention that it is not the best solution. It is a compromise when the marital union is in peril.
I also don’t know why they told you that you couldn’t or shouldn’t get pregnant… the only risk for the baby is if you’re having drug treatments.
Does your husband refuse to care for a child? That would probably be the more important question.


#6

This is not what the Pope meant. Rather than repeating everything here, search for the other threads dealing with this topic and you’ll find good explanations on what he actually meant.

To the OP: I’ve been using NFP since June of last year (Sympto-Thermal Method). We’ve learned it during the postpartum time (our youngest is 9 months old now) and it has been challenging but possible. My DH is not Catholic, and while he isn’t on board for all the reasons I am, he is on board because of the science behind the method. When used properly there is 99% effectiveness (which is more than or equal to artificial contraception, plus the use of NFP is moral).

I agree that you should do some research, talk with your priest, and talk with your husband. I’ll pray for your situation and that you have all the strength you need, both physicallyl and spiritually. :hug1:


#7

Can you please indicate how am I lying? I didn’t quote the Pope. I made a statement based on his conclusions.

@OP
I forgot to ask how advanced is your sclerosis. It is important because multiple sclerosis also disrupts the menstrual cycle (70-90% of the people, if i remember correctly) which makes NFP much more unrealiable. And of course, as I mentioned before, the medication you may take might endanger the child and also change your cycles.

I will still pray for you.
Take care.
Daniel


#8

"dskysmine"

Please understand that no one is saying that you are lying. Many people misunderstood our Holy Father, mostly the secular newspapers.

Peace,

Dorothy


#9

This is a difficult situation that you're in. On the one hand, BC is immoral and should be avoided. On the other hand, to remove sex from your marriage would probably not be healthy for it either, especially considering your husband's position.

My advice is to talk to your pastor. He's probably got a lot more information than you'll be able to find in an online forum. NFP can be very effective--just as or more effective as BC, but you'll want to take a class for it. Your pastor can give you information about what types of classes are offered in your area. You can also start by doing a quick google search on Natural Family Planning. You'll at least get some information on the different methods that are available to you.


#10

There are many NFP only doctors in the US. Go to the Catholic Medical Association website and/or One More Soul website and you can find a OB/GYN or Family Practitioner in your area that can assist you. God Bless your family and your marriage.


#11

NFP is presented with rose colored glasses and really you have to be open to life. Clearly this is not an option. You can except one (or several) unplanned pregnancy on NFP. Either that or you won't be able to have relations with your husband. I would talk with you priest but in the end you need to do what would be best for your health and if the is being on ABC then so be it!


#12

[quote="convert38, post:11, topic:227185"]
NFP is presented with rose colored glasses and really you have to be open to life. Clearly this is not an option. You can except one (or several) unplanned pregnancy on NFP. Either that or you won't be able to have relations with your husband. I would talk with you priest but in the end you need to do what would be best for your health and if the is being on ABC then so be it!

[/quote]

Really? You got these statistics from where? One or several unplanned pregnancies? Are we talking from your own personal experience, or are you just reading message boards, that don't properly represent the majority.

What's best for one's health is important, what's best for one's eternal life is of more importance?

Leading someone to commit a mortal sin is not something one should do lightly.

OP, talk with your priest and also check out the site onemoresoul.com and see if you have a Dr. in your area that understands NFP and who can not only direct you in that area of your health, but can also take into consideration your other health concerns as well, hopefully with a much better understanding and expertise than any of us. I'd also recommend talking to your prescribing doctor and explain your concerns and circumstances.


#13

What?! Where is this coming from? You are running a grave chance of misforming people.

To those whom this totally terrified: we have had no unplanned pregnancies on NFP. We abstain from sex for about 12-15 days per month, but we are very conservative. It is NOT THAT BAD.

The world tells you that you have the right to have sex all the time. It tells you that staying abstinent for part of your cycle is impossible. This is not the case. Please educate yourself about NFP.


#14

I know that this is only anecdotal, but I work with a woman who is pregnant and has MS. The things you need to watch out or are: not being overweight at the time of pregnancy, making sure any meds you take for MS will not harm the development of a baby, and to go to the doctor as usual so they can closely monitor the baby’s development.

It’s questions like this, from people who have unique health issues, that makes me wish the Church had better ways to instruct people what to do in these situations.


#15

[quote="convert38, post:11, topic:227185"]
NFP is presented with rose colored glasses and really you have to be open to life. Clearly this is not an option. You can except one (or several) unplanned pregnancy on NFP. Either that or you won't be able to have relations with your husband. I would talk with you priest but in the end you need to do what would be best for your health and if the is being on ABC then so be it!

[/quote]

I think that you're misinformed about NFP use. NFP is very effective if used correctly. It's just as good or better than ABC at preventing pregnancy. I know of people who have used NFP for periods of 10 years or more with ZERO unintended pregnancies. Yes, you'll have to abstain for a period of time during the woman's most fertile time of her cycle. It is possible to do.

Education is key.


#16

Zipper,

I assume you are taking one of the disease modifying drugs (Avonex)? which can cause birth defects. You cannot get pregnant when on any of these type of drugs. I have MS and have been on Betaseron for over 14 years. I have always been infertile and went through early menopause (41) so this was not a problem for me.

Pregnancy itself usually is good for women with MS. The hormones seem to help. It’s after the baby is born when you could have a relapse. I’m assuming you have the remitting/relapsing form of MS. I believe that being on this drug has kept me from advancing. I still can can do basically everything I did before I was diagnosed (over 20 years ago). I do have some weakness in my legs and a lot of numbness and I’m fatigued most of the time, but those are minor things These drugs do not cure you, but they do slow down the progression. It’s important you stay on the drug.

However, I see no problem with you going off while you try to get pregnant and during the pregnancy. But that is something you are going to have to talk to your neurologist about.

Good luck!


#17

If you absolutely cannot get pregnant while on your drugs then you and your husband need to face the fact that no form of birth control.....NFP or ABC is 100% effective. Even IUD's can fail and you can get pregnant.

NFP can be very effective.....however you have to be educated on the rules and methods, and you have to follow them...no cheating ever. (We have one on the way in May because we tried to bend the rules) However as with any type of Birth Control Method there is always a chance for pregnancy.

With regards to your husband:
The fact that you have a major medical issue that makes sex an issue, him saying that sex is that important to risk your health or a future baby's health is really alarming. Since no type of Birth Control is 100% effective he is asking you to run these risks for his pleasure. That doesn't seem fair at all.

I can however understand his being upset about your conversion. Keep in mind that you have decided to change faiths, and while it's great you have found what you believe to be true, you are changing the game on him midplay. Depending on what your faith was before there can be a lot of lifestyle changes that go along with the one spouse becoming Catholic that have huge effects on the non catholic spouse. This makes a enviorment ripe for major problems in the marriage.

As the non catholic spouse in a mixed faith marriage it can be really stressful. When my husband returned to the faith a year into our marriage it was a very difficult thing for me, and we fought a lot. One fortunate thing for us was that I am Lutheran MS which is pretty close theologically to the Catholic Church. However I still felt like the rug had been yanked out from under me, we got through it but there were some really tense months in there where I doubted everything. We were able to stabilize the situation in a way that worked for us, but there was a lot of comprimise involved.


closed #18

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.