As newlyweds, my husband and I are thinking about the timing of starting a family. We are practicing NFP and we LOVE it…what a beautiful testament of love to give to each other.
For those who have been married/discerned starting a family… do you think that simply needing time to settle into marriage and figure out finances is a “serious reason” to postpone? What made you decide to begin having children?
I am two years into being married, using NFP. The Church never defines what the serious reason is, it is up to the couple to discern. My husband and I want to give our child a stable home so we are saving up our money while we both work ( I won’t work if/when a baby comes). I am 25 now and we will probably be discarding our charting stuff within the next year or so and just going with the flow …
Hi, I don’t have any children, nor am I married or in a relationship! But congrats to you both with your commitment to NFP. I think that indeed couples do need to discern the “serious reason” for themselves and their own situation. When you mentioned finances, I would say that is part of creating a stable environment in which to bring up your child. Since you are newlyweds, I don’t see why you need to start having children immediately anyway. You may learn a lot about each other just by being married and discussing your future family.
And since you obviously both sound committed to carrying out God’s will, I wouldn’t doubt that if He really wanted you to start immediately, He would find a way to make it happen!
Many blessings and congrats on your marital bliss…
As the previous poster noted - there is not defined “list” as to what constitutes a good enough reason to use NFP.
Personally, I’ve found it’s something you discern on a day by day basis. It’s something you pray about constantly. If you aren’t constantly questioning your motivations for using NFP, then that “serious reason” will never be overcome. You may NEVER have enough money, time, experience, settling time, etc.
So there’s no defined answer… it’s something you need to pray about and ask for God’s guidance on.
On a personal note… We have used NFP throughout our marriage - it IS a wonderful blessing! We waited a little while (I was still in college when we married - starting a new job soon after) before having our first child (born right after our 2nd anniversary). I once “dreamed” of being a stay-at-home mom… but even now - after 3 kids - I’m still working full time. Sometimes God’s plans are beyond our understanding - but if we had waited until timing was “perfect” then maybe we wouldn’t have our 3 wonderful blessings right now. But NFP has been WONDERFUL for allowing us to space our children - allowing for me to recover both physically and mentally (I had really bad PPD after our first 2 kids).
Reasons come and go for using NFP - pray together as a couple that God guides you to where HE wants you to be in life - there you will find your answers.
My question is why a married couple has to have kids at all. Why? There are some people that are just not cut out to be parents, and they know it. Does this mean they shouldn’t get married? And just because a couple chooses not to “procreate”, does this mean they shouldn’t have sex? Doesn’t make sense to me at all. There are some folks who literally can’t have kids, for medical reasons. Should they not get married just because they can’t procreate? I don’t believe the church (any church) has the right to tell people that they should “have” to have kids. Did Mary and Joseph have any kids of “their own”? Jesus was the son of God, not the son of Joseph.
The Catechism uses a more precise term - “Just Reason”. Reading this section, praying about it and discussion between the spouses as well as each spouse with his/her confessor will guide you to know what reasons are just.
2368 A particular aspect of this responsibility concerns the regulation of procreation. For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood. Moreover, they should conform their behavior to the objective criteria of morality:
When it is a question of harmonizing married love with the responsible transmission of life, the morality of the behavior does not depend on sincere intention and evaluation of motives alone; but it must be determined by objective criteria, criteria drawn from the nature of the person and his acts, criteria that respect the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love; this is possible only if the virtue of married chastity is practiced with sincerity of heart.156
petsr4ever - Your post is really off topic. The Church never says that married people HAVE to have children. We are merely to be open to life (which is God’s natural design) when do partake in sexual union.
As far as Mary and Joseph - It seems like you share the Church’s stance on them. They did not have sexual relations (hint: because they didn’t have other kids, as you said, and they certainly wouldn’t have been using contraceptive). The option to be celibate in marriage is open to all married people, and periodic celibacy is the basis of NFP.
I think the most important thing to do is pray about it and ask the Lord what He wants you do. I don’t necessarily think finances should be the litmus test because I know that money is not the means to an end. In one day, your entire fortunes could be lost. In one day you could put yourself into serious debt. You and your husband could lose your jobs.
The best advice I can give is to pray about it. If you feel called to have a child, you will do so regardless of your finances. God will never lead you astray if you follow his path.
Just remember how our Holy Mother said yes to God even though she was poor.
we got married at 25 y.o…We postponed kids for 3 1/2 years due to the fact my husband wanted a house first, so I had my first at 29…we wanted a big family…Little did I know I would develop a medical problem that would make it hard for me to get pregnant…Well, it took 10 years for us to have 2 more kids and it wasn’t easy, i had to have some surgeries, anyway, I am grateful to God for my three but I wanted even more children, If I had started at 25 or 26 before I developed my condition, i would probably had more…My advice is, don’t wait…God bless you…don’t get me wrong, I am very,very grateful that I have 3, I know a lot of people have trouble getting pregnant at all…
Obviously I don’t know the real situation of the op, but honestly, the way you are putting it here" * time to settle in marriage and “figure out” finances.*…this sounds almost like you are looking for a reason to postpone children.
I guess I’m interested on why the decision wasn’t made prior to marriage, and what the variables were that would change that decision.
Having a child early on will move people out of selfishness real quick. You never know how long it will take you to conceive.
I’m saying all this only reacting to what has been typed here. I know I don’t know the particular situation and I won’t put judgement on it…but I hope you can honestly evaluate really what are you waiting for?
I think waiting to settle into marriage and getting your finances in order are perfectly good reasons to postpone having children a little bit.
To answer the above poster…I’m don’t have kids per say yet…but my first is due in October. Being pregnant has moved me out of selfiness very quick…but so did marriage. There were a ton of things my husband and I had to work out and learn about during our first 2 years of marriage. No amount of premarital counseling, or dicernment, or discussion could have prepared us for most of those issues large and small that only come up once you have completely joined your lifes. I am glad that we had the two years of marriage alone, to figure a lot of that out and to really build a strong bond between the two of us. I think it will make us much better parents because of it. I’m not saying that having kids right away is bad, but it wold have made those transitions, for us at least, a lot harder.
Also I think getting your finances in order before really trying to have kids it a very, very smart thing as well. Seriously, kids are expensive, and they require a lot of stuff. I am a pretty frugal shopper and will borrow, buy used, shop sales etc., and we have still had a pretty significant outlay of cash to get ready for the baby. We also waited as the original poster is noting to make sure that our household could seamlessly transition to living off only my husbands salary so I can stay home with our daughter. I think that is a valid reason to wait if it is possible for a family to do so.
The original poster is not using AB to completely avoid pregnancy. They are using NFP and are open to life, they are just trying to work out when is the best time to work at starting a family, so that their children have the best possible situation to grow up in.
Well, we knew we were going to be open to having kids from day 1, and I mean open as in not avoiding. Basically we decided that we didn’t have to decide when to start having kids, we only had to decide whether or not we had to avoid when/if an issue were to arise. We ended up getting blessed with a honeymoon baby! We had met one summer and married the next, having a long distance relationship in between. He did come up about every month to see me, so we were in the same zip code probably about 90 days total before we got married. Some people started telling us we should have waited to adjust to each other because of this blah blah… We even had financial issues that showed up for the most part after we found out we were pregnant, but from a “settling into marriage” and a financial point of view, for us, I would not have changed a thing, and I think having our precious little gift did help us have a smooth first year, (lol, and a smooth 4 years after that, we just celebrated our 5th anniversary ). Even our financial issues were resolved. I’m glad I didn’t pay attention to the people that thought we should have waited, we would have missed out on so much. It truly is up to the couple to prayerfully discern what God’s will for them is and “make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood.” Other people can have all sorts of opinions and ideas, but in the end the couple is the one who is responsible for what they decide :).
Well, sorting out your finances seems like a kind of vague reason. A wise woman once gave me the advice that there are absolutely no guarantees in this life, ever. You could build up a nice nest egg and then lose it in a week in a disaster . And if you’re looking for reasons to postphone having children, you are going to surely find them. To a large extent you really need to live in the “now” if you want to live at all. Do you and your husband want to have kids in your family? Then have kids. There are no guarantees about the future. I would hate for those words to come back and haunt you sometime in the future when you realize that you waited too long…
As for us, we’re going to start using NFP to help us conceive from the get-go. Having kids is all a part of marriage so the way I see it, it’s a package deal. Traditionally (and generally) speaking you don’t have a marriage without children and you don’t have children without a marriage. Package deal.
If we hadn’t had an “oops” baby we would still be finding reasons not to have babies. Now that we have one our lives are so different. We still are in a very tough financial position, but we realized that if we wait until everything is perfect we’ll never have any children. It’s just something to think about, because you have to discern for yourself whether you have just reasons.
Talking to your priest can help too. The first time we did I think our priest was trying not to roll his eyes at our reasons which included, finances and finishing grad school and traveling (okay the traveling really feels silly now, but it was a lifelong dream. it’s just on hold for a few decades these days.)…
You will never get settled into marriage. It is a mystery as are all sacraments. You will also never figure out finances, have security. There is no such thing in this life. Have your babiesand love them. It is an adventure. Love grows. You wil be cooperating with God in creating immortal benings. If you refuse this gift the love of marriage will not grow. It really does keep getting better. 35 years and counting.
I always say, if your reasons are not of life and death, do not postpone since you have no idea if you will have infertility issues. You’d be surprised at how many couples do this and discover they have this problem (my husband and I included).
We thought money was a good enough reason. We bought a house, we had good jobs and had paid all of our debt except for the new mortgage and new car… we learned NFP and avoided for a few months but then one day we thought, why? If 2 mouths can be fed here, so can a 3rd one. We’ve been trying to have a child since 3/15/07 and have lost 3 children. So you know, now we’re both strugglin with work as I have an on call job, DH lost his job and has breaks of wks at a time where he doesn’t work, we lost our house… yet, we still want to start our family because we can still pay for a place to live, for food, insurance and have money for emergencies… money problems always come and go.
You never know what God has planned for you, we sure didn’t and if we hadn’t wasted the first yr in avoiding, we would’ve known sooner that I had infertility problems that needed to be fixed/treated.
But then again, it’s a thing that you and your DH have to discuss whole-heartedly and make your decision… but the beauty of NFP is that you can be avoiding one month and decide to try the very next.
God bless you in the heavy cross of losing your babies and the struggle to have a family.
My wife and I have four grown children and she lost four others. I think the question of the original poster is very common for couples today. Should we try to have children now or maybe we should wait until… It is a good idea to see what motivates the reason to delay bringing new life into the world and starting a new family. What is behind it?
What is settling into marriage, settling into the sacrament, about? It is at its essence about being and growing in love for one another, receiving God’s grace together. We consent to the bonding, but God does it. It is a spiritual thing. I am an old man. The love my wife and I have for one another is greater now than ever and it has always grown. We did not do it. God did. We cooperated. We have been through many challenges in life together, sick kids, no money, some health issues, but these were all things that made us closer. We went through it together and grew closer. She is the only person in the world I have that has shared life with me and she is part of me. So now when we go to weddings or meet new young marrieds we hope for them that they will find and know the blessings in the sacrament that we know are there. We hope they choose the pathways that will lead to them, but know they might not.
All or almost all new couples have some financial issues that need to get resolved. It is going to take some extra financial resources to pay for baby, not only initially, but there will be medical, educational, and other miscellaneous expenses and both will not be able to work full time with the time demands of a family. The college loans have to get paid, a down payment on a house needs to be made, the old cars need replacing and repairing. Things might not go smoothly. Before we rush into this undertainty maybe we should pause awhile and enjoy life together.
The presumption there is that having a family will not bring joy. Also the underlying concern is fear and worry for the future. Things might not go the way we want them to and it might be hard and fifficult. Life might not be easy.
I can guarantee it will not be easy and things will not go exactly as planned, The future is always uncertain. It is full of surprises. But in marriage the two made one face the future together. Whatever comes, we are together in it. Think of the promises we made.
Life is an adventure. We will either welcome it or shrink away from it in fear. Our culture is full of fear. Part of that is the fear of what having a family might bring. It is God’s greatest blessing to the couple that they join with Him in creating a new and immortal being. We have the power to refuse and we do, out of fear.
Jesus commands us to not be afraid, to not worry about tomorrow. Receive the blessing of today and let tomorrow take care of itself. Have courage. If we turn away from life out of fear we end up losing the grace God will give us.
Marriage to me is what i have thought about over and over again in my heart.The same thing i realised my wife thought of, so what we want to achieve from our marriage is already agreed by us. The idea that pregnacy should wait because of no means for now is like failing to understand that you are fading fast and i ask you, do you really know the end from the beginning? I would advise that go on have your children now and kill fear out of your life. Fear only God who can do all things in our lives.
If you feel you have a concern - wait. Nothing says you have to have three kids by age 30 to be a good Catholic. Be smart and make sure you are prepared to some degree. You will never be completely ready but adding a child early on in a marriage in which two people are still getting used to living with each other and working out their finances can easily add to the problems you already face. About three months into our marriage my wife asked me when I thought we should start having kids, I told her to ask me later, I was still getting used to having her around the house.
My wife and I waited until our employment was stable (3 years) and we had our finances in order. We thank God we did, our older son was born and everything was fine until age three. At that point he was diagnosed with intractable epilepsy and proceeded to run up medical bills into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for each of the next three years. Had we had our son earlier when we were on my wife’s public school health insurance he would never have gotten the treatments he needed, nor would my wife have been able to quit working to take care of him.
Recently my wife was complaining to her father about how busy she was keeping up with the schedules of our two sons, his response was “You should have another one so you appreciate what you have now”.
You can never be completely ready but having children before you have prepared yourself is neither fair to the child or the spouce.
I got married when I was 39 so we didn’t really want to waste any time, as we didn’t know how long it would take for me to get pregnant. All we were waiting for was several months to go by so that I could have maternity leave at work, as I had just started a new job, and I had to be on the job for a year before the maternity leave would kick in.
That being said, only you and your spouse know when the right time is. Good luck to you and please pray if you don’t know when the right time is.