Newlyweds: NFP, BC pill?...need help


#1

Hi everyone!

When my husband and I got married in the Catholic church in January, we were both virgins and totally committed to a healthy, happy, Catholic marriage with regards to our sexual relationship. We read Holy Sex by Greg Popcak and what a GREAT read that was! I recommend that book to everyone, single, newlywed, been married for 40 years...

I've run into a snag, however, with our commitment to use Natural Family Planning to avoid pregnancy at this time. We do want to have children, but not for several years. The reasoning here is just like most newly-married couples. We just got married and are hoping to spend some time enjoying each other before we start adding to our family. We are both working in our first full-time jobs, getting used to our new lifestyle, and are simply not ready for a new baby. Just the thought of having a child at this time sends a wave of panic through me!

My cycles are extremely irregular (have been this way since high school and my docs have told me that it might be just the way my body is) and even for the few months when they are regular and we have sex, I'm so nervous about getting pregnant I'm not enjoying the activity. I'm just worrying about what might happen. Oftentimes when my husband and/or I are in the mood, I deny it because of my worry. You can tell me that NFP is 90+% effective, but I still think I am going to be in that 10%. I feel like this is almost worse than being on the pill sometimes, having to deny this holy activity (please, you gotta read the book...it's amazing) that we want to share together. I completely understand why the Church is opposed to the pill; it makes complete sense, but what about people like me who don't ovulate like clockwork and are nervous about NFP's effectiveness?

I am not looking for justification for going on the pill. I really don't want to take it because I don't support it for a number of reasons, including the ones Dr. Popcak outlines in his book. I would like someone who has had some experience in this area to give me some advice, help calm my fears... I appreciate any and all comments! :)


#2

there are I understand methods of ovulation prediction available that do not depend on cycle regularity, I hope you are getting instruction on NFP not just reading a book

that being said, if you are ready for marriage, you are ready for children. Let God be in charge of your life he knows best. the one and only advice I have for my children and grandchildren, and anyone else who asks me directly as you are doing, after 40 years of marriage, is Jesus I Trust in You. Trust God in this and in all other aspects of marriage, family and career.


#3

There are electronic fertility monitors that use either saliva or urine to check the levels of two hormones to predict ovulation. They are $180 but if you have irregular cycles and don't want a baby right now I think it would be worth the investment, especially since I've heard that birth control pills can cost up to $50 a month! If you use it along with NFP tracking methods, I'm sure you can be confident about when you are not fertile.
Also, remember that your egg only lives for about 24 hours and sperm only live for a few days too, so each much there really aren't very many fertile days. Most days you have basically no chance of getting pregnant.

amazon.com/Clearblue-Easy-Fertility-Monitor/dp/B0000532QB/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=hpc&qid=1284297830&sr=8-1


#4

First off, have you looked into multiple NFP methods to help give you more reliability and predicatability? That may give you more peace of mind.

While I wasn't in your shoes when I first got married (we started trying to have a baby right away), I do understand the feeling of panic when you want to trust God's plan for your family but are scared to.

Take a deep breath. And trust. Babies take 9 months so if you got pregnant tomorrow, you'd still have 9 months as a couple. And it sounds like you've had a couple months of newlywed bliss already. :)

Babies are wonderful. Don't worry about one destroying your coupleness. Ours has brought us closer together every day. :)

KG


#5

To say I don't ovulate like clockwork is an understatement...they have been as short as 1.5 months and as long as 7.

I kinda know how you feel in your situation though. Back when we were dating almost all of our premarital frustration was focused on not being able to live together rather than not having sex. For example, there were many conventions along the east coast that we wanted to attend together because of our similar hobbies but we could not because we could not travel together and had no friends to bunk with. So....once we got married we did do a fair bit of traveling to get it all of that frustration out of our systems.

We're still using NFP and have no kids....partially because we're not actively pursuing them right now and partially because I have PCOS, which would still make things difficult even if we *were *TTC.

As it turns out even in marriage we don't "feel the burn" that often so we're usually engaging on the weekends every other week or three. One additional complication was that I'm almost never dry. But I've gotten pretty used to reading my CM and telling the difference between "junk" and CM that actually means something. So we usually make our decisions based on my CM. Is it "junk"? If it's not, what do the last could of days days indicate? Are the signs going up the ovulation incline or is it dying down because of a false alarm?

Of course having sex in phase 1 is not as effective as waiting until phase 3 if you are TTA. But if something happens and we DO conceive, then we realize we'll just have to grow up. Part of it is attitude too. I'm also terrified of being a mom (mainly because I'm afraid I'd be bad at it more than anything). But I'm still open to the idea.

If it's one thing life has taught me so far is that God will laugh at you if you tell Him your plans. There have been to many thing (good and bad) going on right now that I never imagined I'd be doing even 5 years ago. So I'd haven't really been putting too much weight on my own plans. I live life and see what happens.


#6

It does not sound like you have a good reason to deliberately avoid creating a baby to me, wanting to enjoy each other or been apprehensive about it does not sound like a serious reason which is needed to licitly use NFP to avoid fulfilling the main purpose of marriage which is to create new life.

My wife got pregnant on our honeymoon and it was the best thing that ever happened to our marriage.

The answer to your problem does not lie in a pill it lies inside you, you need to change your attitude by trusting in God to not give you more children than He knows you can cope with and a readiness to accept His will in this matter.

A good place to start would be to examine the reasons why you feel you are not ready for a child, which should have been done before you were married, but there is no going back now, so why is it that you feel you are not ready for a child?


#7

I think you and your husband should sit down and reevaluate whether you believe that wanting some time together for just the two of you is a serious reason to avoid using NFP.
IMO, before being married is your time to get to know each other and spend time, but that is for you two as a couple to decide.


#8

[quote="AlisonGenevieve, post:1, topic:212429"]
Hi everyone!
I completely understand why the Church is opposed to the pill; it makes complete sense, but what about people like me who don't ovulate like clockwork and are nervous about NFP's effectiveness?

[/quote]

The Church's teaching on contraceptives are a blessing for everyone, even for those of us who are incredibly nervous about getting pregnant. Although you may feel that you are not ready, and take every step to avoid conceiving, God may know differently, right? After all, His ways are far above our ways....I've known so many people, including my own parents!, who didn't think they wanted a pregnancy at a certain time, but it ended up being a great blessing.

Trust the Lord. Act prudently if you really feel you should not conceive right now, but trust the God that loves you more than you can imagine to send you what is best for you. He brought you your wonderful husband, and He will send you children in the right time.

Nervousness is completely understandable! Bless you for being so faithful to the Church, and being honest about your fears. Just keep trusting in the Lord, praying for your family, and loving your husband. You're not alone, or weird or crazy for thinking these things--just trying to live rightly and deal with your emotions. You'll make it through!:thumbsup:


#9

[quote="AlisonGenevieve, post:1, topic:212429"]
Hi everyone!

When my husband and I got married in the Catholic church in January, we were both virgins and totally committed to a healthy, happy, Catholic marriage with regards to our sexual relationship. We read Holy Sex by Greg Popcak and what a GREAT read that was! I recommend that book to everyone, single, newlywed, been married for 40 years...

I've run into a snag, however, with our commitment to use Natural Family Planning to avoid pregnancy at this time. We do want to have children, but not for several years. The reasoning here is just like most newly-married couples. We just got married and are hoping to spend some time enjoying each other before we start adding to our family. We are both working in our first full-time jobs, getting used to our new lifestyle, and are simply not ready for a new baby. Just the thought of having a child at this time sends a wave of panic through me!

My cycles are extremely irregular (have been this way since high school and my docs have told me that it might be just the way my body is) and even for the few months when they are regular and we have sex, I'm so nervous about getting pregnant I'm not enjoying the activity. I'm just worrying about what might happen. Oftentimes when my husband and/or I are in the mood, I deny it because of my worry. You can tell me that NFP is 90+% effective, but I still think I am going to be in that 10%. I feel like this is almost worse than being on the pill sometimes, having to deny this holy activity (please, you gotta read the book...it's amazing) that we want to share together. I completely understand why the Church is opposed to the pill; it makes complete sense, but what about people like me who don't ovulate like clockwork and are nervous about NFP's effectiveness?

I am not looking for justification for going on the pill. I really don't want to take it because I don't support it for a number of reasons, including the ones Dr. Popcak outlines in his book. I would like someone who has had some experience in this area to give me some advice, help calm my fears... I appreciate any and all comments! :)

[/quote]

No offense, but I think the whole "we need time to enjoy each other first" thing is a myth. I'm not saying you shouldn't enjoy each other, but I don't think it is really necessary to "have your time" first the way people in our culture always yammer on about. :D

As a mom several times over, I can tell you, that children are as difficult as people say. BUT, they are such a blessing and the difficulty teaches you things about yourself and your partner that you simply can't know before you have them. Nothing makes a marriage as rich as children do.

I'll echo the other posters in saying that: if you're ready to be married (and you're healthy) then you're ready for kids.

There will never be a "perfect" time to have kids. If you do that, you'll succumb to the nirvana fallacy and never have them. Any house, car, job, bank account level can be lost tomorrow. Marriage is "in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer" and so is parenting.

We're converting to Catholicism, and I wasn't able to deter my husband from a vasectomy (because, frankly, we have very little support for our family size in our extended family--who are very secular by and large and don't agree with large families in general). THAT SAID, I've also been on birth control before--which failed. We've had birth control fail on us so many times that I wonder why we ever bothered. Antibiotics, eating habits, the wind blowing the wrong direction :p anything can goof up the pill. I have a sneaking suspicion that the vas will fail, too. Why? Because God knows better than I do. I was afraid to be the mom to 4 kids and now, I see that there's always room and it does work out.

I've had the pill, the shot, etc. It made me miserable. It was like having all the negative symptoms of being pregnant (nausea, bloating, weight gain, moodiness, etc) without any of the benefits (a baby). And on top of that, it didn't work, anyway. Some women have died from complications related to messing with hormones (it's rare, but it does happen).

Take what I say with a grain of salt, but as a mom, I can tell you, you'll never regret it. Trust God. I'm sure on my deathbed my regret will probably be NOT having MORE children not how much time I played before having them, what kind of career I had, or what kind of house I lived in or that big European vacation not coming about :thumbsup:

Good luck, and trust God. He'll never give you more than you can take. Don't be afraid.


#10

Haha! I can kind of relate to you! And is your name Alison? I’m an Allison! Anyways, my fiance and I are both virgins. We like you are committed to living a true Catholic lifestyle. However I have regular cycles. But how I relate is that on our wedding night and honeymoon I will be in my fertile phase. For the longest time I’ve been thinking the ‘what ifs’. Like, what if I get pregnant? What will my Protestant, contracepting, family think? They’ll laugh at us!

Not only that, but my fiance is getting his Master’s in education and next fall he will have to quit his full time job with benefits to student teach. That means we won’t have income or benefits. We also are going to be living with his mom until we find a place of our own. Definitely not ideal for a baby. Plus we would love more time together just us, who wouldn’t?

But. As I’ve become closer in my faith I’ve come to see that God calls us to trust in Him. He puts things in our lives to give us a chance to show our trust. Think of how Abraham was called to sacrifice his only son. He had to trust. So should we. God will not put something in our life that we cannot handle. God will provide a way.

Besides. I do think that a baby does bring you together in ways that you could not be otherwise.

I have a blog, and I talk with many other Catholic moms who have told me that at the beginning of their marriage it did not appear that it would work out. Perhaps their husband didn’t have a job or whatever, then they got pregnant. But suddenly things started falling into place. Sure, it may not be exactly how they imagined it, but it is all good.

I say all this to show that you are not alone. But to suddenly give up and go on the Pill (which can cause unknown abortions of newly fertilized eggs) would be sad and denying the grace God gives you in a holy marriage.

Like others have said, look into all the various NFP types. Do you speak with any NFP teachers? They can help with irregular cycles. Or try the Pope Paul VI Institute popepaulvi.com/

Or try finding a pro-life doctor in your area. Where we live we have Catholic, pro-life doctors who will work with you on your irregular cycles. Try looking here for a doctor in your area: onemoresoul.com/nfp-providers


#11

why just birth control pill? why not just have him pull out or just use a condom?


#12

[quote="BlueShadow123, post:11, topic:212429"]
why just birth control pill? why not just have him pull out or just use a condom?

[/quote]

None of those are permitted in Catholic marriage. They are contrary to the marriage vows themselves.


#13

(Accidently clicked post when I wasn't donewith the last one). There have been a lot of good replies so far about trusting God with being ready. And like someone else said, if you're ready for marriage, you'd be ready for the possibility of children, even if they come as surprises. There is probably never a perfect time to have kids, and I would imagine that it's overwhelming no matter what, whether it was a surprise, or if you tried to plan it to the Nth degree. I'm getting married in about ten months and am starting to learn about nfp. My cycles happen to be very regular, but i have read that nfp doesn't depend on regularity, so you might try doing some more research.


#14

It takes a lot of observation, but NFP WORKS. I am nursing right now and taking a thyroid pill, which totally screws up my cervical mucus when they change my dose. Everything differs from one month to the next. It's very difficult, and my cycles can change from 28 days (like they used to be!) to 50+.
But I just watch my mucus and check my cervix. We don't 'do it' as much as we could before when I had regular cycles, but we do - usually after ovulation. Check out Toni Weschler's "Taking Charge of Your Fertility". Use temperature, cervical mucus, and cervix checks, and as long as you ARE ovulating, you can do it :). You might have to abstain more than some people, but it's better than freaking out, right :D?
That said, kids are awesome. Only you and your husband can decide if God is calling you to have them now or later. PM me if you want to talk - I have been there, done that with the being terrified of getting pregnant thing (and then planned to get pregnant, did, and have a wonderful baby).


#15

Holy been there Batman!

So, you've been married about nine months so far. How do you feel that you and he have adjusted to married life? What else would you need to feel ready to welcome a baby into your family?

Can I share my experience with you?

Something the priest and I discussed during the precana sessions was my readiness to get married. I had been a student, working hard to get good grades and working hard to earn the money to pay for school. When I started dating DH, I was thinking about graduating, having the job stability and the income to travel because I could afford it, sit in a cafe reading books and drinking overpriced coffee because I had no other comittments etc. Then we were dating, engaged and discussing a house, finances, children, our life together and in short, discussing a lot of committments!

I realized that I was ready to get married when I realized that I still could have some of that freedom I imagined along with the committment I was preparing for. Sure, I would have to plan my Saturdays in advance and discuss the trip with DH...but it could still happen. What I had seen as an either/or was really a both/and. Once that was resolved in my mind, I was ready to welcome the responsibility, security, commitment,a nd yes freedom of married life.

And of course, we can't discuss marriage without discussing fertility and children. I too have irregular cycles. (As I just posted elsewhere) I had charted all of two cycles when my husband and I married. Since we were newly married, we decided to behave like we were newlyweds, or something. ;):p

We conceived during the first cycle I had as a married lady. A good bit of panic and joy and fear and excitement swept through us in equal measure. At the same time I was learning that my husband ignored the alarm and he was learning that I left the toothpaste in the sink after brushing my teeth. On paper, there was no way we were affording the house we lived in, much less for me to stop working, and have a baby, yet every month, we covered the bills. We prepared for the baby. We had the baby. There was no point in time that the bond I had with my husband wasn't there while we became parents. The nine or ten months of pregnancy can feel like a long time. I think the time helps us adjust to the idea of not only being a spouse, but also being a parent as well.

While Dh and I were newlyweds and expectant parents, the number-crunching was telling us we should be broke, and yet, we prospered. God had set before us 'the challenge' of welcoming and raising a baby, but he also set before us the blessings to overcome that challenge and all we had to do was faithfully go forward. I stayed home to take care of the baby, DH was promoted, then offered a job (which he wasn't looking for) with a substantial raise and opportunity to learn a new skill set. The first not-planned-but-not-avoided baby was followed by a second non-planned-but-not-avoided, then a third we very much desired to have.

Six years and three children later and I am still a stay at home mom and Dh still provides for us. My cycle is still irregular and each month we discern all over again our readiness to welcome more children. We arrange our day to spend some one on one time with each of the children, together as a family, together as spouses, and even just time in solitude.

I think the idea of it can be so much harder than the reality. That's when I find myself praying "Let go and let God. Let go and let God." in an endless loop.

HTH :)


#16

[quote="Fidelia, post:12, topic:212429"]
None of those are permitted in Catholic marriage. They are contrary to the marriage vows themselves.

[/quote]

Oh. Well then i suggest having sex for the next 5 days after your period because you're not fertile then.


#17

[quote="BlueShadow123, post:16, topic:212429"]
Oh. Well then i suggest having sex for the next 5 days after your period because you're not fertile then.

[/quote]

That's not necessarily true either. Some women are fertile right away. That's why NFP works for most women, you are observing your own fertilty signs and charting them and interpreting them. You aren't looking at past cycles or counting days....you have real fertility signs (mucous, basal temps, cervix position, fertility monitor, depending on the NPF method) that you can track.

As to the OP, I hesitate commenting because the 6 children often scare away newlyweds :p Dh and I are converts and we were married for about 4 years before we converted and started welcoming children. Upon learning the truth about marriage and fertility, we ditched BCP (which made me dreadfully sick all the time) and learned NFP (which we used to conceive our first). What a blessing! But it was hard in the beginning. NFP is a different mindset from contraception. In a way it is a loss of "control" but that's a good thing, "control" is overrated, we are called to abandon ourselves to God. Our marriage wasn't improved by those 4 years of childlessness--but it was improved by accepting the gifts that God has given us. Marriage is life long and working together is what grows a marriage, not necessarily time spent alone together at the beginning, infact too much time alone without children can make the adjustment to children later in a marriage much more difficult--we get set in our ways!

God bless you and your dh in your marriage. Pray about this. Be open to God. Abandon yourself to Him.


#18

[quote="Jennifer_J, post:17, topic:212429"]

As to the OP, I hesitate commenting because the 6 children often scare away newlyweds :p

...
Our marriage wasn't improved by those 4 years of childlessness--but it was improved by accepting the gifts that God has given us. Marriage is life long and working together is what grows a marriage, not necessarily time spent alone together at the beginning, infact too much time alone without children can make the adjustment to children later in a marriage much more difficult--we get set in our ways!

God bless you and your dh in your marriage. Pray about this. Be open to God. Abandon yourself to Him.

[/quote]

Actually Jennifer, I found you, LIB, Lerin, monicatholic, and all the other large families on this site to be wonderfully inspiring, when I was a newlywed and pregnant. :thumbsup:

We got pregnant on our honeymoon but had originally been planning on waiting since I was starting law school and dh didn't have job. I thought having a baby would mess up my educational plans. But it turns out that I found out that my true calling was not my future job, jobs can always change, but being a wife and mother. Just like it didn't make sense to wait any longer to be married because that was my vocation, it didn't make sense to be worried too much about having a baby since that too was my vocation. (Even though my acceptance of my motherly vocation only reluctantly came, after I discovered, that it really was my vocation to be a wife :p).

I really think what Jennifer posted above is true. Because things changed so fast at the beginning of our marriage when the baby came things flowed relatively smoothly. We remain super flexible in when dh works, how much money we have, etc because we never got into a regular routine.


#19

[quote="BlueShadow123, post:16, topic:212429"]
Oh. Well then i suggest having sex for the next 5 days after your period because you're not fertile then.

[/quote]

Seeing as how sperm can live inside the woman for an average of 3-7 days, that's not a good idea either. It all depends on the woman's cycle and the man's sperm.

I love reading everyone's responses because I still have my insecurities about trusting that it will all work out for my fiance and I too.


#20

I agree with this. And also second what puzzleannie said: if you’re married, you’re by definition “ready” for children.

There are a few questions you might want to ask yourself. First of all, you’ve already had about 9 months of married life and then however long you were dating/engaged before that to “get to know eachother” and have time just for the teo of you as a couple. What exactly are you looking to achieve by having even more time? Like, what is it you want to know more about…? How will having children hinder this?

I only ask because I’ve observed before that some of the reasons you gave for not wanting kids right now have become like cliches…oft repeated, but sometimes there’s not a lot of sensible meaning behind them. You know what I mean?

From what you posted, I’m sensing that you believe that having children will take something away from the two of you as a couple, and will be a negative thing that you’re trying to put off for as long as you can. Since you’re married, the opposite is actually true: having a child will complete you as a couple. Seriously, that is no cliche…that is my own direct expereince. I was married just a couple months before you were, and we got pregnant on our honeymoon. I can assure you that me bing pregnant and now having the baby have in no way hindered my or my husband’s enjoyment of eachother.

Ditto for me as well. :smiley:


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