NFP morals and mechanics


#1

My husband and I have recently welcomed our 3rd child into the world and are facing some dilemmas.

We have read much on TOB so we are familiar with church teaching on sexuality and family planning but there are a couple of tricky points on which we would really appreciate some clarification.

1 the sexual act must ALWAYS be open to life, you can not divorce the sexual act from it's procreative nature. Now, being in my 20s I know and welcome more life however, at this point both DH and I know that we cannot physically and emotionally take on another child. We would honestly be lying if we said that if God gave us a child right now we would welcome him/ her. Does that mean we should be abstaining until we truly are open to the possibility of another child ( I'm thinking 2 years) ??? I understand that we can avoid the fertile periods while using NFP but morally, if we are not open to life, isn't it wrong to engage in the sexual act?

  1. ( The mechanics) man should never ejaculate outside the woman's vagina as this would be divorcing the act from its procreative nature. What if the woman is pregnant so there is no possibility of procreation or what about the first few weeks after birth when the woman cannot have intercourse but neither can she get pregnant?

  2. How many of you were able to successfully track the fertility cycle while breastfeeding and what method did you use? I find that this period is really volatile in terms of secretions and what not and temping doesn't really work since breastfeeding has you up at all kinds of random hours of the day and night.


#2

[quote="1inICXC, post:1, topic:234732"]
Does that mean we should be abstaining until we truly are open to the possibility of another child ( I'm thinking 2 years) ??? I understand that we can avoid the fertile periods while using NFP but morally, if we are not open to life, isn't it wrong to engage in the sexual act?

[/quote]

If you use NFP to space your children, each act of intercourse is objectively unitive and procreative. You have not altered the act in any way. You make decisions regarding when to engage in the act or when to refrain from it.

The Church teaches that you may use the naturally infertile periods of the woman's cycle to engage in intercourse. No, you do not have to abstain completely.

[quote="1inICXC, post:1, topic:234732"]
2. ( The mechanics) man should never ejaculate outside the woman's vagina as this would be divorcing the act from its procreative nature. What if the woman is pregnant so there is no possibility of procreation or what about the first few weeks after birth when the woman cannot have intercourse but neither can she get pregnant?

[/quote]

You can have intercourse all you want while pregnant-- provided there isn't a medical reason to abstain. Again, the act is both unitive and procreative objectively, as you have not altered it in any way. It is naturally infertile due to already being pregnant. Same for post-menopausal women.

I don't understand your second question. In the first weeks following pregnancy when a woman is not able to have intercourse, you simply don't have intercourse until she is sufficiently healed.

[quote="1inICXC, post:1, topic:234732"]

  1. How many of you were able to successfully track the fertility cycle while breastfeeding and what method did you use? I find that this period is really volatile in terms of secretions and what not and temping doesn't really work since breastfeeding has you up at all kinds of random hours of the day and night.

[/quote]

I suggest you contact a teacher to learn NFP. If you haven't already been charting, attempting to start while breastfeeding can be difficult. It may require some prolonged abstinence in order to chart effectively.

Contact a teacher in your local area.


#3

[quote="1inICXC, post:1, topic:234732"]
My husband and I have recently welcomed our 3rd child into the world and are facing some dilemmas.

[/quote]

Congrats!!!

[quote="1inICXC, post:1, topic:234732"]
We have read much on TOB so we are familiar with church teaching on sexuality and family planning but there are a couple of tricky points on which we would really appreciate some clarification.

1 the sexual act must ALWAYS be open to life, you can not divorce the sexual act from it's procreative nature. Now, being in my 20s I know and welcome more life however, at this point both DH and I know that we cannot physically and emotionally take on another child. We would honestly be lying if we said that if God gave us a child right now we would welcome him/ her. Does that mean we should be abstaining until we truly are open to the possibility of another child ( I'm thinking 2 years) ??? I understand that we can avoid the fertile periods while using NFP but morally, if we are not open to life, isn't it wrong to engage in the sexual act?

[/quote]

Like 1ke said, the act when ever it occurs is ordered towards procreation and thus "open to life." So yes you can use NFP, the catechism says that couples have recourse to the naturally infertile periods. (Think pregnancy, menopause, cycles, etc.).

[quote="1inICXC, post:1, topic:234732"]
2. ( The mechanics) man should never ejaculate outside the woman's vagina as this would be divorcing the act from its procreative nature. What if the woman is pregnant so there is no possibility of procreation or what about the first few weeks after birth when the woman cannot have intercourse but neither can she get pregnant?

[/quote]

Never means never. That includes pregnancy, after child birth, illness, injury, etc.

[quote="1inICXC, post:1, topic:234732"]
3. How many of you were able to successfully track the fertility cycle while breastfeeding and what method did you use? I find that this period is really volatile in terms of secretions and what not and temping doesn't really work since breastfeeding has you up at all kinds of random hours of the day and night.

[/quote]

I learned Sympo thermal through CCL, and was able to track the return of fertility at about 8 months postpartum. If you are serious about avoiding, you will abstain a lot in order to make sure your mucus isn't the fertile type. Also many find their cervical position very helpful during this time as well.


#4

[quote="jilly4ski, post:3, topic:234732"]

Never means never. That includes pregnancy, after child birth, illness, injury, etc.

[/quote]

Can I add a question? I know never means never but...what about when a woman is allergic to her husband's semen? (human seminal plasma hypersensitivity)


#5

[quote="samiam1611, post:4, topic:234732"]
Can I add a question? I know never means never but...what about when a woman is allergic to her husband's semen? (human seminal plasma hypersensitivity)

[/quote]

The couple should see a competent medical professional to see if there is something they can help their situation.


#6

[quote="jilly4ski, post:5, topic:234732"]
The couple should see a competent medical professional to see if there is something they can help their situation.

[/quote]

Yeah maybe immune suppressants or something. But they have some pretty serious side effects such as you can get sick easier.
What about this though -
15. On the other hand, the Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from—provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever. (19)

Do you think then that withdrawl or condoms would be ok in that case?


#7

[quote="samiam1611, post:6, topic:234732"]

Do you think then that withdrawl or condoms would be ok in that case?

[/quote]

No.


#8

[quote="samiam1611, post:6, topic:234732"]
Yeah maybe immune suppressants or something. But they have some pretty serious side effects such as you can get sick easier.
What about this though -
15. On the other hand, the Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from—provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever. (19)

Do you think then that withdrawl or condoms would be ok in that case?

[/quote]

No. Neither condoms or withdrawl are therapeutic means that cure a bodily disease.


#9

[quote="samiam1611, post:6, topic:234732"]
Yeah maybe immune suppressants or something. But they have some pretty serious side effects such as you can get sick easier.
What about this though -
15. On the other hand, the Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from—provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever. (19)

Do you think then that withdrawl or condoms would be ok in that case?

[/quote]

NO for the reasons already given, and besides with withdrawl one would still be risking exposure through pre-ejaculation fluids, if one were truly that allergic.


#10

[quote="1inICXC, post:1, topic:234732"]
My husband and I have recently welcomed our 3rd child into the world and are facing some dilemmas.

We have read much on TOB so we are familiar with church teaching on sexuality and family planning but there are a couple of tricky points on which we would really appreciate some clarification.

1 the sexual act must ALWAYS be open to life, you can not divorce the sexual act from it's procreative nature. Now, being in my 20s I know and welcome more life however, at this point both DH and I know that we cannot physically and emotionally take on another child. We would honestly be lying if we said that if God gave us a child right now we would welcome him/ her. Does that mean we should be abstaining until we truly are open to the possibility of another child ( I'm thinking 2 years) ??? I understand that we can avoid the fertile periods while using NFP but morally, if we are not open to life, isn't it wrong to engage in the sexual act?

Well, what do you mean by you would be lying about welcoming a child. If you mean you would be upset and then accept the blessing from God, than it's fine to use your fertility awareness methods to try to avoid pregnancy and yet still have intercourse. If you mean you seriously wouldn't welcome the child and would choose to end the pregnancy than, yes you had better abstain at all costs to avoid any possible chance of pregnancy

  1. ( The mechanics) man should never ejaculate outside the woman's vagina as this would be divorcing the act from its procreative nature. What if the woman is pregnant so there is no possibility of procreation or what about the first few weeks after birth when the woman cannot have intercourse** but neither can she get pregnant**?
    The spouse still must ejaculate in a woman. Also while yes a woman is usually told to avoid having sex during the first 6 weeks postpartum, if she doesn't listen, she could certainly end up pregnant. There's been many a couple to have babies just 9 or 10 months apart.

  2. How many of you were able to successfully track the fertility cycle while breastfeeding and what method did you use? I find that this period is really volatile in terms of secretions and what not and temping doesn't really work since breastfeeding has you up at all kinds of random hours of the day and night.I"ve never chosen to track my fertility while breastfeeding, since we were still open to life, so can't answer this one.

[/quote]


#11

Do you think then that withdrawl or condoms would be ok in that case? (wife alergic to husband's semen)

[quote="1ke, post:7, topic:234732"]
No.

[/quote]

I can't claim to know first hand what it is like to be alergic to your husband's semen but doesn't it seem a little bit cruel to say that some method of protecting yourself from it is morally reprehensible?


#12

Strong antihistamines (such as those prescribed by a doctor) would fix this problem without causing any issues with the moral side of things.


#13

[quote="Iheartcoffee, post:12, topic:234732"]
Strong antihistamines (such as those prescribed by a doctor) would fix this problem without causing any issues with the moral side of things.

[/quote]

Condoms or withdrawal would fit the problem and have no medical side effects


#14

Vic, perhaps there would be no medical side effect, but such would disorder the act, and hence be a spiritual "side effect", that is, immoral. Presumably a poster on a Catholic site is looking for Catholic advice, no?


#15

[quote="choose_to_love, post:14, topic:234732"]
Vic, perhaps there would be no medical side effect, but such would disorder the act, and hence be a spiritual "side effect", that is, immoral. Presumably a poster on a Catholic site is looking for Catholic advice, no?

[/quote]

I guess I should make my purpose here known. I don't think it is healthy for a person to be so densely surrounded by viewpoints of a particular belief that they never consider alternatives. However, I do understand that that is not what this place is. I just like to do my partI personally like to be challenged on my viewpoints because it helps me ensure that I have sound beliefs.

I will play the role of token protestant here. It seems to me that any god worth worshipping would be able to understand a person's use of protection if it protects them from something extremely uncomfortable and/or lethal (HIV or alergic reaction)


#16

Vic, the fact that you are here means you are obviously open-minded, so I applaud your effort. If your purpose is to cause people to do their homework on their beliefs, that is good, too. The Catholic Church, however, does not demand that we fully understand our faith (as this is an impossibility with its depth), but it does demand compliance with the will of God as taught to us through His Word and His Church.

If you would like to learn more about why we view contraception as immoral, please check out Humanae Vitae (readily available online), as well as Theology of the Body, for starters. Until you have properly educated yourself in the theology of our beliefs, though, please refrain from trying to force-feed yours to the good Catholics who come here seeking support in our faith.

Thank you!


#17

[quote="VicApple, post:15, topic:234732"]
I don't think it is healthy for a person to be so densely surrounded by viewpoints of a particular belief that they never consider alternatives. However, I do understand that that is not what this place is. I just like to do my partI personally like to be challenged on my viewpoints because it helps me ensure that I have sound beliefs.

[/quote]

Totally agree. Same here.

[quote="choose_to_love, post:14, topic:234732"]
Vic, perhaps there would be no medical side effect, but such would disorder the act, and hence be a spiritual "side effect", that is, immoral. Presumably a poster on a Catholic site is looking for Catholic advice, no?

[/quote]

In a way. Technically, not looking for advice (I don't have that disease or know anyone with it), but am trying to educate myself on what exactly do Catholics believe and why. Contraception and related issues are of particular interest to me.


#18

[quote="1inICXC, post:1, topic:234732"]

  1. How many of you were able to successfully track the fertility cycle while breastfeeding and what method did you use? I find that this period is really volatile in terms of secretions and what not and temping doesn't really work since breastfeeding has you up at all kinds of random hours of the day and night.

[/quote]

I'm only going to answer this last part as others have dealt with the first 2 questions. Tracking fertility postpartem can be tricky, but nearly all NFP methods have instructions for this time. Some even have special classes to help out. I use the symptothermal method when we are trying to avoid, and for me, personally, I rely mostly on mucous and cervix position and then add in temps around 6 months. Even with disturbed sleep, I'm able to see a pattern pretty easily, when it finally starts to reestablish. If you are ecologically breastfeeding up until about 6 months (that's no pacifiers, no suppliments, unrestricted breastfeeding day and night, napping/laying down to nurse during the day) the odds of getting pregnant are about nil. After that fertility starts returning. If you are only exclusivly breastfeeding, then you should chart immediately. There are several forms of NFP, if one doesn't seem to be working for you, maybe search out a different form (and seek out the postpartem class!).

symptothermal: nfpandmore.com and ccli.org
creighton: creightonmodel.com/
billings: boma-usa.org/ and woomb.org/
marquette: nfp.marquette.edu/


#19

[quote="1ke, post:2, topic:234732"]
I suggest you contact a teacher to learn NFP. If you haven't already been charting, attempting to start while breastfeeding can be difficult. It may require some prolonged abstinence in order to chart effectively.

Contact a teacher in your local area.

[/quote]

Yes to the above.

We started learning NFP (Sympto-Thermal Method) when DD2 was 2 months old. It has been challenging since the postpartum time is so different, but it is possible. Yes, we've had to abstain more than we would normally, but it is possible. DD2 just finished breastfeeding a few weeks ago and I'm starting to see a change (hopefully normal cycles will return soon).

[quote="VicApple, post:15, topic:234732"]
I guess I should make my purpose here known. I don't think it is healthy for a person to be so densely surrounded by viewpoints of a particular belief that they never consider alternatives.

[/quote]

The OP is a Catholic who is seeking information and guidance regarding the Catholic Church's teachings. I'm sure she is aware that there are other people who think otherwise on the topics at hand, but she chose to look for information regarding what her faith teaches.


#20

[quote="VeroNihilVerius, post:16, topic:234732"]
Vic, the fact that you are here means you are obviously open-minded, so I applaud your effort. If your purpose is to cause people to do their homework on their beliefs, that is good, too. The Catholic Church, however, does not demand that we fully understand our faith (as this is an impossibility with its depth), but it does demand compliance with the will of God as taught to us through His Word and His Church.

Thank you!

[/quote]

I think this demonstrates interesting distinction in the psyche of a religious and non-religious person. I (non-relgious, puppy-kicking atheist ;-) ) have a gut-wrench reaction to the proposition of doing what I am told to when I cannot understand the reason. I guess it relates to the fact that I am a end-point/goal motivated person. For example say boss tells me to do this, that, blah blah blah and return the piece by the end of the day. The way I look at that is to say "OK, self, your boss wants this goal accomplished, figure it out" not "OK, self, do everything you were just told to." It is not uncommon for this method of approaching things to create newer, better, easier or faster ways of accomplishing a particular goal.

Here is my tie in to religion. I was raised in a fairly conservative Lutheran church. What they said was "do this, this, this and that and god will love you and let you go to heaven." What I interpreted it as was "Being good is, by nature, good. So be good and good things will happen to you. Maybe you will go to heaven." I guess that pegs me as a freethinker from the get-go.

Side Note:
So essentially when my pastors failed to give me satisfactory answers to the kinds of intellectually dull questions a 12 year old asks, I abandoned the the belief in god but held on the the being good thing. I know this is a whole other discussion but I want to make it clear that I don't think I would be a bad person if it weren't for childhood church. There are lots of interesting studies on ethics and morality in other animal species, and I think ours came about the same way.


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