NFP time restrictions?


#1

Hello. My husband and I have been married a little over a year and have a beautiful 5 month old son. I got pregnant only a couple months after our wedding so we didn't have much of a chance to 'practice' using NFP. I was reading up on it again recently and read somewhere (I can't seem to find the place again) that unless you have a very good reason a married couple shouldn't postpone having children. The way they worded it made it sound like either we shouldn't be using NFP or should just not even be having relations at all, which is confusing to me because it was a Catholic book or website or something.

Now what I was told in our NFP class was that we could use NFP to space our children.....Which is great because we are totally open to more babies. However we're both very young and we don't have the income to support the 10 or so possible babies before I go through menopause!!! I was hoping to have all of our children before I turn 30.....would it be wrong for us to very strickly use NFP from 30ish until menopause??

(sorry the post is so long!)


#2

Unfortunately nfp is not one of those black and white issues. Couple "A" may use it for certain reasons and it not be sinful while couple "B" may use it and can be sinful. Some people believe it should only be used in serious "life threatening" cases while others say less serious reasons like psychological, financial or well being is considered. Like you said, being open to life is the mindset to have not the contraceptive one like most people who don't even consider nfp.


#3

Are you nursing? If you are exclusively breastfeeding, that could help to naturally space your children 18 months to 2 years apart.

Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing is a great resource for that.

Otherwise, your husband and you have to prayerfully consider if/when it is the right time to have another child, placing your trust in God. (That's easier said than done. ;))

I hoped to have all of my children by 35, but God had other plans. I had one last year at 36, and I feel God tugging at me to be open to another.


#4

The thing about using NFP is that it's a cycle to cycle thing. If you have prayerfully discerned that you should avoid another pregnancy this cycle, then you use NFP and abstain at the proper times. If you discern that for this cycle you are neutral or want to conceive, you can either not use NFP at all or use it to assist you in hopefully acheiving a pregnancy.

It is hard to say where you will be in your life at 30, 35, 40, or even 45. Maybe you'll have a good reason to avoid pregnancy for all those years. Maybe you won't be able to conceive another child before you turn 30. Only God knows these things, which is why it's important to prayerfully discern His will regarding our family size from cycle to cycle.

In other words, I think you might be borrowing trouble worrying about this now.


#5

NFP is a legimate way to space children when you have serious reason to space children. There are some very traditionalist Catholics whose inability to see the difference between NFP and contraceptives lead them to believe that using NFP is wrong. You have pro contraceptive people who will constantly call NFP the Catholic approved contraceptive and then you have those who reject contraceptives and take this same view and then reject it as well.

I would agree its a month to month basis, and that you can be surprised as to what God is calling you to.


#6

Yes the Catholic Church is very clear. One needs a “serious reason” to avoid via NFP. Now this serious reason does not mean that it has to be “life or death” as some may think. It simply needs to be serious. A person may have all sorts of serious reasons …they could be financial, health, emotional, various external reasons etc… Life throws many many things at one…

It is up to the couple to judge together before God with an informed conscience…and of course one can seek advice from informed Priest, doctor etc.

If you have a bunch of Children and honestly can not afford more (often those in the west misjudge this…get a book called "Covenanted Happiness by Fr. Colmac Burke who was on the Roman Rota Court for Marriage…) …then such can be a serious reason.

Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church issue by Pope Benedict XVI

  1. When is it moral to regulate births?

2368-2369
2399

The regulation of births, which is an aspect of responsible fatherhood and motherhood, is objectively morally acceptable when it is pursued by the spouses without external pressure; when it is practiced not out of selfishness but for serious reasons; and with methods that conform to the objective criteria of morality, that is, periodic continence and use of the infertile periods.

  1. What are immoral means of birth control?

2370-2372

Every action - for example, direct sterilization or contraception - is intrinsically immoral which (either in anticipation of the conjugal act, in its accomplishment or in the development of its natural consequences) proposes, as an end or as a means, to hinder procreation.

vatican.va/archive/compendium_ccc/documents/archive_2005_compendium-ccc_en.html


#7

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