Sorry this is a bit long…
A little background: I was baptized a Catholic at age 13 after attending mass for several months with a (nominally) Catholic aunt and uncle. I received very little catechesis and stopped attending mass several months later when my aunt and uncle stopped attending. My parents (and my entire family, really) are completely areligious.
I am now 31 and married civilly with three children and a fourth on the way. I have attended many churches off and on, and always fundamentally considered myself a Christian, but never really learned much about the Catholic faith until the past few years. In spite of certain reservations, I feel drawn to the Faith, particularly because of the sacramental worldview that the Church has and because of the Real Presence. I think there is ample evidence from the Bible and Tradition that the earliest Christians were more Catholic than Protestant in practice.
My (civil) husband is a Mexican “cultural” Catholic. He rarely attends mass, though he still considers himself a Catholic and continues the practice his mother taught him of blessing our children daily with the sign of the cross. He would never consider converting to protestantism, but he is not concerned with observing certain moral teachings of the church.
My dilemma is that while I have come a long way in terms of embracing Catholic belief (I used to be pro-choice, thought pre-marital sex was OK if “you love each other,” etc…have done a complete 180 on these and other issues), I don’t believe that non-abortificent birth control is always a mortal sin, and I believe that God is merciful and hope that my non-Catholic and non-Christian friends and family will be saved, and that Catholics who fail in their quest for holiness will be saved too. I just can’t fathom a God who is waiting to damn people for every infraction.
I love my babies and am so excited about our little girl due in December (this will be girl #4!). This pregnancy came about 6 months after stopping ABC (condoms), mainly for aesthetic reasons, and I was just ready and open to the idea of another baby (no matter how impractical!). I recently left a well-paying full-time job, and my husband earns about 1/2 of what I was making, so money is very tight. I really want to be a SAHM, and am in the process of starting an e-bay resale business to make $ from home. It’s going well so far.
The bottom line is that after this baby is born, I don’t want to have another baby again very soon, and maybe not ever, depending on the circumstances. I even considered getting my tubes tied, but again, for aesthetic reasons I decided not to - it just doesn’t seem right to me, and I am not a dog who needs to be “fixed” to make my fertility go away, KWIM?
I am open to using NFP, even though I see nothing sinful about condoms. Yes, I know the Church teaches otherwise.
So my dilemma is, even though I am drawn to the Church and feel a great big hole in my heart when I am away from her, I don’t fully embrace all of her teachings. My husband and I have discussed convalidating our marriage (there are no impediments - neither of us were previously married). Though I don’t agree with all of her teachings, it is no great burden for me to abide by them, but I don’t know how I can raise my children as Catholics if I can’t fully embrace her teachings. I feel like a hypocrite and feel like I should abandon the Church altogether, even though the thought makes me very sad. I am not content to just sweep aside the birth control issue as so many practicing Catholics do.
I just don’t know what to do at this point…thoughts?