No birth control? No fair!

Although my username has a man’s name, I am female. Sorry for the confusion

My fiance and I have been engaged for six months and want to get married in June 2017. However, the only thing holding us back is the fear of having children too soon that we wouldn’t be able to provide for. Our worst nightmare is being one of those couples who gets pregnant on our honeymoon and spends the next 32 years of our lives popping out kids with no time whatsoever for travel, vacation, or romance in general.

I am angry because other non-Catholic couples don’t have to worry about this: they just pop a pill or slip on a condom and have all the sex they want with no worries. They’re not punished with children before they even get their lives as a couple figured out.

I have tried learning NFP but it is just too complicated and my diocese has no one to teach me. I also think that NFP places an unfair burden on the woman since the whole procedure of taking temperature, checking mucus (how gross), etc. all falls on her and her alone. Not that the Pill with all its side effects is any better for the woman (I would personally never take it) but even condoms place at least some of the responsibility on the man.

I am tired of waiting to get married and I think it’s horribly unfair that the Church forces Catholic couples to suffer the emotional and financial burden of children right off the bat, while their Protestant and non-Christian friends take vacations, build their dream homes, and sip champagne while looking down on the harried 25-year old Catholic mom who is changing 60 diapers a day. Can someone please help me so I can make sense out of why the Church holds the position of no artificial birth control?


I would really consider if you should even consider marriage until you reflect and pray on what Catholic marriage truly is.

If a party goes into a marriage with the idea that kids can be a burden or are confused about the Church’s teaching on contraception the marriage may be invalid.

There can only be serious reasons for even using NFP, going on gobbs of vacations is not one of them.

“***Punished ***with children”?

Is that how you really view it?

I would watch this video on marriage divorce and annulments to understand the Church’s teaching. Then watch it again with your fiancé.

I would suggest that you get hold of the CD by Dr. Janet Smith for starters - called “Contraception - Why Not?” - it is well done, and she is not beating you up around the head and shoulders.

As to no one in the diocese capable of teaching NFP, I sincerely doubt it; and it can be taught by a doctor or nurse.

Mother Theresa taught it to illiterate Hindus, and they got it, so it really is not all that complicated. It is one of the means used in China, and very effectively.

And your husband should be involved very much in the whole matter - it is by no means just your burden.

And it has been my humble opinion that the Pill is the biggest joke that men have played on women - “You are on the Pill, so we should be able to have sex any time I feel like it”.

And if your husband to be is dead set against NFP, I might suggest you reconsider the path you are on now, as that should be a significant sign that he is more self-involved than self-giving.

Just my opinion, after reflection on life, marriage, and a whole lot more over most of the last 70 years.

None of which gets to the number of studies which appear to indicate that the Pill may result in cancer, particularly breast cancer.

I heard good things about Janet Smith too.

It’s really difficult to take this post seriously, Vic. Because frankly, Vic, this post sounds like it was written by a petulant child, not an adult preparing for marriage. Perhaps that is just venting?

First, though, may I ask how much formation have you had in the faith? Is this the first you are seriously studying the Church’s teaching on sexuality? What do you know about the sixth commandment, chastity in each state of life, the vocation of marriage, and the purpose and ends of marriage? And what of your intended… is he a Catholic and if so what sort of formation has he had?

From your post, it sounds like you’ve had no formation at all… which isn’t nessarily your fault as your parents should have taught you these things long ago. So now you must begin the journey of really learning what the Church teaches and of jettisoning what seems to be a heaping dose of secular culture. We are a pilgrim people, Vic. In the world but not of it.

My parents had five children, They didn’t, nor did they need to, spend 32 years popping out kids.Did they have time for travel, vacation and romance in general? Yes, plenty of all of the above. Not always easy, but they worked it out.

Time to figure themselves out as a couple? Unless the intention is to never have kids, the husband and wife need to figure themselves out as a family and as parents, not just as a couple.

Do you honestly think a champagne lifestyle makes marriages happier? Or big houses or lots of vacations? Or that diapers or fewer children make someone less happy? By those standards, celebrity or billionaire couples should be absolutely ecstatic and their marriages all should last forever. We know that if anything is true, its the opposite.

:rolleyes: 8/10 for trolling effort- I see that your winter break must have began earlier than most of the middle schools around here. If this is seriously from an engaged adult, let me say that NFP isn’t rocket science honey. Even if you don’t get it down perfect, you’re not going to be shooting out kids every 11 months like a vaginal cannon.

If you really think children are a punishment, then you need spiritual advisement before going any further toward getting married.

Children are not a punishment. They are the point of “being a couple” in the first place!


Well yes but why again always leave it to the woman? Condoms anyone?

You are clearly worried & upset about this issue and I’m not sure this forum will be a good place to find comfort & understanding.

You are exacerbating the situation and I think if you take some deep breaths, pray for help, and then read some good, contemporary, orthodox Catholic literature on the subject of sexuality in marriage, you will hopefully discover that it’s more reasonable than you realize. I don’t think you’re going to be a harried & miserable mom, and although it’s true if you do have some extra children you’re probably going to be less frequently spending $4000 on a vacation that lasts for a week, the joys will outweigh the difficulties.

Even with families of 8+ children (which you don’t know you’ll even have that number) it isn’t so chaotic as you think. The older siblings - with a little nudging - naturally take on the responsibility of an assistant mom/dad for younger siblings. Chores & housework are divided up and managed among the family unit. You get to experience the variety & uniqueness that each child will be bring. They rapidly develop social skills & of course the possibly of having plenty of grandchildren & great grandchildren later in life is pretty much 100%. Divorce rates among Catholic that observe the Churches teaching on contraception are below 5%. For your lucky friends that are sipping champagne & riding home in golden chariots, the number is 50% or more. I could go on for a long time, but again, it’s best to just dig up some good literature and hear from speakers that specialize on this topic. There is a lot to be said on this subject which cannot be fully discussed in a few short paragraphs.

When we picture ourselves - if we do have a large family - immediately trying to take on the role of a ‘supermom’ or ‘superdad’, it’s naturally going to be intimidating, because we are picturing ourselves 15+ years in the future rather than where we are right now. Imagine if, in your career, you skipped spending time learning the ropes & acquiring skill and knowledge in the profession, and you were instantly put into a CEO chair and told to direct a company. Would the thought be jarring? Of course it would, because you’re fast forwarding over a decade and skipping all of the growth & maturation that occurred prior to that.

You don’t need to figure out exactly what you’re going to do or how you’re going to be when you’re 40 or 45. You just need to figure out what the wise thing is to do 6 months or 1 year or 2 years from now, and allow yourself to grow with each day, one step at a time. I’ve met several Catholic families with large families. Do they have plenty of responsibility? Yes. Have I yet to meet such a family that is unhappy? I have not. I know plenty of broken homes & disordered marriages, but among these families, I don’t know any. Not yet.

Your feelings are understandable, first off. At least, I can relate to them on a sort of base-instinct level. However, just like I know that (for want of a more suitable analogy) I can’t eat ice cream forever and not get super fat (even if I really want to), I know that there is a greater good that can come out of not using artificial birth control. I won’t go into the reasons now, but if you haven’t done so, try and research them with an open heart.

I got married 1.5 years ago and due to what we deem just reasons, we are still using NFP. I mostly taught myself, though I went to a Dr who was familiar with the STM method of NFP to confirm that I was correct. Can I recommend Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler? She allows condom use during fertile periods but recommends abstinence as more effective (it’s FAM, not NFP and is from a secular perspective, so just ignore the condom parts). I found to book incredibly empowering; learning what your body is doing and being able to diagnose irregularities yourself is wonderful.

Yes, it IS hard to learn - took me about 6 months to get the hang of it. But now, I just temp as soon as my alarm goes off in the morning (put the therm on my phone so I don’t forget) and I just check mucus when I go to the bathroom. I chart in an app called OvuView (there are other apps too). I like the beta version of OvuView because I can share my charts with my husband so he knows where we are at.

Which leads me to the last point I want to make. The full burden of the pill also falls on the woman; it’s not like NFP is an anomaly in that regard. It’s more effort, but so much stands to be gained from it. You can and should fully involve your husband in whatever way suits you as a couple. He should take full interest in it. If he’s a decent guy, he’ll never make you feel like a gatekeeper, but rather see it as “your” (plural) fertility as a couple.

Well yes but why again always leave it to the woman? Condoms anyone?

Our biology dictates that it’s generally gonna be that way. Moral issues aside (and seriously I in no way condone ABC), female contraception tends to be more effective than male (except maybe vasectomy? Not sure).

It can sure feel unfair (I have a mild fear of pregnancy and being a mom that I am battling and sometimes wish I was a dude :p), but I think that in the long run, accepting your fertility as part of who you are is the healthy road to take. Think about it this way: imagine the self-awareness that will come with being able to predict exactly what is going on inside your body each day of the month? I think that beats having a guy put on a condom and hoping your aren’t in your fertile phase if it splits.

Might it not just be an idea to wait, enjoy the (non-sinful) things you want to enjoy and marry when you are happy to welcome children ?

This information is wrong; condom failure rate per year is about 8%. So a lot of those non-Catholic couples (every 12th for pure condom users) are “punished with children”; but for non-Catholic couples this at least for some denominations of course also can be resolved via abortion.

Actually, one can estimate that roughly per 100 couples having contraceptive sex, about 2 unborn children are sacrificed per year, so that the sex with no worries can continue (an overall 4% failure rate over all used contraceptive methods and combinations is not unrealistic and assuming an abortion rate of 50% of unintended pregnancies is realistic).

So independently from the merist of the exact catholic teaching regarding contraception, i hope these points can overcome your anger enough to at least allow the realization, that currently for the having “all the sex they want with no worries”-approach upwards of 500000 unborn childrens are sacrificed per year in the US (assuming at least 25 Million fertile females living that way - of course encouraged and assisted by similar or greater number of males - 4% contraceptive failure means 1 Million pregnancies with 500000 abortions per year).

And i hope you understand, that in a society that sacrifices 500000+ humans per year for satisfaction of lust (*) the Church must offer some teaching against that; and so while you might see something wrong with the exact teaching, i hope you at least can agree with the Church that some teaching rearding the issue of contraception is mandatory for the Church, and hence, please calm your anger and be merciful in judging whether the actual result of that for the Church mandatory task is good.

(* Thinking about it, the Aztecs might have offered us a respectful nod considering that we might be a serious competitor to them when it comes to who offers the most human sacrifices to idols; though in all fairness, i think one should not compare absolute numbers due to larger populations today and in relative numbers Aztecs might still be a notch ahead of us)

“Punished with children”—gee, where have I heard that before?

Well yes but why again always leave it to the woman? Condoms anyone?

Catholics are NOT permitted to use condoms.
The OP identifies himself as Catholic, and came to a Catholic forum.
One would hope and expect he would receive Catholic advice.

Birth regulation methods are, within marriage, a personal choice (condoms, NFP, birth control, IUD, etc…). You don’t have to have kids anyway if you don’t want too. In Catholicism, popping out children is not a prerequisite to marriage, you just have to be open to them (meaning, if baby is concieved you don’t abort it). Some people are infertile anyway and never have kids no matter how long they try.

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