I gave birth to our fourth child Veronica two weeks ago. So for the past two weeks I have been really struggling with how to proceed with our NFP. My biggest question I always come to is would it be irresponsible to not chart at all and go as God leads us? I don’t have any medical issues that really require me to chart. So basically I don’t need to avoid for health reasons. Financially we are not great, but we’ve always been able to put food on the table and pay our bills.
I’ve tried to discuss it with my husband, but he pretty much gives me the same answer, “What ever you want dear.” And those really are his words.
Now to be honest with you, I don’t want to chart. I find it to be a hassle and I have a hard time staying committed to it. And then trying to throw temping in there, well, I just don’t see it happening.
Thanks for listening, I needed to throw out some thoughts.
In short, nope. I have asked this very same question in different forms and to different good orthodox priests, and the answer has always been a big no. One priest even told me, (and I am paraphrasing, but it was something like this) Goodness, who plans things better than God!!!??
A couple can use NFP to avoid if just/serious/grave reasons arise, and that is beautiful, but it is not something all couples need to use.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not charting and just letting what happens happen. I’ve thought about stopping, but at this point it’s still kind of new (we’ve only been using it for just over two years and I was pregnant for a bunch of that and then breastfeeding up until the present, so it hasn’t gotten old yet) and I feel like I’m still learning about my cycle by using it. I wouldn’t be too stressed about it. I certainly don’t think there’s anything wrong with stopping. Good luck with whatever you decide, and congratulations on the birth of your daughter!
Seeing as your family appears to have no reason to control the spacing or number of births, it would be immoral to practice NFP. From a moral theology standpoint, you should just not chart and should submit yourself to God’s will and trust that He will provide. Good luck in raising your family, children are such a blessing!
plop till you drop is not what the church teaches. Using NFP or LAM to space your children and make sure you are healthy enough for another pregnancy is just plain smart. Making sure there is enough space between pregnancies also helps avoid possible complications or a miscarriage.
I’m engaged now so I’m in a similar same boat…my FH and I have decided that we want lots of kids and we want them whenever God wants us to have them. So, I was trying to decide if I wanted to learn NFP and asked the wise mamas here and they said I should. So I am…kinda. I’m charting temps…I can handle taking my temperature in the morning…and I have a smartphone that has mobile excel on it…so I just type it right in there. But, who knows how diligent I will be when we’re married :shrug:. We’re excited to see trends though and learn about it. And have info there if we have a hard time conceiving.
Are you nursing on demand? With both of my kids I didn’t start charting until they were over 6 months old because I nursed on demand and my cycles didn’t return for a while. While we all know exceptions, it’s difficult to get pregnant within the first 6 months after having a child whether or not you even try.
If there are grave reasons to space the births, then yes, it is acceptable. However, I was offering my opinion on the information that was presented to me, in which I saw no “grave reason” to space the births. However, these reasons should be discussed with an orthodox priest and one’s spiritual director/adviser, if he or she has one.
I have a similar program on my ipod touch and it really is convenient! It makes everything so easy with the graphs and estimates, especially if you cycles is consistent. Congratulations on your engagement!
Spacing itself is a just reason, no other reason is needed. Several priests have told me this, and it’s consistent with what I’ve read online and in the Catechism.
Pregnancy is hard on a woman’s body, and being constantly pregnant can be bad for her health. Wanting to give her body time to recover from a pregnancy is a just reason to use NFP. Also how hard do you think it is for a couple to take care of a newborn, think of all the sleep they won’t be getting. Do you think it’s good for her to be pregnant at the same time as taking care of a newborn? These considerations on their own are enough to justify the use of NFP.
Some people want to pervert Catholic teaching and make it seem that you can’t use NFP unless you’re going to die if you get pregnant, that is just a case of people wanting to be more Catholic than the Church itself.
she gave birth two weeks ago and you don’t see any reason to use NFP? What on earth would be a serious enough reason in your mind?
The risks of a miscarriage or complications during pregnancy are much lower if the woman has time to recuperate between births. I have a friend that thinks like you and his wife looks like she’s been rode hard and hung up wet. It was usually 5-6 months after giving birth before she was pregnant again. She had to go through miscarriages and complications, more than likely because her body just never had time to recuperate and her husband wasn’t willing to use NFP. Sorry, but that just isn’t love. Just like it is possible to use NFP for selfish reasons it is also possible to not use NFP for selfish reasons.
Isn’t NFP (to avoid) always used for spacing, unless the couple knows there is no way their just/serious/grave reason will ever go away without a miracle? That doesn’t mean NFP (to avoid) is being used correctly. One has to have just reasons to space, not just space whatever spacing. The Catechism says:
2368 A particular aspect of this responsibility concerns the regulation of procreation. For just reasons, spouses **may wish to space the births **of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood.
It seems to me that just reasons have to be present, not that spacing in itself is always a just reason… If so, when would the “cut-off” be, say I decided that I wanted to space my kids 5 yrs apart, that does not mean it is a just reason for me to use NFP to avoid. There isn’t a certain spacing that all women have to follow, different women have different health situations, and they might need a certain space because of their health, or they may even have to avoid for the rest of their “fertile life” because of their health, and different families are in different circumstances that may lead them to space children in different ways. That is the beauty of it, each couple discerns what their situation is and how to deal with the issues they face with generosity and prudence. Just as it is a problem when people don’t accept that our Church fully supports NFP to be used to avoid for unselfish just/serious/ grave reasons, it is also a problem when people start suggesting a couple is not being responsible if they don’t use NFP to decide when each child will be born. NFP is not required, and a couple , with a spirit of generosity and always prudent, may never need to use NFP.
Well, I was talking more about this particular situation where the woman just gave birth. Of course if you want to space your children 10 years apart or a long time like that, you need to have a just reason other than spacing itself.
But spacing so that you don’t end up continuously pregnant is on its own a just reason, I don’t know how long it takes for a particular woman to recover from a pregnancy. My guess maybe 3 years or something like that? I don’t know, that is for her to discuss with her doctor.
But I have seen this again and again online, and have had priests say that spacing this way is on its own a just reason. Wanting to have your body recover from a pregnancy, and being able to focus on your newborn before getting pregnant again is a just reason.
As of right now we are nursing on demand. (and boy does she demand :D) I’ve never been able to go past three months nursing because I’ve had to return to work and pumping killed my supply. I’m not working now so I am hoping to go longer, ultimately I want to go at least a year. Anyway I know that breastfeeding is not a very reliable “birth control” (for lack of better words).
Spacing is an important factor. Pregnancy really does take it’s toll on the body; after all there is 15 months between Mary and Veronica, and I could definitely feel it on my body. And part of my not wanting to chart is sheer laziness. I don’t want to be bothered with it.
That is why I was saying spacing in itself wasn’t a reason, since technically using NFP to avoid is spacing since other children could come later when the reason to avoid goes away (unless the couple knows that barring any miracle the reason they have to avoid will never go away), and like the Catechism mentions, “For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children”, which suggests that there need to be just reasons. A woman’s health can certainly be a just reason to space, but different women may need different times to recover, like you said something to discuss with your doctor, better yet if your doctor is a pro-life Catholic :). Randomly saying, for example, that one needs x years between each birth isn’t the same as taking each case separately, as every woman, and for that matter every pregnancy, can be different, and while some may have a reason to have to wait 3 years, or even more, or maybe even not have any more children, others can prudently be open to pregnancy way before :). I know several Catholic families that have closely spaced children. In one of the families the father is a doctor of internal medicine, another one is the head surgeon of a hospital, another one a ped, and there are other doctors and professionals that I know of too. These people are good practicing Catholics that are well aware of the Church’s teachings on NFP, I cannot imagine them being considered “irresponsible” for not spacing their children more and I cannot imagine these doctors being ok with this spacing if it was totally detrimental to their wives’ health. Now, I agree, a woman might need x amount of time after the birth of a child, and that would be the just reason, not the spacing itself, but the need to not get pregnant yet, and when this need is gone, so is the reason.
I am not going to tell you if you should or should not use NFP–that’s between you, your husband and God. But the Church does not require couples to use NFP. Choosing not to use or chart with NFP doesn’t mean you’re lazy or that you’ll “plop til you drop” (as someone else rudely phrased it.:p)
Breastfeeding usually delays return of fertility. If you look at statistics from countries that don’t use contraception much, ecological breastfeeding alone–on average–spaces children without mothers having to bother with charting. Here’s a link with some information about fertility and ecologically breastfeeding from La Leche League llli.org/llleaderweb/LV/LVDec98Jan99p128.html
*The chance of pregnancy occurring during the first three months of ecological breastfeeding are practically nil. During the second three months, there is a less than 2 percent chance of becoming pregnant before the first menstrual period. After six months postpartum there is a six percent chance of becoming pregnant before the first period. That means that an amenorrheic woman who is relying on ecological breastfeeding alone has a 94 percent chance of not becoming pregnant during the second six months postpartum. *
While some people consider breastfeeding a form of NFP, I basically consider it a healthy way to feed a baby. In the past when charting my own return to fertility when breastfeeding, I had fertility signs coming and going for months before I actually ovulated. When using NFP, such fertility signs indicated a couple should not have relations if they want to avoid pregnancy. Several years ago, my husband and I decided to stop using NFP and place our child spacing/family size entirely in God’s hands. That may not be what He calls everyone to do, but I’m very happy with our decision not to chart and worry about pregnancy one way or the other.