Postponing pregnancy


I was just wondering if someone can refer me to texts and/or links (preferably by the CC) that state the reasons why a married couple can postpone pregnancy? Or can anyone tell me what a morally acceptable reason would be?

I thought Humanae Vitae had some but I haven’t been able to find specific reasons (examples) on there.

I want to know if my reasons are morally and licitly permissible or not.

Please help!


Serious health risk to the mother and serious monetary distress. But I can’t find them in the CC, either. Here’s a link to Christopher West’s article on it, if it helps:

The best I found from the CC was paragraph 2368-2370. But I can’t find something the clearly defines what a “selfish reason” is.

I’ll keep looking.


There is no list.

The couple must discern this together.

The reasons must be *just *and they must conform to the moral norms of the Church. It cannot be rooted in selfish motives.

If you are in doubt regarding your particular situation, seek guidance from your pastor.


**There is no such list because what might be just for one couple would be selfish for another. It really is left up to the couple and God along with a good spiritual adviser when necessary.

Only you can know if your reasons are good enough for postponing a pregnancy. Listen to your conscience.

malia **


Thanks you guys. I asked DH what his reason was not to have children and his sounded a bit selfish. He said we’re too young. Too young? We’re 24 and 25! My reason is more of a religious one mixed in w/the salvation of those future children. I think mine is a better reason, I spoke to a priest about it and he didn’t tell me I was doing wrong. But the fact that DH has such a different reason than mine makes me feel horrible.


Just continue to talk to him about his reasons and try to get to the root of it.

By “too young” he could mean “I’m scared to death, I’m worried about finances” or he could mean “I don’t want to give up my Thurs night softball game and yearly boy’s camping trip.”

Big difference.

Keep the lines of communication open and help him in his spiritual journey.


I remember reading in another thread - There are 4 general categories of acceptable reasons to limit the number of children in your family. Economic, Medical, Genetic (high probability of genetic disorder in future children), and in situations where daily life is disrupted as in war or natural disasters, etc. Sorry I can’t give you a source for that, bu maybe it gives you some direction.


We have some questions on this subject in Part One of our free, downloadable, online NFP manual noted in my signature below. Janet Smith has a chapter on The Moral Use of NFP in her book, Why Humanae Vitae Was Right. Prayer for guidance is needed for making decisions that are prudent in the truly Christian sense.

John F Kippley
Author, “Sex and the Marriage Covenant” (Ignatius, 2005)
Co-author, “Natural Family Planning: The Question-Answer Book,” a free, downloadable e-book available at –


Thanks for that info. I had found the link last week, so I’ll make sure I finish reading that.


I undertstand how postponing pregnancy could be considered selfish. Question: wouldn’t it be better, then, to not have any at that point, being a selfish person and all.


Not everyone is called to marriage. I don’t think that marks one as “selfish”. However, one of the aspects to the vocation of marriage is being open to life. There are valid, non-selfish reasons for postponing pregnancy. If a couple considering marriage is in one of those situations, then the possiblity of marriage is still open. However, if a couple plans to marry and NEVER have children, then it is not a valid marriage in the eyes of the Church.

I think your post equates a selfish action made at one point in time with perpetual selfishness. This is, of course, false.

I, personally, was very immature and selfish when first married, as was my husband. It was through the grace of God that we experience a conversion of the heart and learned to turn away from our selfishness.


Here’s my 2 cents…some Catholics will tell you that unless you’re going to die or be homeless, you have no reason not to have more kids. I tend to take a bit of a softer approach.

Here is what Greg Popcak says in his book For Better…Forever. We need to discern “God’s will for the size of our families” and “we are obligated to consider the resources or lack thereof he has given us to provide for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of a child. When parents’ physcial, economic, emotional, or physchological resources are lacking to the degree that they cannot adequately provide for a child’s mind, body, or soul, the Church invited the husband and wife to persue another kind of joy, the joy that accompanies mastering one’s sexuality.” He then goes on to discuss spiritual sexuality.

We are currently postponing pregnancy because I want to be able to breastfeed my daughter for close to two years; I know she is not ready to wean. I know there is a good chance that I won’t be able to continue if I am pregnant. I am providing for the physical needs of my daughter. I have no doubt that I am doing what is in the best interest of my family and that it’s not a selfish need. Others here may disagree, but that’s fine with me.

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