Should a Bipolar married catholic Women with 3children have her tubes tied?


#1

I need help. I have been married almost four years and have a 1 and 2 year old and am pregenant with my third child. I am also Bipolar/manic depressive. For each of my pregnancys i have come off of my medication to protect my child from birthdefects. When I am off my medication I really should be hospitalized because I cannot function or take care of my children. I scream and cry and am a huge mess. My children do not deserve this. I practice natural family planning, but so far all of our children have been a surprise. I feel desperate and have to go back on my meds even though I am still pregenet. I really need to stop having children, but feel like I am out of options and am feeling trapped. What shouldI do? I am going to talk to a priest this week and am hopeful that a tubal would be all right. I do not believe in taking birth control pills because of the risk of miscarriage . I would never want this for any other reason, but my family is falling apart and so am I.


#2

I don't have the knowledge to answer your question, but I wanted to let you know that you're definitely not alone. I have panic disorder and am off my meds now for the pregnancy. I totally know how you feel! Everything's gonna be alright though. Ok?


#3

[quote="icewing726, post:1, topic:241007"]
I need help. I have been married almost four years and have a 1 and 2 year old and am pregenant with my third child. I am also Bipolar/manic depressive. For each of my pregnancys i have come off of my medication to protect my child from birthdefects. When I am off my medication I really should be hospitalized because I cannot function or take care of my children. I scream and cry and am a huge mess. My children do not deserve this. I practice natural family planning, but so far all of our children have been a surprise. I feel desperate and have to go back on my meds even though I am still pregenet. I really need to stop having children, but feel like I am out of options and am feeling trapped. What shouldI do? I am going to talk to a priest this week and am hopeful that a tubal would be all right. I do not believe in taking birth control pills because of the risk of miscarriage . I would never want this for any other reason, but my family is falling apart and so am I.

[/quote]

First: You are off your meds for the sake of your child. God bless you! Second: being off your meds may cause you to question things that you would not, if you were on your meds. Note the timing of your post.

Voluntary tubal ligation is a moral evil, since it destroys your natural, God -given fertility. Did not God know all when he oversaw the conception of your baby?

If you can, please relax and thank God for His goodness. If the same thoughts persist, it would be wise to contact your doctor.


#4

[quote="po18guy, post:3, topic:241007"]
First: You are off your meds for the sake of your child. God bless you! Second: being off your meds may cause you to question things that you would not, if you were on your meds. Note the timing of your post.

Voluntary tubal ligation is a moral evil, since it destroys your natural, God -given fertility. Did not God know all when he oversaw the conception of your baby?

If you can, please relax and thank God for His goodness. If the same thoughts persist, it would be wise to contact your doctor.

[/quote]

What this guy said. Think about it, every time you contracept you are doing evil, if you do this you are doing a permanant evil? Obviously this isn't exactly how it works, but please don't contracept.


#5

It sounds like you would be a really good candidate for the most conservative forms of NFP, where women use a fertility monitor to confirm ovulation and then have relations only during the luteal phase. Hard, sure, but it sounds like you have really grave reasons and would have the motivation to do it. Prayers for you!


#6

“No,” is the short answer. For details see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “The Fecundity of Marriage” and “The Gift of a Child” - 2366-2378.

However, as a woman myself with bipolar disorder, you have my sympathy and understanding. This is one of those situations where the Church’s teaching on “contraception, birth control, tubes tied” (ETC), does seem severe. It can even feel punitive because you are actually ill and unable to get your treatment, to protect the baby.

However, let me ask you this, if you could wave a magic wand and take those two children away that you have, would you? Ah, yes your life would be so much more peaceful and quiet, you would not have gone thru heck with those emotional roller coaster pregnancies! BUT, would you relinquish those little ones in trade for 9 months on your medicine?

And what of the child in your womb now? Can you do some things, just little steps, to calm your anxiety and help feel better, such as adding some touches to the nursery, shopping for baby clothes or toys, etc?

There are many times in life when bipolar patients must go off meds, in preparation for surgery, in conflict with other meds, rapid cycling, etc. During those times, we MUST - and the psychiatrist should help! - find alternative soothing activities, a rocking chair, knitting, coloring, walking. What about playing with the children or putting music on for them and you? There also may be herbal or safe sedatives you can take under your doctor’s supervision.

Also, and again your psychiatrist or doctor should recommend this, people like us NEED to be in a support group now. Hubby cannot handle it all, and we can’t either. A bipolar support group, but not necessarily, one for pregnant women would also be good. To get out and share and express yourself and see others coping and get ideas. YOU DESERVE THAT SUPPORT. Ask the doctor for it! It is really a part of your medical care!

Now, the priest. We all know how common it is for priests to accidentally or intentionally distort or even completely falsify Church teaching, especially on contraception. I would read the official copy of the Catechism first so you are not relying ONLY on the priest. Sad to say, but this is reality.

You now know what pregnancy is like for you and that it’s possible you will have more in the future. It might be good at some point for you and your husband to have counseling about how to deal with those times. Also, remember with we bipolars when we are feeling crazy we cannot remember the calm times. I doubt you are really this upset for 9 months straight. However, yes, it’s a reality and your psychiatrist and psychologist should both be recommending activities and alternatives.

You might also “offer up” this severe suffering you are experiencing for your family, or for the health of your children. When you feel most agitated, use classic techniques: get alone if possible, darken the room, have herbal tea, put an ice pack on your head, take a cool or warm bath, and such. Get the kids out of your hair with a sitter or neighbor, if at all possible, for a short time.

And try saying the Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet…OR if you are too agitated, just ramble on talking to God or the Blessed Mother or a favorite saint. That is OK. You don’t have to use formal prayers. BUT DO TALK TO THEM IN THOSE MOMENTS WHEN IT’S MOST URGENT, if you possibly can.

God bless you.


#7

[quote="icewing726, post:1, topic:241007"]
When I am off my medication I really should be hospitalized because I cannot function or take care of my children. I scream and cry and am a huge mess.

[/quote]

Sorry, I just re-read this section of your post. Perhaps you should be hospitalized. The option should at least be discussed with your psychiatrist, psychologist and ob/gyn. If you truly cannot function or control yourself, this has to be addressed. It's not just the pregnancy issue, your bipolar still has to be treated somehow, a hospital is only one option. However, not sure if you've ever been in a psych ward, but you are likely to find that much more unpleasant than being in your own home, because they still will not be able to medicate you because of the baby. Another option is some part-time help in your home with the children to take the pressure off you.

So you need to clarify 2 issues. One is the question you raised, tubal ligation, ostensibly your concern in this post. Two is how to treat your illness while you are pregnant, perhaps the REAL issue, which should involve urgent meetings with your husband and doctors.


#8

It occurred to me that a legitimate health need may justify a tubal ligation. One could argue that continued pregnancies are putting your health at risk due to your bipolar disorder. I did some research, and Bishop Vasa's view reflects the most stringent or conservative interpretation, which in your case, as described here anyway, would not allow an "indirect" tubal ligation. However, by all the confusion in Catholic hospitals and among priests, I do not know if there is room here for a more compassionate decision that allows you to make the decision. Your situation is agonizing, and I also happen to have a family member in almost the exact situation. So I am trying to really get the right info. If this is too much, just disregard, but this article specifically addresses tubal ligations.

ncregister.com/site/article/beginning_of_the_end_for_church-backed_hospitals/

BEND, Ore. — It might be the tip of an iceberg. Repeated ethical violations at an Oregon hospital led its bishop to revoke the hospital’s privilege to call itself "Catholic" and to warn that the same moral error could already have infected Catholic health-care systems nationwide. St. Charles Medical Center in Bend lost the title "Catholic" on Feb. 15 due to its refusal to stop doing tubal ligations to sterilize women.

Founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1918 but no longer run by them, St. Charles is Oregon’s only Level II trauma center in the central and eastern part of the state. "The crux of the conflict was the hospital and ethics board’s intentional misinterpretation of ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ sterilizations," said Diocese of Baker Bishop Robert Vasa. After several years of negotiations with St. Charles, Bishop Vasa made the difficult decision to strip the hospital of its "Catholic" status.

*Tubal ligation, informally known as "getting one’s tubes tied," is always a direct form of female sterilization not permitted in Catholic health-care institutions. But, based on the Catholic principle of double effect, other procedures that indirectly induce sterility — the removal of cancerous fallopian tubes or ovaries, for example — are permitted in situations where no simpler remedy is available. *

"The heart of my conflict here is that the hospital and the ethics board identified all of these 200 to 250 sterilizations they do a year as indirect," Bishop Vasa said.

A typical case at issue would be that of a mother with three children. A doctor may decide it could be "dangerous" for her to get pregnant again. In such a circumstance, St. Charles’ hospital and ethics board claimed it was permissible under the directives for a surgeon to sterilize the mother with the "indirect" intention of keeping her healthy. "Clearly, that’s a direct sterilization with the secondary hope of preserving her health," Bishop Vasa said. "So it was in my mind an intentional misrepresentation and misinterpretation of that teaching."

Further, the bishop stated, "It is possible that this teaching about sterilization may be misunderstood and misrepresented in a number of Catholic hospitals nationwide." To be called "Catholic," a health-care institution must follow the "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services" issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. *Paragraph 53 of the directives states: "Direct sterilization of either men or women, whether permanent or temporary, is not permitted in a Catholic health-care institution." A second sentence reads: "Procedures that induce sterility are permitted when their direct effect is the cure or alleviation of a present and serious pathology and a simpler treatment is not available." This second sentence is often made the illegitimate pretext for sterilizations at Catholic hospitals. *

A Covert Practice Bishop Vasa noted that during the course of his negotiations with St. Charles, the hospital’s chief executive officer had been in contact with two or three very large Catholic health-care systems, and their question to him was: "Why did you tell the bishop you were doing this?" The bishop was told that administrators in other Catholic health systems said, in essence, "This information should not have been shared so openly with the bishop."

"It appears that hospitals may be pleading that their interpretation of the directive is correct," Bishop Vasa said. "But it may also be that they are not being as transparent with their bishops as they should be. Thus, when the bishops ask the question, ‘Are you following the Ethical and Religious Directives?’ they will answer with a straight face, ‘Yes we are.’ "But if you ask, ‘Are you doing tubal ligations?’ they will say, ‘Yes, but always in accord with the directives as an ‘indirect sterilization.’"

It’s that code word "indirect" that’s the tip-off to evasion of ethical guidelines. "If a bishop trustingly accepts that Catholic hospitals in his jurisdiction are following the directives in accord with his proper interpretation of those directives, he may be surprised to learn this may not be the case," Bishop Vasa said. (excerpt)

ncregister.com/site/article/beginning_of_the_end_for_church-backed_hospitals/


#9

It is questionable is you should or shouldn't try to avoid children. Even using NFP, you must be open to life should it happen; you sin if you begin to use it as contreceptive, which can happen. Tubal is a mortal evil, so that's out. I think you should talk to a solid Priest about whether you are able to have more children in your condition. If you are unable, your only option would be a Josephite Marriage, where you and your husband live out celibacy.

I have heard that people have been on some strong psychiatric medicines while pregnant and all was well, so I would look into other medicine options for a safer choice. In my case, I know my ADHD medicine is unsafe for pregnancy as it says on the label, but my other mental medicine is fine for it...


#10

Let us not project judgments onto this lady. She is obviously as "open to life" as one can be, having 3 kids in 4 years of marriage! She stated she will not use the "pill". She's clearly very conscientious. I think her husband should be part of this conversation, though.

She is perfectly within moral conditions to "space" her children, and considering she has bipolar disorder and already had 3 small ones close together, it might be perfectly legitimate for she and her husband to "space" their next children five years apart. For a normal couple that might be avoiding responsibility. In the case of a bipolar person (and since it's genetic, possibly some of the children may be bipolar, requiring extra care and expense for the family, another reason for "spacing"), who could expect more from her?

Believe me, I'm bipolar, it's hard, I'm really watching this thread, and there are several issues not yet sorted out: church teaching, marital relations, NFP, medication, alternatives to medication, counseling (individual, couple, family), etc.

The next thing is - we are adults and in this internet age we all have access to the catechism, church documents, and forums like this. We don't have to run to a priest to ask how often we should have sex or if we may use NFP. Yes, of course, consult a priest if there are uncertainties or to get his wisdom (should be priest that deals with young marrieds). But the decisions here, once this woman has her questions clarified about tubal ligation, are more in the medical realm than the religious realm. She clearly needs MORE MEDICAL INTERVENTION and support during her pregnancies.

Also, she and her husband seem to need more exact and precise instruction on natural spacing methods. I think to jump to the conclusion of a Josephite marriage is a bit extreme, theoretically sure, it's a possibility. But gee whiz, this lady is upset enough, don't throw that option into the mix! Her real problem is how to deal with bipolar disorder while pregnant. That is a question for a doctor not a priest.


#11

[quote="JoyfulLife, post:9, topic:241007"]
If you are unable, your only option would be a Josephite Marriage, where you and your husband live out celibacy.

[/quote]

I'll put it this way, someone said they knew a married family with kids and they had to turn to a Josephite Marriage because, if I recall correctly, she could die if she were to get pregnant again. NFP is still open to life should it happen and they didn't stay with that. For those in similar situations, it's something to think about and talk to a solid Priest about, as well as a solid Catholic doctor, because by no means are any of us theologians, etc..

God bless you.


#12

[quote="JoyfulLife, post:9, topic:241007"]
It is questionable is you should or shouldn't try to avoid children. Even using NFP, you must be open to life should it happen; you sin if you begin to use it as contreceptive, which can happen. Tubal is a mortal evil, so that's out. I think you should talk to a solid Priest about whether you are able to have more children in your condition. If you are unable, your only option would be a Josephite Marriage, where you and your husband live out celibacy.

...

[/quote]

This is just false. A Catholic couple may use NFP to avoid pregnancy for just reasons. It's up to each couple to discern if their reasons are just. I think we can all agree that severe psychiatric illness is a very serious issue.

How would a so-called "Josephite" marriage be any more moral than strict, consistent and indefinite use of NFP?


#13

Dear OP whatever your decision on the future at the moment you are pregnant, off meds and suffering tremendously. You obviously need practical help with your children, are you receiving any help? I would approach the Right To Life committee and SVDP at your parish or neighboring parish and explain your situation. At my own parish we would do all we could to give practical help to a mom in these circumstances. Please reach out in every way you are able to let people know you need help, your priest would hopefully be a good start. I struggled tremendously with three little ones and no family help and I am not bi-polar. Raising children on it's own is such a huge task many mom's buckle under purely from extended sleep-deprivation. If you have any room in your budget get help with housekeeping and childcare. Make sure your doctor knows how severe your current situation is.

Can you tell us if you have practical help of any kind? How involved in childcare is your hubby? Do you have emotionally close family and friends? :hug1:


#14

You have my prayers and sympathy, I'm in a very similar situation.


#15

Having had experience with bipolar disorder (mother-in-law, her sister and daughter), I fully understand.

You are obviously trying to live the teachings of the church, for which I commend you. The National Catholic Bioethics Center should be able to help you with more information. There is also a way to have a consultation with someone.

Please know that I'll be praying for you. I know what you're going through and I know it's one HECK of a cross to bear. God bless you!


#16

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