Slander and Constant Criticism about NFP


#1

There is a couple that my husband works with that has expressed interest in becoming Catholic over this last year. We have been guiding them through Catholic literature, etc. The husband (A) is the one who is really on board. In fact, he starts RCIA this fall. It is the wife (B) that is holding back. Her main hang up is regarding birth control, and despite my husband and I expressing our opinions about NFP, how we like it and what the Church teaches, she still doesn't like it.

Anyway, this topic comes up in a lot of our conversations, even casually, and it is usually a critical remark. For instance, I'm pregnant with my third child (1 living, 1 angel). After a stint in the hospital for a disease that I have, my husband and I conceived this baby, not from a mistake (I know my charts too well) but from an obvious acknowledgement that sex = potential new life. And it happened. Well, first words out of this woman's mouth were "I could NEVER do that...I don't know if I want another kid, etc. etc." (they have a baby 4 months younger than my son (17 months). She is on birth control.

My sister and her husband are on their second baby. This baby was conceived 3 months after their first, again not a "mistake." Well, (B) finds criticism about this too, snarky comments like "Well, they should have been more careful." "I feel sorry for her." The straw that broke the camel's back was this past weekend. We were at a co-workers wedding. Again she brought up my pregnancy and then my sister's pregnancy. In front of all my husband's co-workers, who have no knowledge of my sister, she asked if my sister and her husband we going to "do anything to prevent this type of situation in the future." I was appalled and embarrassed. I sent her a LONG note expressing my hurt, that it was none of her business who gets pregnant when, and that we live according to the teachings of the Catholic Church, which means it is a grave sin to use birth control. In essence, I said, we discern as we need to space our family through NFP and leave the rest to God.

I'm pregnant and hormonal, but I'll be frank. I'm SICK of this B.S. I'm sick of her feeling the need to criticize my lifestyle. At the risk of moral relativism, I'm really sick of the judgement. I'm not sinning. This is not "instruct the ignorant" for her. This is downright insecurity but the poison is just getting to me. I'm at a loss of what to do, especially at the risk of alienating them from the Church in the future.


#2

"Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it.
Unless the Lord guard the city, in vain does the guard keep watch.
It is vain for you to rise early and put off your rest at night, to eat the bread earned by hard toil-- all this God gives to His beloved sheep.
Children too are a gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born in one's youth.

Blessed are they whose quivers are full. They will never be shamed contending with their foes at the gate" Ps 127

For awhile I always got confused about how the Lord building the house led into children being a blessing. Ultimately though I've realized this passage is about not stressing over the things you can't control in your life. You do your responsibility, but you go to bed and don't stay up 24/7 to secure the things in life that you can't guard while you're asleep. This is a passage about trusting God and recognizing that children are a blessing. I would send your friend this passage to explain that while we can have needs to space the size of our family, there is something like staying up all night long to keep watch over every detail of our life in order to gain that extra control. NFP works but its about knowledge. It is no one's business as to when a couple decides to have sex when their fertile.

I would then leave it at that and pray for her. This is an area of life that people are frightened to trust God with and many feel today that contraceptives are a moral responsibility.


#3

Don't let her get to you, she is just buying into the pop culture. We had all of our children prior to our conversion & even if you aren't Catholic, people will make rude remarks. I was at church one day, our 3 children are pretty close in age, & this lady I hardly knew made a comment about planning things better....Like we would know that all children in America are exactly 2 yrs. apart or something.
Realize her conversion is between her & God. I think the letter was a good idea, you have been clear, just let it go & pray for her.


#4

The comment she made was disgusting. Like she was talking about a desease. Vile. You were right to let her know she was seriously out of line and offensive. Also, plesase don't feel like it is your responsibility to get her to convert. It is not. You have been a good role-model and a positive influence. It is not your problem that she is rejecting it. And if the poison is getting to you then you have to get rid of that poison. I'd give her another chance and see if she is willing to to have adult, respectful conversations without insulting you and your family. If not, then again it is her decision to do so. My guess is that she is really scared of what her husband wants and the way she is dealing with it is that she is taking it out on other people. Very immature.


#5

Please have patience with the ignorant. Conversion, religious or intellectual, is a difficult and fearful task. Sounds to me that she is expressing her fears and your hurt is one way the evil one is trying to get to you. Offer your other cheek.

Politely state that fertility is not a disease, choosing to have children is what you do and continue to wish to do.

I would recommend getting them “Theology of the Body for Beginners” as something to read and understand the Church’s teachings on sexuality. I would have your husband give it to her husband. It might work. But none are so stubborn as those that do not want to see.

If you think about it, the woman embarrassed herself likely more than she did you. You were innocent and she was guilty. Know that Jesus was in the same situation. Stick to your guns and don’t let the devil get to you. Jeff Cavin’s I think has a great talk on Unforgiveness. Worth a listen if you know someone who subscribes to LighthouseCatholicMedia.com


#6

Thank you for sharing this story and bless you for sharing your faith with this couple!

There are two distinctly separate issues here. One is that you want to share with her the Church's teaching on sexuality and be a positive role model as best as you can. It seems that you have done that!

Two, this woman insulted your sister in public on a very personal level. It was very appropriate for you to correct her on this. Asking her to not insult your family and sharing information with her on NFP are two separate issues.

Please try not to worry about alienating them from the church. It is wonderful that you want to help her on her faith journey, but it is not your responsibility. She is on birth control and is probably embarassed, perhaps she feels others are looking down on her as a sinner so she is lashing out. Your best bet, in my opinion, for keeping her close to the church is to stay close to her husband and encourage him in RCIA. If anyone will draw her into the faith it is a loving husband who knows her well. Give her some space for now, and ask the Holy Spirit to step in for you since you are burning out.

God bless!


#7

[quote="aggiecatholic85, post:1, topic:251710"]
There is a couple that my husband works with that has expressed interest in becoming Catholic over this last year. We have been guiding them through Catholic literature, etc. The husband (A) is the one who is really on board. In fact, he starts RCIA this fall. It is the wife (B) that is holding back. Her main hang up is regarding birth control, and despite my husband and I expressing our opinions about NFP, how we like it and what the Church teaches, she still doesn't like it.

Anyway, this topic comes up in a lot of our conversations, even casually, and it is usually a critical remark. For instance, I'm pregnant with my third child (1 living, 1 angel). After a stint in the hospital for a disease that I have, my husband and I conceived this baby, not from a mistake (I know my charts too well) but from an obvious acknowledgement that sex = potential new life. And it happened. Well, first words out of this woman's mouth were "I could NEVER do that...I don't know if I want another kid, etc. etc." (they have a baby 4 months younger than my son (17 months). She is on birth control.

My sister and her husband are on their second baby. This baby was conceived 3 months after their first, again not a "mistake." Well, (B) finds criticism about this too, snarky comments like "Well, they should have been more careful." "I feel sorry for her." The straw that broke the camel's back was this past weekend. We were at a co-workers wedding. Again she brought up my pregnancy and then my sister's pregnancy. In front of all my husband's co-workers, who have no knowledge of my sister, she asked if my sister and her husband we going to "do anything to prevent this type of situation in the future." I was appalled and embarrassed. I sent her a LONG note expressing my hurt, that it was none of her business who gets pregnant when, and that we live according to the teachings of the Catholic Church, which means it is a grave sin to use birth control. In essence, I said, we discern as we need to space our family through NFP and leave the rest to God.

I'm pregnant and hormonal, but I'll be frank. I'm SICK of this B.S. I'm sick of her feeling the need to criticize my lifestyle. At the risk of moral relativism, I'm really sick of the judgement. I'm not sinning. This is not "instruct the ignorant" for her. This is downright insecurity but the poison is just getting to me. I'm at a loss of what to do, especially at the risk of alienating them from the Church in the future.

[/quote]

This sounds like a couple that you know casually as opposed to knowing very well. Why does an intimate topic like birth control always come up in conversation? Why not discuss all of the areas of Catholicism instead?


#8

The Theology of the Body is about people and how we are to welcome them as we would welcome Christ. NFP is just a facet of the doctrine, not the point. It seems your friend is focusing on that facet and it's potential frustrations, and is unable to see the diamond right now.

As the mother of four children, I have heard my share of unthinking or intentionally hurtful comments about a pregnancy. What has worked for me is to relate the pregnancy to a person. I used to be angry, even missing events and opportunites toward the end ofone of my pregnancies because I just couldn't listen to one. more. smart aleck comment. Now I kind of see myself as a missionary for openness to life, helping everyone else to see why we are so excited about one more family member. :)

Friend: "I feel so sorry for your sister."

Me: "Sometimes pregnancy is uncomfortable, but that is how people are made. We are eager to meet our new niece or nephew." [big smile]
OR
Me: "Why would you feel sorry for her?" (Back when I was of a contraceptive/kids are a burden mindset, this would have been difficult to answer without revealing my bias against children and parenthood.)

Friend: "Is your sister going to do somethig to prevent this situation this from occurring again?"

Me: "Why would she want to do that?" [confused look]

OR
Me: [kind but firm tone] "The 'situation' is my niece or nephew. My sisters and bil are eager for their birth, and we are glad to welcome another person into our family."

I've come to view jabs and barbs toward my pregnancies as insults to a specific human beings - who will learn and grow and have likes and dislikes and stories and already has an immortal soul. Those comments imply that my child doesn't deserve to be born. However, this doesn't make my angry (anymore). On the contrary, it makes me sad. Sad for the unborn, sad for all the people who aren't welcoming to life. Sad for our selfish culture. Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for us!


#9

Jo Beth,

the examples on how to answer rude questions are excellent. I think I am still in the angry phase and find such comments very upsetting. I plan to use these responses myself next time things come up. When I announced my 2nd pregnancy to a friend, she freaked out and with complete horror in her eyes asked me what went wrong with my contraception method. It was absolutely awful and I was so hurt by her idiotic reaction, but I explained a few things. Afterwards I felt really sorry for her and not angry at all. I see how it is possible to come to that, as you have. It really is a sad thing how people see children.


#10

People feel threatened by an openess to life in others, when they are not open in their own lives.

My advice- when someone says "are you going to do anything to prevent this (pregnancy) from happening again?"

Respond- No, we're thrilled, and we hope we have another one soon after this child.

Try not to do it with sarcasm or anger, just do it with honest joy.

-I'll insert another thought into the conversation though-

NFP is not the opposite of Contraception. NFP is a particular technique that may be used to avoid pregnancy if there are sufficiently grave reasons. Some also use it to try and get pregnant.

There are people who don't use contraception...and don't use NFP. They simply live life, love their spouse, and pray for the blessing of children.

Pax!

And congratulations on the new baby!


#11

(((HUGS))) and love, Miss Aggiegirl… you’re doing great work…

Great post, Monica! :thumbsup:


#12

I'm pregnant with our fifth and the veterinarian made a comment this morning.

Good grief! If I hear one more time, "Don't you know what causes that????"

:eek:


#13

It’s so sad when people see children as something other than a blessing, and very frustrating when they feel the need to tell you about it. I have an uncle (and aunt, and other kin and friends) who feel the need to ask my wife “Don’t you know what causes that?” or “Oh…how many are you planning on having?!” or “Again?!..was this an oopsie?”

GRRRRRRR!:mad: :wink:

My wife has already decided that the next time she is asked if we know what causes it, she’ll reply “Yes we do…and we just happen to be better at it than most people.” :wink: I guess I tend to be more negative…my next comment will be along the lines of “Yeah, my wife and I actually love children, unlike some people who see them as a burden.” :shrug:


#14

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