What are we supposed to do? (NFP Related)


#1

My Wife and I got married roughly two months ago, she is a practicing devout catholic; I am a non-demonination christian desperately looking for answers. We were married in the church and are now happily married with one exception even though I got laid off and we lost our home, forcing us to live with my parents, right before the wedding. NFP is ruining our intimacy. We both waited for sex our entire lives (we are about to be 30). My wife has several medical conditions which require medication which would be harmful and/or deadly to a baby, on top of that the toll on her well being, mental and physical, would be WAY too much on her frail system.

That said we have been following NFP (Billings) and this has resulted in a non-existant sex life, much to both our frustration. The reason being that the medications she takes make it impossible to determine a peak day or a Basic Infertile Pattern. It is a daily source of anxiety and pain for us. Our Instructor is at a lose as to what we should do, sympto-thermal would result in the same issue due to the medication and her health, the various institutes and organizations have been no help, and honestly flat out rude to us. NFP doctors have been no help. And the clergy has a tough luck attitude. I am extremely supportive of her faith, and often go to Mass with her.

What are we supposed to do? Are we doomed to a life of celibacy due to medication (and no she can not change meds)? We are in great despair.


#2

Since you are non-denom. Christian, you are not bound by the rules of the Church. Honestly, if I were you (and a non-denom. Christian), I would take this problem on myself and go have a vasectomy. You said your wife could not handle pregnancy, so I assume you don’t want kids anyway. People are going to yell at me for this suggestion, but you are not Catholic, so you don’t have to follow our rules.


#3

Um, I would not listen to the advice of kitchendiva. It sets a horrible example. Oh my goodness…

Anyway, I will pray for you guys. I can’t offer more help than that. I’m sorry for it, but I haven’t the medical degree or instruction to assist you in NFP and your wife’s medical issues. I can only advise you not to compound a tough situation with a bad mistake.


#4

St Paul VI Institute is unable to help you?

It may be that your wife will be unable to consummate your marriage, in which case it might be able to be annulled both legally and canonically for lack of consummation.

I am very surprised that this issue did not come up in your pre-marital counseling.


#5

[quote="kitchendiva, post:2, topic:214334"]
Since you are non-denom. Christian, you are not bound by the rules of the Church. Honestly, if I were you (and a non-denom. Christian), I would take this problem on myself and go have a vasectomy. You said your wife could not handle pregnancy, so I assume you don't want kids anyway. People are going to yell at me for this suggestion, but you are not Catholic, so you don't have to follow our rules.

[/quote]

These are not "our" rules; they are God's rules. Your suggesting that someone break one of God's rules is not charitable and indicates a lack of understanding of this issue.


#6

you need to pray. You really can not take the tact "I am not Catholic I don't need to follow the rules.". Why does the church teach this? That being said I understand your pain as I too have been in a situation with my wife being sick. We made a decision that I still second guess. Pray Pray Pray


#7

First thing, DO NOT follow a previous poster’s advice and get a vasectomy. Honestly, do people see the Church as making up rules just for fun? Serious damage is done to the relationship with any kind of contraception.
Prayers for you , certainly, I imagine you both are having a hard time right now.
Does your wife’s regular physician (not the NFP gynecologist) have any suggestions? Is there a group of other women with these medical issues she could talk to, maybe get some idea of how it would affect her cycle? And it wouldn’t hurt to use sympto-thermal as well for a while, just so she can get an understanding of what her cycle (on medication) does. You know what I mean? Maybe after a cycle or two, she’ll be able to see a pattern, even if it’s not the normal textbook pattern.


#8

First of all, thanks to all for replying.

Anna jane: No the Doctor can not suggest anything, the current battery of meds is the requirement, and the dosage with likely escalate soon further making readings vague. And other than the organizations and instructors there is no one to really talk to about it. Let's be honest, even the USCCB said at one point less than 3% of catholics use NFP, that doesn't leave a very large group to talk to, and the likelihood of a similar issue would be even less. We could try SMT, but the issue with that is it still requires a definitive mucus reading to declare peak, one indicator is not enough, so it puts us back on the same footing. Additionally the number of things that affect temperature readings are concerns, such as lack of sleep and getting up at the same time every morning, things she has no control over due to medication effects. We did 7 months of NFP training before the wedding, and they are totally confused.

bkhelgemo: I never claimed that because it's not my church I don't have to follow the rules, even if I don't agree completely I can at least see the beauty of it, in an ideal situation. And I am trying to do everything I can to be supportive of her and her faith, she comes first for me. Otherwise I wouldn't have researched NFP, the Catechism, and Canon Law like a mad man while we were still dating.

St Francis: Our pre-wedding planning was intensive and did cover NFP in great detail, as well as Canon Law pertaining to marriage. The marriage was consummated (we were later chastised for "breaking" the rules; ones we were not told about during 7 months of NFP classes), so that's not a route, and I would never annul it to begin with, consummation or not. We are hesitant to use NaproTech because it would just be another medical procedure or medication that would have an unknown effect on a fragile system.


#9

Lucky for him that he’s not Catholic then! :rolleyes:

He’s bound by objective truth, and natural law. It would be gravely wrong for him have a vasectomy. The only things that only Catholics have to obey are things like going to Mass every Sunday, tithing, and that sort of thing. Anything to do with artificial birth control is binding to all people.


#10

I hear you man. My wife and I have been married for almost 6 years, and we've struggled with NFP difficulty our whole marriage.

We recently started using the Marquette method which makes use of the Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor:

nfp.marquette.edu/

We're not 100% confident in it yet, but we're finding it very promising. The monitor measures levels of estrogen and LH (the hormone that causes the egg to be released from the ovary).


#11

Napro Tech would initially involve learning Creighton. It’s very similar to Billings, but the observations are very standardized. Maybe it would help find your peak day…

Also the Marquette model uses a monitor to help pinpoint ovulation. Maybe those methods will help?


#12

What a tough row to hoe! Sending prayers through the Blessed Mother, esp. for healing for your wife.

hold on tight to each other through this tough time!


#13

I truly hope and pray that you are able to find a way to get the sex life going. I don’t really know jack squat about NFP, but would it be possible to use both Billings and SMT simultaneously to get more data and thus better, more accurate readings?

I don’t really want to be the one to say it, but someone should, so that it’s on the table. And then we can not discuss it anymore until every other recourse has been exhausted. But here it is: some married couples find out that they are called to a celibate (or nearly celibate) marriage, much like that of St. Joseph. This is a heavy cross, but, like all crosses, it is intended as a gift – difficult as it can be to see it that way.

There. I said it. Now let’s get back to brainstorming ideas and hope that it doesn’t prove applicable in this case! Maybe this Marquette method is a possibility. Additionally, as mentioned earlier in the thread, there are groups dedicated to nothing but finding ways to deal with medical complications under NFP. Some of them may prove helpful.


#14

Are you sure that NaPro would be another procedure or medication? What would be the harm in a consultation?


#15

A priest is not an NFP instructor, he will not be able to offer practical advice regarding the practice of NFP.

Have you looked at the Marquette Model that comes from Marquette University's school of nursing? It combines Creighton instruction with a fertiltiy monitor. It might be what you need to help with the ambiguous signs.

Remember, though, that NFP is an alternative to *complete abstinence *for those able to use it. It is **not **an alternative to contraception, which is an intrinsic evil and offense against God.

If NFP does not work for you-- and you have a serious reason to absolutely avoid pregnancy-- then yes, abstaining until you no longer have a reason to avoid may indeed be necessary.


#16

Do her meds impact her body temp? Or just the mucus (which I imagine slows the swimming of sperm... a more hostile environment so to speak)?

If they DO NOT impact her body temp check out The Lady computer They claim you don't need to worry about the other indicators... Educate yourself on it. I've not used... but seems quite interesting!

Are her cycles otherwise regular?


#17

The cervix sign can be very helpful when other signs are vague/unavailable. Have you tried learning this?


#18

[quote="helplesspilgrim, post:8, topic:214334"]
First of all, thanks to all for replying.

bkhelgemo: I never claimed that because it's not my church I don't have to follow the rules, even if I don't agree completely I can at least see the beauty of it, in an ideal situation. And I am trying to do everything I can to be supportive of her and her faith, she comes first for me. Otherwise I wouldn't have researched NFP, the Catechism, and Canon Law like a mad man while we were still dating.

[/quote]

I don't think anyone had a problem with what you are doing, just the other poster's not-well-thought-out suggestion. I really admire your stance on this :)

St Francis: Our pre-wedding planning was intensive and did cover NFP in great detail, as well as Canon Law pertaining to marriage. The marriage was consummated (we were later chastised for "breaking" the rules; ones we were not told about during 7 months of NFP classes), so that's not a route, and I would never annul it to begin with, consummation or not. We are hesitant to use NaproTech because it would just be another medical procedure or medication that would have an unknown effect on a fragile system.

:gopray2: for both of you.


#19

[quote="helplesspilgrim, post:1, topic:214334"]
My Wife and I got married roughly two months ago, she is a practicing devout catholic; I am a non-demonination christian desperately looking for answers. We were married in the church and are now happily married with one exception even though I got laid off and we lost our home, forcing us to live with my parents, right before the wedding. NFP is ruining our intimacy. We both waited for sex our entire lives (we are about to be 30). My wife has several medical conditions which require medication which would be harmful and/or deadly to a baby, on top of that the toll on her well being, mental and physical, would be WAY too much on her frail system.

That said we have been following NFP (Billings) and this has resulted in a non-existant sex life, much to both our frustration. The reason being that the medications she takes make it impossible to determine a peak day or a Basic Infertile Pattern. It is a daily source of anxiety and pain for us. Our Instructor is at a lose as to what we should do, sympto-thermal would result in the same issue due to the medication and her health, the various institutes and organizations have been no help, and honestly flat out rude to us. NFP doctors have been no help. And the clergy has a tough luck attitude. I am extremely supportive of her faith, and often go to Mass with her.

What are we supposed to do? Are we doomed to a life of celibacy due to medication (and no she can not change meds)? We are in great despair.

[/quote]

My heart goes out to you. I definitely know how hard it is to be abstainent in marriage. It is so much different than when you're courting. My husband and I had been unable to consumate our marriage for the first two months of our marriage due to a physical condition caused by a pyschological condition. Treatment for it has been very hard to line up with Catholic morality and NFP seemed to make overcoming the problem even harder. My husband is unemployed as well, and after much prayer, I just kept meditating on the Navitity in a very new way and the entire poverty of that situation. Continuing to pray, we just decided it was more important to overcome the problem and be able to consumate our marriage rather than prevent a pregnancy even though we felt we did have a grave reason. We overall are entrusting God with our entire lives with this pregnancy.

You have not been very specific about your wife's health problems. There is one thing to consider though. Say you were using NFP and your wife did become pregnant? Or say you were using a contraceptive and your wife became pregnant? Only total abstainence is 100%, and all married couples are called to accept children as gifts from God. It is one of the purposes of marriage. I can definitely understand having grave reasons to avoid pregnancy and I would urge you to continue to research all the available methods of NFP, possibly Creighton as well and see if you can get her chart sent up to Dr. Hilgers or something. But this will be a process and both of you need to weigh things out and pray about the situation you find yourselves in. And you need to be completely honest with yourself as well.

When I was young, my parents found themselves in a situation similiar to this. Mom was prone to frequent miscarriages, had nearly died in a miscarriage and what I had been told was that my mom had been told after the birth of my youngest brother that she may not survive another pregnancy. Dad eventually did give in and get a vesectomy. Its probably not something I should know about, but for whatever reason my Dad did end up mentioning it to me and I didn't understand why sex couldn't just be given up out of love for your wife. My youngest brother is now 19, and again for whatever reason my Dad maybe a couple years ago admitted to me that I had been partially right and that he'd allowed his lusts to make a gravely immoral decision. He said there would have been more he could have done to make NFP work and to resolve the situation in a moral means, but that he wanted an immediate solution. It was easier for him to just get fatalistic about their situation and to convince himself that he was absolutely trapped.

I'm not saying I don't understand at all. Not having a sex life when your a newlywed is really tough on a marriage. Its been very easy to get down on our situation and say "Well God and the Catholic Church have trapped us." The reality is that God for whatever reason has allowed us to receive a very heavy cross and He is giving us the grace to endure it. Sometimes I get jealous of other people because they seem to have lighter crosses. Sometimes I want to just feel prideful and start wanting a bigger reward for carrying this cross. I want recognition for it.

Pray, pray, pray. This is an big tempting time you're in. Find the path God wants you to go on and do not lose hope.


#20

I apologize to everyone for my bad suggestion. If it's true that Protestants will be held to the same standard on this issue as Catholics, my heart aches for all of my Protestant friends. :(


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