I am a practicing Catholic. I have Multiple Sclerosis, I am 30 years old. I have been married for almost 8 years and my husband and I have successfully avoided pregnancy using NFP for almost 8 years.
Here’s the complication: my neurologist has advised me that based on the aggressive nature that MS has attacked my body (have gone from complete ambulatory to using a walker or wheelchair in 7 years) I should not get pregnant. ever. He feels the risk to my long term prognosis is too great because of the negative effects pregnancy can have on a woman with MS, not to mention my ability to care for a child. Additionally, I am currently on 5 drugs (one of which is a chemotherapy drug for MS) that you should not become pregnant while taking. The chemotherapy has made charting for NFP a challenge to say the least.
I don’t want to use any other forms of birth control. But because of my complicated medical problems - are there ever any situations when birth control is ok? Pregnancy would be a danger to myself and the baby.
I attempted to find information in the Catechism and now I am completely overwhelmed. Help?
If after a 2nd and even third medical opinion you conclude it is unwise to become pregnant, then you don’t become pregnant. You refrain from the marital embrace, either periodically with the help of NFP, or until your menopause is well established. what you do not do is have recourse to any artifical means of contraception to prevent pregnancy, which is forbidden at all times and in all cases for all Catholics, and this prohibition is readily available in the catechism.
if so, then you simply have to discuss with your dh what your are both willing to sacrifice to make that happen and how to go about it as safely as possible. maybe even adoption. an occupational therapist might be able to show you how you could care for a child with you physical condition. many handi-able people raise children. they just have to think far out of the box. maybe conception isn’t an option and adoption would be a better option?
if you are not wanting to get pregnant and NFP has been successful, although difficult, then that is perfectly acceptable as well. you would simply continue to use NFP at it’s most effective method. possibly needing to offer up the extended sufferring of longer periods of abstince.
**My husband and I also use NFP because of my health. I am not as severely disabled as you but severe enough to not risk getting pregnant right now. We are very conservative with NFP rules.
I don’t know about you but NFP is the only thing I would put 100% trust in. It is the only method that tells me when i am fertile so we can avoid that time. Women get pregnant while using contraception all of the time. A friend of mine got pregnant while using several forms of contraception! Her husband (they are not Catholic) recently got a vasectomy and they are still terrified of getting pregnant again.
While my hubby and I worry, i am not terrified because I know the chances of conception are SO small with using NFP. If I were to get pregnant now with us being so conservative I know it would be God’s will and that would make it easier to accept…instead of feeling like contraception “failed”.
I will pray for you. Deciding how to use (or not use) your fertility when faced with a chronic life altering disease isn’t easy. I pray God shows you His will for you and your family.**
MS affects every single person differently. There is no way to compare my situation to your friend’s.
If pregnancy will harm me or a baby I may become pregnant with, I don’t want to rely on NFP when the drugs that I’m on severely impact my cycle. I also don’t know how I feel about abstaining from the “marital embrace” until menopause which is probably about 20 to 25 years away.
I will talk to a priest at my parish. This was a waste of my time and I don’t understand how such broad generalizations can apply to every single separate situation.
Is this because you didn’t receive the answer you wanted? We have given you the Truth, which is the foundation of following God’s plan for Salvation.
It’s not a “broad generalization”. It’s a doctrine of the Church and part of God’s divine law. It applies to everyone, in every situation. Contraception is always a gravely immoral act. So is sterilization.
I understand your concern for your and possible child’s well being, but it seems you are looking for a ticket out. Not only that, some of the medication you are on or future medication may render any birth control ineffective. So you would still need to abstain. So is it more important to have sex or live a healthy life?
A ticket out?! Don’t you think if I was looking for a “doctor’s note” it’d be to not have Multiple Sclerosis? To be able to walk farther than a hundred yards (with a walker) without having to sit down? To be able to feel my feet? You don’t know my story, aside from the last three postings I’ve left on this website.
I came here for support from my peers. Not to be judged and not to be admonished. I have tried to do my best as a faithful Catholic living with chronic, debilitating illness.
I know that the birth control issue is a polarizing one - but I didn’t expect to be shot down before I even got out of the gate.
I am sorry, didn’t mean to be so harsh. No, I don’t know you, and no, I don’t know what it’s like to have MS. I do know what the Church teaches, and it is for everyone as someone above stated. As you stated…
I have tried to do my best as a faithful Catholic living with chronic, debilitating illness.
Why do you feel that you won’t succeed in the future with being a faithful Catholic? You have had faith up to this point that has guided you to use NFP not to conceive.
It looks to the viewers of your post that you are looking for a reason to be dispensed from the teaching of the Church. Once again I am sorry if I have offended you, but you asked for the facts and the facts were given. Please know that I will pray for you as well, I am sure, many others will be also. Put your faith in God and doing His will. Offer up your suffering to Him.
Have you taken your concerns to your NFP instrustor? You obviously need your NFP method to be as effective as possible, so it seems your instructor, rather than this forum, may be you best resource right now.
No one here is allowed to give medical advice but you may find posters are willing to share some NFP experience, especially if you’re willing to share which method of NFP you use and how your chemotherapy is causing difficulty. Of course, anything you read here would probably be secondary to what your instructor tells you.
As a sympto thermal NFP user, I find that limiting sex to the post-ovulatory infertile days gives me the most peace of mind when I need to avoid conception. I wish I had some statistics on the effectiveness of this approach (I’ve never seen whether any exist) because I’m sure it’s as close to 100% as any birth contol can be.
Please remember there is alot of prayer support available on this forum. Posters here are going to give you the same advice they would give their daughters, sisters and friends. The reason you’re probably not going to hear, “Your situation is extreme, go ahead and contracept”, is that we know the harm contraception brings to a marriage.
Please keep asking questions if you have them and if you don’t have a good NFP instructor, let us know and someone here may be able to help you find one.
The Catholic church does not require that you endanger your life while fulfilling the duties of the sacrament of matrimony. By all means abstain using NFP techniques, but follow the doctor’s recommendation and take the pill. As my wife’s OB once told her, “For your conscience, abstain. For me, take the pill.” Sound advice. See Sir38:1-15.
To the op,
I think what this poster was trying to relay to you was an example of God’s greatness and giving you a testimony of God allowing HIS will to be done, not ours nor the doctors. Yes, every case is different, but what God says goes!!
I think (I may be wrong here, please excuse me if I am) as it appears that you were looking for a loophole around the contraception issue, sorry, there is none.
Short of removing the uterus, there is no contraception that is 100% safe–they all have failure rates. The only 100% way to know you won’t get pregnant is to not have sex. To feel “safe” on the pill or whatever, is a false sense of security. You could still get pregnant and unfortunatly you CAN’T practice NFP while on the pill, contrary to a what a previous poster said–there are no real cycles only drug induced symptoms of a cycle (ie fake, withdrawal bleeding every 28 days).
Also, please don’t think that we here on the forum do not understand MS. MS is a reality in my own family, my grandmother has it and was diagnosed in her early 30s. She had 4 children, and she is still alive and kicking at 82 years old. Only in the last 10 years has she been unable to walk. Yes, she had 40 years of walkers, canes, ups, and downs. But, she lived a VERY productive, interesting, and full life.
If your doctor advises against having children, follow that advice. But do not do so at the expense of your soul. The Church does not require that you have children if it is medically harmful. The Church does require that you remain faithful to her teaching on sexuality-- which includes a right and wrong way to postpone/avoid having children.