Not sure what to do in my situation. I noticed that my wife has started taking birth control pills. We recently had a baby 7 weeks ago. I am opposed to her doing this as it is against the church. I asked her why she was doing this and she replied “so that we don’t have another child for a while.” She also stated that “why would God create doctors/scientists that make these pills if he did not intend on people using them.” My wife is a “Cradle Catholic,” and I think forgets home important the church is and the rules are not “pick what you like.” We attend Mass every week, and she also goes sometimes during the week as well. She is not really interested in hearing my thoughts on this. What should I do or how should I approach the topic? I also have encouraged her to go to confession, but she will not go and gets irritated if I suggest it.
Does she know bc pills are abortifacients?
Start with this article:
I would very much suggest this book, I was at a conference with one of the authors this weekend.
Then, show her the catechism on the topic.
After that, step back and pray and fast for your wife.
Here are the appropriate Catechism sections…
A particular aspect of this responsibility concerns the regulation of procreation. For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood. Moreover, they should conform their behavior to the objective criteria of morality:
When it is a question of harmonizing married love with the responsible transmission of life, the morality of the behavior does not depend on sincere intention and evaluation of motives alone; but it must be determined by objective criteria, criteria drawn from the nature of the person and his acts, criteria that respect the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love; this is possible only if the virtue of married chastity is practiced with sincerity of heart.156
"By safeguarding both these essential aspects, the unitive and the procreative, the conjugal act preserves in its fullness the sense of true mutual love and its orientation toward man’s exalted vocation to parenthood."157
Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality.158 These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil:159
Thus the innate LANGUAGE that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory LANGUAGE, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality. . . . The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle . . . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality.160
You should first of all pray for her. She is probably a bit overwhelmed by being a new mom and isn’t thinking straight about what her options are. You should reassure her that there are very good methods of spacing children that the church approves and that will be much easier on her body than taking the pill.
Did you practice any form of NFP before you had your baby? If not, please find out about training in your area–your parish can help–and register for a class. It can be hard to chart signs sometimes when you are post-partum and still nursing, but you should take responsibility for this. Let her know that you understand her concerns about getting pregnant right away and that NFP is for the purpose of spacing. You will then also need to be very good about following the charts and not seek the marital embrace during her fertile times.
If she is showing any signs at all of post-partum depression or just regular old ‘baby blues’, the hormones in the pill can make things worse. They will also affect her milk supply and can make breastfeeding harder, so she should consider that as well. Regular and frequent breastfeeding will also delay the return of her fertility which of course helps space children also.
We never practiced NFP and I requested that she stop taking birth control, about a year ago as I entered into RCIA. I have mentioned NFP but she is not that that interested.
It seems that your wife thinks (or wants to think) that the pill must be good because God created the people that made them. Using that logic, murder must be good because God created the murderer! Stealing must be good because God created the thief!
Unfortunately, your wife is rationalizing to support her use of artificial birth control which is forbidden by the church. However, such rationalization does not reduce her culpability for the sin.
Try to make her see the lack of logic in her argument.
Whatever you do, don’t just overwhelm the poor girl. She just had a baby a few weeks ago, and is now taking a pill that probably can fool with her emotions.
Showing her this those websites is a great idea, but tell her gradually. Don’t browbeat it into her. Also, don’t feel morally superior to her-don’t act it, don’t think it, pull it from you head.
Your probably not doing anything I listed, I just wanted to make sure you remember it!
Good luck and God Bless!
And also bear in mind, unless your wife was very clear about her beliefs with her OB/GYN, the push for pills after delivery is strong. The only women I know who weren’t immediately on BC after giving birth were the ones who were very clear about their beliefs with their OB/GYN. Be patient, it may take awhile for her to come around…this can be a very stressful time.
It was actually her OB/GYN that prescribed them to her at her post pregnancy follow up. I just worry that she is committing a serious sin every day. I am not perfect, but just worry for her. Not sure how to approach the subject with her. As I have mentioned NFP, but she did not seem responsive or that it would work.
Yep, figured as much. It’s just the way these days.
Just out of curiosity, did she confirm alongaide you at Easter Vigil, or was she already Catholic? RCIA Catechists try their best, but I have always believed there’s not enough time to really get to all this “nuts n’ bolts” stuff in 8 months, especially if you’re already married and thus the “kid thing” is an issue.
First let me say that I don’t know yet if this will be a problem for me or not - wife is currently pregnant and I don’t think it’s a good time to bring it up. Here’s what I’ve decided to do should the need arise:
Talk to my wife about the Church’s position on artificial birth control. If that doesn’t work then…
Find out what kind of ABC she plans on using, and, if there is any chance that it could be an abortifacient, explain that we will not have sex while she is using that method.
My wife was born and raised in a strong Catholic family. She strayed from the faith during her college years and her twenties. I had something to do with that as a former Protestant. But, since I was confirmed at Easter Vigil and all through RCIA my wife has been by my side at church. We attend every week together and now as a family with her family. It is just that she sees no other option other than birth control pills that will guarantee her not getting pregnant again right off. It saddens me, because I feel that you either believe all the church teachings or you are not a Catholic. I spoken little about this issue, because I am just not sure how to.
Your situation sounds very familiar to me. The only main difference is that I’m not a convert - although I have recently become much more serious about my faith. You know your wife better than I do, so all I can speak to is my experience with my wife. I’ve found that my wife gets very angry if I speak to her about what she should or shouldn’t be doing. That’s why I stick to what I’m going to do - see my post above. I won’t attempt to tell my wife that she can’t use ABC, but I will tell her what I will or won’t participate in.
No that logic won’t work. Murderers have free will… the pill can’t make choices on it’s own.
Her logic is that we have antibiotics so people won’t die, God gave us the knowledge, the Church help develop the Scientific Method, and we all believe doctors and medication are good things. (although there are a few Protestants who don’t but most I know would think those people were “crazy”).
Man also, with God’s help, learned how to split the atom, for both good - most of my electricity is provided from a nuclear plant, and for ill, atomic bombs.
So the point to the OP’s wife shouldn’t be, “God created murderers” it should be that God helped us create a lot of things that are morally ambiguous for the most part. The original ABC pills are not aborficient but have other side effects. Many drugs have side effects that may or not may be morally ok… but few are as morally a no no as the new ABC’s that are abortificient.
Thus I agree that medication in general is a good thing but it is up to us as Catholics to understand the teachings of the Church as to whether or not we should take them.
mkipp - I am so sorry to hear that you are struggling through this issue. Being a new dad is hard enough without the emotional turmoil.
First off, your wife is probably feeling very emotionally and physically overburdened right now. If her pregnancy/delivery were especially stressful or traumatic she may have a real terror of getting pregnant again. You need to tread lightly, though it sounds like this is not an issue with you.
The pill creates all types of hormonal issues in women. Her cycle has probably not returned, and in my opinion it is unwise for her to be altering her cycle as her body tries to recoup itself from extraordinary 9 months it just had! Since this is a time of heightened risk of despair, via post-partum depression or other issues, she is really taking a risk.
The pill is not more effective than NFP done right. I think you need to do some intense research and try and get your wife interested in hearing you out. The pill has so many potential dangers, and yet, certain types of the pill are abortifacient (read: they kill after implantation). Study a bit of the history of contraception with her, the effect it has had on society, on the family… ask her if she wants to invite this into her home? Study the early pushers of the pill…like Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood. The pill was meant to irradiate certain parts of the population - not meant to bring a family together.
Some great resources I recommend: omsoul, Couple to Couple League and reading Theology of the Body (the Christopher West versions is fine) together. Get her excited about taking charge of her own fertility and the two of you growing in holiness and love for one another by approaching this the way God intended for you. Let her know that you love her too much to objectify her by sleeping with her while she is on the pill. Tell her you love ALL of her, and you don’t want to put this barrier between the two of you.
Others on here have shared great resources and insight.
Yes, I can understand that. Especially if she is not familiar with any new method (she may be thinking of just a calendar/rthym type method). That is why I suggested you research to see when a class will be held in your area, sign up for it and go together. Our teaching couple from CCLI (ccli.org) talked quite a bit about the husband’s role in NFP. With the sympto-thermal method, you can take on most of the work of the method–you take her temp, you do the charting, you interpret the rules, and you do the abstaining (in that you don’t pressure her during her fertile times).
As for dissuading her from taking the pill, there are many arguements for that and you know your wife best to see which will be strongest for her. You can talk about the serious health risks (blood clots, etc.); the risk to her future fertility for when you are ready to add to your family; and the risks to your current baby from hormones leaching into her breastmilk; and finally, the environmental issues from all the excess estrogen in our water.
Also, she needs to know that the pill is not 100% effective (no birth control method is). It is safer to rely on your own abstinence than on any other method.
And again, I will say that at just 6 weeks post-partum, she’s likey very emotional and not really ready to make a big decision. She’s already been pressured by the ob-gyn to start taking the pills (with probably lots of scary talk about babies 9 months apart! :rolleyes:), she won’t appreciate feeling pressured by you too, so proceed in love. Be gentle, but consistent.
Also, her culpability for the sin of taking the pill is lessened by how much pressure she did feel. Since you do not want to be a party to this sin and because you want every reason for her to get off the pill, you should consider not initiating marital union while she’s on them. Hopefully you’ll be able to get into an NFP class quickly and start using that method! And of course, continue to pray for her every day.
I looked on-line and could not find any classes that are local in Massachusetts. I just feel as though she does not think this a big deal. We have not had relations since October 2008, and I am willing to abstain until she comes around. She goes back to work next week with added pressure on top of being a Mom. I just know that trying to bring up NFP will be difficult.
I’ll remember you in my prayers.
On a totally selfish note, could you let me know if you find anything that gets through to her?
Shouldn’t you not be having sex if your wife is on any artificial birth control period, whether it’s abortifacient or not?