Monday, August 2, 2010

NFP & Contraception

This may turn out to be a short post, as I have some baking to do and just not all that much to say. I'm at a weird place in my walk because I haven't been able to avoid the question of birth control and contraception use in the life of a (married) Christian. For those who do not know, the Catholic Church prohibits the use of contraception within a marriage. Married couples are to respect the ultimate reason we are able to have sex: to produce offspring, and we are not to inhibit this process in anyway, as it is disrespectful to God's design and to life itself. They do endorse NFP (natural family planning) to space the number of kids-this technique follows the woman's cycle, as to avoid her most fertile days (from what I gather, I am no expert!)

Now I watch a lot of EWTN and they have had many programs, comments, and references to respecting life in all its forms-whether that be on the topic of abortion or even married couples planning families. I never really paid much attention to the latter because I am only 19. I have no spouse & no potential boyfriend, so children are obviously the last thing on my mind. However, I am very pro-life. It truly rips at my heart when I hear how many abortions take place in the USA in a single day...in many (not all! I still don't know where I stand when it comes to rape and incest...the trauma involved is so intense, I'm sure anyone would consider aborting :/) situations, abortion is the easy way out. This laziness and self-centeredness is like a plague in our society and we have become desensitized to the utter disregard for life. But, on many of these Catholic shows I have also seen a very serious disdain for birth control/contraceptive users as well and it boggles my mind a bit.

I need to use birth control for medical reasons and I cannot help but feel guilty and fearful for the future. Even when I am married I think I may need it, but then again I don't know how long I want to be on it anyway. I know the Church allows it for medical purposes, but there are so many factors to consider and I am just a confused mess. And it makes me think: Do I even believe in this rule? Why is it so bad to control the size of a family this way? (If everyone throughout history didn't use some sort of BC we'd all have tons of kids and who knows what the world would look like now because of it)

As we all know I am a HUGE 19 Kids & Counting fan. The Duggar family believes in trusting God to control the size of their family and thus they use absolutely no birth control. I love this series, the family is so beautiful, but I know I could never do that myself. And now, as I am a returned Catholic, this topic has a whole new meaning and an added importance. I need to figure this out because it could be hard to reconcile in the future when I am married. So why is this a rule in the Church? I find it hard to trust NFP because many women don't have regular cycles (myself included) so there could be a huge chance for error there (not that children are errors!).

Do any of you, regardless of faith, follow this rule of no contraception? Does the thought of possibly having 10+ kids scare you? I would like to hear all opinions-even if you think this is an utterly ridiculous way to create a family...I am open to all thoughts & criticisms!

Love always,
RA

9 comments:

Daughter of the King said...

Abortion...even if someone was raped or had been molested by a family member is wrong. I wouldn't have one of friends here with me today if her mother had aborted her....her birth mother was 14 or 15 when she was gang raped by 6 men in an alley...she chose to carry the baby...the result one of my best girl friends is alive and well today because of the gift of life. Incest, well unfortunately some distant family members of mine have had to come to terms with that....they also chose life and not murder.

~Joseph the Worker said...

My wife and I don't use contraceptives or nfp (conscience reasons on the latter). We have one child after 5 years of marriage.....breast feeding actually works as a natural contraceptive also which helps to not over burden a woman too quickly, although its obviously not fullproof. We would probably use nfp if we got to the point where we could not economically support more children.

Charisms on Campus said...

DOTK- Yes, for me the whole abortion thing personally is a no go in any situation, but since we live in a secular society, I have trouble with this topic. For me to tell a woman that they cannot have an abortion after an emotionally traumatic event is hard...it's like telling someone they MUST go to church and MUST believe in Jesus. We all have the free will to choose our life's destination, and even when I see sad situations like abortions occurring, I know I cannot make a judgment on others. I just need to make the choice of right & wrong for me. That's another confusing topic for me, especially since my pro-choice friends always throw me tough hypothetical situations to defend the pro-life stance...it's hard.

Charisms on Campus said...

Wow Joseph that's incredible! I honestly wish I had the trust to be able to fully accept this doctrine. Maybe when I am in a marriage I'll be able to understand, or if I have a partner who can encourage me because my whole family has a joke that I'll be just as crazy as the Duggars and have a huge family.

When I merely say I want 4 kids I get scoffed at...so maybe most of my resistance is because I'm afraid of my family's reactions...which is bad because God alone should be my concern...which is where the guilt kicks in haha. Soooo I have a long path of prayer ahead of me on this topic :/

caraboska said...

I personally would not have an abortion unless it were a genuine medical necessity. Some time ago, I was on a medication that could cause even lethal birth defects in a fetus, and unfortunately it takes 6 weeks to get it out of your system, so even stopping the minute you find out you're pregnant would not really help. Thankfully, I was and still am unmarried and celibate, so I didn't have to worry, but I admit I did wonder what I would do if I were married. I think it would be unconscionable not to use contraceptives in such a situation. Personally, I believe contraceptives are permissible even absent such drastic circumstances, but I've known people who don't even countenance NFP. And M probably doesn't believe in contraception either. So it's not like I can just ignore the matter either.

Deltaflute said...

I've talked about this subject at length. http://deltaflute.blogspot.com/2009/11/birth-control-pills.html this talks about friend I know who use BC for medical reasons

http://deltaflute.blogspot.com/2010/01/arguements-against-nfp.html talks about why NFP might be against the Church's own teachings

I get the Church thinks NFP is good for the health of the mother and for spacing reasons, but I know people who use NFP to not have children or anymore children. The Church's position is that Birth Control prevents the possibility of conception but so does consciously charting and not engaging in sex during times of fertility. NFP is a form of birth control if used in that way. To me to NFP for birth control, it's like using a barrier method or pull out method (sorry getting a little TMI). For the record, I'm not into the pill or other chemical forms of birth control because I think they interfere with the woman's natural rhythm. Barrier methods do not.

That being said NFP and FAM (fertility awareness method) are great for other reasons. First of all, all women regardless of their marital status should chart. In my opinion. The reason is because you can detect health problems by charting and can immediately seek out medical help. It's important that we are aware of our bodies natural rhythm. Just like we notice something's wrong when we don't use the bathroom enough times (dehydration, constipation, etc) it's important to notice when our reproductive system is out of wack.

There are a number of great books out there. Taking Charge of your Fertility is a good one. It's purely based on science. There is no religious jargon or telling you what to do on fertile days. I'm really skeptical of books that are NFP because they try to sell you on the idea based on religion. Taking Charge of Your Fertility informs you and lets you decide for yourself.

God gives us choice. And why the Church is our guide, the Church can't should not make ever decision for us including how we choose to bare children.

The Catholic Wife said...

Hi RA! I started to type out a comment but it got really long so I posted it here instead. Thanks for bringing up this important topic!

Charisms on Campus said...

Thank you all for your comments!

Cara- I'll be praying for you in this matter, it can be hard entering a relationship with differing opinions! May the Lord guide you both in your decision!!

Delta-your post reaalllly gave me some comfort, especially since my problem was addressed in one of the posts. It's a tough decision and I know the Church is my guide, but ultimately I need to do what I need to do

Catholicwife- I'm off to read as we speak!

caraboska said...

COC, Check my blog for the latest details. Prayer is DEFINITELY needed, if you feel led...