Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Ok, ladies. I reach out to you all for advice and whatever else you may send my way.

Maybe it's pregnancy hormones. Maybe it's been a long week. Maybe it's been less and less time without my husband and just with my girls. Something has me thinking.

I've been going through this whole mental struggle lately about being pregnant and having more children. Don't get me wrong. I love my girls to death. You don't know love and what you will do for it until you become a parent. Lately, I've been thinking that three kids is just fine. Three is all we should have. And three is honestly all I can handle while being a single parent 4-5 days a week. (For those who don't know, my husband is a commercial airline pilot and is gone about three-quarters of the month for work.)

My pregnancies haven't been the easiest. With my first, I had a placenta previa, which means the placenta was covering my cervix, and if I had delivered naturally, I would have delivered the placenta first and could have risked my baby's life along with my own. So, we had a c-section. No problem. My second pregnancy, we were really trying for a VBAC, meaning a natural birth after undergoing a previous c-section. I held out until 41 weeks, only to find out that my next daughter was stuck with her hands up by her temples. The surgery went well, but the doctor said that it was a good thing I didn't undergo a natural labor because I, more than likely, would have ruptured. Now, with my third baby, we plan on another c-section. This pregnancy has been more painful with two incision scars to deal with (and running after two kids!). And we found out that the placenta for this baby is in the front, which means it may be too close to the scar tissue from the previous surgeries. We have to wait and see what happens, but there is a chance that the placenta will grow too deep until the wall of the uterus, resulting in a more involved surgical removal and possible hysterectomy.

Is anyone else reeling from my medical worries right now? I sure am. So I've been thinking that, in order to save myself from stressing out insanely again, we might use some sort of birth control after our third baby is born.

If you know me, you know that I've grown up Catholic. I went to Catholic schools my whole life. I love my church deeply. My moral system has been ingrained with belief that contraception should never be used in a married relationship. Birth control/IUDs/tubal ligations/vasectomies are a big no-no. They prevent the possibility of an egg and sperm from meeting up, so therefore, they prevent a pregnancy and a life from beginning. The only way to prevent pregnancy in Catholicism is to use NFP (Natural Family Planning). We've been using that method since day one. It's a method that can work 100%, but you have to really watch and chart everything happening with your body, and you can only have sex during your infertile time of the month. (Yeah...this is TMI, right? I'm going to keep going anyway.) By my charting and the NFP method rules, we conceived all three girls on infertile days. I was shocked three times when my pee stick came out positive. Since I've been pregnant a lot lately, my hormone levels fluctuate so much that it's really hard to chart a certain way from month to month. It's frustrating thinking that what you are doing is right only to find out later that, since A and B were happening with your body, you actually fall in to group alpha and NOT group beta. UGH! According to all the books we were doing everything right, but in the fine print, we fell under the exceptions every single time we made a baby. Anyway...The only time that the Catholic church doesn't frown upon a hormonal contraceptive is if a doctor deems it medically necessary. Pretty much, if you would die if you got pregnant again, go ahead and take the pill. If you just need to prevent pregnancy, get really good at NFP.

So I'm having this whole mental, spiritual, moral battle within myself on what we should do after we have our third child. I've had three c-sections in three and a half years. My body is tired. I fear what would happen if I get pregnant again. Honestly, I've never been truly happy when we found out we were pregnant. It always been "what did we do wrong." There was no planning to our family at all. So...I fear the idea of possibly being that "single parent" to a huge brood of children. It's hard to be both mother and father the majority of the year. It's REALLY hard to be battered with the "I could get pregnant" voice in my head every single time my husband and I have sex! And he isn't home that much, so you all know the opportunities are few and far between over here! I also fear what my family and Catholic friends would think if they found out we were using a contraceptive. At the same time, I would feel terrible if I knew I prevented a life from being born. I love my kids. I would hate knowing that there was a little soul out there that was supposed to rely on me for life, and I decided not to love them in return.

So it's a real moral dilemma, people. I'd love to hear your feedback.


Ariel said...

Oh, friend. First of all, We love you so much. You're doing such a great job! You're a fantastic mommy and friend. Second, I'm not coming to you with a Catholic background, but I do know a glimpse of the depth of God's love for you. He thinks about you all day--everyday. He thinks about what you might be feeling at any given moment. He's in the details. I would encourage you to pray that He would give you a specific answer on what to do. I have no idea what that answer will be, but He will love you no matter what. You can't worry about the unknown (ie. a baby that could be). Seems like our God is a God who loves and cares about your mental health as much as your physical health. "cast all your concerns on Him for he CARES for you..." and "All things work out for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose" Romans 8:28 (my favorite). In the meantime, I'll pray about your answer and that you'll be filled with peace...especially right now as baby girl is growing and drawing her strength from you. xoxo

Jenny said...

I agree with Ariel about praying about it (because you really need to be at peace with your decision), but it sounds to me like you have the "OK" from the doctors on this one. If it's truly dangerous for you to be pregnant again, it's more important for you to protect yourself than to worry about preventing a future life. Also, if you were to become pregnant again (and if it is truly dangerous for you to be pregnant again), you could be putting more than just one life in danger, you know? There's a lot to think about there.

I don't mean to sound abrasive, here, but it's really nobody's business (but yours and your husband's) about what your family planning decisions are.

Just be sure that you have peace with yourself, your husband, and your God on this one. Don't worry about what other people might think about you.

Brenda said...

i will send my (rather long) reply by e-mail. if you'd like to read it, let me know.