Our Lady of the Wayside

Our Lady of the Wayside
Protect Expectant Mothers and Their Babies


Friday 9 July 2010

Too Strict to Use Natural Family Planning?

A prayerful Catholic couple were blessed with many sons and daughters, before unfortunately suffering a miscarriage. They were keen that they would conceive again. They went to a Catholic doctor who is opposed to contraception; they were advised to take a break from trying to conceive. The woman’s progesterone was extremely low, and she was also suffering from exhaustion after so many pregnancies that had come one after the other. I don’t think it was unreasonable of the doctor to suggest Natural Family Planning (NFP) to the couple, as a means by which they could avoid conception for a short time.
The couple were stroppy...’We reject Humanae Vitae!’ they stiffly told the doctor. ‘That encyclical allows for the use of NFP, and we know that NFP is always a sin, and we’re not going to use it!’ Neither were they very keen on using total abstinence.
So, they straightaway tried to conceive again, only to miscarry three months later. They tried to conceive again, only to have difficulty conceiving... When they approached the doctor again, they asked for meds that would kick start a conception. The doctor ran tests, and again advised that they take a tiny break. The wife was quite run down, and had ‘pernicious anaemia’, but was quite strident that ‘if I get pregnant soon, then I can take iron during the pregnancy!’ They insisted that there was no need to wait for the wife to restore her chronically low levels of some hormones, which are essential for maintaining a pregnancy and avoiding miscarriage. They were going to get pregnant now!
The couple suffered several more miscarriages, until finally, they both conceded that they would follow the advice that had been given them years hence, and went into a stage of ‘preparing for pregnancy’. This stage lasted longer than they had wanted, and then when they tried to conceive it took longer, but they did have a lovely baby. I was bemused to find that the couple now grudgingly admit that NFP is ‘not all bad, and can have its uses.’

Mary O'Regan
(Editor's note: The Catholic Church allows the use of Natural Family Planning when a couple have grave reasons to avoid or space a pregnancy. Like anything NFP can be misused, but it is morally neutral in itself and can be used for good or for evil within Marriage.)

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