I am about to get up on it. Here we go.
While none of the comments on her original post were negative or nasty (though the whole reason she wrote the post in the first place WAS because of a negative comment on another blog), I am really annoyed about the whole situation.
In today’s post, Rebecca says, “Do I think that The Man and I have given much more thought/prayer to having children than the average couple? Yes (with those who struggle with infertility as a major exception). I know it as I speak to friends who do have children.”
If she and her husband are talking about this every month, then I know for sure she’s given it more thought than I have.
When Atticus and I got married, we talked about postponing for six months or so (until I finished school and we moved from our crappy apartment), but our NFP knowledge was shaky and I got pregnant during the first (extremely long cycle) after we were married. Oops. Then we lost the baby. It changed everything. We were no longer “child-free”; we were “child-less” because we had had a child and lost him.
And the most we ever talked about it again was to agree, “As soon as we’re clear to start trying again, we will.” And we did. But I can tell you with full honesty that I never once asked God during that 13 months we waited for this pregnancy, whether or not we should be trying. For at least the first 9 months after we lost Michael, I would have ignored God if He did tell us to postpone. After all, He took our child away, who is He to tell us not to try for another? (Just the Author of all life, that’s all, says rational Sarah).
I saw it as my right to try for a baby, rather than a gift and blessing to be able to do so. I had, unconsciously, adopted a contraceptive mentality about the whole thing. Thank God I didn’t get pregnant during a time when I would have seen any pregnancy as “my right” and anything other than a pure, undeserved gift from God!
The point of telling all this is that, during that time, no one questioned my motives. Since we were trying to conceive, no one questioned our use of NFP. They could have. I (and here I can only speak to my own view, because I never shared this with Atticus until much later) was using NFP to try and get what I wanted, what I thought I deserved, without asking God for his input. Just because a couple is using NFP to try and achieve a pregnancy does not mean they have thought or prayed about it more than a couple that is using NFP to avoid a pregnancy.
It annoys me that because Rebecca and her husband have, for now, discerned that God is not calling them to be parents, that she should somehow have to justify herself to the NFP police. The only one who she and her husband have to justify themselves to is God.
I honestly think that some people in this little orthodox Catholic bubble have gone off the deep end. 95% of Catholics use contraception. 95%. Of Catholics. Of people whose Church actually still tells them that it’s morally wrong to do so. So if most of the (practicing) Catholics you know don’t use contraception, you’re in the bubble. I am in the bubble. I like it here. I love that I know my friends have the same respect for their marriages, and for God’s role as supreme author of life that Atticus and I strive to have.
But we are the exception! We are the exception! People who think with the Church on this are the huge, glaring exception to the rubrics for the culture of death. So what we really need to do is stop picking on each other. If a couple you know is using NFP – period – then we need to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Do you know how easy it is to get condoms, barriers, and the Pill? Of course you do, because if you are a woman who uses NFP and don’t go to one of the 12 NFP only doctors in the US, then you’re having birth control shoved down your throat every time you go in for an exam. You’re having to explain to your doctor, someone who is supposed to know more about bodies than you do, that you may not in fact ovulate on CD 14, and that NFP is NOT *for the love of GOD* the rhythm method. Can I get an Amen, sisters?
If you are a person who lived chastely throughout all of your unmarried years, have always believed the Church’s teaching on contraception and went into your marriage living it, that is beautiful and amazing, and thanks be to God for that gift! However, you are the exception.
And if a couple who has not always believed the Church’s teaching on contraception comes to believe it, and in the midst of this moral hell in which we live makes the beautiful, life-affirming step to throw away the Pill, the patch, the condoms, etc., and live their sexuality the way it was meant to be lived — then we need to shut up and give them the benefit of the doubt that they are using their conscience and it is well-formed. Stay in your own lane.
Soapbox rant over.