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Home > Support > Mothering > We have two beautiful children, however, both pregnancies were almost deadly (for both myself and our children)...
Question: My husband and I are seeking a traditional Catholic family lifestyle (large family, homeschooling, mother raises the children while father makes a living outside the home, etc.). We are in the process of becoming debt free by moving into a home based on just my husband's income instead of our combined income and eliminating other debts (a two year process, but much attainable by the grace of God). So, my question really refers to desiring a large family (a desire I know the Lord has placed in my heart). We have two beautiful children, however, both pregnancies were almost deadly (for both myself and our children). I have spoken with priests who have told me that permanent sterilization is frowned upon. My husband and I have agreed to foster and adopt our future children, but what if we get pregnant again? I'm very confused right now because I don't want to leave my husband a widow at the young age of 30, as well as my children without a loving mother. How should I pray? Can you give me any words of encouragement in this area, because I feel very helpless at this point? Thank you.

Dear Mom,

Your letter is a holy and pure witness of the great blessing of fertility. I wish that it were possible to have your lovely letter read to those persons in our modern media who speak of pregnancy as though it were an inconvenience and something to be avoided. Through your loving and attentive prayers you are seeking to know the path that the Lord would have you take. Your heart is open to life and this is beautiful. Let us examine what 'being open to life' means in all dimensions.

Being open to the prospect of future pregnancies presents a real threat to your health. How can becoming pregnant when the risk is so great be fostering an attitude of respect for life? I think that this question is at the heart of your concerns. I would first suggest that you ask the Lord this question. Ask it in the humble nature of one speaking with their father. I would pray deeply about my concerns and take a proactive approach to determining how the Lord would have you discern the future of your fertility. Remember that a wife's fertility is directly tied to her husband's fertility. In other words, if you or your husband do something to alter your bodies to prevent further pregnancies then each of you has entered into a state of infertility. This is true with regards to artificial means of birth control.

You are very young and your children are very young as well. The way you feel today will not be the way you feel in 5 years. Though you can not imagine going through another pregnancy due to the risks involved, you may be surprised how you would feel if in 5 years you long for a baby. Have you ever considered that medical science may actually catch up to you and your health concerns? Suppose there is a medical breakthrough that makes a pregnancy not only possible but safe with regard to your condition. What if in the next 5 years you discover that adoption is not possible for you and your husband? Adoption is not guaranteed in all cases.

There are no easy answers to be sure. But I can tell you that I have spoken with numerous women from all faiths who have chosen to end their fertility and nearly all have told me that they regret that choice. The sorrow they live with day in and day out is beyond their capability to reconcile. Many times these dear women suffer in silence and do not speak of their pain to others. Empty arms are hard enough for women to deal with as they naturally age and lose their fertility without pushing the issue through intervention. I would imagine that for one like yourself that desires more children there would be a great burden to bear.

I would suggest that you spend the next couple of weeks in deep prayer before the blessed Sacrament. This is a very personal issue between you, your husband and the Lord. I would suggest that you investigate all of the resources that are available within your diocese concerning Natural Family Planning Classes. etc. It is vitally important considering the challenges that you face that you and your husband practice prudent, responsible family planning. Take your concerns to the level they deserve and speak candidly with your instructor about the health issues that you are facing. Learn all you can about the health issues that are a threat to you. Educate yourself completely with regard to the health concerns so that you are able to articulate the complete nature of your situation to those that can be of help to you.

No one wants to think about leaving her husband and children without a wife and mommy. However we must not dwell upon this thought. This would be a sad situation whether you died in childbirth or in an automobile accident.

To my mind the phrase 'Open to Life' means so much more than the choice to have a child. It means the choice to live the fullness of life in the protection and care of the Heavenly Father. It means to allow that He alone guide me and give me courage. It means to accept the hardships and sorrows along with the joy as equally coming from a Lord who loves me and has a plan for my life. It means keeping my eyes on Heaven and my feet on the ground until that time that the Lord calls me to Himself. It is a journey to be sure.

Please ask the Lord to give you peace and a spirit of quiet as you pray concerning this matter. Please rest in the Lord's arms and allow Him to soothe your heart when the burden of confusion seeks to steal your peace. Our Lord does not want His precious little ones to feel confused with regard to His will for us. We must speak to Him and give Him the chance to show us a better path. Jesus will take the confusion away and open doors, clear paths, and guide us.

Continue to pray about this concern and go forward in faith. Each time you feel confused or alone in your concerns do not accept that. Remember that confusion is the tool of the Tempter. He uses confusion to separate us from the Lord. When thoughts start whirling around in your head, give that over to the Lord. Make the rosary your oasis in the day. Pray the rosary quietly and with attention to the power in this beautiful prayer. I like to think that when I hold the rosary in my hand, I am holding the Blessed Mother's hand. She will lovingly listen to your fears and comfort you each step of the way.

I will be praying for you. You are very courageous and I admire your holy witness. Your letter has meant a great deal to me. Though I have 10 children I have always felt that each pregnancy was amazing and a gift beyond comprehension. Some of my pregnancies came with great difficulties yet if I had it do over I would accept each again.

Let us pray together a Hail Mary at this time for all the women who suffer the sorrow of infertility. Let us offer up our prayers on their behalf and ask that the Lord embrace them and comfort them now and in the future.

Sending out a prayer,

Rita Munn

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