A month ago my husband and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. We took a class in NFP during our engagement and have never used artificial contraception. After 3 years of marriage we welcomed in our first child. It took us 8 months of “trying” to get pregnant with him. Then we had 5 years of trying to get pregnant with our 2nd child. We were about to give up and adopt when we conceived again. During those 5 years we NEVER thought about NFP or charting. We were always welcoming to new life and enjoyed each other when ever we wanted (sorry if that is TMI). Two years after our second child was born we suffered 2 miscarriages in the same year. It took me a long time to be open to life after loosing those children. When I finally said to God, “Let Your will be done”, we conceived our 3rd child and he was born 3 1/2 years after our 2nd. After he was born, I knew we were not done having kids, but life with 3 was challenging. I wasn’t ready to “try” to have another, but I knew at some point there would be a 4th. So to our surprise, 22 months after our third we welcomed another child.
Now we have 4 children ages: 11, 6, 3, and 1. Life is full and I love my bigger than average family, but we are entering a new phase of our marriage and NFP. My husband and I are almost 39 and our openness to new life is different from when we first got married at 24. We are discerning a 5th child and are using NFP to space our children apart. We have never been so strict about NFP and it has been a struggle. It is also a challenge knowing that our family might be complete at 4 children and strictly following NFP until menopause seems daunting.
I know there are many out there that don’t share in the Catholic Church’s teaching on birth control and NFP. Some people are screaming at the screen right now saying that is why we had a tubal ligation or a vascectomy. I don’t believe that is the answer. I believe God can be trusted with all aspects of my life, and this includes my fertility. It is not a popular belief, but I do trust God in everything. It is tempting to think that I am in control and know what is best. If I was in control, I think my life would be very different from what it is today. There wouldn’t have been 5 years of infertility. I would never have lost babies to miscarriage. I certainly wouldn’t have had kids 22 months apart. Yet, I wouldn’t change it. My first child has severe food allergies and it took me almost 5 years to figure them all out and get him healthy. If I didn’t loose those 2 precious children, I am not sure I would be as appreciative of my last two children and a large family (even though 4 isn’t really that big).
Even though it is difficult right now, I am sticking to NFP. I am sticking to being open to life. I am choosing to trust when it is scary and even when it might lead me down a road I don’t think I can navigate. For truly anything is possible with God.
Are you in the same boat as me? I would love to know that I am not alone and hear from you.