Openness to life – in theory and in practice
I’ve talked a lot on this blog about the contraception aspect of converting to Catholicism. Before I discovered the Church I’d never even thought twice about it. I didn’t even know that anyone was seriously against it anymore. I thought that it was one of those things like water and air that we all universally agreed was a very necessary, very good thing.
Even when I was first exploring the Church I had it in the back of my head that I’d kind of, uhh, “forget” that whole not using birth control rule. But as I read up on the Catholic case for openness to life and really understood the reasoning behind the stance on contraception, I was shocked to find myself easily agreeing with the Church. Instead of seeing the teaching to be oppressive and archaic, I now see it as one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard. Embracing this teaching has fundamentally changed my marriage, my family and my life more than I could have ever imagined.
That said, the Church does teach that it’s OK to avoid pregnancy if extreme circumstances make it not a good time to have another baby. I think I pretty clearly fit into that category since:
- I am still paying off the $10K in out-of-pocket medical expenses that resulted from the DVT during my last pregnancy.
- I still haven’t found insurance that covers pregnancy. It’s hard because a) we’re small business owners, b) I’m now high-risk because of the DVT, c) I’m even more high-risk because of the diagnosis of the clotting disorder. Back when I could just go to midwives this wasn’t a big deal, but now I really need maternity insurance.
- Without maternity insurance, my total out-of-pocket expenses for another pregnancy would be around $14K, and that’s if everything goes smoothly. That would be a very hard financial hit right now.
- We’re currently living with my mom and that’s only sustainable for another six months or so, so we’re working hard to save for a much-needed house.
- Throughout my next pregnancy I’ll have to give myself daily anticoagulation shots in the stomach. My insurance covers part of this, my part is about $800/month. (I should note that I’m not 100% sure that there’s not a cheaper option. Some initial searches didn’t come up with much, but I haven’t researched it thoroughly.)
- I just finished treatment for the DVT a few weeks ago, so it is strongly not advised that I do anything that would cause a hypercoagulable state (e.g. surgery, pregnancy, etc.) at this time. I’m still in dangerous territory.
- All of the specialists I saw when I had the DVT strongly cautioned me against future pregnancies. Two suggested I consider sterilization. They emphasized that I need to wait as long as possible (like, years) if I “insist” on having more children.
- All the usual reasons you might not feel prepared to be pregnant again (especially since I tend to have pretty bad “all day sickness”) when you have 26-month-old and a 6-month-old.
For all these reasons I feel as sure as I can be that I have legitimate reasons to want to postpone another pregnancy at this time. I haven’t started charting yet but didn’t think I needed to because I was being very conservative. So I thought.
I found out this weekend that I’m pregnant. To say that I was surprised would be the understatement of the year. For the reasons I mentioned above, this was not in the plan right now.
I’ve hesitated to write this post because I haven’t told a single person (other than my husband) in my personal life, but I feel like this is a good time to draw on the wisdom and support that my commentors here so often give me. Also, it’s very relevant to the purpose of this blog, which is to chronicle my experiences with faith and the Church.
I’m going to go take a day or two to freak out. In the meantime, I ask that you pray for me that I remain calm and not worry unnecessarily. Also, I ask for any advice. For once, I’m not even sure what my questions are. Just let me know if you have any thoughts that might help. My husband and I are both only children so we are really, really out of our element here.
On a final note, I should add that I do welcome this new life. Even though I’m surprised and tired and worried, I’m happy that this new son or daughter is here.
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