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06 January 2007


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Erin, who said the Christian life was meant to be comfortable?

I think it's about time you had another baby.


*sound of coffee spewed all over the screen*


Just imagining listening to this in real life, amidst the noise and chaos of my kitchen. :-)


Well, Valerie, that noise and chaos is frightening sometimes... I think that's what most people imagine, and it's what I imagine, and I'm trying to see the other side of it and give it a bit of a fair shake, kwim?

When we switched to our current parish I knew that it would challenge us more. At first I thought, maybe we're just becoming the choir to be preached to? Since where we are now, what comes from the pulpit is more, not less, in accord with our beliefs. But it turns out that my preconceptions are more challenged by the people around me. Families with six kids! And, they're, you know, NORMAL people. ;-)


BTW, James, you crack me up. Never go away. :-) I was sure JD would have something to say about this....


I just loved reading this. It's great that you can honestly question yourself, and try to see both sides of the issue. I think that it is wrong to stick rigidly to a set family plan. I've seen many providentialists who would do well to consider a little bit of spacing, and I think that being too set on a "perfect" spacing can also be a disadvantage. Just remember to be discerning prayerfully, and keep an open heart.

But remember, if you do consider having another one sooner, that doesn't mean you have to switch to say, a two year spacing for all of them. If you have another one when Mary Jane is two, things might be rough for the first year, and if they're too rough, you can go with three again next time. Mine are two and three years apart, and I found advantages to both spacings. I'm thinking of trying 2 1/2 next! ;)


...and I wouldn't get too comfortable in that "not time to worry about this yet..." thinking, or MJ may surprise you and start sleeping long enough to shake things up :) And then, just to be contrary, start waking several times at night again for the fun of it! Not that this happened to me when my #2 was 4 mo or anything....LOL


Just wanted to add...planning is ok to some degree...like if you have a depserate need for things to be perfectly planned out. But our 1st was a complete surprise...conceived 6 weeks after marriage, and number 3 was not exactly a surprise ;o) but not 'planned' either. But hey...the best things in life are never planned by us, anyway!

We have 21 months between the first two, and 19 months between 2 and 3. Anna (wife) breastfed eldest till after 2yrs, when she weaned herself. Our second is still nursing (2.5yrs) as is our 10month old of course. They've all been carried in slings, and we all co-sleep. And we intend to homeschool. Having them closer together in age (under 2 yrs apart) hasn't caused any problems. In fact its been a blessing. None of them have ever been left in car-seats. Tandem feeding has not been a problem (specially for me, haha) and the advantages are that they all play well together as there's only 3.5 yrs gap between the 1st and the 3rd. no worries.

As for the stresses and strains ie. the 'disavantages'...well they help get us holy. ;o)

Yep, seems God is putting it on your heart. hee hee.


You were sure I would have something to say about this?

I wonder why.

And is that a request for my opinion or is it just that you are resigned to the matter?

Never mind. I don't.

I think we've simply got too much choice. All this control isn't helping.


Oh John, it's just that any post that attracts James seems to attract you too.

As for mandamum's comment about MJ sleeping longer and shaking things up, that doesn't apply so much to me at this point. I had only 6 months lactational infertility with my first, and 7 months with my second, both quite abrupt. MJ's five months old now, so... we're in "could be any week now" mode.

Amy F

Hi--I found you through Arwen's blog and was surprised to realize that you live within a few miles of me (I'm in Longfellow).

My husband and I are Catholic converts who came to Catholicism largely because of the CCLI NFP class we took while engaged. After growing up with one sister 4 years younger, I went into marriage thinking that a large family was a possibility, but please, please let there be some spacing between them.

NFP has worked very well for us too, with our first son born after 2.5 years of marriage and 10 months after my husband got a fulltime job post-graduation. When my fertility returned at 9 months postpartum, it was with more than a little trepidation that we decided to "let things happen" when Peter was 15 months old. We now have 2 boys, 2 years and 4 days apart. (Leo is nearly 11 months now).

Figuring out what to do next is an ongoing struggle for me. I feel like the 2 year spacing has been really, really hard--especially when Leo began crawling and Peter did nothing but shove him around for 3 months--and I'd really prefer not to repeat it. There are additional financial concerns, but I feel guilty for thinking that finances can really be a good enough reason when we have a house, cars, food, etc. I feel bad that I haven't really liked my older son for the better part of the last year. I too baby-wear, breastfeed on demand, co-sleep, and with Leo we've been doing EC. Is my desire to parent in this way is more important than bringing another person into the world? I find myself daydreaming about having a next baby during the summer of 2010, with one child in kindergarten and another in preschool (if we don't homeschool, another debate in my head) if I'm exhausted during pregnancy and timed so that my teacher-husband could be home at the beginning.

I guess I'm just relieved to find someone else who won't think I'm crazy to be worried about whether I should be worried about this. My husband's much better about saying--you can't handle another baby now? Okay, I'll ask again in a little while.


"Consequently, unless we are willing that the responsibility of procreating life should be left to the arbitrary decision of men, we must accept that there are certain limits, beyond which it is wrong to go, to the power of man over his own body and its natural functions—limits, let it be said, which no one, whether as a private individual or as a public authority, can lawfully exceed." (Humana Vitae)

Hi--I came over from Arwen's blog also.

I love your observations about the families that don't seem so carefully planned to our mortal eyes.

Oh, to be less than perfect in service to His will, to be messy, and wild, and overgrowing, like plants in an untended garden, that has flowers growing amongst the weeds and thorns! This seems more like the plan for a Catholic marriage to me. (But I'm a romantic.)

I have not been as fortunate as you or your "fence post" family acquaintances. It took me three years and six medically unexplained miscarriages to make it to where I am now: hopeful and well into my third trimester. I have no living children.

This has taught me, painfully, what I believe is true for all of us---the control we think we exercise over our fertility is at best minimal and at worst illusory. In this sense, learning the limits of our control has been a blessing that has freed us from the burden of thinking we control every aspect of our fertility.

I am admittedly less than objective in talking about something I view as a luxury out of my reach: birth spacing, like investment planning for the poor, is a little out of my reach. After what I have been through I'd gladly take four children a year apart!

But here are the questions I have about the way NFP is taught in the contemporary church:

At what point does NFP, Couple to Couple League style, become the "Sweet 'N Low" of contraception?

At what point does such conscientious control of birth spacing, governed by the latest trends in child development research, observe the letter of the law of the HV (not using "artificial" contraception) while ignoring its spirit (accepting that there are limits to when and where man should exercie control and "stewardship")?


Came over from Arwen's blog, too. I definitely like where Jennifer's coming from: the dangers of the contraceptive mentality, indeed. I just wrote a letter on this very issue to CCL's magazine Family Foundations, so I feel compelled to comment. My husband and I took NFP classes after we were married in order to learn how to get pregnant more quickly. Once we had learned the system, we were uncertain of our next step. Should we wait to conceive while I practiced charting, so that when we decided to "go for it" I would have a better handle on my cycles? Or should we just start trying right away, and perhaps miss the chance to chart a "normal" cycle for a really long time? I asked our priest. "Why," he sighed, "don't you trust God? That's the problem with modern Catholics--we think everything should be under our control. Children are a gift, and it is just as much an attempt at control to try to have them *now* as it is to try to avoid them *now.*" And I realized that surely God knows better than I how many children I should have, and when. I have a 5 mo. old boy, and my period just returned. Now it's time to put my money where my mouth is. I'll chart to see if I'm actually fertile; If I am, I stop charting and let things take their course. If I'm not, I chart until I am, then . . . Maybe our little boy will have a sibling sooner than we planned, but God never promised to follow *our* plan!


Could you direct me to some solid, helpful information on NFP? My husband would like to go with this method, and I'm worried that I'll end up pregnant WAY too soon. I already know that I'm ridiculously fertile - when we tried for our first son I got pregnant the first month, and I got pregnant three times (two miscarriages) while I was nursing my first. I'm curious how to make NFP work when nursing. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!!! You can email me at my junk account: [email protected] and I'll give you my real address. Thanks!

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