Choose Life

I am unexpectedly pregnant after something went slightly awry with the NFP this month. To be honest the timing could not be more inauspicious. Yesterday my husband, who was up until midnight last night, a Rector in the C of E, resigned his benefice in order that he might become a Roman Catholic, a move he has been contemplating for quite some time. Whilst this was undoubtedly the only thing he could do, having spiritually and mentally come home some time ago, what this decision means for us as a family is that we will shortly lose our home and source of income, although he is applying for lay jobs elsewhere. The difficulty is that with career experience consisting of purely ministry and three theological degrees, options seem to be somewhat limited, him being either over-qualified or lacking in experience and due to the current economic climate, there being a glut of applications for every suitable position. Still, as Mr Micawber might say, I have every faith that something might turn up!

What additionally complicates the issue is that I am due to start a full-time undergraduate degree in English Literature, with a view to teaching at the end of the month. Pregnancy did not figure at all in our plans, however, as Catholics, we always need to be open to the possibility of life and not taking on board the contraceptive mentality. Whilst we had not discounted more children in the future, we had taken the decision that it would not be sensible to be adding to our family at this time.

Pregnancy entails for me, morning sickness of the direst nature. Why it’s called morning sickness is beyond me, it’s more like all day constant nausea, vomiting and migranes, although I will spare the grisly detail. This post has taken over a week to compose, in a piecemeal fashion,  because looking at screens and reading books only exacerbates the condition. I have absolutely no idea as to how I am going to be able to complete any preparatory reading and am more than a little concerned.  In addition my work as an at-home researcher for a text answering service has been hindered, meaning another source of income is reduced.There have been times where I have been lying on my bed absolutely desperate to make the sickness stop, prepared to do almost anything, just to gain some respite. Offering it all up has never been my forte, even though I undoubtedly know its the only course of action. I am thankful for this pregnancy in many ways, children are always a blessing and when I read of the agony of infertility suffered by so many couples, I know that I am extremely fortunate to be blessed with hyper-fecundity.

But, all in all, its difficult and I am more than a little daunted at the prospect of 2 young babies, 16 months apart and an uncertain future for our family.

So this week, I went to the doctor to confirm the pregnancy. I was absolutely exhausted following a day of sickness and extreme fatigue, my baby is currently teething and not sleeping through the night, our nights consisting of her crying and my taking the path of least resistence, i.e bringing her into bed with us whereby she spends the rest of the night fitfully breastfeeding. The doctor took one look at my ashen face and instantly offered me access to abortion services. Clearly, we do have a “good case” if such a thing exists for terminating this pregnancy. In addition to which he harangued me about the use of NFP, telling me “it doesn’t work”, “I’m a Catholic and we have to live in the real world” ending up concluding in a hash of new age philosophy “well, any contraception can fail, I guess really its meant to be”!

I was horrified. Although the scenario as I’ve painted it, is not ideal, where is the hope? Things are never hopeless and in fact all that would have sufficed was a spot of sympathy. I wasn’t actually looking for sympathy, it was simply that after an incredibly stressful few months, I had reached my emotional limit. For me it was a stark illustration that in the UK we really do offer abortion on demand, which is what the detractors of the Abortion Act originally feared. The spirit of the abortion act was intended to help women in truly desperate circumstances. Though at times, in the throes of hormones and sickness I have felt utterly wretched, my situation is not a desperate one. To give birth to this baby is not going to cause me considerable mental or physical damage, even though at my most melodramatic moments, it may seem that way. I am married, I have a husband to emotionally support me, who, to give him his enormous dues here, is more than sharing the load at the moment in terms of childcare, he is the one currently doing the majority of changing and feeding the baby, in order to give me some respite. The worst aspect of the sickness is that my own precious baby’s smell is repugnant to me, which is heart-breaking. I find myself holding a baby in one arm whilst heaving into the sink.

My parents live 3 hours away; upon informing my mother, her response was “oh NO, that IS bad news, I just don’t see how you’re going to be able to cope”, which has been repeated quite a few times. I know however she means this with the best of intentions, she is obviously just very concerned.

The thing is, that amongst all this, there IS hope. Although life isn’t going to be easy, by anyone’s standards, the result is going to be a beautiful baby who is going to bring an enormous amount of joy and happiness to all. A new life with all of its possibilities. I am not going to crack up under the mental pressure, I am not going to be physically damaged by the birth, although admittedly conceiving 8 months post c-section goes against medical advice, but again its not that uncommon. I am an educated, intelligent women, my children are certainly not going to be physically or emotionally neglected, there is no reason to suppose that everything is not going to be alright.

This is what gets me, the consumerism and instant gratification of our easily disposable culture. Many people might argue that there would be a sound case for an abortion, it is my body, my rights and I should have an abortion and not feel a shred of guilt. I am shocked that a doctor can glibly offer an abortion as a solution. How was he to know that my physical and/or mental health would be adversely affected? He just offered it as being a way out, an answer, without giving it much thought. My experience is that abortion causes many more problems than it solves.

Many people would undoubtedly feel that I am being reckless, but surely this reckless attitude to life, as being disposable, dispensable with, is what is at the heart of many of society’s problems. My baby has the same right to life as everyone else, despite the physical difficulties it might be causing me. Besides, these are only temporary. Sickness and exhaustion are debilitating and add to the woes of women in a crisis pregnancy, making it difficult for her to be able to think rationally, particularly in the throes of all the extra hormones. I know, I have felt utterly wretched and desperate at times.

What has kept me going, is the fervent congratulations from people, reminding me that this is actually an occasion of happiness, a new life with all its possibilities, not some great disaster or tragedy. Clearly my faith has also been the contributing factor, but I think the point I am trying to make here, is that being pro-life requires no religious, but rather a moral conviction as to what is right. I am strong, I will cope, I have no excuse for killing my unborn child, other than it’s somewhat inconvenient timing. It is horrifying that society passively accepts and would validate my decision, should I have taken up the doctor’s offer, thereby destroying 2 lives.

At least now, I can look women facing crisis pregnancies in the face, I can say, look I’ve been there, I know it’s incredibly difficult, but there is hope, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Right now the words of Mother Teresa seem very apt:

“But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child – a direct killing of the innocent child – murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love, and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even his life to love us. So the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love – that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts. By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion. ”

I have a scan tomorrow to discover whether or not its a multiple pregnancy as there is a more than  a distinct possibility that this could be the case.

Things are going to be just fine.


73 thoughts on “Choose Life

  1. I have reached you through your comment on Fr. Pinnock’s blog. I am very happy for your husband’s crossing the Tiber and very moved after reading the trials you are experiencing now: I am going to pray for you and your husband and children, that you stop feeling sick as soon as possible.

  2. What a load of rot. Just what the country needs right now is more unplanned and unwanted pregnancies to homeless and jobless people.

    1. But you’d still advocate the use of NFP for deprived people KNOWING it doesn’t work & you do so in the position of a priest & priest’s wife?

      1. I don’t KNOW it doesn’t work. I had 1 failure. Any contraception can fail, besides it’s not about contraception but family plannning, openness to life. Plenty of intelligent friends ends of mine have had contraceptive failures, who can follow instructions.

      2. having seven children myself, and at 55 with a 13yr daughter…let me say, IT WORKED! The “heart” behind NFP is to remain “open” to what the Lord wants, not what we pick and choose! With that in mind, we CHOOSE to allow an open door by which the Lord can do exactly that. We do are part and leave the rest to Him!
        So, again, it WORKED! The Lord had the final say and it was to GIVE LIFE! That.IS.GOOD! That. IS. GOD!!! WE. ARE. NOT!

        Bro Jer

      3. NFP is very effective in general. That said, one of the most difficult times to use NFP is while a mother is nursing.

  3. Congratulations on your pregnancy and on your husband coming home to the Catholic church.
    Please ask him to contact the St. Barnabas Society who provide both pastoral and financial help to convert clergy.
    Their website is http://www.stbarnabassociety.org.uk/
    Best of luck and I will keep you both in my prayers.

  4. Many many blessings on you and your family. Your husband’s decision is hugely brave. More power to your collective family elbow. Soon, please God, you will be one in the Barque of Peter and, perhaps, your husband a sacred priest in that blessed Communion. There is a God!

  5. Nice to see you blogging, i always find your writing readable and interesting.

    I’m a bit aghast at the statement of blondepidge.

    ‘I had one failure’

    would that ‘failure’ be a baby then? What a beautiful thing. :/

    If you are open to life then it’s not a failure, it’s a success of the will of god or whatever. If you honestly feel that the resultant pregnancy is a failure then I’d be interested to know whether in your view God can see into your heart and know that you never were ‘open to life’ but merely seeking a loophole in scripture.

    1. Thanks AHD 🙂 No, I don’t see it as a failure or scriptural loophole, simply that as a way of temporarily attempting to avoid /delay parenthood until we were in a position to accommodate more children. NFP/Catholic spirituality entails that you regularly re-evaluate family planning decisions and pray over them. It’s only a failure in as much as temporarily avoiding pregnancy didn’t work. It’s the whole contraceptive mentality that should be avoided. You are right though, it is possible to use NFP with the contraceptive, closed to life attitude, which yes, would be wrong. It’s a good question.

  6. Congratulations on your pregnancy, and your husband’s conversion! We walk by faith, not by sight, and I trust that God has something wonderful planned for your family.

    I am the mother of five children, all grown, now, with the youngest, twenty-three. At one point, I had four children under five years of age. My mother, who had two children, was appalled when I announced I was pregnant again. But she bonded thoroughly with little Sarah. On the day that Sarah laughed for the first time, my mom died.

    None of these pregnancies happened at a good moment. There were hard times,and lost jobs, but we’ve never regretted having all of our children. God has been gracious, and provided for us, even though we never deserved His care. Each day, I learn to trust and love Him more.

    In case you turn out to be expecting a multiple, my daughter had twins at a precarious financial time. She prayed each day for her little ones, and asked St. Joseph to help her husband provide for the family. Nine years later, they are doing better than they could have ever expected.

    Best wishes to you for a more comfortable pregnancy.

  7. If you are ‘open’ to the Lord and his magical ways, why use NFP at all then? Surely, if it is down to the lord to ‘choose’ when you become pregnant, you don’t need to plan anything, he will choose for you?

    Or is that why many many many Catholics have multiple unwanted pregnancys and secret abortions? Kinder to let the lord ‘choose’ you to miscarry? Thought so.

    1. Got any stats to qualify that statement? Thought not. We don’t take a fatalistic approach which completely misunderstands catholic doctrine. An openess to life means accepting that any sexual encounter may result in pregnancy and being prepared to accept and welcome children. The Lord gives us free will to abstain and naturally monthly windows of infertility.

      Using your logic, one would never look when crossing the road,

      1. I’m still a little confused about the ‘logic’ argument and ‘freewill’.

        Can you not just use your free will and decide to use contraception to the same ends?

        Where is the difference?

  8. Why does God choose to give unwanted babies to people who are trying (by whatever method) not to conceive but at the same time denying them to people who desperately want them?

  9. I disagree with you entirely. A baby is a wonderful thing though, you’re right there, but I wish your life was easier love xxxxxxxx

  10. Sometimes you know God has other ideas than those we planned. I am sure it must seem very scary at the moment. Your husband has made a very brave choice, but I am sure he could not have come to his decision without your support and prayers. I ask Our Blessed Lady to hold you all very close – as only a Mother can, and please be assured of my prayers.

    Gertrude (CP&S)

  11. Hello blondepidge/asnailinmypocket,

    (By coincidence or providence, it happens that my real world first name is Brian!)

    I am so glad to have stumbled upon this article and its comments.

    First, be assured that the more-and-nastier the comments you receive, the closer you are to God. It is a certain sign. It is a funny kind of blessing, but it is true.

    Your Cross is mightily heavy. My prayers join the many that ask that you be given the strength to carry it until journey’s end.

    God love you.

  12. Caro, why do you even care who wrote the comments? They weren’t exactly the most earth shattering or controversial postings, were they? So what if they were the same person. When you write a blog you open yourself up to all sorts of contrasting views(I should know, I’ve been writing one for 5 years!).

    We’ve used NFP successfully for 6 years, only falling pregnant when we wanted to, but I have to say that I do agree that it is a form of contraception in the ‘denying life’ sense. I make sure that I get my timing right so that a pregnancy is not on the cards, and I am definitely bending God’s will there.

    1. People who run “sock puppets” often have a charming naivete that they will not be detected by anyone. Sorta like wearing a paper bag over your head as a disguise, around your coworkers and family, convinced that nobody will recognize that you’re still wearing the same clothes and shoes.

      It is generally considered wise to inform these folks that you can see them perfectly well, and that they should stop playing verbal peekaboo. Educational for them.

  13. God bless you for your witness and frank honesty at this difficult time. I will remember your family in prayer. May every blessing fall upon you for seeking truth and the right and good above all else.

  14. “Whatever did not fit in with my plan
    did lie within the plan of God.
    I have an ever deeper and firmer belief
    that nothing is merely an accident
    when seen in the light of God,
    that my whole life down to the smallest details
    has been marked out for me
    in the plan of Divine Providence
    and has a completely coherent meaning
    in God’s all seeing eyes
    To be a child of God,
    that means to be led by the Hand of God,
    to do the Will of God, not one’s own will,
    to place every care and every Hope in the Hand of God
    and not to worry about one’s future.
    On this rests the freedom and the joy of the child of God.
    But how few of even the truly pious,
    even of those ready for heroic sacrifices, possess this freedom.
    When night comes, and you look back over the day
    and see how fragmentary everything has been,
    and how much you planned that has gone undone,
    and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed and ashamed:
    just take everything exactly as it is,
    put it in God’s hands and leave it with Him.
    Then you will be able to rest in Him –really rest —
    and start the next day as a new life.” St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross [in the world, Edith Stein]

    You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Mgr Andrew Wadsworth

  15. Congratulations on your pregnancy and your husband’s forthcoming conversion. Are you already Catholic? I’m so sorry you’re suffering so much with sickness and worry. I pray that you will find a doctor and a mid-wife team that will truly care for you and support you through your pregancy. I feel for you as I always feel delicate and vulnerable when the hormones take over and find it necessary to take my husband along with me for support at pre-natal appointments. You do not need to worry; the Church will look after you in all respects. The Catholic Church really does embrace us converts. We are prodigal sons and we are truly welcomed home. The St Barnabas Society will also be very helpful. You just have to ask and trust. Praying for you.

    1. Thank you Mary, yes, I am Catholic already, so I am delighted that Robin is coming home and we can all participate in the sacraments together and be fully spiritually united. It will be lovely to be able to take communion together, the only time we have been able to previously was at our wedding, as Bishop Kieran graciously granted us a dispensation for this occasion.

      We have had some preliminary contact with the St Barnabas Society who have given us some reassurance.

      Thank you for your prayers. 🙂 Good luck and God Bless you, it must be wonderful to all convert as a family.

  16. May the Mother-of-God strengthen you for the pregnancy and bless your family with the joy of new life in Christ together.Thank you for your inspiring writing highlighting the horrors of our consumerist throw away society.

  17. Congratulations to you both and wishing you a safe and healthy pregnancy. Sometimes God sets up a different plan to what we actually have and it can be so hard to divert from the plan you originally had, but you will come through x

  18. I will pray for you. I will ask my aunt and her community to pray for you as well. They are nuns, and their prayers are extra special

  19. Hard to do but TRUST in the good Lord He knows what He is about.This baby will be very special,and a Blessing for you and your dear husband.I welcome him into the fold.and God’s Love for you both.My Prayers

  20. I admire your faith and courage and will pray for you, your husband, your child and the new baby on the way. God Bless.

  21. Blondepidge – Congratulations on your pregnancy and on your husband coming home to Rome. I am full of admiration for the bravery of your decision to lose income and home in swimming the Tiber – and wow, what an example you must have given over the years for your husband to be ready to do that!

    Congratulations on your determination to resist the British Medical establishment, which sees babies as a problem to be overcome by whatever means… unfortunately, since you have “exceeded your quota” you are likely to face all sorts of objectionable comments about the size of your family and why you don’t have the “intelligence” to use contraception… from doctors and nurses, as well as the general public.

    I hope that you have good friends who can give you moral support during this time, especially in view of some of the negative (and horrible) comments I’ve seen here.

    God bless you, and I shall pray for you

  22. Congratulations! I know that this is a pretty difficult situation, but I know that God can bring you through it. Sometimes when we’re doing the right thing, there is a spiritual backlash, with Satan seeking to make things difficult and stressful. But God also blesses us. In this case, you have one of God’s greatest blessings – albeit mixed with a strong spiritual attack. But God certainly will bring you through this.

    Please provide updates, as you are able. There are a lot of people around the world praying for you.

  23. I read on the website of Mulier Fortis about your website and recent happenings.

    Congratulations to your husband on his recent decision to become a Roman Catholic.

    Congratulations and the very best wishes also to you and your family on the good news about a new addition to your family.

    I cannot better any of the supportive comments above. But I can I say that I do greatly admire you and your family and that I am sure that you will get through any temporary difficulties and emerge even stronger than before. From your blog you would appear to be “very grounded” (as the Americans say) and determined. All I can say that you are in the thoughts and prayers of very many people.

    God bless.

  24. Congratulations on your pregnancy and a big welcome home to your husband! Prayers that all of your difficulties will be resolved.

    I am disgusted to hear your doctor suggested abortion! It must be terrible for those without a firm moral stance on the issue of abortion, without faith, and without support to face such horrible “advice” from their GP when their at their most vulnerable.

  25. God is definitely with such wonderful people as you. Congratulations to you both (and to your husband for having the courage of his convictions).

    (Sent here via @terryprest’s blog).

  26. The doctor took one look at my ashen face and instantly offered me access to abortion services.

    When I read that sentence, my jaw dropped. Then I read some of those nasty comments, and my jaw dropped some more. Unbelievable how much headway the eugenics mentality has made in the West — and let’s not kid ourselves: eugenics is what it is about and what it has always been about.

    Congratulations on both the baby and the Tiber passage. Remember Mother Angelica’s definition of faith: one foot on the ground, one foot in the air and a queasy feeling in the stomach. (Really!)

  27. Re: morning sickness, you know about hyperemesis gravidarum, right? I mean, yours doesn’t sound like it’s super-far along the morning sickness spectrum, but it sounds bad enough.

    Or rather, you might have your husband look into it while you focus on staying put. 🙂

  28. Many, many congratulations to you both. I know how difficult things must seem right now, but I am certain that one day you will look back and see this time of challenges as one of the best times in your life. Nobody said that the pearl of great price comes cheap!

    I do hope that we will get to know each other one day; I am not that far away, in Shoreham (though I am just about to go on Sabbatical). Fr David Weston is a good friend, too.

  29. You will cope….you are coping, and in fact having two children so close in age is a blessing as the tedious stuff like nappy changing covers a far shorter span than having two spaced out. Hopefully they will end up as supportive companions for one another: ours did (I have two older ones born at 21 months apart, and two younger ones born 26 months apart). The really tough bit is having a toddler AND a baby – ours didn’t sleep so we just bought a HUGE bed and coped that way (amid much tut-tutting and ‘just let them cry’). It doesn’t last for ever, although at the time it seems like it will! I also started my undergraduate studies when the youngest was just a year old – I had to postpone when I found I was pregnant with him, but now I am working towards my PhD. Take heart! It CAN be done, and you seem the sort of lady who will do it.
    All blessings on you and your family – the Lord WILL provide – and how joyful you will feel as a family united in the Catholic faith! Congratulations.

  30. I found I was pregnant when my twins were 10 months old. The twins are now 3, and the baby 18 months. Yes, it’s hard. Phenomenally hard but you will get through it and will be stronger for it. The hardest thing to bear for me was the onslaught of comments from others – ‘you must be mad’ ‘haven’t you got enough already?’ ‘don’t you have a telly?’ etc etc. I didn’t tell that it was unexpected, though, and could have done with more support. If you want to e-mail me, go ahead. Meanwhile, I’ll storm heaven for you, your husband and your unborn child/children.

  31. Many congratulations on your pregnancy and on your husband’s conversion. When I told my GP I was pregnant (for the fifth time and after three miscarriages) he said, “If you were any one of my other patients we’d be talking about abortion now.” “But I’m not!” I replied “And I make our baby due on April 22nd.” His resigned and exasperated look said it all but that boy, the fifth of our ten children, is now 41 and a most magnificent person who is an example to his parents! We became Catholics shortly before our marriage in 1962 – and it caused problems within our families of origin which have never been entirely resolved – but we have never for a moment regretted it. Please be assured of our prayers.

  32. I remember my late mother telling me that after I was born a well meaning but misguided doctor told her she should not have any more babies – and started to tell her about contraceptives.

    Happily she took no notice and as a result I have a younger brother and a sister who both gave so much joy to my mother.

    And in due course my sister’s children filled my mother’s cup of happiness to the brim.

    God bless you and your family.

  33. God Bless you both (and indeed all you Children as well)congratulations on your pregnancy and I’m sorry to hear the morning sickness is giving you so much trouble. You are in my prayers

  34. Congratulations on the very courageous decision that you’ve all made – I’m sure you must all have spent a long time agonising; discussing and not least, praying about it. I realise you are already a Catholic but your husband’s decision to ‘come home’ is surely not one he’s taken on his own and naturally will have an enormous effect on the whole family.

    With prayers and all good wishes for the future.

    Great blog, by the way. I chuckled through your post about your daughter’s reaction to the Gay Pride event in Brighton! 🙂

  35. I just read about you and your husband on Mulier Fortis, and would like to add my congratulations to you both and assure you of my prayers and good wishes.

    It’s encouraging to see that despite some less than pleasant comments, you have received much support and have many people praying for you (including, I note, acouple of quite eminent members of the clergy).

    Sancta Maria, Auxiliam Christianorum et Consolatrix Afflictorum, ora pro vobis.

  36. Both my mother and my mother-in-law had a “oh no, this is horrible – this is why you shouldn’t be Catholic” when I was pregnant with our 4th child at age 39 – 1 year after having our 3rd child.

    I had never dreamed I would have 4 children – they are such a blessing. And now that I am 46, I only wish I had had more.

    Hang in there!

  37. God Bless you!!! The courage it took to refuse the doctor’s blandishments is wonderful! I am jealous, as my husband and I cannot have children (God chose something else for us when he made me infertile!)

    You are setting a wonderful and Catholic example and witness to what life is, and I applaud you for it. Will keep you and your family in my prayers!

  38. I read your news at Mulier Fortis and sent up a prayer for you and your family. Congratulations on your husband’s “coming home” and on the new baby, as difficult as the circumstances around them are.

    I, too, am horrified by your doctor’s cavalier attitude towards abortion and by the nasty comments of the multi-named troll. What kind of a sicko says things like that to a pregnant woman or to the wife of a man who has had to leave his job? Long ago I decided that the easiest way to deal with that kind of creature (if you want my advice) is to hit the “Reject Comment” button.

  39. Your post is very inspiring. Your situation reminded me of when my wife and I received news of our third child who is now 19. We had resigned from a mission society working in Europe, and we returned to the US without insurance, a home, and a job with two other children. God did bless us with this healthy third child, and He has been faithful to provide for us through other times of unemployment and under-employment. I have remained in ministry over the years (I’m a continuing Anglican priest), and my wife and 2 daughters are converts to the Catholic faith. (I might be crossing the Tiber soon myself). Be encouraged- God will be faithful to provide, and He will be faithful to conform you into Christ’ Image in the process.

  40. You and your family are much in my prayers at this time! What a fantastic witness you are giving, it must be very tough….

    I am a Catholic (convert) pro-life GP, mother of 6, only about 40mins away from you in the north of W Sussex. If I can be of any support or encouragement please do contact me.

    By now you will know if you have a multiple or singleton pregnancy. The evidence suggests that one of the biggest things to impact on pregnancy nausea is anxiety….I have no idea why! You obviously both have a strong faith but you are allowed to feel anxious! Don’t be afraid to ask your GP for something to help with the nausea if it’s not settling….there are SAFE things you can take that will make this time easier for you (and so, your family too!).

    With prayers and very best wishes!

  41. I can only say I wish you and your husband and family the very best. I admire your heroic witness…you all will be in my prayers! I absolutely worry about you young Anglicans and your financial sitation! In he US we have the support of The Comming Home Network for clergy looking to enter and in fact entering the Catholic Church. I plan on raising my concerns with the president of that organization….If there is anything I can do please let me know!

    Michael J. Mattes
    Neponsit
    Queens, New York

  42. Me and my wife were informed, a looong time ago that it would be very difficult for us to have children. We both wanted a large family, and obviously this news shocked us big time. Ten years after that, and quite a number of prayers, our only son was born (Hence the name “Mateo” which means bless or gift from God). Longing for children for so long, I can not but realize, and try to express now, just how an incredibly enormous blessing you are about to receive. God bless you and your husband, and never fear. The angels can not do what you are about to do: give life. Life from God. Me and my wife will certainly pray for you and your family.

  43. Just found your blog: I’ll be praying for you and your family! I had just started a full-time Master’s program at Harvard last fall when we found out I was expecting our first. I, too, had relentless “morning” sickness and ended up turning in more than a few assignments late– but God (and my wonderful husband) helped me through it and now we look back and say, “Wow– how on earth did we survive that?” Grace, grace, grace. It’ll make for a great story for your baby: “See how much we loved you even then?”

  44. Congratulations on the pregnancy. Forgive me, though, for not showing much sympathy for your plight. You didn’t use contraception, you got pregnant. Well done you. If you were a 16 year old girl, people would be calling you stupid and irresponsible. But because you have the protection of faith, you can wax lyrical about what a deeply spiritual thing it is to have an unwanted pregnancy.

    Personally, I’d give my right arm to be where you are right now. It is a blessing, and you are so very lucky. Sometimes, being open to life apparently isn’t enough to warrant being blessed with a child. Oh well…

    1. I am very sorry that you feel the need to be bitter and vitriolic. I am aware it is a blessing but that doesn’t automatically render me immune from debilitating sickness, dramatically low iron levels which have needed hospital treatment, nor the effects of feeling emotionally and physically drained. Being open to life does not preclude judicious planning, nor does it offer protection from a physical reaction which has knock-on psychological effects.

      I hope you get the baby you so desperately crave Rhi. I am sorry you feel unable to sympathize with those facing difficult and unplanned pregnancies.

      1. Oh no, you misunderstand me. I’m not bitter at all. There are many injustices in life which we have to face – there is no point in whining at every wrong turn which life sends us down. It’s all a means to an end, I hope. What will be will be, I’m sure.

        I have great sympathy for people who find themselves in a position which they did not plan for. That said, I do feel that in your case, this is not a completely unplanned pregnancy. IMHO, unplanned means someone who has found themselves in that situation either through contraceptive failure or ignorance (eg the 13 year old who believed it wouldn’t happen the first time, or the woman who took her pill regularly, but was one of the unlucky 1%. You might not have actively tried to conceive, but you didn’t actively try to prevent it. By being “open to life”, surely that means you accept pregnancy if you want to enjoy the physical side of your relationship? Indeed, you seem to accept that yourself. But in your request for sympathy from your physician – well, I would have though that seeing your situation, and your level of illness, offering you all the choices available from the NHS (including termination) is showing sympathy. I am assuming he is not aware of the religion of every person he sees. AS you mention yourself, there is the medical risk of pregnancy so soon after a c-sec. From what you say, he didn’t force the choice on you, he simply made you aware of the fact that, should you feel that your situation was severe enough, there was another option. It has nothing to do with a moral decision, and everything to do with the fact that, you have a loving partner, a church community around you, and the knowledge that you are unlikely to really suffer (despite your current situation). Saying that it’s a moral issue implies that those who are less fortunate than yourself, with no support, money or love to help them, are somehow immoral if they decide that it’s better not to continue with the pregnancy. Bring morality into the abortion debate automatically makes it sound like you’re trying to be better than others. “Look, I’m having a baby when it’s not the right time. This is because I’m a GOOD PERSON.” When in reality, such decisions are rarely so black and white.

        This may sound harsh, but I’d rather you deal with the indignation of being informed of abortion services, than another women feel she has to continue with a pregnancy that could be catastrophic for all involved. And I say that as someone who has longer for a baby for a long time.

        Life is unfair, sometimes. All we can do is try to avoid the pitfalls. You didn’t really avoid them, and the steps you took to try were foolish and unlikely to work in the long term. It’s your own decision to put the advice of a religious man over the facts of nature that has landed you in your current position. I really do wish you all the best, I’m just sad that you couldn’t be more joyful about the situation, and more accepting that, when you play Russian Roulette with your fertility, sometimes you’re going to have to bite the bullet.

      2. Actually, I have no money, home and currently unemployed husband. And, my Dr offered an abortion after I asked for help with anti-emetics, having stated I conceived despite NFP due to Catholicism. Did he consider the emotional effect a quick abortion might have in the long term? Did he consider how traumatic it might be for a woman suffering from dire sickness due to pregnancy that a professional opinion was that she should consider abortion? Did he support my choice? No, he attempted to steer me towards an abortion.

        You clearly didn’t read or chose to ignore my comments on the independent statistics around NFP.

        I have no family within 300 miles, a Church community who we are just getting to know, having just left one behind under difficult circumstances and no idea where we are going to live or if we will be able to cope logistically, practically or emotionally.

        Our life is currently an exercise in trust.

        Yes, on some levels, medically, practically and emotionally there could be a case for an abortion by some people, but I believe there is an inherent morality involved in killing our children which is what abortion is. I am not “better” than anyone else nor do I claim to be, but I am pointing out that there is always hope. Killing children because they are not convenient is not an acceptable option. I put my children first because if as their mother I won’t protect and defend them who will?

        I think to tell me that I didn’t try to avoid the pitfalls is incredible ignorant and arrogant when you will not consider the proven statistics around NFP which many people have used successfully.

        Decisions regarding whether to kill your unborn child are always black and white. I don’t ask for sympathy but I can empathise with someone facing an unplanned and difficult pregnancy.

        Abortion is always catastrophic for the child and always a moral issue, whichever side of the divide you are on. Are you saying that someone who chooses abortion is acting morally, immorally or amorally? Or simply that it depends on circumstance? A child only has a right to life if it’s mother has money, love, support and was planned or pregnancy was welcomed? Sounds dangerously close to eugenics.

        I believe in equality for all, regardless of circumstance. I’d rather women weren’t offered the choice of killing their children as a routine act of “compassion”.

        In any event I suggest you do some research on the Creighton and Billings models in order that you may be able to make informed comments about the reality of NFP.

      3. Furthermore you may be interested to learn that the NHS lists NFP as a method of contraception on it’s website. Also, Mother Teresa successfully managed to teach NFP to poor under-deprived women in the Calcutta slums with an astonishing success rate, something like 90%. So not quite the Russian Roulette you claim.

        Sent from my iPad

  45. I suggest you change your doctor. Or report him.

    And of course it depends on the circumstances of the abortion. Suffering a catastrophy through never reaching sentience, or through a birth which results in the mental or physical damage to the mother, and subsequent child (not to mention existing children)? Of course, your views are your own, and I would never insult you by telling you that you are foolhardy. I genuinely don’t think you are. In an ideal world, in my opinion, there would be no need for abortion. I know it’s something I could never choose for myself. Or at least, at this point in time, I’m fairly certain. I’m of the opinion that you can never tell until you are there.

    Of course, you are there. And you have made that choice. To suggest, in the way you have, that it comes down to morals, says to me that you are of the opinion that those who have gone down the opposite path to your own are somehow morally wanting. That’s not fair, in my opinion. But anyhow, I really want to leave this line of argument alone now because I feel, given your stage of pregnancy, that it’s grossly unfair to talk about this. And I apologise for taking it down this route.

    I will quantify my Russian Roulette comment however, by saying that I feel that anyone who has sex – whether with or without contraception, ought to be open to the idea that it may result in a pregnancy. My ex-DH came to us via the wonder of NFP, as have many other good friends of mine. However, given my intimate knowledge of the workings of NFP (as I’ve been attempting the same thing, only in reverse), whilst the data collected from the wider sample may suggest a high level of accuracy, as others have mentioned, there are certain situations which affect is effecacy. In the same way as antibiotics can counteract the contraceptive pill, things which affect the female reproductive cycle (such as pregnancy and breastfeeding) can make NFP a far more risky option. I would assume you knew that, of course. And you still decided to take the risk.

    There are thousands of families out there facing similar circumstances. My own upbringing was in a situation similar to what you are now facing (without the priest as a father, of course), and I’ve worked with young women in far less supportive positions when it came to choosing to keep their child. You will be OK.

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