Pregnancy Crisis

When I last wrote about what it was like to face an unplanned pregnancy, a commenter angrily wrote that they could not believe my cheek in asserting that I could now look a pregnant woman facing a crisis pregnancy in the face, that I was comparing myself to someone who had been raped when clearly there was no equivalence, I could never know how it could feel to be pregnant as a result of a rape.

Assuming that statement is correct, it must be remembered that trauma caused by an unplanned pregnancy is no less serious and distressing for a woman, regardless of how she came to be in that particular situation. Being avowedly pro-life does not somehow lessen the emotional or physical impact of an unwanted pregnancy. As a Catholic I feel under additional pressure to serenely grin and bear it, to plaster on a saintly smile and offer up every bout of retching for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, whilst declaring to the world how wonderful it is to be bringing another beautiful baby and human soul in the world.

Now whilst there is some truth in the latter part of that sentence, I know that once the baby is here, I will adore him/her, I will proudly post photographs of him/her on social media and proclaim “look, my baby is so beautiful, here is proof of the evils of abortion”, the reality of being pregnant and pro-life is somewhat different. The reason that I look at my babies and feel filled with horror at the idea of abortion is because I know quite how tempting that prospect is. I experience it on a daily basis. Looking at my babies once born, is an affirmation, not that one is needed, that I have undoubtedly done the right thing and if we’re going to psychoanalyse, is probably as much about assuaging my guilt for entertaining such abhorrent feelings whilst pregnant. One of my more unpleasant detractors said “if I see one more photo which says my baby is cute and abortion is wrong, I’ll throw up”, further consolidating that she had absolutely no idea what it is like to experience a pregnancy, let alone an unwanted or unplanned one.

Here’s the reality, warts and all. I will attempt to remain as dispassionate as possible and not whinge, but I think pro-lifers need to get a feel for what it is like when a woman is desperate, something that the pro-choice lobby, understand only too well.

I feel constantly nauseous. Not mildly nauseous, but full-on, I’m on the verge of throwing up big time here. Everywhere I go, a bucket or some sort of receptacle has to come too. I emerged from around the back of a shrubbery on campus yesterday, wiping tears from my eyes, mucous from my nose and surreptitiously dumping a plastic bag full of vomit in the nearest bin. Being British I cannot bring myself to face the mortification of using the campus toilets and bumping into someone I might know, or indeed that anyone might hear. If I’m not throwing up, I’m feeling that I’m on the verge of it at any second. Everything and everyone smells of cheese, even me. I disgust myself with my smell. Even my beloved children absolutely stink to high heaven. My beautiful baby is repellant, I can’t bear to have her anywhere near me, because she literally makes me sick, one whiff of her head and bleurgh I’m off. This is something of a problem, given that she refuses to drink anything other than breast milk and the odd bit of water. Every time she latches on to the breast, the surge of hormones as the milk is released causes another heave. Another issue is that she is, at not yet 9 months, going through separation anxiety. Put her down for more than 5 nano seconds and the million decibel screaming as if she is being tortured starts, thus setting off the toddler.

I’m exhausted. Not just a little bit tired, but as though my arms and legs are weighted down with lead. I feel constantly wiped out and struggling to keep my eyes open. When I’m at home with the children, I’m fighting sleep, but with a lively and boisterous 2 year old and the baby, it’s obviously not an option. What is exacerbating this is that due to a shortage of space in the house, there is nowhere to put a cot. Thus bunk-beds have been ordered, toddler will be evicted from her cot bed and the baby will then have a cot to sleep in. Until that time she is still in the bed with us and cannot get to sleep unless she is breast-feeding. She has now grown three teeth, so there is lots of biting, nights consist of being used as a giant human comfort blanket, my nipples made ultra sensitive via pregnancy hormones, spend the night being bitten or twisted, handfuls of flesh are grabbed, kneaded, scratched, pulled and pushed in order that the baby can slumber peacefully. As soon as the bunk-beds arrive, I anticipate a double dose of sleep trauma, toddler will be none too happy being evicted from her cosy cot, 7 year old will be getting frightfully stressed and coming to tell us every 5 minutes that toddler is talking, crying, whimpering etc (this happened on holiday when they shared a room) and baby will be apoplectic at having to sleep in a cot in a different room. There is a reason why sleep deprivation is used in torture techniques. It makes you desperate. What I have been doing, because I am a shocking, neglectful, lazy mother, is taking advantage of when my children are in University nursery to nip back home and catch a couple of hours of sleep.

The house is an absolute state and I am behind with my university work. I went to the much advertised Student Life building to get some advice about support, given I have a few late essays. I was told how to submit mitigating evidence but also told that there was no guarantee that my claim will be accepted. The highest I can achieve in my essays, if my claim is not accepted is 40%. This will do, it will get me a pass, but is more than a little frustrating.

So, to recap, I’m snowed under with university work, the house is its usual pigsty, I have three young children, I am utterly exhausted, my family live hundreds of miles away and I’ve no close friends nearby either. The parish we worship at is 10 miles away from our house, we started worshipping there before we moved, when Robin was still a vicar, have built a close relationship with the priest and have some friendships, but are still slight outsiders.

The thought of having another baby fills me with absolute dread. As soon as the nine month old reaches a vaguely manageable stage, yet another screaming newborn will be here. I have been pregnant and breastfeeding since February 2009. I have had 2 cesarians in two years, one in November 2009, one in April 2011. Neither of them have gone well. I have a phobia, a genuine dread and terror of childbirth. I feel sick, ill and rotten. I cannot believe that this is happening to me yet again, no sooner does my life begin to come together, then bang, I’m pregnant again. I also feel extraordinarily foolish for being pregnant, like I’ve done something wrong and incredibly stupid in my use of NFP; some would say its my fault for trusting in it, others would point out my deficiencies in not being able to use it properly. Either way it is my fault. In short I am not floating about in a state of pious tranquility that the Lord’s work is being fulfilled. I am miserable. I am letting just about everybody down, my husband, my family and my friends because I am finding it so difficult to function.

My husband is working really long hours, if I defer my degree again, then I’ll be liable for the higher £9,000 a year fees, if I give up, then I’ll never be able to get a job. This getting a job business is actually quite important. If for some reason my husband is not ordained, then instead of spending these few years training for a career, he’s been working in, what can be, a pretty back breaking job paying £5.90 a hour. He’ll need to do something else, as will I. Even if he is ordained, then it is not fair to expect the Catholic Church to pay for my upkeep. So the degree is important.

As an aside, perhaps people can understand why I may be just a tad short-tempered at the moment. Perhaps they can also understand why, given we gave up everything in order that my husband could cross the Tiber, and given that I have received unprecedented amounts of abuse for defending Catholic social teaching, it is more than a little galling to be called “liberal, pro-life lite, misleading the faithful and reinventing Church teaching” and had the fact that we are not cradle catholics thrown back at us by some of the traditionalist Catholics. It’s why I’m having a twitter break for a short while. Anyone looking through some of the early comments on this blog can see some of the abuse that I’ve had to put up with, being called a fundamentalist, extremist and other such names. It is just laughable to have my faith called into doubt this way. There has been absolutely no understanding that I might be feeling extremely vulnerable at present – name calling of the most un-Christian kind and aggression has been de rigour. It has been worse than anything previously faced, not simply because of the spiteful derision, but because this has come from brethren in Christ. Although I am to blame for perhaps overreacting, I think bloggers who devoted two consecutive blog posts to me and tweeters who embarked on consecutive twitter rants, need to ask themselves how they feel they might be coming across?Twitter does not allow for nuance, nor does it allow pause for thought. When faced with tweet after tweet after tweet, the blood starts pumping, the breathing quickens, hackles rise at the invective writ large in front of you and the emotional temperature is raised. This is not good for anyone and certainly not righteous. I would urge all Catholic tweeters, just to stop, pause and think. Things might not be meant aggressively, but that is certainly how they come across.

It’s fair to say that I am not Mrs Duggar, floating about in euphoric bliss about the Lord’s will being done, having conceived baby number 21. If only I were. This pregnancy is proving to be a huge spiritual test. I feel like asking “Lord, why me, again”, but am focusing upon Romans 8.

Why am I spilling like this – firstly, its to let people know in no uncertain terms that I am having a hard time. It’s to let pro-lifers know that pregnancy is often a terrible physical and emotional ordeal. I am effectively being forced to give birth, as the pro-choicers would put it, because for me there is no other choice. What I have to do, in the words of Mama Odie, from Disney’s Princess and the Frog (currently showing 24/7 in these parts) is to dig a little deeper. What we want and what we need are not always the same things, doing what is right, is not the same as doing what is easy. There are times when I feel that I would literally do anything to not be pregnant right now, I would make some kind of Faustian pact that didn’t actually involve taking the life of my chid or indeed selling my soul. If someone would offer me a solution to take away the pregnancy and the sickness, I would be mightily tempted.

This is what pregnant women face and this is what is on offer at Marie Stopes and BPAS. I know that were I to visit, they would not sit in judgement, but would validate my feelings of despair and negativity whilst offering a way out. This is the reality that anyone dealing with a pregnant woman has to face. I wrote a lot this summer about non directional counselling, my feeling was that women must not be bullied and hectored. I still stand by that, but my opinion has changed slightly. The only thing that is stopping me from not aborting this baby, is the fact that I know that it would be the killing of a child. I am 9 weeks pregnant. That’s definitely a baby, not a potential life, but a real live one. Abortion providers make moral judgements for women, they tell women that aborting children is acceptable and understandable. It might be the latter, but whichever way you look at it, when an abortion counsellor recommends a woman for an abortion procedure, they are making a moral judgement.

Pro-choice people understand only too well how difficult it is for a woman, which is why they hate us pro-lifers piling on what they believe is unnecessary guilt and pressure. But where I have changed my mind, is that actually, a woman needs to know that if she aborts her baby, she is killing her unborn child. There can be no getting around that fact. Women need to see ultrasounds and understand the choice that they are making. Someone needs to put the reality to them that abortion is the ending of a life. It’s an uncomfortable truth and it is what has people so up in arms, because they feel that women don’t need to know that, it’s easier to put the whole idea out of their minds, in a separate box to be dealt with later. This does not necessitate religious reference or hectoring, but simple facts. Here is your baby – here is what it looks like – the decision is still yours, but it is precisely because of the nature of abortion, that you may well feel some emotional trauma afterwards, particularly if you are already vulnerable.

I know that Marie Stopes and BPAS would offer me the solution that I wanted, but it would be a decision entirely centred around me, my feelings and my life as it stands now. The unborn baby would not feature at all, and thus spurious arguments would be used as qualification such as “its not really alive, it’s not viable”. That’s why this so emotive, desperate women take decisions to make their lives better, decisions that seem understandable, but decisions that are ultimately morally right or wrong. Either abortion is right, or it is wrong. What pro-lifers have to do is understand this desperation and fight to offer decent alternatives for women in these situations, as well as helping women to see the reality of their actions. What would help me? Someone to advocate at University, not only for the late penalty to be taken off my essays, but also to allow me to bring a newborn baby to lectures and seminars next year. Someone to help fight so that if I do defer, I don’t have to pay the higher fees. Ultimately we need people to fight for better conditions for pregnant women in terms of careers, so that they are not forced to put them on hold, or their prospects aren’t damaged by career breaks. That would get down abortions no end and would be a far more productive use of time than philosophically debating same sex marriage. Pro-life groups have to make it easier for women. I don’t need baby clothes, I need practical and career help.

No doubt aborting this baby would improve my short term health no end. It wouldn’t do much for the baby’s. No doubt I shall be filled with grace and blessings. But understand this – it is far from easy. I feel forced to set a shining example, when really all I want to do is to collapse into a hormonal mess. Faced with no alternative I just have to cope and dig a little deeper, I think it’s what most do when they are up against it. But I need people to be gentle. I needed a break from pregnancy. Desperately.

And now here’s the Disney. Enjoy

37 thoughts on “Pregnancy Crisis

  1. I’m sorry that things are so tough and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I don’t know where you are in the country but make contact with your local NCT branch and I’m sure you will find some support – you could also phone the NCT helpline for info / support on your rights. As a NCT volunteer I’d happily help support you in any way I can.

  2. I need to think more about the bulk of this post, but may I just respond to the part about University?

    I don’t think your bringing a newborn to lectures/ seminars is a realistic prospect-if would (especially in the smaller setting) be a distraction for other students (I remember how much my own son cried when newborn!), even if you left the room if baby did cry. In addition to which I’m not sure you’d be as fully ‘there’ as you would need to be.

    What I would support, unconditionally, is a. your being able to access lectures, promptly, via podcast (forward-thinking academics already do this, it’s really not difficult) and b. your being able to leave baby in heavily subsidised childcare for your seminars.

    Have you spoken to your DoS/personal tutor about any of this?

    1. Hi 🙂

      The problem is that the nursery won’t take babies until they are 5 months. The University has just sold off its nursery to a private contractor so there is a chance that they might allow babies in at 3 months.

      1. Hi yourself!

        In that case, I’d advocate for your being able to appoint a scribe, (& have the seminar proceedings podcasted), & possibly make your contributions on paper in the case of shared presentations. Obviously, it would limit your ability to contribute to debates, but it’s the least-worst option…..

  3. I’m sorry but I feel what you are doing to yourself and your children is just ridiculous. I have never agreed with abortion but this isn’t a crisis pregnancy or an unplanned pregnancy, this is intentional and self inflicted. This is exactly why people use contraception (and consequently don’t need abortions!) To have child after child that you didn’t want in the first place is nothing short of crazy and unfair no matter how cute your newborn might be. You are clearly not happy with your choices or your situation and will it really take 10 children you can’t afford or which you resent to say enough is enough? Pro-life does not mean being constantly pregnant to prove some misguided point.

  4. and may I just add facing an unplanned pregnancy and being strong and supported to come through it and have a much loved baby is not at all the same thing as repeatedly getting pregnant with babies you do not want.

    1. Thanks. That’s really helpful. You obviously don’t understand either the words crisis or unplanned.

      Nor do you understand that all contraception can fail. If my contraception had failed, would it still be self-inflicted?

      Pro-life is supporting life from the moment of conception up until natural death.

      I see you are from near Swansea. Dim trollio.

      1. Believe me I know how awful pregnancy can be, I am not trying to take away from how you feel, I also know how wonderful having a newborn is and how when they are born it makes it all worth it. I get all of that, I also don’t agree with abortion. However – preventing a pregnancy until you are ready for it is not the same as abortion and you owe it to yourself and your children to continue your family on your own terms.

  5. All “contraceptives” are in fact abortifaceants with the exception of barrier methods. Couples are not being told this: “the cynical deception of women by selling abortifaceants as if they were contraceptives is incompatible with the respect due to women.” Germaine Greer.

    So to condoms: Personally I just completely understand why people fail with condoms despite all the propoganda in their favour. They do create a barrier between the couple and have to be fumbled with just at the moment of passion. Easy to see how people just get to that point and don’t manage the condom “properly”. If the church were promoting condoms how much we would be the butt of secular ridicule surely.

  6. …continued…

    If half the resources that are poured into artificial contraception were put instead into research and understanding of Natural Fertility we would all be in a better place. As it is women seeking understanding on NFP are faced with the expense of private fees and the varying opinions of different practitioners.

    Ultimately abstinence probably is the only “sure” way but that caveat applies to every method.

    I am seeking to conceive and using a devise called Duofertility. I think it would surely also be useful in NFP although it is not advertised for avoidances of conception.

  7. Finally…Caroline, thank you for your account and you will be in my prayers. I hope your post will attract people who will offer practical help to you and mums like you nationwide. We really do need this insight into how much anxiety and exhaustion pregnant women face and how strong the temptation to take the deception the abortion clinic seems to offer.

  8. Good for you! Being pro-life DOES NOT mean you’re not human!

    I am a recent convert but that doesn’t mean I am now magically cleansed of all temptation and weakness and doubt.

    Being pro-life is about courageously upholding a simple truth that each person from conception is a person with human dignity not about pretending the world is a candy cane wonderland.

  9. Caroline, I wish I could say something insightful or helpful here, but sadly I have nothing to offer. However, you and your family are in my prayers.

  10. Tempted to write nothing here, as no words of encouragement seem adequate: however silence seems a coward’s response.

    So just to say that there are many of us who understand – at least in part – what you are going through and why, and admire you for it – and remember you in our prayers.

  11. What an honest piece. It’s really rather wonderful to read something this honest with respect to how pro life should approach this subject. The more “murderer” labelling I see the more I understand how and why pro life don;t always reach women. Because they don’t reach out with much more than judgment. Was terrified to hear a pro life advocate say he wants and envisages the law to make abortion illegal. Why can’t we get this issue taken seriously without recourse to the law? I think of my mum’s friend who experiencing all you write about, at 16, single, judged, alone, back in the 50s, had a back street abortion. She almost died from blood poisoning and it left her infertile. We should reach out to women in this situation not berate them or wave useless placards at them, light a few candles and sing a few songs. Sigh. Practical help and open arms are required. Plus money.

    I really feel for you. If it’s any consolation my family are not based here in the UK. My friends moved to the States. We should have left but didn’t. So I am more or less alone. This is my first pregnancy. It took an eternity to get to this point in my life, was a struggle filled with heartache as you know – and I am both thrilled, excited and lately rather terrified. Very terrified actually. And a bunch of stuff has hit us both which leaves us financially worried and very stressed. Plus my East London hospital is a total dump. They are in the process of moving to a brand sparkly new building in February…. right when my due date arrives so who knows where I will wind up. Great.

    Reaching out to you with a huge hug, prayers and good wishes – wish I could pop round with some wine so we could stare at the bottle or something 🙂
    It would be super to get to know you better.

    Ignore the nasty trolls or spite on Twitter. They must have little in their lives of worth and interest to stop by and be spiteful just because they can. And those catholics who are making life a misery for you really should know better. It’s so off putting to a relaxed catholic such as myself who is struggling to stay true to my faith, involved in it and really something of a failure at it. My mum was involved in an horrendous accident some years back which left her disabled. I blamed God, hated my faith for letting me down and went off the rails a bit shall we say. I have only just rediscovered it again but it’s not easy and the spite is off putting. You are so well informed but truly genuine and passionate with it. May your faith and God’s love lift you and carry you through this very difficult time. And never forget you write beautifully and convey such genuine sentiment. A gift to take your mind off life and share some of this burden – I hope.

    I am rarely around on Twitter these days but do stay in touch.

    Lots of love

    xxx

  12. I feel like asking “Lord, why me, again”

    You had unprotected sex, that is why. If you do not want a baby you either use protection or do not have sex. Or pray that it’s not you again. I think you need to consider what to do in the future and whether your faith, or the happiness and wellbeing of your family is most important.

    1. And what if your contraception fails?

      What people fail to understand here was that we *were* being careful. We had sex on day 24 of a regular bang on 28 day cycle. I carefully monitor signs of fertility. I am not stupid. I had ovulated 10 days previously according to my chart. It’s not as if we were deliberately throwing caution to the wind.

      I remind you of the failure rate of the pill and condoms. Nothing is foolproof and it’s not a question of having to choose between family & faith.

      Some couples are clearly extremely fertile. We are one such couple.

      1. Then you at least know you tried. Then go for abstinence for the sake of the next child. Nothing is perfect but at least you can try to control your life and the lives you bring into the world. Couples can have a lot of fun without risking pregnancy. In all honesty I’m surprised you had the time or energy for intercourse.

      2. Your comment did not show in full when I responded. I conceived one of my children on a similar double ovulation cycle. I was delighted as we were planning a child. I have since been told by many people that it is a common occurence, especially post child birth and breastfeeding when cycles are establishing a new pattern. I stand by abstinence.

  13. I also wish you well. I just think you are asking the wrong questions. It should not be why me, it should be “what can I do, within the constraints of my faith, to ensure this does not happen again?”.

  14. The “constraints” of faith. Where would we be without the “constraints” of our faith now Caroline? Quite possibly we wouldn’t even be in loving marriages but managing alone, we would have conceived using artificial contraception anyway and we’d have felt far more pressure to submitting to abortion and all the sadnesses that brings. Use of artificial contraception would mean several “early” abortions had already occured now anyway. Ah sweet freedom (not).
    Definitely there needs to be more research and understanding of NFP including what our limitiations are with it at this stage. And far better understanding, support acceptance and love for mums and babies whatever our circumstances.

  15. This post is certainly a kick in the teeth for those couples who are desperate to conceive, have suffered heartache over it. They would give their arms to be in your position.
    Be grateful for what you have… and if you don’t want anymore.. as Laurie said practice abstinence.

    1. I am truly sorry for couples who can’t conceive.

      I can only write about my personal experience. I think if every part of your body hurt, if you were constantly throwing up, not sleeping and having to take anti- nausea medication, you would be fed up and finding it hard to be “grateful”. Particularly if you and your husband had made a joint decision that another baby would bring you to breaking point and thus to avoid.

      I shall take your sage advice and never have sex with my husband again. Why hadn’t we thought of that before?

      1. Have you actually read what you are writing? Stop playing the victim and use a condom. Everything is everyone else’s fault but your own.

        God has no control over whether you have 2 children or 20. If you have unprotected sex you get pregnant, surely after 4 you realise that?

        Until you can take responsibility for your own body and own choices you have no right judging or advising others other on sex education or pro-life matters.

        Also – you can’t keep dismissing everyone who doesn’t agree with you or pray for you as a troll or bully.

      2. Sorry but coming on someone’s site where they have been brutally honest and detailed their emotional trauma, in order to help others, just to snipe & cast blame is trolling & bullying.

        You are a troll and a bully. Sorry if you don’t like that description. All you have done is carp because I didn’t use your preferred method of avoiding pregnancy. NO CONTRACEPTION IS 100%. CAPISCE.

        I do not sit in judgement, unlike you. I had sex on DAY 24. 10 DAYS post ovulation. There was NO REASON to believe I was fertile.

        How are you being at all helpful? I was trying to be responsible and avoid. Good friends of mine have had multiple contraception failures. They can follow instructions and read packets.

        You have no right to tell me what to do with my body. I have every right to stick up for defenceless unborn children or vulnerable tees told to pump themselves full of hormones and have as much sex as they can handle as there will be no consequences.

        It happens. Stop telling me what to do with my life and get one of your own. All further comments from you, are blocked. Your Swansea IP is blocked. Type your bitterness away as furiously as you like, I won’t see it.

  16. Can’t believe some of the comments you’re getting! Talk about kicking someone when she’s down…

    Ben Trovato has said everything that I would want to say but far better than I could.

  17. I’d LOVE another baby, but aged almost 41 with 1 working ovary and a very scarred womb, I think I have to be happy with the 2 lovely girls I have! But…reading this does NOT feel like a ‘kick in the teeth’, I think it’s a very honest account of how hard following God can be. He obviously thought the time was ‘right’, even if you and Robin right now didn’t…But, at some point in the future you’ll turn round and say ‘You know, we’re so glad we had him/her!’. My Mother-in-law was absolutely distraught when she fell pregnant with my husband, she reacted so badly psychologically that her GP booked her in for an abortion on medical and mental grounds. When the ambulance arrived to take her away, she suddenly changed her mind and ended up locking herself in her room, apparently she spent 9 months in floods of tears, not eating apart from a bit of fish and teetering on the verge of lunacy…When my husband was born, she refused to hold him and for 9 years her own mother looked after him, she couldn’t BEAR to be near him! Now…this woman was a church-going, practising Catholic (still is)…and when I first met her the first thing she said to me was ‘He was a mistake, you know, he should never have been born’ and told me about the planned abortion. My answer to her was ‘He is the best mistake you’ve ever made!’. In March we hope to celebrate 11 years of marriage, and 13 years together. My mother-in-law did go through an awful time having him, she hated every minute of it, and truth be told she still finds it hard to put him on equal footing with his 2 elder (and very much wanted) brothers, but as I’ve gotten to know her over the years, I know she worries about this ‘unwanted’ son more than about her other sons, and she may find it hard to tell him, but she tells me ‘I’m glad I didn’t go through with it, you know, look at him now, with you and my beautiful granddaughters’…At the time she saw him as a ‘problem’, something to be gotten rid of, then ignored…she felt let down and sorry for herself…scared (she nearly died with her second son, and was told never to get pregnant again by doctors)…Falling pregnant with him really was a nightmare…but, 40 years on…I’m certainly glad she gave him the chance to live, I don’t know what I’d do without him! And our daughters wouldn’t be here…I can’t imagine that! God works all for good, even the things we don’t like or think will be a disaster, God works them out for us, if we let Him! So, Caroline: stay strong, it WILL all work out and that nausea will stop (in about 9-10 weeks…I couldn’t eat or drink until about week 20!) {{{HUGS}}} and prayers for you and your family!!!

  18. Hi Caroline
    I understand where you’re coming from (I can’t say I understand totally, because what every woman goes through is different of course).
    I could take offence that you seem to suggest that no pro-lifer understands what you have described here. Or that you suggest that the only thing the pro-life movement can offer you is baby clothes. That’s not fair! We spend our lives working out ways for women to implement real solutions to exactly the type of problems you list here. However, I understand that you’re not in the easiest state of mind at present.
    So just to be clear, I think there are ways you can be helped through this difficult time and would be glad to help. Good Counsel is on 02077231740 or email us at info@goodcounselnetwork.freeserve.co.uk
    I agree with some of what you said about Counselling. It addresses part of the reasons why I didn’t support Nadine Dorries.
    It’s possible too that a better method of NFP or one more suited to you is available – saying that doesn’t blame you for anything. Maybe there isn’t, but in any case, as a Catholic it seems a bizarre idea that anyone would walk around “blaming” a Catholic woman for getting pregnant. It’s what happens in Marriage. NFP is great in it’s place, but God didn’t say “Thou shalt use NFP and if it fails it shall be thine own fault thou art pregnant”…Many, many Catholic women who are open to life have faced the tremendous upheaval of a pregnancy at a time which seemed impossible. Catholic women are in this together, the really bizarre world view is the one that says “get married, enter into a life giving union with this man and use any gadget, gizmo, pill, gel, injection, patch or whatever to prevent the consequence…
    It is not necessarily true to say Marie Stopes and BPAS wouldn’t make a judgement on you. One of the most frequent complaints I hear from women is “I think the lady I saw at that (Marie Stopes or BPAS) “clinic” is pro-life” When questioned further they think this because she was rude or agressive, shocked at their reason to abort, annoyed that they had aborted before, impatient when they were tearful or unsure. (A sad reflection of the media image of the average pro-lifer – but not a true image of the vast majority in my experience). We must steer clear of demonising anyone who works for MS or BPAS as not all understand the reality of what they are doing, but it is a mistake to believe that all who call themselves “pro-choice” are non judgemental and woman friendly. Many of them hate their jobs and blame the women who come to them for needing their services. This is well documented (see LIME 5 and many post abortion groups writings for evidence) and something I have personally met with in “clinic staff” many times.
    You face a difficult time at present, and you know life isn’t going to be easy even after the birth. My son didn’t sleep day or night for 2 decades after he was born (hang on he’s only 4 so that can’t be right, but it feels like it!) so I realise the way small children impact your life. But we would be glad to assist with the things you think would help and maybe even to put out a few other ideas that might help for you to consider.
    Prayers are with you anyway.
    God bless
    Clare McCullough, Good Counsel

    1. Thanks Clare

      To be fair, I am only talking about what seems to be on offer locally, not having used the Good Counsel Network, although being very aware of your good work.

      There are no pro-life groups at University, there is no Brighton version of SPUC, I went to a Shoreham meeting a few years ago, where I was the youngest participant by about 30 years. I asked about setting up a Brighton branch but was met with very little interest.

      In terms of the major pro-life groups, SPUC and LIFE would not be interested, the former because we don’t get on and they don’t have a local presence and with LIFE, I don’t fit the profile of their average client. It isn’t housing and/or baby clothes that I need.

      I approached the Catholic Society at University and was directed to the Student LIFE centre, where I met a man in his early 20s, who clearly had absolutely no clue as to the type of support I might need and offered weak platitudes about whether or not I might be able to get any late penalties lifted. The offers of practical support have come from Abort 67, the leader of whom kindly offered to come around the house to help out etc, but given he lives in Worthing and his wife is pregnant, being typically British, I don’t like to impose.

      I wasn’t having a swipe at you, but the reaction from some pro-lifers has been “well I have 6,8,10,12 children”, “I had 5 under 5”, it’s all so wonderful, sunshine and flowers, grace and blessings, when, as you know, the reality can be very different. The perception I have, is that because my baby is not at risk and because of my faith, I just need to put up and shut up, c.f. some of the comments on this thread. Of course, pro-life groups need to concentrate on saving lives, but the perception I have, perhaps unfairly, is that the practice of going through an unplanned pregnancy, is very different to the theory – and many, only consider the theory.

      Re NFP, we were using Creighton – when I conceived number 3 and the “fault” was ours. That is, rather embarrassingly, instead of waiting until the evening of the fourth day post peak – we had sex in the morning. So though I thought I’d done peak + 3, I forgot the instruction to leave intercourse until that evening.

      I was therefore confident this time around, and we are not sure what happened, but think there was some kind of double ovulation, i.e. peak day was day 13, and coincidentally that week the entire family came down with a dreadful bout of norovirus. I had to be prescribed anti-emetics as both myself and the baby were non-stop vomiting for 48 hours. We weren’t intimate again until day 24, and I wonder whether or not the bug actually meant that I didn’t actually ovulate, but then ovulated much later to compensate? But the strange thing is, that I didn’t observe any fertility markers, unless I mis-diagnosed, expecting that on day 24, there wouldn’t be any? Difficult to say, but certainly we are making contact with the couple-to-couple league, and are thinking about the symptom-thermal method, so that we have belt and braces – using more than one type of fertility marker.

      But Good Counsel, despite its excellent work, is a very localised group and certainly the impression that is given to others and certainly in the media, is that pro-life groups are all about the newborn baby, as opposed to all the other challenges. I did not have you in mind when I wrote this post, so apologies for any offence.

      As you say, I am indeed rather fragile, and some of the comments have not really helped. You have however been tremendously helpful, so thank you.

  19. OK – I admit that I was perhaps too harsh if you genuinely believed NFP was going to work, however 2 pregnancies later its clear it isn’t working for you. I was mostly frustrated at your insistence in being against condoms and labelling everyone as a troll or abortion-lover for suggesting you would be more sensible to use contraception to avoid facing yet another ‘crisis pregnancy’.

    I am not a bully, nor are many of the other people who don’t agree with your extreme ideas. You are right that I don’t have any right to tell you what to do with your body – equally nor do you have the right to tell other women what to do with theirs, bear that in mind.

    I think the PP, Clare, had some good advice.

    For the record, not that it really matters, I am over 100 miles from swansea. You are quite right that it is nothing to do with me though and perhaps if you think anyone who offers an opinion is a troll or bully you shouldn’t make your life so public. I will not comment again and wish the best with your pregnancy.

    1. I knew that comment would come up – the fact is, I don’t believe a baby to be a part of a woman’s body, but therein lies another debate.

      It’s clear that this method of NFP is not working for us which is why we are going to explore alternatives, very seriously, and indeed avoid sex for at least a year after this baby is born!

      But it is bullying to repeatedly tell me that a) I am not pro-life b) this pregnancy is not unplanned or not a crisis, how on earth can you make such a judgement, with the greatest respect you have no idea and c) it is self-inflicted.

      My ideas are not “extreme”. There are plenty of people who don’t use traditional contraception for a variety of reasons – allergies, environmental factors and so on. I know countless people for whom NFP works successfully.

      A troll is someone who goes on a website to stir up controversy, to deliberately offer a controversial and opposite opinion, to provoke reaction. It seems precisely what your comments are designed to do and the fact that you offer both an anonymous username and a non-existent email (one that rings a bell, if I check, I think you have posted under a different moniker), therefore if you don’t wish to be mistaken for a troll, then perhaps be a little more transparent about who you are.

      This is a Catholic blog, as you might have guessed by now, I am predominantly a Catholic writer and thus I will write around areas of Catholic social teaching. To comment that I am ‘extreme’ or that my pregnancy isn’t a genuine crisis, seems far more “judgemental” and worthy of trolling behaviour, than anything else.

      People aren’t a troll because they disagree with me. Trolls are anonymous provocateurs and you cannot blame me for placing you in that category.

  20. Caroline, if you’re interested in NFP and exploring different options in NFP after this baby, I could pass on your e-mail to an NFP tutor in the US on a message-board for Catholic mums I’m on -or you could join there: we’re all pretty traditional and you could ask questions and get answers and real-life experiences (we don’t all have 10+ kids, but we do follow Catholic teachings: there’s a whole section on NFP!) Just an idea…Personally I’ve benefited enormously from not having non-Catholics ‘butt-in’ if I had a question.

  21. Hi Caroline,Hope you at least felt better getting your fears and worries written down,at the very least be assured that somewhere out there is a Catholic woman,(maybe more), who feels just as distressed,keeping her silence,maybe even feeling guilty for those feelings,who has read this and realised she’s not alone,not the only one to have these feelings.Hopefully it will bring her comfort and relief,even if she never communicates with you.
    I’ve no intention in offering an opinion,you’ve detailed quite clearly the whys,etc and thats your personal faith,your reasoning valid!
    As for advice,can I suggest you check your local voluntary centre for local charities that help mums and babies.I used to volunteer for one,I met women from all faiths/classes who needed help for various reasons after having a baby.I really enjoyed it!
    I wonder if your GP can give anything for nausea,that’s safe now? you seem to have it really bad,poor you.Best wishes.Marie.

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