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DH "change of heart" about contraception (long)

(52 Posts)
JumpJockey Sun 03-Nov-13 21:53:32

I've put this here rather than relationships because it is to do with religion, and otherwise I'd just get told to LTB.
We've been married 7 years, I was baptised and confirmed before we married and DH is a cradle Catholic. Before the DDs were born (now aged 2 and nearly5) we discussed contraception and were both of the opinion that it's fine, and once we'd had children he would get the snip. Hormonal contraception kills my sex drive, and we're both against the idea of the coil.

Now DH has said he has had a change of heart, and feels that contraception is not right. He's happy for me to use it as I still don't see it as an issue, but he's not willing to get snipped. I got pregnant within 2 months of trying both times (had been using condoms) so am now petrified of getting pregnant again, we agree that 2 kids is enough and don't want more. His argment is that by using contraception, we'd be interfering with God's plan if that should involve us having more kids, but is ok with a)NFP or b) me using contraception.

My issues with this:
1: he had previously agreed that even NFP is, at the bottom line, getting in the way of any plans God might have. If we go down that route, I'd have to do all the work, and am not confident enough in it to be brutally honest.
2: hormonal contraception gets rid of my desire for sex - but even then we've not had sex in 3 months since he made this announcement. I'm terrified of getting up the duff and don't trust cndoms (which, oddly, he is ok with)
3: this is a very major change of heart - he's become more religious since dd2 was born, which is fine, but this is something that had not been a concern before. He knows my feelings about it - sex is a wonderful gift, and should be part of our marriage, but not in a way that means more kids. I couldn't cope with more, find our two hard enough anyway.

Any ideas as to where to go from here? The choices seem to be no sex, or I go on hormonal contraception and lose any vestiges of sexual desire. And have to take on all the respnsibility, which had been the case when we first got together, and he had agreed that after kids, it would be his responsibility. I think that is the main issue - it's become my problem entirely. I'm not sure what he would say if I suggested we just shag away randomly and if God wants more kids we have more - I'm pretty sure he'd not be happy with abstinence for ever!

goodasitgets Sun 03-Nov-13 23:30:00

If he is ok with condoms I would use those and Persona
I used Persona alone for 18 months and no issues (get one off eBay, don't pay full price) and you have to be quite committed to testing using the sticks

As others have said your DH is inconsistent. Either contraception is wrong and he gives up sex when you are fertile or it is ok and sex is back on the menu whenever.

Deciding that condoms are fine and the snip is not is all about him and not about faith. The very strict RC line is that all sex other than that to make babies is wrong. This is based on natural law ethics which goes back to Thomas Aquinas and which underlies RC teaching on contraception.

Perhaps you can call his bluff see how he manages with abstinence. St Paul was keen on that!

sashh Mon 04-Nov-13 10:49:18

His argment is that by using contraception, we'd be interfering with God's plan if that should involve us having more kids

If it's in God's plan the op will reverse itself.

Sorry but he is using this as an excuse.

TheHeadlessLadyofCannock Mon 04-Nov-13 10:56:56

He is just making excuses. Being OK with some forms of contraception but not others (specifically, not those that HE has to take responsibility for!) is inconsistent, irrational and unhelpful. It's not good enough for him to admit that it's a weak argument but then insist on sticking to it anyway.

As greenheart says, the 'authentic' Catholic stance is clear. He should either take that or grow a pair change his mind back and stick to what you agreed.

Flibbertyjibbet Mon 04-Nov-13 11:04:42

He is making excuses. He uses condoms (contraceptives) and is happy for you to use other contraceptive methods (which kill your sex drive so obv don't agree with you), yet he says 'oh a vasectomy is against gods will', and speaks of 'gods will' about how many children you will have.


I'd just stop giving him sex till he goes and gets it done.

JumpJockey Mon 04-Nov-13 13:33:08

A lot of food for thought here! I'm pretty sure he knows he's being inconsistent. We have discussed the whole idea of contraception and he had previously been cool with the idea that actually God's plan for us probably doesn't involve more kids than we can cope with. Apparently it's very common for RC men to say they don't use contraception - because they don't, it's their wife that does... hmm

I do find it frustrating, despite being a catholic myself (by choice!) that supposedly NFP is fine because it respects the body etc, but is still stopping the role of sex as being for procreation. Whether it's by deliberately abstaining at a certain time, or by using an artificial method, you're still deliberately trying to avoid getting pregnant. Argh!

I thought female sterilisation was quite a major operation - as in requiring general anaesthetic? I had never considered it tbh for that reason, but it's worth thinking about. Presumably even if you do have a vasectomy, it's not as if your body stops making sperm, they're still available if you do want to have kids later on anyway.

Thanks all for your thoughts.

motherinferior Mon 04-Nov-13 13:38:39

I wouldn't trust Persona.

Mind you, I wouldn't trust knowing your body's usually clockwork rhythms either <hard stare at DD1>

seafoodudon Mon 04-Nov-13 15:42:22

We don't use contraception, which is a joint decision as we're practicing Catholics. I've found NFP/Persona to be effective when I've used it properly (two children conceived exactly as planned - though of course, as with other methods of contraception, nothing is ever foolproof!). I found that Persona was far stricter than my cycle actually needed it to be (the number of 'no sex' days is far greater than in reality I found we needed to abstain on - but once you get to know your cycle etc you can figure those bits out).

There is loads of help and advice available on using NFP - from websites to NHS funded consultants who will meet with you one-to-one to discuss.

The RC church's position is not that the primary/sole purpose of sex ought to be for making babies - it is understood that sex is an important part of the intimacy of most marriages. Rather it is understood that when you have sex you ought to be open to the possibility of creating a child. It's an important distinction because it means that it is absolutely fine to have sex just on days you know you're not fertile/after menopause/if you are infertile etc etc. The church recognises the importance of NFP in order to be able to plan your family around all sorts of personal circumstances.

Probably not very helpful, but I just wanted to put in my tuppence!

sashh Tue 05-Nov-13 19:23:11

* Rather it is understood that when you have sex you ought to be open to the possibility of creating a child.*

I was trying to remember that phrase (left RC school 1983), I believe many people are of the opinion that as no method of contraception (other than abstinence) is 100% effective then all sex is 'open tot he possibility of creating a child'.

I know at least one relative who after her hysterectomy told people they were 'hoping for a miracle'.

Fink Wed 06-Nov-13 13:57:27

I've been through something similar on the other side. DH and I used to contracept, and as I grew more committed to my Catholic faith, I began to grow uncomfortable with it until I reached the point where I just couldn't contracept in good conscience anymore.

The Church often proposes (although this is a pastoral solution rather than official teaching) that if one spouse wants to contracept and the other doesn't, the spouse who doesn't is permitted to continue having sex so long as a) it is the other spouse who actually contracepts and b) it is for the good of the marriage. So I followed this and DH used condoms for a while, if he insisted, but eventually I just couldn't carry on with it anymore.

This doesn't help you a lot, except to say that your DH might well be inconsistent but possibly in a genuine, searching, way. Obvs I don't know him, but inconsistence can just be the result of someone seeking God's will and not sure what to do.

Also, NFP does work when used properly. And, as someone who learnt it after having contracepted, it can lead to a complete rediscovery of your sexuality.

The Church's position is that sex is beautiful, fun, and a complete gift of self to another person which must include the openness to life, not that it's only purpose it to procreate. Sex only on infertile days is 'open to life' because it works with the natural functions of the body created by God to accomplish God's will, whereas contraception creates an artificial barrier (at best).

Personally, I didn't understand the why of any of it until I actually gave up contracepting and started NFP. It was only through living it that I realised how much sense it made.

I'm not trying to be preachy. You might still decide it's not for you, but just some encouragement that there are plenty of people who use NFP successfully and joyfully.

somewheresomehow Wed 06-Nov-13 14:12:00

Hi OP. I was sterilized clamped a few years ago and for me it was quite straightforward/easy. went down to theater first thing 9am ish woke up properly back on the day case ward cup of tea and was home by about 1-30pm the only downside was the stitches on the fur line and belly button were very sore for a while but have had no problems since.
If he won't consider getting done and you deffo don't want more kids I would get yourself done.

headoverheels Wed 06-Nov-13 14:27:56

I think it's quite common to become more religious after having children - probably because it's the kind of serious life event which makes you question your beliefs and principles. As your DH has had to put up with 3 months of no sex since making his statement, I think the posters who think he is making excuses are being a bit harsh! And even if he is, you can't force someone to have the snip.

However, he does seem to be passing the buck a bit. Obviously you need a solution that suits both of you.

DH and I have been using condoms for 16 years with no unplanned pregnancies. Personally I think they are pretty effective.

Jux Wed 06-Nov-13 14:31:09

Utterly hypocritical of him. Not wanting to interfere in God's plan? He doesn't get off the hook like that. If he is knowingly having sex with someone who is using contraception (you!) then he is complicit, and just as interfering as you are.

He's being silly.

Jux Wed 06-Nov-13 18:22:16

Oh, and the Jesuits who ran both my childhood Church and my Catholic school would call what your dh says 'sophistry' and would counsel that God isn't impressed by clever-cleverness grin. I'm sure your dh isn't so disingenuous that he actually thinks his take on it is acceptable to a Catholic God. Are you sure he doesn't want any more? wink

JumpJockey Wed 06-Nov-13 20:29:13

Jux, he did say the other day that aren't our girls lovely and don't we make great kids, is it unfair of us to deny the world any more such splendid children!!! Also we have a very good friend who has just got pregnant with #6 and I think he envies their ability to parent so seemingly easily. The fact that the dad is a SAHD and they have two lots of grandparents very near by is obviously a factor... Coincidentally enough he was educated at a Scottish school run by the Js...!

Fink, that's interesting, thanks for the other side of the question. My problem is that I am not open to the idea of more children - I don't want any more, and (no offence intended) I do find some of the arguments for NFP a bit hard to straighhten out. Either you have sex any time with no interference, or you are doing something deliberate (even if that's just avoiding sex at particular times) to avoid conception.

Interestingly enough (and tmi) we did do it two nights ago with the aid of a condom which he didn't seem too bothered by, so it looks like it is just the permanence of a vasectomy (and thus permanently stopping our marital affections hem hem from being open to children) that is the problem. We talked afterwards and it's all fine for me to go to the fpc and get some advice. So yes, hypocritical, but looks like that will be the best outcome, will see what they have to say.

Thants Wed 06-Nov-13 20:32:58

You can have sex without risking pregnancy through penetrative sex. Oral sex and mutual masturbation can be just as satisfying and don't risk an unwanted pregnancy.

JumpJockey Wed 06-Nov-13 20:38:11

True, but frankly I like it and so does he!

Jux Wed 06-Nov-13 21:15:44

I had my tubes tied. If you really really don't want more children, that's the way to go, really.

seafoodudon Wed 06-Nov-13 21:26:55

Ha JumpJockey, I think our husbands were at the same school, can't be many of them fitting that bill - thank goodness for NNs!

Thants Wed 06-Nov-13 21:41:08

You may like it but it's not worth an unwanted pregnancy. You both seem to have vetoed all types of contraception.

Thants Wed 06-Nov-13 21:42:53

Or just continue with condoms? What's wrong with those?

JumpJockey Wed 06-Nov-13 22:01:30

Thants - that's why I'm off the the fpc to see what they recommend. There may be types of pill that are better than the ones I tried before, for example.

seafoodudon, did I say Scotland? Erm, I meant somewhere else... wink didn't realise there was only the one...!

custardo Wed 06-Nov-13 22:14:09

- i'm catholic - just stating it so you know i know what you're talking about.
it isn't contraception he is against - he doesn't want a vasectomy.

look, i remember talking to a priest about it once and i said that if i had another child i would be suicidal and having kids really affected my mental health and emotional wellbeing.

in your shoes i would go for the hormonal contraception and not have sex, maybe he will change his mind.

ShoeWhore Wed 06-Nov-13 22:15:12

Hmm I also think he's making excuses. Sounds like he's not ready for the permanence of a vasectomy and that's fine. But why not just say that?

I was brought up in a v v devout Catholic household/community and have to say I don't know a single Catholic of our generation who didn't have premarital sex or use contraception.

Hope you can find a way through this. Personally I don't think condoms are all that reliable if you are as fertile as it sounds like you are - my dc3 is living proof of that!

meditrina Thu 07-Nov-13 09:07:03

It sounds as if you could actually take religion out of this altogether.

He is ok with contraception, but does not want to be sterilised himself as he is talking as if he wants more DC. So he doesn't want a permanent method for himself (and might not fancy the procedure). You OTOH are sure you don't want more. So you could look in to sterilisation yourself, or jointly look at which method might be the most suitable non-permanent method.

Condoms have a failure rate, even with perfect use, but at least are readily available and can be used whilst you sort out what you might prefer long term. As you don't get on with the pill, and do not want to use methods which might encompass post-fertilisation interference, then you are probably left with female barrier methods such as the diaphragm or lower impact hormonal methods such as nuavaring, mirena coil (as the hormone element means it's less likely to act by preventing implantation), injection or implant.

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