This post is a part of the Catholic Wife, Catholic Life’s NFP-week series. It was originally published Sept. 2, 2014 here.
I (surprisingly!) haven’t been asked very often why I don’t – and won’t – use contraception, but I’ve certainly thought about how I would respond if I were asked… So, why would I never use contraception? “Let me count the ways…”
+ It doesn’t allow you to love – not freely, not selflessly, not totally. You can’t love in those ways when you’re holding back a part of yourself — the gift of your fertility.
+ To say it another way, it doesn’t allow you to love like Christ — which is how we are called to love. Contraception contradicts Christ’s love.
+ Sex is meaningful; it is meant to be unitive and procreative. You cannot separate these two essential aspects — without both, the marital act falls short of what it is intended to be. (Note: this does not mean that couples who experience infertility do not experience the fullness of the marital act. It also does not mean you have to make a baby every single time you have sex).
+ Marriage is intrinsically linked to procreation. Each marital act has the potential of creating new life with God. Contraception, on the other hand, seeks to exclude God from sex. (Note once more: this does not mean that you are called to create new life every single time you have sex; it means you are called to be open to the possibility of creating new life with God).
+ Contraception weakens the sense of fidelity in a marriage. A couple using contraception is not being faithful to their marriage vows — the part where they promise (to one another and to God) to be open to children.
+ Fertility is not a disease, and the pill is certainly not medicine. Oral contraceptives are considered highly carcinogenic.
+ Many are also abortifacients. That means that they do not prevent conception, but prevent the new life from implanting — which, really, is like an early abortion.
+ Children are “the supreme gift” of marriage. They are a blessing. And it is our fundamental task as married couples & families to be at the service of life.
+ There is a two-fold end of marriage: “the good of the spouses themselves and the transmission of life.”
+ Contraception is a barrier between spouses — it prevents them from truly bonding with one another during their marital act. It also changes how the spouses view one another and treat one another. It can breed disrespect, objectification and irresponsibility. Some of the first feminist leaders recognized this. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Victoria Woodhull and Elizabeth Blackwell all spoke out against contraception & abortion; they believed, as do I, that it degrades women, since,”it gives men license to indulge in their passions without consequence.”
+ There is no such thing as “safe sex.”
+ Many contraceptives lower your sex drive.
+ It’s a band-aid that may help some of your symptoms (PMS, cramps, acne, headaches, PCOS), but it does not treat the root cause.
+ It not only masks those symptoms, but it also masks many signs of fertility or infertility — and knowing more about your body, about your cycle, and when you’re ovulating is so much more helpful — and empowering.
+ Contraception can delay your fertility whenever you’re ready to start having children.
+ And if you’re looking to avoid getting pregnant for now, there are much better options — options that are healthier for you, which respect the dignity of life and are just as effective.
I don’t mean to say that all married couples are called to have 10+ children in their lifetime. There are no rules or requirements from the Church about family size — other than to say that contraception is inherently wrong & that the mission of marriage is to transmit human life.
I do believe, though, that all married couples should discern what God is calling them to do — in their circumstances & in their situations.
And when in doubt, we should probably err on the side of generosity — because life is good.
You can read more about when it is permissible to use NFP to avoid getting pregnant, here.
Yes, NFP takes self-control, self-denial, greater trust in your spouse & especially in God, as well as greater honesty & communication in your relationship… But these things do not hurt a marriage. These things can make your marriage greater & help your love grow.
— As a side note, I think it’s significant to let you know that I didn’t always think this way — there was a time that I thought I would use contraception — when I even advocated for it… But a few gentle nudges by some kind & caring people helped me to see that contraception would not only hurt me, but it would hurt my future (now) spouse, and our marriage and future children. It’s not healthy. It’s not helpful. It does so much more harm than good.
I don’t think I’m any better than any woman who uses contraception — but I can tell you that I’m better off without it, and I believe everyone would be.
If you haven’t heard about any of this before and are curious to learn more or you just want to pick my brain on NFP, email me! I will respond 🙂 My email address is [email protected]
photo credit: outcast104