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Jen F (Conversion Diary) on more kids: "Never say never."


Savoring Samsara

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We've discussed fundie Catholic Jennifer Fulwiler before: viewtopic.php?t=14624

In short, she and her husband converted to Catholicism from atheism, and now have 6 children. During pregnancy #2 she was diagnosed with a serious clotting disorder that made future pregnancies unadvisable, but through being by her own admission "bad at NFP" she continued to have babies. Baby #6 was just born after a nightmarishly high-risk pregnancy and NICU stay detailed in the thread above. So, after coming out on the other side a lengthy ordeal that nearly led to the deaths of both her and her son, what does she have to say about her future family planning strategies?

All that said, I do think there’s enough risk in my own situation that I should chill on the pregnancy front for now, maybe forever. In that case, then, wouldn’t contraception or sterilization make everything easier? To put it concisely:

No.

[...] Like so many other people who have made the switch to NFP, I simply couldn’t be okay with any form of sterilization anymore, whether temporary or permanent. I don’t know how to articulate it other than to say I just couldn’t do it.

[...]

I don’t have all the answers; many days, I don’t feel like I have any. I have no idea if I’ll ever have another biological child. Today I’m thinking that I probably won’t…but will I feel that way tomorrow? If I’ve learned anything so far this year, it’s that your whole world can be turned upside down in a matter of hours, leaving you with an entirely different perspective on life than you had the day before. Luckily, with NFP, you make these kinds of decisions on a month-to-month, rather than a long-term basis. I’ll have regular opportunities to re-evaluate my choices.

And so when people ask about whether I think I’ll have more children, I usually respond with a responsible-sounding answer about how I am aware of the risks and currently plan to take the prudent course and avoid pregnancy for the rest of my fertile years. But then I’ll glance over at my little blond-haired son, and sometimes his tiny, ink-blue eyes will catch mine, and I can barely suppress a smile as I think: Never say never.

:angry-banghead: :pull-hair: :head-desk: :angry-screaming:

conversiondiary.com/2013/05/never-say-never-and-other-thoughts-on-having-more-kids.html

To make it even better/worse, the comments are full of nothing but :kiss-ass: :leg-humper:

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There are really no words for how sick to my stomach this makes me. I don't know. She's based her entire life and career around being an atheist-to-orthodox-catholic convert, so I guess she feels like she can't back down now. But she's willing to put her life in serious danger and risk leaving her children without a mother for the sake of following a rule made up by men. Unbelievable. I just want to say to her, if you truly believe that God requires you to do this, your god is not a god I recognize and certainly not one I'd ever worship. Her blase attitude about this is actually disgusting.

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:angry-banghead: I can't... I just can't.

Why do these people just not care about those kids who are already born? If their mother dies in her next pregnancy, they are in for a world of pain and grief.

Also, NFP :teasing-blah: Whatever. It is not the perfect answer. I have very irregular periods and NFP would not work for me at all.

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:angry-banghead: I can't... I just can't.

Why do these people just not care about those kids who are already born? If their mother dies in her next pregnancy, they are in for a world of pain and grief.

Also, NFP :teasing-blah: Whatever. It is not the perfect answer. I have very irregular periods and NFP would not work for me at all.

Because these people only care about children in utero. Those born children can go fuck themselves.

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This kind of mentality worries me. I'm an IVF triplet and my mum spent most of the pregnancy on bed rest (see the AMA thing for the whole story) - we were born 12 weeks prem, brother #1 has cp as a result of our birth and also needed a shunt later on, brother #2 died because he lungs weren't fully developed, and me? I nearly died from some bowely-itis thing and it was only my parents' relentless fighting on my behalf that got me the life-saving op (they reckon if I hadn't been diagnosed and had the op, I would have died a week later.) Do you know what my parents chose then? To stop. They counted their blessings and were grateful for the children they had. Do I wish I'd had younger siblings or at least a sister? Yes, but I'm grateful to even be here and really wish I could have met brother #2. I wonder if quiverfullers lost a baby (not that I would wish that on ANY parent) whether it would make them reconsider their priorities, sadly I think it would just make them feel more like martyrs. :angry-banghead:

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I think I've said this before, but my mother had emergency c-sections for both myself and my sister, and after my sister was born the doctors told her that she would be putting her life at risk if she were to get pregnant again. I'm so incredibly thankful that my parents took permanent measures to prevent future pregnancy. Had my mother had another baby, of course that baby would have been loved and cherished and 'worth it' and I'm sure I wouldn't be able to imagine not having that brother/sister. But it's a moot point, because that person doesn't exist. The life which already exists must take precedence over hypothetical future lives.

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Wouldn't the Catholicism double effect rule come into play - the first consequence of sterilisation is to save the mother's life which has the second unavoidable consequence of preventing future conception?

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Wouldn't the Catholicism double effect rule come into play - the first consequence of sterilisation is to save the mother's life which has the second unavoidable consequence of preventing future conception?

No, it doesn't. The Double Effect rule would work if the uterus was diseased and it's removal meant sterility--then it's OK. Ditto for a tubal pregnancy--it's OK to remove the tube/baby, thereby terminating the pregnancy, but it's not OK to use methotrexate or something similar to end the pregnancy and save the tube. In this woman's case, the only valid "church" answer is either NFP or abstinence.

I actually was in a similar place. I had five pregnancies by age 31, two ending in miscarriage and three resulting in live births, with two of those pregnancies complicated by cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure. My third babe coded at birth, from my heart meds and a cord problem. He was resuscitated, spent time in the NICU, and ended up fine. At that point, I decided I had better not get pregnant again and my husband and I followed the strictest NFP rules (post-ov only) using Billings. It worked fine and we managed to romp around 6 or 7 times a month--not a lot, but probably enough.

I was unexpectedly widowed at 43 and have been single since so I cannot speak for NFP and menopause.

At the ripe old age of 60, my views have changed somewhat. I would have opted for sterilization if I had it to do over again. I still have heart issues but I'm stable (on 5 meds) and hope to live another 10 or maybe 20 years--will have to see how it goes.

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I always figured that if god really wanted me to get pregnant, I would. I mean, he can knock up a virgin, but a vasectomy stops him in his tracks? Maybe it didn't! Omg, I'm pregnant like Dede! Except we already have a motorcoach.

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This post makes me sad...and ANGRY! She's made an idol of NFP, as so many do. Too much focus on their precious bodies and their temperatures, and mucus, blah, blah, blah. Oh, and it's so hard to follow NFP, but we make the great sacrifice.

She claims she had no idea she could still get blood clots if she took Lovenox. Bullshit!!!!! No drug is guaranteed to work 100% of the time, ever!!! Plus, by her own admission she skipped doses!! Doses of the drug she could not afford and relied on donations to purchase. :angry-banghead:

This woman has a martyr complex...read her posts about all the horrible procedures she had to go through. Everyone has to know how much she suffers. Urg. I work in a hospital and see people going through far, far worse.

If she gets pregnant again and dies from blood clots, her "devotion" to Catholicism will be cold comfort for her children who have to live the rest of their lives without their mother.

I say this as a life long observant Catholic who did not use NFP. No one can ever convince me that God is obsessed with the mechanics of contraception and conception. We are called to responsible parenthood. If somewhere along the way a pill is taken or a condom or diaphragm is used I doubt God is going to get all worked up over it.

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Okay I do not recognize this person and so I was a little suprised she went from Athiest to fundie Catholic. I am curious how one makes a leap like that. Also to weigh in on the birth control matter God is suppose to be all powerfull I think he could work around a little pill. I know my husband and I would love another biological child, but he has TS and I have PCOS so we will stick with our one healthy child and not play Russian roulette.

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Okay I do not recognize this person and so I was a little suprised she went from Athiest to fundie Catholic. I am curious how one makes a leap like that. Also to weigh in on the birth control matter God is suppose to be all powerfull I think he could work around a little pill. I know my husband and I would love another biological child, but he has TS and I have PCOS so we will stick with our one healthy child and not play Russian roulette.

I've always gotten the sense that her atheism was more the result of a secular upbringing and general apathy toward religion rather than the deeply considered study of religions, ultimately arriving at a choice of non-belief, that characterizes many atheists' journeys. Check out her article on "Catholic doctrines that will make sense to atheists" for a sampling of just how little she appears to understand about how atheists think and what matters to them regarding questions of religion (at least those for whom atheist = skeptical), despite her previous claim of the label:

ncregister.com/blog/5-catholic-teachings-that-make-sense-to-atheists/

A commenter on an atheist blog that was snarking on this entry said it best:

In other words, she seems to have put as much thought into her atheism as most people put into their religion.
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I say this as a life long observant Catholic who did not use NFP. No one can ever convince me that God is obsessed with the mechanics of contraception and conception. We are called to responsible parenthood. If somewhere along the way a pill is taken or a condom or diaphragm is used I doubt God is going to get all worked up over it.

I'm no longer observant, but otherwise QFT.

I just hope she doesn't find herself in a coffin because she can't imagine saying "no more".

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Her fame and income on the speaking and writing circuit depend on her "heroic virtue". She will continue to whine, smirk, miss meds, lecture the less enlightened and get pregnant. Her whole existence is built upon this.

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Her fame and income on the speaking and writing circuit depend on her "heroic virtue". She will continue to whine, smirk, miss meds, lecture the less enlightened and get pregnant. Her whole existence is built upon this.

Well, it's based on SAYING these things. Let's hope she's just a greedy moneygrubber and says one thing in public and has an IUD in her privates....

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I will never see how denying people, even heterosexual monogamously-married people, the use of contraception outside of NFP is pro-life. It's pro-foetus-after-foetus.

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It's not even pro-fetus. It's pro-potential-fetus. When POTENTIAL fetuses (fetii?) are considered more valuable than the life of an actual living, breathing woman, you know there's something seriously wrong with your theology.

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I've always gotten the sense that her atheism was more the result of a secular upbringing and general apathy toward religion rather than the deeply considered study of religions, ultimately arriving at a choice of non-belief, that characterizes many atheists' journeys.

I agree. She's like Kirk Cameron, in that regard--both claim to have been atheists, but neither of them has so much as a clue about how genuine atheists actually think about religion, God, etc., and how they came to be atheists in the first place.

I suspect they were what I like to call apatheists--they never cared much about God or religion or anything spiritual, or really bothered to think about it, and had no particular spiritual beliefs. Then some sort of inner crisis or sense of emptiness led them to "get religion," and in telling their stories of "redemption" it sounds better (and gets them more ass-pats, and helps boost book sales and lecture fees) to say they were active atheists, rather than passively apathetic when it came to God.

Check out her article on "Catholic doctrines that will make sense to atheists" for a sampling of just how little she appears to understand about how atheists think and what matters to them regarding questions of religion (at least those for whom atheist = skeptical), despite her previous claim of the label:

ncregister.com/blog/5-catholic-teachings-that-make-sense-to-atheists/

A commenter on an atheist blog that was snarking on this entry said it best:

That whole article is just...deeply stupid. She really has absolutely zero understanding of how atheists think, and why they believe as they do.

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From the comments section:

Allison says:

May 7, 2013 at 3:02 pm

We have a 1:4 chance of cystic fibrosis with each pregnancy. We take it; two of our seven have it. No one is guaranteed tomorrow, CF or not. And the Church’s teachings on redemptive suffering and sacramental marriage Changed Our Lives!

Love to you all,

Allison

Allison recently posted..Clearly, we have a Book Problem

REPLY

Cindy says:

May 7, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Allison, I have friend with 4 kids, two with CF and they are pregnant with #5. They are the one of the most faith filled families I know.

In view of some recent threads here . . . I just don't even. Why would they do this? The Church's teachings on "redemptive suffering" may have changed your lives. Did they change the lives of your suffering children?

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From the comments section:

In view of some recent threads here . . . I just don't even. Why would they do this? The Church's teachings on "redemptive suffering" may have changed your lives. Did they change the lives of your suffering children?

I thought the first person was Abigail at first.

Why would you take that risk with a fatal disease? You know, it's one thing to risk your own life with a pregnancy and potentially deprive your children of a mother and that's horrific/stupid enough but it's quite another to gamble their own lives for your faith. Uggh. I can't.

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I've always gotten the sense that her atheism was more the result of a secular upbringing and general apathy toward religion rather than the deeply considered study of religions, ultimately arriving at a choice of non-belief, that characterizes many atheists' journeys. Check out her article on "Catholic doctrines that will make sense to atheists" for a sampling of just how little she appears to understand about how atheists think and what matters to them regarding questions of religion (at least those for whom atheist = skeptical), despite her previous claim of the label:

ncregister.com/blog/5-catholic-teachings-that-make-sense-to-atheists/

A commenter on an atheist blog that was snarking on this entry said it best:

Jen's friend Leila over at Little Catholic Bubble just announced a New! Shiny! Website! run by others where bonafide smart Catholics will defeat your atheist skeptical friends. I read that and LOL'd. It's called Strange Notions and I think this is one of the funniest ideas I've ever heard of. Because obviously there are scads of conscious atheists (as opposed to apatheists, which I think is a brilliant term for many of these so-called "atheists" who subsequently found God) who just haven't been shown the truth of Catholicism by someone equipped to answer their questions. We'll leave out the fact that many of the atheists I know have a visceral moral objection to the Catholic Church that is fairly well articulated with concrete reasons...

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I think I've said this before, but my mother had emergency c-sections for both myself and my sister, and after my sister was born the doctors told her that she would be putting her life at risk if she were to get pregnant again. I'm so incredibly thankful that my parents took permanent measures to prevent future pregnancy. Had my mother had another baby, of course that baby would have been loved and cherished and 'worth it' and I'm sure I wouldn't be able to imagine not having that brother/sister. But it's a moot point, because that person doesn't exist. The life which already exists must take precedence over hypothetical future lives.

Your username is awesome and your post is awesome and you should feel awesome.

I always figured that if god really wanted me to get pregnant, I would. I mean, he can knock up a virgin, but a vasectomy stops him in his tracks? Maybe it didn't! Omg, I'm pregnant like Dede! Except we already have a motorcoach.

One day someone will ask you whether you're done with the motorcoaches, and you'll give a responsible sounding reply, but then gaze wistfully on your massive lot of coaches and think... "never say never."

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And so when people ask about whether I think I’ll have more children, I usually respond with a responsible-sounding answer about how I am aware of the risks and currently plan to take the prudent course and avoid pregnancy for the rest of my fertile years. But then I’ll glance over at my little blond-haired son, and sometimes his tiny, ink-blue eyes will catch mine, and I can barely suppress a smile as I think: Never say never.

Wow. What a great mom to look at her blond, blue-eyed son & think, not, I want to protect him & be with him whenever he needs me, but instead, Hey, he's cute, he'll make a winsome little orphan.

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I've posted about our recent situation. I delivered my sixth child the day after Jen F. did. It was my sixth csection. I've had issues with the uterus separating in previous pregnancies (some I knew about, two I didn't). We've used NFP for a very long time, and I will say my husband told me that if it meant being abstinent after this baby he would do it. I know that's a lot to ask out of a man, and I was moved that he was willing to do it than put me in harms way.

Anyway, I had a Catholic OB for all the babies except number one and this one. This one really pushed for a tubal because my uterus was basically falling apart. I pushed for a hysterectomy. She said no it was too much of a risk and a tubal did the same thing. I had two priests giving conflicting advice. I went with what my Franciscan spiritual director said, that the preservation of my own life was not a sin. I had a tubal.

Sure, there is still a chance of pregnancy with the tubal, but as much as I love my faith, and sometimes regret the tubal, the reality is I feel as though unless my husband and I didn't have sex EVER again until menopause, that was the only guarantee of no more kids. Obviously, six kids in 12 years shows that there were a few "user" error babies in there. Especially the last one. We were charting, and only had sex twice that month. I was not happy needless to say.

I'm happy now. I love my baby. But now I'm fighting my thyroid as it flares up (I have thyroid disease), post partum depression, which happens everytime, we have a child with autism and another with a severe speech delay. Three in diapers again...I just don't have it in me to do this again. Six times is enough, and I'm okay with saying that. But that's me. I can't speak for anyone else.

I believe in God's Mercy as well.

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You go, girl. Ultimately, I have found that the Church is merciful. A dear friend of mine almost died after baby #2. She has severe cardiac issues and was finally diagnosed with a form of muscular dystrophy. Baby #2, also a girl, was diagnosed with the MD, also. Her priest told her, "Of course, get the tubal. Your babies need you, you have so many health issues, the Church is merciful, God is merciful." She has run into people who harp on the advice she received, but I side with this priest--and yours.

I was a textbook user of Billings, no surprise pregnancies except one when I was 42 when I majorly cheated. I miscarried. If I had struggled, I probably would have been more eager for surgery.

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