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In 1962 I had just turned 2 and my sister was 11 months old when my brother was born. We also had two more siblings who were 4 and 5 years old. (There were more to come but not as close.) Propping bottles became standard fare and so did affect disorder.

My mother always suspected that the Bishops had dropped the ball when it came to the legalization of abortion. Little did she know that they dropped the ball long before that.


I continue to maintain, then as now, that the real change is only possible when the couple is perosnally committed to the idea of chastity for the sake of sanity. In other words, you can tell the husband who truly loves his wife by the spacing of the children. Yes, it is certainly easier with NFP. But I know couples who have been chaste for long periods for very serious reasons, and I think the success of that approach lies with the husband more than the wife.

Mrs Jackie Parkes

You don't need to breast feed to space families..nfp works fine..not that we used it having 12 pregnancies in 14 years...& abstinence afterwards due to serious health problems..i might add i have no varicous vains!

young woman in shoe

"In other words, you can tell the husband who truly loves his wife by the spacing of the children. "

Whoa! What about the couple who both desire lots and lots of children? What about the wife who persuades her more prudent husband to make love at a fertile time? What about honest mistakes in judgement about the chart?

There are dozens of variations on the theme of "It's best to space children, and the man can have pity on his wife and control his lust." I certainly hope you don't sit in church and calculate how loving various husband are by how much space in the pew their family takes up.


In 1962 I don't believe NFP was readily available. The only thing my mother knew about was the rhythm method and because of her irregular cycles that was of little help to her. Had the Bishops stressed the importance of breastfeeding (and or NFP) she would have listened. She also had her share of varicose veins (the bulging painful type) but why that matters I don't know.


Well...I guess I didn't explain what I meant very well. I'm not looking at any other marriage but my own. We had five kids in six years. We've had three more in the twelve years since then. Each one has been a joy and remains a joy. We love the parents we became because of them. But the fact remains that those early years were more of a testimony to our own imprudence and selfishness than to the joy of parenthood. I was miserable. So was he. It was awful.

But, out of the ashes, a wonderful marriage emerged, thanks in no small part to the purifying influence of NFP and the wonderful couples who practice it, showing others how to truly live a life of love.

No, I know better than to sit in Mass and attempt to pick at the speck in my brother's eye. God knows the beam in my own eye is blinding enough. But from friends crying on my shoulder, I've found that my troubles were not some kind of rare aberration, and that many couples really struggle with NFP, mostly because their moral foundation was not adequate to the task (mine sure wasn't), and the larger culture assaults the senses daily with immodest images, particularly in the workplace. So, controlling lust is actually something that husband has to think about, usually daily.

Because so few couples practice NFP, we swim against the tide everywhere we go. But the wife who happens to be home with the kids has a luxury that the breadwinner doesn't have - she's surrounded by the wonderful kids. Usually, the husband is out there slogging away among people who (out of ignorance) model behavior that is antithetical to the values that make NFP work.

Well, I'm rambling here. But my take-away is that fighting lust is a two person job, not just the husband. It's part of sharing one another's burdens. But, that sharing takes a long time to develop when your starting point is so far away from the truth. Which mine was, and I don't really think I am unusual.

young woman in shoe

Well my goodness, it turns out we agree after all! Sorry my tone was rather nasty.

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    • From Benedict XVI
      “People have realized that the complete removal of the feminine element from the Christian message is a shortcoming from an anthropological viewpoint. It is theologically and anthropologically important for woman to be at the center of Christianity."
    • Anger and Patrimony (from Donna)
      This is just another of the unintended consequences of the cultural acceptance of contraception and abortion! Men's sexuality has been robbed of its creative essence. It is now viewed as something that imposes a burden on women (when conception happens to occur), something used to control women or something that is purely recreational. Why would men bother?? In taking away their responsibility, we've also robbed them of their significance! In the big picture of humanity, men have been made into nothing more than a nuisance women have to figure out how to control in order to bring about the next generation. Men don't see it as their task to protect the vulnerable because they see themselves as the vulnerable ones. A few well preserved vials of sperm would make men entirely obsolete in the world's ethos today!!
    • Excellent, Dom! (from Teresa)
      That is astounding Robin, and good for you for standing up. At the heart of that matter, I think, is even worse than a gender mixing message. There is an increased sharper and sharper focus on the "self." Solid Catholic teaching returns our focus away from ourselves to Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The original sin, Eve denied her womanhood when she desired to be like "gods." Since the only god she knew was the Father. Where was Adam? He stood impotent... in other words, they were divorced. There's a young girl at Robin's son's high school who was just told that she is the center of the universe and it's a tragic disservice to her.
    • Find the logic (from "me")
      Ditto what Mary said! A lot of high schools have very poor math and science depts, for boys and girls. I also am educated as a chemical engineer, but chose to teach the two years before we had children because its hours were more suited to spending time with children. (I was looking ahead). When it came time and I was pregnant with our first, I realized that I did not want to leave him with someone else, and was able to stay home full time. I am not sure it would have been that easy if we were used to another engineering income and not just a private school teacher income. Also some of my first job offers were out on oil rigs - I had no interest in that at all even though I enjoyed my engineering classes and did well in them. No one discouraged me from an engineering job, on the contrary I got a lot of flack for my decision not to pursue an engineering career.
    • Find the logic (from Mary)
      I've been lurking, but this is one that irritates me. Beats the heck out of me what these "barriers" are. I was educated as a chemical engineer, where 1/3 of our class was women. However, in electrical engineering, only 1 or 2 out of 30 were women. Is it possible that women are Just Not Interested in some areas? Nah, it must be The Man keeping us down so we must legislate (and, I agree -- when they say "legistlate", I hear "quota"). And actually, I have a friend that was also a chemical engineer. When she lost her job, she decided not to go back into engineering and started working from home so she could spend more time with her 3 kids. Also, if nothing else, there are all kinds of incentives for women to enter science and engineering -- scholarships not available to men, guaranteed housing on campuses that do not guarantee housing to the general population, etc. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that schools in general are not preparing students for the hard sciences. It is truly a sad state of affairs, the lack of science education these days.

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