Dear Father Angelo
My name is Lara, 33. First of all, I want to thank you because every time I submitted my doubts to you, your words have always been of help and support to me.
Herewith, I am writing to you again about a doubt that has been tormenting me for weeks. I am married. One year ago, the Lord gave me the most beautiful gift in the world, a wonderful child, Samuele, for whom I will never be giving thanks enough.
However, when I find myself thinking about some friends of mine, who had several pregnancies one after another, I am very afraid, I would not want that to happen to me as well because of the situation I am living in, both from an economic and health point of view. Let me explain:
– in economic terms, after paying for mortgage, bills, weekly shopping, and the needs of the child, we more or less manage to make ends meet, but sometimes I ask my parents for help… if the family got bigger, money would really become an issue;
– in health terms, since I am epileptic, a possible pregnancy should be planned; since the drugs I take are teratogenic, I should undergo preventive care with supplements that reduce this possibility and I should certainly downscale my job, since pregnancy increases the risk of a possible epileptic seizure.
All this to tell you that I do not wish a second pregnancy for now and, to be honest, I would limit myself to one child.
But I wonder if this is selfishness, lack of generosity; many of my friends who live the faith are able to entrust themselves to God even when having less material means… instead, I simply cannot do it.
How do you judge my behavior? If it is wrong, how can I improve?
Lastly, to give you the complete picture of the situation: my husband and I have NEVER used contraceptives, we only rely on natural methods, and if I were to get pregnant a second time I would obviously welcome the baby as I did welcome the first… but this is not something I wish.
The words of Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae come to mind, but I do not know if these can be considered to be valid and serious reasons not to want another baby.
Thank you in advance and I hope you can answer me soon.
Answer from the priest
1. When the Second Vatican Council speaks of the number of children, it says that “the parents themselves and no one else should ultimately make this judgment in the sight of God” (Gaudium et spes 50).
2. The Council recalls that the generation of children must be done “with human and Christian responsibility, and, with docile reverence toward God” (Ib.).
And at the same time “trusting in divine Providence and refining the spirit of sacrifice” (Ib.).
3. He then adds that in doing so the spouses “glorify the Creator and strive toward fulfillment in Christ” (Ib.).
In fact, a child is priceless.
(S)he is a human person destined to exist eternally, created to live an eternal communion with the Creator and with the dwellers of Paradise.
St. Thomas would say that a child is worth more than the whole universe put together because the latter is doomed to perish, while a human person has an eternal vocation and destination.
4. The Council has a particular mention for large families: “Among the couples who fulfil their God-given task in this way, those merit special mention who with a gallant heart and with wise and common deliberation, undertake to bring up suitably even a relatively large family” (GS 50).
5. For wise deliberation, many things must be considered.
In the Humanae Vitae, Paul VI , speaking of responsible parenthood, says that it must take into account the “physical, economic, psychological and social conditions” of the spouses (HV 10).
Furthermore, he says that parenthood “is exercised by those who prudently and generously decide to have more children, and by those who, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time” (HV 10).
6. It seems to me that this is indeed your case.
I think that even the confessor, whose voice for a believer is authoritative, would tell you what I told you.
Therefore, I wish you well, I entrust you to the Lord and I bless you.