Deacon Paul and Helen McBlain

Deacon Paul and Helen McBlain, members of St. Joseph Parish in Collingdale, have been married more than 50 years and have seven children and 21 grandchildren.

She says:

Laureen says: Russell and I have been married for two years. We met at the university we attended. It was love at first sight, and I am still crazy about this guy. Because I got a degree and great job in the field I desired, I wanted to wait about five years before we had children. My mom started having kids in her late teens into her 20s, and all the grandparents are anxiously awaiting grandchildren.

I want us to wait so we can earn money to purchase a nice home and be at my job long enough in order that I can feel more secure about negotiating my work hours after we do have a baby. Russell also wants to have a family, and he is on board with our waiting to have a baby. We are together in that decision.

The area in which we are having some differences is how to prevent pregnancy.

I have been on birth control pills for years. It is true that I have had high blood pressure and get headaches as well as heavier bleeding, but that is something that I can handle. Russell seems to think there must be a better way to manage not getting pregnant.


He says:

Russell says: Laureen and I have a great marriage. I become concerned sometimes when Laureen has those headaches or needs to get off her feet due to a heavy flow. I don’t think that is totally normal, but then, what do I know? I am a guy … plus I am not a doctor.

We mutually want to wait for our family until we are in a better financial position to live in a good neighborhood with a decent school district. My job is service-related and my salary is OK, but it really helps to have Laureen save for that home.

I just am worried about her being on the pill. My friend’s wife was using an IUD and had an ectopic pregnancy which was very scary for them. I learned IUDs can be dangerous for a woman’s health due to the higher possibility of ectopic pregnancy or the device embedding in a woman’s uterus. Foams and spermicides sometimes result in having a baby with birth defects. Laureen seems OK with taking the pills, but I constantly worry about her health. I don’t want her suffering the heavier bleeds or headaches, or worse, for the next three years until we feel financially secure enough to start our family.

What do they do?  

Russell’s concerns are well founded. Birth control pills, injections and devices all have negative side effects. The old saying “Don’t fool with Mother Nature” holds true. The headaches Laureen is experiencing could be leading to a potential stroke. Read the possible side effects contained in the information that accompanies the package of the pills. Discuss the warnings with Laureen’s doctor and then discuss them with each other.

The heavier bleeding could even tragically be the result of certain low-dose oral contraceptives, which often do not prevent conception but prevent implantation of an already fertilized ovum.

Russell and Laureen should learn more about Laureen’s body ecology and become more aware of their fertility and when and how conception occurs. Russell sounds like the kind of a man who can cooperate with his wife to follow the natural flow of her fertility to realize when they are fertile and not engage in intercourse during the few days a month that Laureen would possibly conceive.

This method of family planning is safe and reliable. There are couples who support and assist each other to learn how to cooperate with the body’s natural functioning to postpone pregnancy.

This knowledge also assists the couple to become pregnant when they decide they are ready to start a family.

Learning the symptoms of fertility, i.e. mucus discharge, and charting symptoms as well as menstrual flow is a very scientific way to prevent pregnancy. This requires more communication between the couple and more discernment, but the result is a stronger bond and a healthier body for the woman and a healthier relationship for the couple.

We also strongly suggest that Russell and Laureen take to prayer their reasons for postponing the bringing of children into their marriage. At some point during their marriage preparation, Russell and Laureen most likely heard the following, or similar, words: “The institution of marriage itself and conjugal love are, by their very nature, ordered to the procreation and formation of children and find in them, as it were, their ultimate crown” (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes). “Children are thus truly the supreme gift of marriage and contribute greatly to the good of the parents themselves” (Order of Celebrating Matrimony).

To delay the implementation of God’s plan for financial or selfish reasons is a serious matter and deserves Russell and Laureen’s serious consideration.

“Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit, they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring” (Malachi 2:15).