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Marriage & Willingness for Children

QUESTION (Deirdre):

I was diagnosed as bi-polar when I was 15 years old. I have been on medication for the last 16 years to control my disease. I have always wanted children; however, as I mature, I have realized that being on medication while pregnant is not wise. Neither would I want to bring a child into a situation that could be potentially unstable. So recently, I have been thinking about whether or not I should indeed have a child. If this is the course of action I choose to take, is it accurate that in the eyes of the Church I should never be allowed to get married, to share my life with someone, or enjoy the marital bed all because I chose not to have children?


I know bi-polar people who have children and do quite well. You are correct that there are certain medications that can make pregnancy problematical. I have seen this especially with paranoid schizophrenics. As for your question, unless you are married then it is entirely academic as you cannot morally have children as a single person. The Church views marriage as having two purposes: the propagation of the human race and the fidelity of the spouses. Older couples might be infertile but they can still get married. The marital act must still be that type of act that generates new human life even if such an eventuality is unlikely or impossible. Younger couples must want to have children in order to get married in the Church. The priest will ask this question as part of the prenuptial investigation. Rejecting the possibility makes marriage impossible. Indeed, if there is deceit about this, it is grounds for the annulment of a bond. Depending how long you wait to get married, the issue may become academic as the clock is always ticking on female fertility. You can be happy unmarried and there are joys other than those of the marriage bed.

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