Dear John: A Personal Letter to my Husband, Lover, and Best Friend

by Peggy Powell

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Dear John,

Almost 22 years ago we took an oath before God, family and friends to lovingly accept children. This was a commitment we looked forward to, but it was also a concern because I have diabetes.

In ten years of marriage, God blessed us with three beautiful children, but all were very complicated pregnancies with toxemia and uncontrollable blood sugars. Through it all, you were my strength – even during the cesarean births, you stood by my side.

I remember clearly how sick I was after the birth of our son John. Intense fear encompassed me with the thoughts of going through what my doctors termed another “high-risk pregnancy.” After all, I had two daughters and now a son. “Don’t press your luck” – was their disclaimer. I remember thinking maybe they were right. Even with that news, I think the most difficult decision we have ever made in our marriage was to have the vasectomy. The decision did not come easily. It was three years of agonizing thought. I felt we were growing distant from each other. I didn’t feel confident enough in NFP to rely solely on it, and feared another complicated pregnancy. My mind was consumed with thoughts of freedom from this endless worry.

After the surgery, you would think I would have felt relief, but instead the shame and guilt overpowered any other feelings. With the sneaking and conniving to have the surgery and to keep it from our children and our family, I felt no pride in what we had done.

Isn’t it ironic that for a decision that took years of consideration, it was so clearly and quickly recognized to be such a wrong one? We had committed a grave injustice to our dear God who had blessed us with our fertility, and three beautiful children, and we rewarded Him with fear and lack of trust. Our newfound freedom wasn’t so wonderful at all.

It’s hard to explain my feelings at the time. It seemed that the closeness we once shared wasn’t there. The something we once shared that was so special didn’t seem so special anymore. The hope and wonder of new life in our marriage was gone due to our decision, not God’s. I felt like I was grieving the loss of a child, a child that God might have chosen to create for us and we weren’t willing to cooperate with Him. How could I live with that decision?

Oh, how hard the devil is working. He is a master at manipulating people’s minds into thinking that sterilization is justified whether it be for health reasons, financial, or whatever the circumstances may be. But in fact, even in our situation there was no justification.

God never stopped loving us. He poured His mercy, forgiveness and all His compassion down upon us. The day you had the reversal was one of the happiest days of my life. We had a significant loan to pay back, but it was a great investment and the rewards have been far greater than could ever be imagined – three more healthy, beautiful children! Sometimes I stand back in awe at the miracle of our lives and I can’t imagine our lives without them.

Now at the age of 40, I don’t know what the future holds. Each day wakes with new challenges. I marvel at your strength, self-control and total commitment to our marriage, in sickness and in health, and me till death do we part.

I will never again underestimate God’s power, His love and infinite mercy and wisdom, for as I have learned in this long journey, His plan is always best and life is precious.

All my love,

Your loving wife

Editor’s Notes:

1) Today, children are not always seen as blessings from God. It’s reported that 80% of child-bearing-age couples are contracepting or sterilized. The great contraception and sterilization risks to women and marriage (and, ultimately to Church and society) are rarely reported. At One More Soul we try hard to find and distribute books, pamphlets, tapes and videos that help people understand the truth and wisdom of the Church’s teaching. We encourage you to call our toll free number, 1-800-307-7685, to request a free catalog of our resources and for more information.

2) Many good friends have realized the error of their sterilization and have had a reversal. Roughly, 80% have been delighted by subsequent pregnancies. Peggy Powell informed me of the pregnancy of a couple after both had reversals.

3) Peggy Powell tells John and Karen’s story and two others in “The Hurtful Consequences of Artificial Contraception and Sterilization,” from One More Soul. One More Soul has a list of NFP only sterilization reversalists, many of whom will reduce their fees for those in need.

4) We have a Directory of over 400 NFP-Only Physicians who do not perform, prescribe, or refer for abortion, contraception, sterilization, or in-vitro fertilization. The cost is $10.00, plus Shipping. You can obtain a copy by calling 1-800-307-7685.

Steve Koob

Director, One More Soul

If you would like more information on sterilization reversals, call One More Soul 1-800-307-7685

For spiritual direction you are encouraged to call a local pastor, or Fr. Dan McCaffrey, STL, in Oklahoma City at 888-637-6383 or 405-755-9091 (home).

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