“Ask a Priest: Should I Expect a Miracle and to Conceive Again?”

Q: I made a huge mistake and had a tubal ligation done the day after I gave birth to my son. That was 21 years ago. I have since met this wonderful man who I love dearly, and he has no children of his own. I tried having a tubal reversal, but my doctor said it was impossible because my tubes were cut too short. I never knew that having a surgery to prevent children was a sin against my faith. I deeply feel so much remorse and regret. I pray that God heals my infertility. Will God answer my request and prayers even though I had the surgery? I was young, I didn’t know that it was against the Lord’s teaching. – D.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A. I am sorry to hear about your tubal ligation. As you know now, it isn’t something good.

If you haven’t done so already, it would be good to mention it in confession and then leave things in God’s hands.

As for being able to conceive again (and here I am assuming that you are talking about entering a marriage that would be recognized by the Church), you can pray for a miracle. But you want to be careful about presuming God’s providence.

What I mean by that is this. Some of the decisions we make have consequences that normally cannot be reversed. If a farmer decides in the spring not to plant wheat, for instance, then he shouldn’t expect to change his mind in mid-August and have a harvest by Labor Day. Nature simply doesn’t work that way.

The same idea might apply in the case of the tubal ligation. If it cannot be reversed, then it might be better to accept that, as difficult as it is. Perhaps you could be a mom again — through adoption.

In all this you want to be careful not to put the onus on God to produce a miracle. You made a decision years ago, and that decision had a consequence. This realization might cause you great suffering, but it is suffering that you can offer back to Jesus. You can unite your cross with his.

Again, consider motherhood in a wider sense, one that includes opening your heart to an abandoned child.

Stay close to prayer and the sacraments and the Blessed Virgin Mary. You will find comfort.

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