Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

  • Hebrew
  • English
  • Espnaol
  • Francais
Menu

Stress and depression

4 February, 2009

Question:

I am a 33 year old mother of 2. My husband and I thought we would have a big family upon marriage. Since then, we have 1 special needs child, and a serious bout of post-partum depression that has manifested itself into long-term clinical depression. I am still in counseling and taking medication even though our youngest is 2.

My husband wants more children and our rav has stated we need to re-examine our heter now. I honestly can't think of having more now.

Doesn't halacha take these factors into account when making a decision? We already have 1 boy and 1 girl. We are stretched emotionally and I am exhausted.

Thank you.


Answer:

The fact that your Rav wants to re-examine your heter (halachic permission) does not necessarily indicate that he feels you may not continue using birth control; it may simply be an evaluation of your current situation.

Halacha certainly does take emotional and psychological factors into consideration.  We urge you to discuss these issues with your Rav and make it clear that your emotional and medical state are serious factors that necessitate continued use of birth control until your situation improves.  It is important for you to personally discuss this with your Rav (and not have your husband speak to him for you) so he can fully understand the gravity of your concerns. We suggest that you also ask your physician or therapist to discuss your situation directly with your Rav and explain to him the medical need for you to continue using contraception.

You and your husband may also want to consider some counseling sessions together, either with your Rav or a therapist, to help you manage the stresses and tensions affecting your family.  

We wish you much hatzlacha and a refuah shleimah!


This internet service does not preclude, override or replace the psak of any rabbinical authority. It is the responsibility of the questioner to inform us of any previous consultation or ruling. As even slight variation in circumstances may have Halachic consequences, views expressed concerning one case may not be applied to other, seemingly similar cases. All health and health-related information contained within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for consulting with your health care professional. The advice is intended to offer a basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their health care provider but not individual advice. Although every effort is made to ensure that the material within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is accurate and timely, it is provided for the convenience of the Web site user but should not be considered official. Advice for actual medical practice should be obtained from a licensed health care professional.

For further questions or comments: 

The Nishmat Women's Health and Halacha Site is a public service of Nishmat, The Jeanie Schottenstein Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women. This project and others like it are made possible by contributions from people like you. If you have benefited from the service, and wish to enable us to help others, click here to donate.


Users of Internet filtering services: This site discusses sensitive subjects that some services filter without visual indication. A page that appears 100% complete might actually be missing critical Jewish-law or medical information. To ensure that you view the pages accurately, ask the filtering service to whitelist all pages under yoatzot.org.