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

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Stress and depression

4 February, 2009


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.


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!

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