When it comes to birth control, I did what most women do. When faced with marriage around the corner, I panicked!!
The honeymoon was built up in my mind and I did NOT want to make a "honeymoon baby."
Have you been there?
So what did I do before my impending wedding?
I did what almost every woman does. I found a birth-control method. Then, I experienced weight gain, moodiness and depression.
I felt trapped. How could I be "careful" to not have a baby AND not change my hormones so much?
A friend to the rescue
My dear friend Lori came along at the perfect time. She counseled me to look into Natural Family Planning. She wasn't pushy (she knew me well!), but shared the freedom she'd experienced from practicing it.
It's all about observing fertility signs. It required self-control, but it didn't change my body from the inside or interfere with the intended experience of sex.
But then I got to thinking...
Why did I want to avoid having children?
Waiting to have kids I'd absorbed the idea that having children was irresponsible, foolish & unfortunate if they came "too early." "Couples need time to get to know each other." "They need space to build their careers."
And I think it's technically correct. Some ambitions can't be fought for if your main responsibility is parenting. The question nagging me was:
Did any of my goals or dreams justify saying "no" to children?
Having kids right away When couples have children right away, their having kids "too early" is often seen as the cause of typical marriage trouble.
"It's all because they started a family too soon," people will comment. "If only they'd waited (like me) their marriage would be in great shape." Common sense tells us that every marriage has trouble, regardless of how early or late children come (or if at all) and the condescension in such statements is ignorant at best and cynical at worst.
I've observed that the world doesn't value children for who they are, but more for what they can contribute to society. But when parents desire to have children right away (regardless of whether or not they are able), they embrace God's heart for children.
What I did
I waited. I may have embraced NFP, but I still worried about having kids "too soon."
Upside down world
The longer I live and the closer I grow to Christ, the more upside down the world shows itself to be. We must be vigilant to listen to the truth-giver because we are surrounded by half-truths and lies.
When I first heard that children were a blessing, I believed it in theory, but when it came to my experience, I didn't act like I believed it. It was easy to believe that children were a nuisance and to avoid them as long as possible, or at least wait util I was more...mature, wealthy, experienced in my career, etc.
It felt true. Mothers in Walmart confirmed all my fears and doubts. But my ears have found a different voice...and His voice rings true and swats away all the dirty lies of the world. The truth is that the behavior of children doesn't sway the truth: Children are a blessing.
What about now? I thank Lori from the bottom of my heart for her encouragement to consider Natural Family Planning. It revolutionized my perspective on birth control.
During my NFP classes I learned that birth control can end the life of a baby before the mom even knew she was pregnant (abortifacient properties - just look it up if you're curious). That sealed the deal for me. No more birth control.
A step further
Now, I also choose not to use any contraceptives and not to be restrictive about intimacy. What does that mean? It means that if I'm in the middle of a fertile phase, and the opportunity to be intimate comes, we'll take it, without fear, without worry. It's taken me a LONG time to come to this place...up to even the past six months.
Does this mean we've having a 6th child? "Haven't you heard about how babies are made?" some might chide, but yes, after 5 children and 6 pregnancies, I think I know.
The fear is gone. I occasionally have thoughts of how it could inconvenience us, or be "harder" to have another child at my age. And while those things might be true, it's still true that God says they are a blessing and I want my heart and actions to reflect the truth.
Children aren't always convenient. But is that the kind of life i want? Convenient? Would I rather have a new car but not feel I could "afford" another baby? Should I avoid another kid because my shoulder would need to undergo surgery (I've had some recent shoulder problems)? Should my carbon footprint make me question the life of another soul on planet earth, born with a divine purpose?
Children are a blessing, but now I choose to behave like I believe that's true.
Has your view birth control changed over the years? How/why?