This blog has been a long time coming.
My family’s journey toward becoming quiver-minded began when my husband and I first married, three years ago. We knew from the get-go that we wanted children as soon as possible. Or, I should say, more children. I already had a daughter from a previous marriage, who was 2 and a half at the time. From the moment we married, we did not use birth control. It took the better part of a year of trying to conceive our first child together. There were moments when we did not know if we would become pregnant at all. After seeking infertility treatment we discovered that I was not ovulating (for which I began taking monthly doses of Clomid), and my husband had less than 1% normal sperm (for which I started him on an extensive vitamin and supplement regimen, after hours of painstaking research). Still, we did not become pregnant. We were told that our only hope was to pursue IUI (intrauterine insemination). This suggestion from the doctor seemed far too invasive and drastic for us. After all, if God intended us to be pregnant, would we really need to go to such lengths? Does the Lord not open and close the womb as He sees fit? So after much thought and prayer, we decided then that if we did not conceive naturally that month, we would stop trying.
Lo and behold, we became pregnant! We believed then that God had sovereignty over our fertility. Simply put, we had not conceived prior to that because we were not yet meant to. It could only happen in God’s time, and not a moment sooner. And how overjoyed we were when our time finally came!
As I neared the end of my pregnancy, my obstetrician began pressuring me to make a decision about birth control. I researched different forms, but none of them “felt” right. I knew immediately that I could not take ANY form of birth control that would cause a fertilized egg not to implant; to us, this was abortion, which we find morally reprehensible. I happened upon a concept called Natural Family Planning, or the art of observing fertility signs to avoid pregnancy. For a woman who is exclusively breastfeeding, the Lactational Ammenorrhea Method (LAM) should prevent conception, as the hormone released by breastfeeding is known to suppress ovulation. We decided that this was the route for us. I followed the rules of LAM closely; however, God had other plans. Just 3 months after giving birth, we became pregnant again, despite the fact that were not “supposed” to. I was devastated. I just knew that I could not possibly be ready for another pregnancy and baby. I already had a very young baby to care for! I cried for weeks, and had to endure careless, hurtful comments from friends and family. Couldn’t they see how I was hurting? I spent the majority of the pregnancy dreading the arrival of our third baby girl. This should have been a joyous time for us, yet we felt cheated out of what we believed would most certainly be our last pregnancy.
Once again, I found myself nearing the end of my pregnancy and being pressured into choosing a birth control. This time, I considered my options more carefully. For a short time I did consider sterilization; either a vasectomy for my husband, or a tubal ligation for me (the latter being the more likely option, as I have cesarean sections and they would already be “in there”). We did not consider that option long, however, because as the pregnancy progressed we slowly began to realize that we were not yet done having children. We knew must choose some birth control method, though, because we could not handle yet another pregnancy so soon. I didn’t even know how I was going to handle the (soon-to-be) three children I already had! I finally decided on a copper IUD. It was non-hormonal, and my OB assured me that it would not inhibit implantation if conception did occur.
I gave birth and, to my amazement, that sweet little bundle fit perfectly into our lives from the moment she arrived. It was a thousand times easier than I had imagined it would be! God must have known that I could handle it! (Shocking, right?) I began to have doubts about the IUD, but I was still scared of having another baby right away so I went ahead with it, despite my concerns. I regretted it almost immediately. I bled for about 8 weeks, and spent every single day cramping as though I was about to begin my period. I found later that being intimate with my husband was unbearably painful. What an effective birth control this was! After all, you can’t become pregnant if you practice nothing but abstinence! After 4 months I had the IUD removed. I could no longer handle the constant pain, nor the distance it was putting in my relationship with my husband as a result.
We found ourselves back at square one, once again having to choose a birth control method. It was at this time that I realized that I had been struggling with coming to terms with birth control all along. The very idea of it did not sit well with either of us. Why? Why did we feel so much guilt, as though we were doing something wrong? Finally, it dawned on us. It was because birth control is not Biblically supported. The very first command is to be fruitful and multiply (Gen 1:28), and nowhere is this command revoked or revised. Children are clearly viewed as a gift from the Lord, and only He should have control over when and how often I become pregnant. Had he not already proven to us that He has the ultimate say in our fertility? Twice I became pregnant when I was trying to avoid it, and the other time I did not become pregnant for quite some time, despite our every effort to the contrary. I realized that trying to control our fertility myself is yet another power struggle between myself and God; yet another area where I am not allowing Him to call the shots. From that moment, we decided to allow God to have control, and to trust His will for our family, even if the idea of relinquishing control is quite scary! However, God is at the wheel, and the knowledge of that is enough for me.