Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Family Planning

Whenever I am out in public with my children, I am often asked if I am going to have more children. I have even been asked if I believe in birth control (although, thinking about it, that is a very personal question to be asked by a stranger!!!).  I thought I would address my "beliefs" here.

First of all, the bible clearly states that children are a gift from God (Psalm 127). Also, the Lord opens and closes the womb in His timing (just read the accounts of Leah and Rachel in Genesis). Any woman who has become pregnant and then had a miscarriage or stillbirth is proof of the Lord opening and closing her womb; it was not her choice or timing but rather all in the Lord's hands.

Keeping these biblical viewpoints in mind, here are my beliefs. TJ and I do believe in birth control to a certain degree. We use barrier-method contraception (condoms and I am waiting to be fitted for a diaphragm) as opposed to the hormonal types (the pill, the patch, the shot, the ring, etc).

I know this is a huge can of worms - but please know that I do not think it is a black and white issue and that just because TJ and I believe this means that if you use hormonal methods you are in the "wrong." I was on the pill in high school through the time I married and we started having children to help regulate my cycle, ease the monthly symptoms of severe menstrual cramping, and to lighten my cycle (I tend to have a long, heavy cycle).  I am a firm believer that life experiences cause people to act or react accordingly. Having said that, since I miscarried a baby (now twice) I am choosing to not willingly put myself through that again. Here is what I mean:

Most women - myself included - think that hormonal birth control works by simply preventing ovulation. That is not the entire story. Most work in several ways - one of which being to prevent an egg from being released. Another way that many work is by changing the lining of the uterus to prevent implantation, should an egg be released and fertilized. Most doctors that I have discussed birth control with only share the first truth and not the second. Hmm, I wonder why?

The website for OrthoEvra very clearly states that it:
"helps prevent pregnancy the same way birth control pills do: by preventing ovulation, which means that the ovary does not release an egg to be fertilized; by thickening the cervical mucus, which makes it more difficult for sperm to enter the uterus; and by changing the endometrium to reduce the chance of implantation." (italics and bold added by me :)

The endometrium is the lining of the uterus, in case you were wondering.

What this means is that if an egg becomes fertilized, it can't implant itself in the uterus because the hormones have changed it. The only option is for the woman to "pass" the fertilized egg when she has her monthly cycle. In essence, it is a miscarriage but because it's so early in pregnancy, the woman more than likely doesn't even know she's pregnant.

You could easily look up other forms of hormonal birth control to see how they work. Most work VERY similarly. I don't think this happens every cycle with every woman on hormonal birth control - but it raised enough doubt for me. This made me decide against hormonal birth control as a method for preventing pregnancy.

TJ and I have more of the attitude that if we get pregnant, that's wonderful. If we don't get pregnant, that's okay, too. We never want to "miss out" on a blessing from God, whether it be a baby or something else. We all have to one day stand before the Lord and I want to have a clear conscience. I would hate to find out that I could have had more children except I was using hormonal contraception and unknowingly miscarried a baby (or more!).

So, to answer your questions: yes, I believe in non-hormonal birth control and I don't know if we'll have any more. =)

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