9.27.2010

Birth Control?

Dear Gwen,

I'm a huge fan of your blog and I just wanted to write and say that I'm so glad there is a voice like yours for women everywhere. I've been dating my boyfriend for over 6 years and we are still waiting! I never thought I'd find a guy who would agree to wait, but he has been a trooper. I mean, seriously. He must be in for the long haul, right? haha.

...I may have missed this in a previous post, but what are your thoughts on birth control? I know it is against the beliefs of many Christians, but since I haven't had any need for it anyway, it's never been an issue for me. Just curious as to your take since I put stock in your opinion!

xoxo,
A Reader
{via}
Thank you so much for your kind comments and question. I do not speak for any church or organization but am happy to offer my opinion and insight. Some religions, including the Catholic Church, teach against the use of birth control. From what I have learned (1, 2, 3), it appears that religions who advise or command against birth control are encouraging similar principals and working for a similar result: the creation of loving families. I believe that this is one of the most noble accomplishments.

Ultimately, however, I believe it's a personal decision that needs to be made between husband and wife. In determining whether to use birth control in your marriage, here are some factors to consider:
  1. A Unified and Bonded Marriage: How would the use of birth control alter your ability to connect with your spouse? Do the hormones in the pill have negative sexual or emotional side effects? Do you have a more difficult time climaxing with the use of a condom or other form birth control? On the other hand, maybe you feel more confident in connecting with your spouse without worry of conception? Birth control has enabled couples to bond sexually much more frequently where before they would have refrained to prevent pregnancy.
  2. Mental, Emotional, and Physical Well-Being: It is also important to consider the mother (and father's) emotional and physical ability to care for a child. Children last for about 78 years, so this is no light commitment. Health factors may make pregnancy very dangerous for the mother. Also, consider Postpartum Depression or other mental health concerns and your ability to cope with these issues and this point in your life. The answer, however, shouldn't be, "This is going to be hard, I'll pass." But, "This is going to be hard, how much can I take on? I'm ready at this point in time to stretch myself by constantly loving and serving another human being."
  3. Economic Ability: Are you sufficiently self reliant to financially care for a child at this time without excessively burdening your family or society? Not only is the pregnancy and actual delivery of the child expensive, but raising a child is expensive too. Birth control can help in the planning, preparing, and saving up for child rearing. But you also don't have to wait until you have the "house on the hill" and perfect finances before having children.
  4. Successful Procreation: Procreation is truly a gift. To carry a child inside you is a life-changing experience. Children bring joy, happiness and companionship. They push us to learn, grow, and become less selfish. In deciding against procreation you may be denying yourself these opportunities. Additionally, delaying procreation may bring difficulties in conceiving or carrying a child.
"From a strictly biologic point of view, it makes sense to have a baby in your 20s if you are healthy. Your fertility is at its peak, the chances for miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities are low and you are as fit as you’ll ever be for carrying a child. As we age, our fertility lessens and our chances for miscarriage and chromosomal accidents increase. It may be more difficult to conceive a healthy a baby in your 40s. Once your ovaries stop producing healthy eggs there are no medical techniques to reverse this. I have had the heartbreaking job of telling a number of women in their 40s that they are too old to conceive naturally. So I generally remind childless women in their 30s about their “biologic clock.”"

-Dr. Laura Stachel, Obstetrics & Gynecology
These are just a few factors to consider. Don't look at birth control as something that is either good or bad. Look at it as one of many tools for building a family and a stronger relationship with your spouse. How, or if, you use it should be completely up to each individual couple.

This is a very personal and important choice that should be approached with much thought, research, and discussion. As always, your constructive insight is welcome.

7 comments:

  1. I like the points that you make Gwen. If I may, though, I would like to make just one of my own.

    When I was in my early teens, my doctor told me that I had symptoms of PCOS and prescribed birth control pills to regulate my menstrual cycle. At that point, I didn't give birth control a lot of thought because I was committed to waiting for marriage before sex and my attitude towards the pill was that it was just to help with those symptoms.

    Once married, I began to wonder if this was something I wanted to continue. I also began working at a pregnancy support center where I learned more about abortion than I ever imagined could be learned. Through my time there, my anti-abortion stance was more firmly cemented and I made a personal decision that I did not want, in any way, to be a part of anything abortifacient. I don't say this to begin an argument on abortion, just to make this point:

    If one is strongly against abortion, they should know that, yes, most birth control pills are meant to prevent the release of an egg. (Even in my strong anti-abortion stance, I am not so apposed to that aspect of the pill's purpose). However, the "fallback" of the pill - it's "just in case" plan, is to create unfavorable conditions in the uterus so that a fertilized egg will not be able to attach to the uterine wall and thus will not survive. I did not realize this until I worked for the pregnancy center.

    If you are one who holds to the belief that a new life is created at fertilization, then you may want to look into this when it comes to how birth control works. I decided against the pill for this reason - because I believe life begins at conception/fertilization and I could not have that "fallback" plan on my conscience. But as I said, it all depends on what you believe about this and there are as many opinions as there are stars in the sky. I'm just saying, it helps to know what ANY medication truly does to your body.

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  2. One thing to consider when choosing your birth control...is it abortifacient?

    That is the main concern to think about as a Christian woman. Birth control is not evil nor does it make a woman a devil worshiper.

    However, if you are against abortion, then that is something to consider when choosing BC. IUD's and the pill are...

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  3. Thanks girls, these are both great point of views.

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  4. I researched the abortive pill thing a lot before I got married because it concerned me-I encourage you to research it for yourself, BUT I found that 1) Some pills are more likely to do this than others because of the hormones-ask your doctor
    2) If you remember to take your pill at the same time every day, the likelihood that this will happen is very very small.
    3) Womens' bodies sometimes naturally abort an egg after conception and they never know they were even pregnant because it happens soon after, so that's something to consider.

    Great thoughts, Gwen!

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  5. its also important to note there are many forms of birth control other than the pill. I have plenty of friends who weren't comfortable with the pill because of the hormonal effects messed with them too much so they used condoms and were able to get pregnant when the time was right for them.

    I agree with Gwen on one major thing though: This is a completely personal decision that should be made between you and your partner. You can take advice from others, but do ultimately its up to you.

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  6. what a sweet reader! and good answer to a very important question. sometimes there are decisions we are faced with that don't have a black and white, definite answer. sometimes it's a personal judgement call—what you feel comfortable with and what you can live with and what feels like the right thing.

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  7. What a great question and answer, thanks.

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