Friday, October 4, 2013

What I didn't know about hormonal birth control.......

When my husband and I first got married, we decided that I would take birth control pills. We knew other Christian couples who did this, and to be perfectly honest, we didn't really even question whether or not it was wrong. As far as we knew, birth control pills stopped ovulation, so there was no chance of getting pregnant. I admit that I didn't read the fine print on the birth control label, and I don't even remember praying about this decision. I noticed that I didn't feel very well while taking the pills. I think my body didn't respond very well to the hormones in the pills, and I often felt irritable and had symptoms of PMS almost all month long. About 9-10 months after we were married, I began to have some very serious abdominal pain that caused me to have to see an urgent care doctor. I had switched birth control brands a short time before that, and although I have no proof, I suspect the abdominal pain was linked to the birth control pills. The doctor could not find anything conclusive, and the pain subsided. One day at work, a friend of mine brought up the subject of birth control pills. She told me she had learned that there could be evidence that birth control pills had a failsafe built into them - if the pills failed to prevent ovulation, and sperm makes it past the thickened cervical mucus and fertilizes an egg, then the pills could cause the lining of the uterus to thin and become hostile for a fertilized egg to implant. I was SHOCKED, because I had never heard that before. I had rather mixed emotions - first shock, then horror, then denial, then horror again. Since I was not feeling well from taking the pills anyway, and because I was worried there was even a CHANCE that what my friend had told me was true, we decided to go off the pills almost immediately.

We made a decision not to go back on pills ever again, or any type of hormonal birth control. But I didn't really want to know the truth. I didn't really want to know if what my friend had said was true. I just decided that I wouldn't use that kind of birth control. Many years later, I did start doing some research, and I have been led to believe that there is a fail-safe built into hormonal birth control (pills and IUDs, and I believe it is possible in shots and the patch as well). I have heard of people getting pregnant while on pills or with an IUD in place, but I still believe these forms of birth control are designed to prevent implantation. It may not always prevent implantation, but I tend to think that is the exception rather than the rule. I believe that human life begins when an egg is fertilized by a sperm, even if it hasn't implanted yet. I know there would be many that disagree with me, but it is my personal belief that that is when life starts. Because I believe this way, I do not want to do anything to destroy (or cause rejection of implantation) the fertilized egg. My heart breaks that I did not know this information when I first got married, because if I did, I never would have used the pills.

The Bible is clear on how God feels about children - they are a gift and a blessing from God. The Bible doesn't say how many or how few children we are to have. I believe that the number of children you have is not an indication in and of itself of how spiritual you are. There are many examples in the Bible of believers who were barren (at least for a time), or who had one child. Take Hannah for example. She was barren for awhile before God blessed her with Samuel (and later other children as well). The Bible does not state that Hannah was living in disobedience or being punished with barrenness. Also consider Sarah, the wife of Abraham. She only had one child, Isaac. The Bible does not indicate that Sarah was judged on how much she loved God based on the number of children she had. I don't think it is a sign that you love God if you have 12 children. I don't think it is a sign that you are unspiritual if you have no children, or "just" 1 or 2. God allows some people to get pregnant very easily and have many children, and for others, He allows infertility, making it impossible, or near impossible to conceive. One of my greatest pet peeves is how some people make other people feel about the area of children. There are some that look down on couples with either no children, or 1 or 2 children and treat those couples as if something is wrong with them spiritually. But on the other hand, just as offensive is that some people look down on families with many children, and constantly make remarks about how crazy they are for having so many children.

However, as with any area of our lives, I think it is important for Christians to examine their hearts to see if they are seeking God's will in the matter of birth control. Am I surrendered to the Lord about what He wants for my life? Am I trusting Him in the area of fertility, to let Him choose the number of children I have? (Now, please do not misunderstand. I don't believe it is right for couples to have children that they honestly cannot provide and care for. But sometimes people take that too far, and say that they cannot afford kids AND the latest car, the most exotic vactions, the biggest house, etc. You know what I mean?) There have been times in our marriage where another child would have been very difficult to have because of some health problems I was having. While my heart longed for more children, we felt it best to wait until my health improved. There were other times where we were in between insurance companies, and needed to wait several months to get accepted and set up with the new company before having a child. There were other times where we worked to get our finances in order to be able to provide for another child. We decided on non-hormonal birth control during those times (when I say non-hormonal birth control, I am speaking about birth control that does not destroy or prevent implantation of a fertilized egg). I know there are those who disagree even with non-hormonal birth control, and I respect their conviction about this. We have asked the Lord for guidance about this, and continue to seek His will in this matter.

In conclusion, I want to share some links for further reading on this subject. What are your thoughts on this topic?
Link 1
Link 2
Link 3

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