More of my thoughts on birth control

I knew that I was opening the proverbial can of worms when I started this series of posts. May I just say thank you so much for the respectful, kind and gently worded responses I received through the comments? I did not have to delete a single comment, and I was so appreciative of the manner in which even those who disagreed expressed themselves. Ya'll are the best! And on with my thoughts…

I have discussed, prayed, thought and read about this issue much over the past 4-5 years, and this is what I (and my husband) believe to be the bottom line:

The issue is one of the heart.

Not legalism, not Biblical scholarship and interpretation, not our own desires, needs or struggles. In the comments on the last post, Kimi mentioned that she believes it to be an issue of Christian liberty. I would hesitantly agree (actually, I fully agree with Kimi because of what I know of her, I just feel that I need to explain myself a little as I say this).

My hesitancy comes into play for this reason: Many Christians take their "liberty" and use it to justify their own selfish decisions.

What do I mean by this?

We (by we, I mean Christians in general) decide that we will only have 2 children (or 4 or whatever number you choose) because of the cost of children, because we think having more would be too stressful, because we want to be finished with child bearing and have our children move into school age, because we want to get back to pursuing our career, because we want to be able to afford nicer homes and clothes and cars, because we find pregnancy uncomfortable and inconvenient, and so on…

Though we are having children and proclaiming them to be a blessings, a gift, a legacy (again, most Christians), some of our motivations (if evaluated honestly) may suggest that we believe them to be a blessing only as long as we have some say in the matter, and things go according to our plans.

But what if we conceive an "oops" Baby #4, and that baby turns out to be twins? Are those babies then any less of a blessing than were Babies #1, 2 and 3? Is their existence any less ordained by God, and therefore absolutely perfect and good in every way?

Conversely, the opposite can also be true. Our wicked hearts can turn what started as submission and a willingness to trust God and His plans for our families into a competition for numbers, a source of pride and self-righteousness in our hearts, and ultimately, having children can become an issue of idolatry.

This is a struggle I know full well. After giving up my plans (supposedly) to accept any child as a blessing, how often I try to take back that position of being the one who controls my own destiny. I become anxious, jealous and discontent when my "quiver" does not fill up as quickly as I would like (or as quickly as my neighbor's!).

At it's root, this issue is not about whether we have 1 child or 17 children, but it is about having a heart at rest in the absolutely good and perfect and sovereign will of God.

Do I believe it can ever be appropriate to use birth control? It may surprise you to hear me answer yes.

Occasionally, there are circumstances when it might be wisdom to take a break or potentially even close the door. A few scenarios come to mind. When the mother or father is going through severe illness. When a mother has had multiple difficult or very closely-spaced pregnancies and needs to be able to physically recover and replenish her body for the sake of both her own health and that of future children. Perhaps during a period of unemployment, when medical insurance is not available. Or in a situation of physical and/or sexual abuse. (These are just examples, not an exhaustive list, and I would say that one should not necessarily use birth control in these situations, only that I would think of these as examples of situations where it might be considered.)

In fact, this past year, my husband and I actually spent 6 months on birth control, despite our eager desire to welcome any children the Lord had for us. The reason was that both during and immediately after chemotherapy (as my husband went through cancer treatments for lymphoma, now in remission), it is highly likely to conceive a child with severe birth defects.

Though torn, through prayer and wise counsel, we opted to use a non-abortive method of birth control to prevent conception, knowing that if it occurred despite our efforts, we would trust in God's sovereignty and accept even a seriously ill child as a blessing from His hand. I also believe that God could have given us faith and peace to not use birth control, and trust Him with the outcome regardless, as I have heard many stories of God's miraculous provision and healing in scenarios such as the ones I just listed above.

I think the main question we need to ask ourselves in all of this is "What are our heart attitudes? What are our motivations? Are we fearful? Selfish? Proud? In who or what are we trusting in? Can we make this decision in faith?"

These are the questions that I must continually ask myself, as I walk out the decisions that we have made, and also as I am in relationship with others around me who may have different convictions on the subject. My role is not to be in judgment or condemnation of others, but it is most certainly to be encouraging, strengthening, challenging and sharpening my fellow sisters and brothers in Christ, as we all seek to bring God glory through the way we live our lives.

I know there are many strong thoughts and feelings on this subject, and I know that I have not covered every angle. Many of you mentioned specific types of birth control, which I didn't really address (short answer- only non-abortive forms are acceptable, such as barrier methods or Natural Family Planning). There are health issues to consider (any type of hormone-based birth control is a very bad idea, and is extremely harmful to your body).

There you have it. My stance, as humbly and carefully and honestly as I can attempt to share it (and trust me, I'm sure that my attempt was not without weakness and flaw!). I hope that, if nothing else, it encourages you to examine your own heart and invite God to speak to and lead your family, no matter what the outcome of that process may be. Blessings on you and your families!

Once again, I appreciate your respectful and polite opinions and comments. Thanks for allowing this to be a forum for challenging discussion, and not tearing others down! ๐Ÿ™‚

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34 Comments

  1. Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for a while but this is my first comment. I just wanted to thank you for such a clear, kind post that seems to take the best of the “quiverful” ideas and the “responsible childbearing” ideas and combine them. I’ve never been comfortable thinking that children are accessories to my life, to be fit in around the edges like a spa appointment, but on the other hand I haven’t been comfortable with the extreme quiverful idea that ANY birth control, even NFP, is evil and sinful and that you’re less of a Christian if you don’t have twenty children.

    May I say that if anyone is considering hormonal birth control, I advise against it. Being naieve, I was on it for the first 6 months of my marriage. We were surprised and very disappointed to learn after going off it that the Pill can damage some women’s fertility. It damaged mine to the point that we tried for 10 months before we were able to achieve a pregnancy. It is my belief that the medical side effects of hormonal birth control are not adequately presented to consumers because of the political ramifications of the medication. I do not actually think hormonal BC is a sin, but I think it’s unwise and used far too frequently.

    For us, NFP is working excellently well. We are now expecting our second blessing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I think this has to be one of the best posts on birth control I’ve ever read. Thanks for sharing such a personal story and putting such a well though out post out there. I too believe that there can be circumstances to use a form of non-abortive family planning, but you are so right in questioning our motives. To often these days it seems the decision made is for selfish reasons.
    Well done!

  3. I think that you are right in calling this a heart issue. Personally, my husband and I don’t practice any method of birth control. We are letting God do as He wants with our family. However, I know that only in the last 6 months, have I really been okay with that. Meaning, I am at a point where I can honestly say that God is good whether He blesses us with many more children, or with just our daughter. I think that we (some Christians) are pushed to want to have as many children as we can (at least that is the circle that I find myself running in). However, is it really all that bad if you only have one child? Does God not know far better than me whether my daughter is more than enough for me? Should I not be content with a little, or with a lot? So, yes, this is a heart issue. On another note, I know that my husband and I have agreed that once we do reach a certain point, we will actively begin praying for more direction on having children. Example: if we reach, say, 5 kids, at that point we will begin actively praying about following a natural form of birth control. The reason for this, is that we (as a family) believe that in order for us to be effective for God’s kingdom and to be actively working in the lives of others (especially through outward service), we need to understand our limitations. That might sounds weird, or have come out wrong, but, I am not sure that my husband would be able to give as much as he does to our church if we had, say 10 children. And since we both feel that God has called him to currently lead and one day pastor a church, we think that God has also called us to know our limitations. So, once we reach a point, we will then start leaning more towards nature birth control (i.e. family planning); realizing that while we are not taking drastic measures to prevent a pregnancy (through the pill or even barrier methods), we are using my God given method of a menstrual cycle. And if we get pregnant, than Praise God. And if we don’t, than Praise God.

  4. I don’t mean to be argumentative or anything, I am honestly confused and wanted to clarify. As a victim of child abuse, I am baffled that child abuse/molestation/rape would be included as a possible time to use birth control. Using the example that was used before where the mom was selling her daughter into prostitution. Why was the girl allowed to live with her mother? It is quite possible that that girl will never be able to get out of prostitution and that it will be difficult for her to believe in God and that He loves her, especially if someone who was trying to minister to her was a known Christian and didn’t get her out of the situation. Maybe I’m completely missing something, and if I am, please correct me. I do not think that birth control is a solution to child abuse. If someone knows enough about her abuse to know that she needs birth control, then they know enough to do something about it that will really help her.

  5. Hannah, the reason I included abuse as a reason for possibly using birth control is that, for instance, if a woman is being beaten and abused by her husband, her primary focus needs to be on finding a safe place for herself and any children she might already have. At that point, becoming pregnant could add to what is already an extremely stressful situation in her life, and certainly a time of trial for her marriage. Not to mention the concern of being abused while pregnant, and the presence of another little one to try to keep safe in an already dangerous situation.

    That said, if she were to become pregnant anyways, that child would be no less of a blessing than any other child! I believe wholeheartedly that any child conceived, whether through abuse, rape, fornication, incest, etc. is absolutely, always a blessing and that God has a purpose for that child’s life!

    And yes, as Christian we always have a responsibility to care for those that we know about in dangerous and threatening situations, such as the daughter being sold into prostitution. It is more of a priority to meet the needs of that mother and daughter and to share Christ with them than to say that birth control would be the answer, because it isn’t.

    Thanks for the thoughtful questions and comment, Hannah!

  6. I am no longer surprised to see yet another issue that God has been addressing in my heart come to the forefront. This is a conversation my husband and I have been having a lot.

    With three children (my oldest just turned 5) I have now reached my “number”. By that I mean the number I HAVE chosen for myself. Through the last year God has been graciously guiding us on a journey of truly understanding what it means to serve him with our whole hearts and our whole lives. For us this means looking at each decision we make and seeing if we are making this decision out of a desire to serve God or a desire to serve ourselves.

    One thing I have learned about myself is that even though I was raised in a Christian home I am amazed at how much of the “world” has crept into my way of thinking. I’ve heard Christian families limit their child for reasons as small as making things “even” for a family trip to Disneyland or even so you can have more free time after the children are grown. The conclusion my husband and I have come to is this: raising up godly children is a labor that is going to reap a generational inheritance for them and for us. We are shooting our “arrows” into the future and well after we are gone these arrows of ours, if we have sought God wholeheartedly while raising them, will be capable of doing powerful damage to the enemy.

    I am continuing to ask God to challenge me view His Purpose for my life and not my own shortsighted one. My own often is limited to laundry and a busy weekend and returning emails and and endless list of “to-dos”. God’s is so much bigger and I read a quote recently that said that God will not call us to conflicting purposes. He won’t call us to have a large family yet not equip us to serve that family. I think that often it is we ourselves that have structured our lives to prevent ourselves from feeling blessed with more than an “average” amount of children.

    Thank you for the thought-provoking post. I think we should all be encouraged to evaluate ourselves (rather than others) and seek God truly when it comes to the issue of birth control.

    On a last note, and I pray this doesn’t come across as an inflammatory comment, only something that has been on my heart that I feel convicted about – but my husband and I will only be using barrier methods or natural family planning from here on out because I feel that even the slight potential of having my birth control end the life of even the tiniest babies of mine is too much. When I get to heaven I want to see the little child that I lost to a miscarriage when I was 7 weeks along and I want to make sure that there are no other unknown babies waiting for me that weren’t allowed to flourish in my womb because of a “statistically irrevelant” chance. This is a very personal decision for me and my husband and not one that I judge others for not making, but one that I encourage every Christian couple to pray about. The Holy Spirit will do the rest…

  7. Good post, Stephanie. I have to say I agree with just about everything you said. We (my husband and I) are still praying about our situation. We currently have 6 children and I think that I am going to need a little space in between this new one and the next one. It’s nice to hear others say there’s nothing wrong with NFP or barrier methods. My motive for wanting more is that I just want to be in God’s will. My big concern is, can I handle 10 if that’s what I get? I am always afraid I am not doing the best job (especially with the time required with a newborn and at the end of pregnancy) with the blessings I have. You know what I mean? Anyways, thanks for posting. I appreciated the comments as well.

  8. I am thankful that you are able to post on this topic and that your reader can be kind to each other in it. I have seen other sites (Christian ones) where people get nasty and I just don’t understand it! I am glad that you have taken the time to post because we all know that there are many of us who are trying to figure this out in our walkd with the Lord.

    God 1st guided me to stop using the pill when I voluteered at a Christian Pregnancy Center. From there He taught me the true value of His tiny creations and His soveriegnty. We had our 4th 10 months ago (this was MY number) and although I logistically (oy! the daipers! lol!) would like to be finished, I keep thinking about having more.

    Others find it odd that I haven’t asked my dh to have surgery or done so myself! But again – I agree with you that this is a matter of the heart. I feel that more kids would overwhelm me, but I have seen time and again in my life how God uses what I would find difficult to grow me and bless me. So if He would like to do that with more children, then I am learning to be open for that possibility. I do not want to shut the door to what God would have for us for the sake of trying to recover my tummy or to move on with my life – we will get there soon enough, right? ๐Ÿ˜€
    Thanks again for your thoughts!

  9. Thank you so much for being so brave as to address this issue. I have wrestled with this in my own mind for some time now.

    My husband and I lived through ten years (exactly!) of infertility before our three adopted sibs were placed in our home.

    Now each and every month I ask myself… Self, should we be on birth control? Can I imagine having an infant in our current living situation? (Adopted sibs are now 7, 7 and 6) I WANT a baby, but is it the best thing for our family right now? My body is older and not extremely healthy. Would I be wise to just ‘forget’ it and go on birth control?

    My husband is as wishy washy as I am…we don’t want to ‘close the door’ on the idea of another child. But somehow we just do not see how we could have another child.

    At any rate, I was very glad to read your post and it gave me something to think about again this evening! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Traci

  10. Oh, Stephanie… reading this was soooo timely. After my comment on your last BC post (you know, the one where I mentioned being frightened of getting pregnant again due to the hemorrhaging after the birth of my 7 month old)… well, on Tuesday night this week, my dh and I learned we are expecting again! (our 6th)

    I was completely unthrilled with the idea at first. I didn’t think Busker (the 7 month old) is old enough to be a big brother, he’s still so young. We can’t fit in this apartment with another child, and now have to look for a bigger place to live. We are going to see a house in our town that is for rent. The rent will be significantly more a month than we are paying now, but it is the least expensive house in our town. We have 3 older children who are in the school system (and will be for the next 7 years). After crying and commiserating, my husband and I did the only thing we could do…

    We prayed. Hard. We went to Our Lord and told him we need a bigger home, for my husband to get a music directing job in our area (which would entail nights and weekends, which would enable him to still be caring for our babies – as my job as teacher is the one with benefits), and an EASY pregnancy (I have to work, and was completely debilitated with morning sickness last time, which was thankfully during summer vacation) with no trauma either during the pregnancy, labor, birth or afterwards.

    The next day dh got an email from a parish he didn’t even remember applying to, and he has an “interdition” on the 16th of the month. While it is not a full time position, it would pay enough for us to afford that house. Prayers would be appreciated!

    We have adjusted to the idea, and are getting excited. We’ve already picked out names. Picked them out the night I suspected, actually, and we were sleepily discussing it. They were amazingly easy to come up with. We think our baby is a girl.

    Oh, and just in case anyone visits my blog… we’re not letting the cat out of the bag just yet – so if you want to leave a comment on my blog (which I should get a post on to, but I’m still reeling from Back to School), please don’t mention it there, ok? ๐Ÿ˜€ There are those in our families who would be far less than pleased to find out, and we’re not ready to deal with their negativity.

  11. Very interesting and well said. Like I said before, I know many families (in our own church and others) that believe very similar to you. Personally, I am not at a place (and doubt I ever will be, to be honest) to have many children. Of course this “many” number is different for each person- for me its more than say 3 or 4. At least with my current thinking. I am aware that even people who practice no birth control at all can end up with 1 or 2 children. But I do know of many families with 7, 8, 9, or more. Personally, I can’t even imagine that. To be completely honest, I wonder how I will handle two. I have talked to moms with 7, 8 etc. and they say they feel the same way, but sometimes I don’t think they mean it in the same way I do. I have a lot of problems with depression and anxiety, and I honestly believe (as does my husband) that I should not have more than 3 or 4 children, and that I couldn’t handle having them really close together, either. So we practice NFP and a barrier method. I would totally welcome and love any child that came about even if I was “done” my number and it happened anyways. Of course I would. But I’ve often been very hurt (though not by your posts, don’t worry!) by women who do have large families telling me I need more faith, more trust, more whatever…that God will supply the help. Maybe I really do need more faith. But it is not something I choose to have less of, of course! I guess I am trying to say that I am trying to make the wisest decision so that I can do a great job of raising the children that I have/hope to have. Not saying that women with 8, 9, etc. aren’t also wanting to do the same thing (and I have yet to find a family who has lots of kids who isn’t doing a great job) but for me, I can’t do it. If that even makes sense. I do try to have “more faith” or whatever but I still don’t understand the comments I get about that.

    Thank you for dealing with this topic so gently and wisely. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. I was the one who posted about the girl being sold into prostitution before, and I really, truly appreciate all the thoughtful comments on it. I was able to see some new viewpoints, which is always really valuable. As far as why the girl wasn’t helped, there is sometimes nothing you can do if you can’t “prove” anything, as in this case. Though the teachers all were fairly certain of what was going on, the state limits what they can do unless they can get the child to tell them or can find some kind of physical evidence that would give them reason to search the house or do some sort of investigation. Just having talked to the mom, heard the girl talk about her mom’s lifestyle and drug habits to her friends, and knowing that she lives in a hotel do not give them enough “evidence” – and when they questioned her about things she said, she said she was just “joking”.

    They also knew that the police would pick her up under bridges every so often, and once in another state, but she always claimed that she “ran away” even though there were clues that her mom was involved (like her mom lying about where she was when she was absent from school, etc.) The police were at the school constantly, the teachers would stop by the hotel where she lived, everyone was doing everything they could think of to figure out a way to get her out of the situation, but it’s not that easy. Before the school year was up, her mom had taken her and moved with no further info – just gone one day.

    It’s a really complicated situation, and they almost always are. Often the parents don’t even know about abuse going on with their kids because they are high all the time and there are people in and out of the house, but the kids don’t usually tell anyone for many reasons.

    Anyway, I do feel that first and foremost our job as Christians is to minister to those children who are in harmful situations – in whatever way we can. The teachers did their best to connect with this girl and earn her trust so that she would call when she needed help, but there are also boundaries there for the teacher/student relationship that are frustrating and once the child disappears there is no way to find them unless they want to be found.

    I appreciated hearing from the woman who was the child of someone out of that kind of situation. When I wrote my post I wasn’t actually thinking of birth control vs. having the child, so much as birth control vs. abortion (though I understand the point that they may be one and the same for certain kinds of bc). I personally do feel that God has a plan for every single person’s life and that it doesn’t matter where you come from. We are in the process of adopting and I certainly feel that my son has as much a place in this world, and is just as loved as the rest of us, regardless of his birth mother’s history.

    I guess I still think that some form of birth control is still preferable if a young girl can’t get out of an abusive sexual situation. I just have a hard time thinking that it would be better to have abortions – and that’s so often what ends up happening. Keeping the baby is obviously the best-case scenario but I just know that it isn’t what usually happens so it seems that bc would be better . . . but I am keeping my mind open because I know that there is a lot more to learn . . .

  13. This is a good and well thought out post, Stephanie. I was on hormonal birth control for two years but stopped taking it in January due to some negative physical effects. It wasn’t until after I went off of it that I learned how it actually works. That was enough for me to decide to never go back to it again. My husband and I used a barrier method for a few months but then decided to just let God have control. Two weeks later we found out that we are expecting our first! After this child is born I believe we will go back to either a barrier method of NFP. We want several children, but we feel that God wants us to adopt, so that leaves us questioning how many biological children we should have. I agree that this is a heart issue and one that should be resolved between and couple and God.

  14. Thanks so much for handling the issue so carefully because it is one so charged with emotions. I have been married for two years and have been on the pill since I was 19 (my dermatologist put me on it) and never thought much about it because it doesn’t have any bad side effects for me. For about a year now I have been torn by that decision. My husband wants to wait for another 2 years before we start trying and for me to stay on the pill. It feels like all the reasons for that choice are selfish: so we can travel, have more money, buy a house etc. He loves children and is so excited but just wants to wait. No one told me how much I could want a baby and be devastated that I am still on the pill. I feel like I am torn between honoring God and my husband. I have been praying for the Lord to change his heart but it just seems to be something that we as women think of much more often than men.

    1. @Andrea, I found it hard to believe that there weren’t more comments like yours. I think it is beyond wonderful that there are so many *couples* looking into this topic, but I’m quite sure that for every couple doing this there are 5 *wives* who feel this way but whose husbands do not see it this way.

      While I understand feeling torn between honoring God or honoring your husband, in this instance (as in most) to honor your husband is to honor God. Look at John 1:13; God understands that this is ultimately a husband’s decision. God sees your heart of wanting to please him, and he sees your husband’s fears as well as his desires to be the best dad he can be. He can change your husband’s heart, as you know, or He can overrule your husband’s decision, or He can let your husband choose. If that is what He allows, you can rest assured He will use it for good in both your life and for His glory.

      1. While I agree with your comment “to honor your husband is to honor God” I must take issue with a fundamental truth of Scripture. God says, “Thou shalt not murder”. If the pill (or any other means of avoiding conception) causes the possible death of a human life (and it does) then it is murder even if your husband tells you to. Would you agree with a wife robbing a bank if her husband ordered her to? Would it be honoring to God if my husband commanded me to ‘spice up our love life’ by inviting another woman into our marriage bed? Remember Daniel’s response to a sinful command by his authority: respectful noncompliance. May I humble submit that a wife still has a choice to sin or not sin even if she is commanded by her husband to sin. Think back to Ananias & Sapphira. Acts 5:1-11 tells us of the judgement of God on a wife who followed her husband’s commands to lie. It is unwise and an affront to a Holy God to ‘deny Christ’ so as to avoid negative consequences in the face of a sinful command.

        1. I agree Dawn with your opinion about the pill. But I think there is maybe a better way to submit to your husband without offending God. A compromise might be explaining to your husband why you are making a decision to get off the pill and then also respecting his decision to prevent pregnancy with other means such as NFP. Communication is key.

  15. Hey thank you so much for this very balanced post! My husband and I do try to achieve a sort of balance between the “quiverfull” idea and the “responsible childbearing” idea. Thank you so much! I have been following your blog now for a while and I can say it is always an encouragement;-) btw-any posts on canning or preserving coming up at all? just curious^_^

  16. I have really enjoyed reading this post and the comments following. I actually just found this blog today! About birth control, I have been going back and forth about what to do. My husband and I are seriously debating him getting “fixed”, but I am not completely at peace with that decision. Yet I know that my body is tired! I currently have a 4, 3, 2, and 9 month old. I know that God gives us common sense and wisdom for a reason, and expects us to use them! I guess I mean that for people like me, if I don’t use anything, I WILL get pregnant! I guess I should be seeking him more about more children in the future and use other methods to prevent it now. We also feel called to adopt, but feel we should wait until ours are a bit older. Honestly, my hands are full right now, and I feel that I am so stretched that I wouldn’t be a good mother to any of them if I have any more at this point. Does that make sense? Sorry to ramble on ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Hi,I was looking for a Nourishing Traditions recipe and I came across this thread. I am impressed with the manner that everyone has conducted themselves because I have seen conversations get very ugly on this topic.

    I am an NFP teacher. I can attest from personal experience that when one has a serious need to postpone or avoid pregnancy, abstinence brings many spiritual blessings!:) The concept of abstinence is totally foreign to our culture today. Even Christians can be affected by our culture’s assumption that we are entitled to sex, food, entertainment, etc. anytime we desire. (I, for one, used to think this way.) This is simply not true. Abstinence can be very difficult at times, however, the ease or difficulty of abstinence is generally proportional to the degree of seriousness to avoid or postpone pregnancy. The more serious the need to avoid pregnancy (in general), the easier it becomes to abstain.

    Contraception, including barrier methods, says, “I take you for the better (sexual pleasure), but not for the imagined worse of another pregnancy.” Contraception is conditional. It says, “I accept this part of you, but not that part of you.” Natural Family Planning says, “I love you and I will forego this pleasure for a greater cause (health and well-being of spouse, family, dire financial situation, etc.”

    Couples who abstain from sexual union rather than contracept learn to show their love in other non-genital ways. This strengthens the marriage and can form in each spouse the fruits of the Spirit: patience, self-control, charity, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, and chastity. These are the same virtues that are required for a life-long, happy marriage.

    The longest we have had to abstain completely was 3 months straight. I was breastfeeding our 4th child and my fertility was due to return @ 14 months after the birth of our son. My fertility signs were ambiguous so we abstained until I got my periods back which totalled @ 3 months. Honestly, the long abstinence was difficult but bearable because we had prayed about it and felt that we needed to “take a little break.” Two of our four children were subsequently diagnosed with chronic illnesses. So, we see that God, in His wisdom, guided us.

  18. I too have struggled with this issue for a number of reasons. Using birth control is such a personal issue and one that Christian women are rarely educated about. After 9 months of what can only be described as being “on my death bed” I gave birth to a healthy, beautiful baby girl who is now 7 months old. I was almost hospitalized for hyperemesis at 12 weeks for dehydration and weight loss, but praise God my baby was unharmed and incredibly healthy! We prayed about it and felt it was only right to delay having another child, knowing that I may be just as sick with the next pregnancy. I want to be able to be the mother that Johanna needs me to be, to breastfeed and sustain her, and I’m thankful I have the option to do that. I’m so glad you touched on this issue.

  19. This is an issue my husband and I have been discussing lately…. We have been of the pill for about a year. I have not ever really thought it was a good idea…However I have not been covered by insurance for a year, and I require a cesarean to give birth. I would love to, (and we are trying to find a way to) have another child…but financially that just doesn’t seem possible right now. That was the reasoning behind out choice a year age to use the pill. Now, however I am trying to find another, more natural way to practice birth control until a time when we feel led to grow our family. All that to say, thank you for your post and for your thoughts!

  20. Just discovered your blog and am excited about the topics I’ve found so far! I just added a blurb on my blog about birth control. Though I was on the pill, ring, patch for a few years at the beginning of my marriage, I felt HORRIBLE on all of them and couldn’t wait to start our family so I could get off of them. About that time, I discovered the Fertility Awareness Method. I used it to GET pregnant and then after having my first child, to avoid pregnancy for a few months and then to get pregnant again for the second time. It’s a completely natural method that is highly effective. Just takes some time to get to know your body and pay attention to your signals, which I really enjoyed as a means of understanding the fearfully and wonderfully way God has made women! Things we’re not taught in school…..Anyway, there is a book that I read by Toni Weschler called “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” and she also has a very informative website: http://www.tcoyf.com. I’d highly HIGHLY recommend it for those looking to get pregnant/ not get pregnant, or just as a way to understand your body better.

    1. I discovered that book a few months ago and it was a very informative read! I was on the pill for about a decade for various reasons (none of which was actually birth control until getting married 3 years ago) and – big surprise – couldn’t get pregnant when I came off of it. We tried for almost a year but my body just couldn’t get the hormone levels figured out and all my cycles were anovulatory and irregular (my shortest was 35 days and longest was 59 days). My OBGYN ran some tests and though I was a little hesitant at first, recommended a short-term prescription for some steroids to bring down the unusually high levels of DHEAS (an androgen) that were preventing me from ovulating. 3 months later (just a few weeks after reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility) I was just starting to chart my fertility signs and noticed that maybe we had a chance. We took it, and I am expecting our first (due in September), at long last! ๐Ÿ™‚ We feel so blessed to have this opportunity! I definitely think that natural is the best way to go if you can – but in my case we needed a little nudge to get things going. After the crazy effect it had on my body I am never going back on hormonal birth control and plan to use the Fertility Awareness Method for any future birth control needs and for future pregnancy achievement.

  21. I appreciate your sensitive and thoughtful expression of your views on birth control. I have to take issue, however, with your statement that “any kind of hormonal birth control is a very bad idea.” For most women, I would say that’s a true statement.

    There are women, however, with serious, hormone-related medical conditions (e.g., polycystic ovarian syndrome or severe endometriosis) that impair fertility and may even cripple their ability to function on a daily basis. God heals some of these women miraculously, and others can find healing through natural methods; for the rest, The Pill is the best medical treatment available. Their bodies are unable to produce a balanced mix of reproductive hormones, and The Pill fills in the gaps–much like Synthroid does for someone with hypothyroidism.

    So, while I agree with your reasons for not using The Pill purely as birth control, I recognize (and try to help others recognize) that there are women who need it for medical reasons and deserve our compassion and support, not criticism.

    1. @Kathryn, My sister is an example of someone who went on the birth control pill because of severe, recurring ovarian cysts, and it made them go away. She was only 13 when she went on the pill and she was on it for a well over a decade. She definitely has some significant health problems today, and I don’t think the pill is a healthy choice for women when it can be avoided, but at the time there was no alternative for her problem (which was very, very painful).

  22. Hello, Stephanie! I have spent a while today on your blog for the first time. I’m not even sure how I found you, but I’m glad I did! I was updating my “God Knits” blog and spotted your posts on PCOS–a subject I know nothing about (I’m planning a post on it soon, as several of my friends struggle with it). I’m a “fertility nut” and just starting out with sharing my stories and offering support to women. I have read several of your posts and I am deeply moved and impressed. Your wisdom and discernment is obvious and i am thrilled that I won’t have to “reinvent the wheel” on some very tricky topics. I’ll just link right to you!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for your honesty and your kind heart–what a blessing!!

    1. @Tabitha, Welcome, Tabitha! I’m glad you found something that was useful for you. It’s awesome that you want to write on PCOS. It’s a very important topic for a lot of women. I’m sure that it will be a blessing to others! I like that you’re a “fertility nut”. Great term. ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Hi, I agree with most of the things you have said. ๐Ÿ™‚ I may have read too quickly but I don’t think you have mentioned adoption at all. We plan to adopt our future children. We feel the call is from God. There are plenty of children in this world who need to know love, for us our view is why would we create more just to have more?
    Also I think you should have mentioned that some parents just have a harder time parenting. In that instance I think they should limit the number of children they have in order to parent those they do have more lovingly.

  24. Or how about logic? Logic is always a good basis for decisions. Where did the ability to control our reproduction in order to avoid death, disability, poverty, and strife come from? Satan? I think not. Let’s stop ascribing all manner of directives as being from God when we all know how babies are made. We should be grateful to have some measure of control over our bodies, as opposed to the way women in 3rd world countries often suffer.

  25. This was a very courageous article to post. I have read most of the comments to find out what intelligent remarks others had to leave. Hopefully to find Biblical back up, assuming these are christians that read the Bible.
    Is God Soveriegn? YES! Is God the “birth controller”? YES! This issue of having children is only an issue because “man” is a selfish sinner. When we use population control it effects our conscience and our soul. Is scripture sufficient? God gave us all the same word. It’s not for us to give exceptions to make people feel better. God takes the veil from our eyes on different topics at different times. He is a patient, merciful God. ROMANS12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

  26. I just happened across your blog on Pinterest, and have enjoyed everything I have read so far! I especially appreciate your sensitive, transparent thoughts on birth control. My husband and I have felt a calling towards God directed child bearing since even before we were married, and had decided to use no birth control beginning with our wedding night! : ) I feel very strongly that the modern American culture is so selfishly focused that children are too often viewed as a burden or interference with life, when in fact God provides children to be blessings and enrichment to our lives. HOWEVER, my husband and I are now thinking and praying long and hard about natural family planning methods, as I am due with our fourth blessing in four years in a couple of months. (and we have only been married a little over 4 years!) With a 3 yr old, 2 yr old, 14 month old and soon to be newborn, I find myself so physically and emotionally exhausted sometimes that any kind of birth control does seem so tempting! I appreciated your description of birth control being a “heart” matter, where God can clearly see a person’s heart and intent when approaching this subject, and that makes a difference. My husband and I are recognizing that perhaps God has provided a natural way to control the amount of children a couple has. A few other thoughts: I feel that hormonal birth control of any kind is NOT good for a woman’s body, and have experienced protection from God in His wisdom for me not to go on hormonal birth control of any kind. In the words of my OBGYN, “any doctor would be crazy to put you on hormonal birth control with your family history of breast cancer”. My mother died at age 27 of breast cancer, and while my knowledge of factual links between breast cancer and hormonal birth control is very limited, the mere presence of ANY possible link is enough for me to praise God for His protection in this matter. Also, my husband and I have talked and prayed extensively in this matter of natural birth control, and we have reached a tentative conclusion that by using a woman’s natural cycle to control pregnancy, a couple has to sacrifice much of their own selfish desires through partial or total abstinence for a time period. I feel that perhaps God provided this as a way for humans to control their pregnancies in an unselfish way. By using hormonal or other birth control methods, a couple is taking an easy route that prevents the societal percieved “burdens” of children, while still providing the couple with sexual gratification that they desire. Does that make sense? As I said before, my husband and I are still deep in the process of praying about this specific issue, and are waiting to hear a definitive answer from Him.
    Thanks so much for your thought provoking post, and may I congratulate all of the commenters on here that have avoided any sort of judgemental or unkind comments- from both sides of the issue!

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