Here's my birth controlled background: I first started taking some form of prescribed birth control when I was 19 years old. My husband and I were engaged and I remember looking at a list I had created on what I needed to do before the big day and on that list was, start birth control. I honestly just thought, that is what you do. You get engaged, you start birth control. Everyone would tell me how important it was to start the pill before the wedding day so that we wouldn't have to worry about the chance of ever getting pregnant. I would hear things like, "make sure you wait a few years to have fun together before kids," or "kids change everything so make sure your bank account is ready." As a young 19 year old, I listened and made the decision that the pill was the "only" option. I never was myself after that day. I had this little pill that controlled my menstrual cycle, my emotions, body type and my level of intimacy with my husband. After each one of my children I was put back on some form of birth control at my six week check up because I was told, this is what you do. Many selfish reasons make us turn to the use of birth controls and I urge you to look into your own lives, as I have, to make the choice that God has designed for us and our families.
I have always hated any prescribed birth control, which is why I have changed my mind on what type I would use so many times. I am tired of having this "thing" control my body for the last 11 years. I honestly remember the first time I heard the phrase "Natural Family Planning." I remember the chuckle that my husband and I had in the car. "That sounds nuts," we would say to each other. I mean God created sex and he created babies. What comes with sex with no protection is babies. We told each other as we have often said this phrase to each other, "we will never do that." It's amazing how God never lets things go. He has been nudging me about this for the past 11 years and so I finally decided to listen. I began to research 2 months ago because I had scheduled my yearly appointment with my OB doctor and as always I wanted to speak with him about my birth control method. I was horrified by what I found when I began to dig into the lies of birth control methods. The first group of articles I found were about how many prescribed birth control methods would allow the egg and sperm to meet but it would not be able to find a place to fertilize and so in turn, I would miscarry. I would go about my every day life and maybe just have a heavier period but really it was because I had miscarried. I was actually aborting babies. Ending a pregnancy before I would ever know I was pregnant. I was ruining the creation that God has intended. I was also reading more into the side effects of my specific birth control, an IUD. Side effects were things like, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, pelvic pain, sepsis, migrains, acne, depression and the list goes on and on. Why do we as women need to be on birth control? because we listen to the media biases? because our doctor said we should? I then started researching biblically. I wanted to dig into God's word to see what He wants as I always do when I make decisions like this. There is no verse that specifically says, birth control is bad but as I read verses that discussed faith, babies and our responsibility as Christians, I was amazed by what God revealed to me.
I think the most important thing that God revealed to me was that ultimately, I am not in control. He has also revealed to me that we should be good stewards and be responsible parents. In 1 Corinthians 6 it starts out with this: "I am allowed to do all things, but not all things are good for me to do. I am allowed to do all things but I will not let anything make me it's slave." God "allows" us to choose (free will) but He reminds us that all things are not good for me. After reading the side effects of prescribed birth control, I can't see what is good for me in that. He also wants us to not be a slave to anything. Are we not a slave to our prescribed birth control? Does it not tell us when we will have our period, when we will ovulate, etc. etc.? Paul then continues on in 1 Corinthians 6 to tell us in the beginning of verse 15, "surely you know that your bodies are parts of Christ himself." Would Christ want me to be putting something in my body that takes that control away from Him? Definitely not.
I then started to read verses that talk about the beginning of life. I was drawn to Psalm 139 that we all know so well and in verses 13-16 it says this, "You made my whole being; you formed me in my mother's body. I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know that full well. You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother's body. When I was put together there, you saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old." As I read that verse I was reminded of some of the research I found that sometimes, chemical abortions are taking place in our bodies when on birth control. I believe in life the minute that sperm and egg meet. I could be ruining God's plan as he begins to knit together and form a new life and as He writes the blueprint for this new child, I am standing behind Him erasing it all. There are times that women become pregnant while on a prescribed birth control and later have no choice but to end the pregnancy because it has turned into an ectopic pregnancy. By using Natural Family planning, if by chance, I become pregnant, we can embrace the pregnancy and know that this is God's child, a gift He has begun to form in my womb, a blessing to be loved and cared for.
When I began to ask God to show me if Natural Family Planning was the right choice for us, to be honest, I was a little scared. I was afraid that He would reveal to me that I should never delay pregnancy and that everyone is called to have a quiver full (in reference to psalm 127). Amazingly I felt that God was showing me more, the truth about Natural Family Planning. The key word in NFP is PLANNING. I found throughout my research that if done correctly and consistently, there is an 85-99% effectiveness. The same percentage as any chemical birth control. I found that there is no reason to pump my body with a chemical because God created my body perfect. He has given us as women a "work like a clock" type of body. I was actually feeling more empowered as a woman knowing how special my body is. I also was sad to think that I have never really learned how my body has actually ticked for the past 11 years. I now know when I am fertile and when to abstain from sex and use harmless forms of contraception such as condoms. I also am able to enjoy the complete intimacy with my husband without a chemical controlling my emotions and ruining our intimate bond that God describes so well in Genesis 2:25 that says, "so a man will leave his mother and father and be united with his wife, and the two will become one body." God then led me to 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 which says, "We are allowed to do all things, but not all things are good for us to do. We are allowed to do all things, but not all things help others grow stronger. Do not look out only for yourselves. Look out for the good of others as well." I read this verse reminded that God has given us free will. He allows us to make choices in life. My husband and I may decide that now is not the right time to bring another child into the world because it would not be good for our other children or spouse in our family. We don't just make this decision on our own, we bring our requests to God and He is the one who will ultimately decide. I feel at peace with the fact that after praying and pondering on the idea of another child, we truly feel like God is saying, "not now!" With NFP we can safely and biblically delay a pregnancy. We also know that ultimately God is in control and we are completely open to His plan for us. If he surprises us with a blessing that we may think, "We are not ready for this," we know that He has already written a blueprint for this child and knit them together in my womb and we will embrace the blessing that he gives us.
I would like to end with a verse from the book of psalms. I often hear this verse associated with Natural Family Planning all the time. I read this verse knowing that ultimately my heavenly Father is the one who creates life and when that happens we should rejoice in the blessing and not look at our children as a "mistake" or an "oops" but to look at this child as a child of God, a child that we have the privilege to raise as great warriors for Christ and to be the next generation of Christ followers and leaders.
Children are a gift from the Lord; babies are a reward. Children who are born to a young man are like arrows in the hand of a warrior. Happy is the man who has his bag full of arrows. They will not be defeated when they fight their enemies at the city gate.
For more information on Natural Family Planning, visit these sites below