1.23.2011

Birth Control: how having a baby changed my opinion

Imagine this: one day, someone very dear to you comes up one day, and says, "Look! I have a gift for you!" You take one look at it and say, "I don't want it. Give it to me later." But it doesn't stop there. You glue up your mailbox so he can't mail it, and you purposely time things so that you avoid opportunities to receive it. You arm yourself with chemicals that will destroy that gift, should it come near. You also load up on excuses, like, "I can't afford the upkeep on your present." "First, I want to do XYZ before I enjoy your gift." "What if I'm not a good recipient?" Then, one day, maybe years later, you call your friend up and tell him you will accept his present now. You open it up, and OMG!!!!! It is the best thing that has ever happened to you in your life!!!!! You sit there, holding your gift, and think to yourself, Why on earth didn't I accept this gift sooner?


This was my experience with birth control.


It was all too easy for me to spout off, "CHILDREN ARE A GIFT OF THE LORD, PSALM ONE-TWENTY-SEVEN THREE!" and "GOD PROVIDES!" But you know what? We delayed starting a family mainly out of fear. What if I can't finish school? What if we have to move? What if insurance doesn't cover the birth? (it didn't, and we lived to tell about it) What if? What if? What if? We practiced NFP, which is by far the least aggressive way to control fertility, but the truth remains: we actively avoided pregnancy for nearly two years.

Now, on the other side of things, I tremble a little to see what we did. It's easy to deny life to a theoretical baby, but now that I see he is a real, breathing child with a little personality and a unique face, I realize that we were playing god with a human life.






We were also in effect telling God, "We know best when we should receive our blessings." I'm not going to lie; having a baby is AWESOME. Baby D is a sweet little person who has stretched me in a zillion ways and provided so many smiles and wow moments. Now, when Baby D looks at me and just breaks out into the biggest, happiest grin that says, "You're the world to me!" the thought hits me between the eyes: I actually purposely cheated myself out of this blessing for years?


Choosing to be open to life is a SCARY thing. Even with all the NICU drama and the financial woes, the most terrifying part of this parenthood journey has been choosing to leave our fertility to God. Actually, do you know the catalyst for our change of heart? It was realizing that material happiness might be a long time coming for us. Buying a house, traveling the world, completely repaying student loans, owning a car with a working gas gauge (LOL!)-- it could take years for all that to happen, if they happen at all. So why lose this decade, always looking ahead to when things will get better-- when we can have what really matters and enjoy the time that we are in right now?


So now, I'm trying to figure out where this leaves us. There are signs that my fertility might be returning soon (thanks for nothing, Ecological Breastfeeding! Hmph.), so I have to take a long, hard look at where we go from here. All I know is, even after actually knowing all the pain and work that children bring, I am even less sympathetic to the desire to avoid creating a human being than before.

5 comments:

  1. I like this post. You are so absolutely right! I like that even when we think we have control over our fertility, we really don't...nothing is 100% infallible. I am struggling with this same topic because I had such terrible post-partum depression with Clara, but God is good and will provide for financial needs as well as emotional needs!

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  2. As another young married still working on schooling, I can totally relate to the "we want kinds but we're not ready" line of thinking. You've given me a lot to think and pray about. Thanks.

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  3. Great post. I can totally relate to worrying that we were postponing our baby for less than ideal reasons. I want to comment more, but am typing this one-handed with a hungry baby in the other hand, so suffice to say, it's nice knowing I'm not alone!

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  4. Amen! DH and I went through the same thing after my first. Deciding to stop avoiding conception was great for our marriage too!

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