Family Planning, Part 2
NOTE: This post is PG-13. If you don’t care to hear about my personal family planning choices, please read no further.
Soon after discovering that The Pill is an abortifacient, I happened to have a conversation with my pastor about birth control. “Children are a blessing from the Lord,” he exclaimed, “so why would you try to limit God’s blessings?” I had honestly never thought of family planning in such a way. Our culture certainly doesn’t see having many children as a blessing! So often I hear people maligning large families, and speaking of the parents of large families as if they don’t understand the “facts of life”. It is seen as irresponsible (oh, that carbon footprint!) to have many children. More on a theology of family planning later…
Later that week as my fiancé and I drove through the countryside, I brought up the idea of trusting God with our family size, and foregoing B.C. After much discussion, we decided it wasn’t the right plan for us at the time. With me graduating a month before our wedding, and no employment plans on the table, we knew we would need time before having a baby.
So, I began researching other options. It became clear that the only other family planning methods that would work for us would be Natural Family Planning (NFP), barrier methods, or some combination of the two (the Fertility Awareness Method, or FAM). Based on our theology of family planning, we determined that NFP was the best option for us. It allowed us to remain open to the possibility of conceiving, while also allowing us to naturally avoid pregnancy.
I began charting my fertility signs right away (in November) in preparation for our marriage in June. I won’t go into the details of how this works… but if you’d like more information on how to use NFP, I recommend the resources offered by the Couple to Couple League. Their FAQ page on NFP is here. If you’re going to use NFP, I highly recommend at least a few months of charting before actually using it to postpone pregnancy. This gives you some time to build confidence and understand your cycle.
Some pros and cons of NFP:
1. Openness to life
2. Works with the natural signs of fertility
3. No hormones/chemicals/barriers to worry about
4. Encourages communication between husband and wife
5. Encourages non-sexual affection
6. Highly effective when properly practiced
1. Abstinence during fertile times
2. Time and stress of properly charting fertility signs
We used NFP for the first 6 months of our marriage, before conceiving in December. No, my pregnancy wasn’t a mistake (nor was it a perfectly thought out and planned decision!). It was God’s perfect plan, though! At that point, we both had steady jobs, and God has been so faithful to provide all we needed.
Our dear son was born in September. Knowing that breastfeeding is not 100% effective at postponing another pregnancy, we decided to use FAM until my signs of fertility returned.
Hopefully this isn’t all way too much information. My intent is not to gross anyone out, but only to share what has worked for us in the hopes that others will be inspired to follow God’s leading in choosing a method of family planning. I am open to answering your questions, and if they are too personal to post as a comment, feel free to leave your e-mail address and I will contact you.
And alas, I am out of time and will need to cover a theology of family planning in Part 3. But in the meantime, here is one of the sites I found while researching my theology of family planning: http://www.silentvoices.org/birthcontrol.html#biblep. I think they have a great biblical perspective on birth control.