A sweet reader asked me how Greg and I came to the conclusion to have a big family… you asked for it 🙂 so here goes!
Let me begin by saying that I realize my thoughts and opinions on this subject are controversial even among conservatives. This entry only pertains to those who are Christian because the crux of the information is based on the Bible and the truths it teaches those who will seek them. I don’t expect a non-believer to agree with me on this subject… and that’s ok. I wish I could express the agony in our journey that it took to get to this point. Agonizing because everything in the world and many times within the evangelical church as a whole are against (whether spoken or not) these truths. I am saddened to say that we have met resistance among Bible believing, conservative Christians. I say saddened because I believe that the church (therefore it’s people) have been duped by the enemy. Duped into believing the teaching of the world and the enemies minions. I warned you that I’m passionate… you may want to stop reading now… haha! So here goes…
I did what most brides-to-be have done. The month before we were to be married I visited the doctor and was prescribed “the pill”. I don’t remember the name of that pill but it’s irrelevant. It was “THE pill.” I had heard in school how birth control worked but I suppose it made no difference to me at the time. I didn’t really give it any thought since we weren’t ready for children, couldn’t afford them and besides, we wanted to enjoy one another for a while. We decided a little over a year after our marriage that it was time to have a baby. Our oldest son was born when we had just been married 2 years. I was overdue (not educated enough on inductions and such), induced and ended in a C-section due to failure to progress. Praise the Lord, we were both healthy and happy. I went back on the pill after he was born. Similar story with our first daughter… then back on the pill. I did deliver her VBAC. Then the pill. We decided at this point if I had to have another section that we would have no more children. I know many doctors will allow more sections than 2 (On OBGYN I respect greatly allowed his wife to have 4… but they only had 4 children), but based on my own convictions and those of my husband we decided 2 was it for us. I decided a more convenient birth control would be nice and decided on Depo provera. Let me just, say they made me nuts (no jokes needed here). Horrid bleeding and it put me on a wooden roller coaster of emotions. I decided NOT to continue that after about a year… I should apologize each day to my husband for that year… haha! After boy 3, I decided on an IUD. Another bad decision.
Here is where the fun begins. My precious church at that time (Florida for those of you who know us) was rich with crazo, homeschooling, conservative moms. You know the type who don’t “believe” in dating, who monitor everything that their kids watch/listen to… who are always on the look out to see if their daughter’s shirts are “raise and praise” worthy. Crazos. Several of these crazos became my dearest friends. I’m thankful to say, I joined the crazo club, haha! One of the key things the Lord taught us during this time was the fact that:
BIRTH CONTROL DOES NOT PREVENT CONCEPTION… IT PREVENTS PREGNANCY.
Let me step aside and say that in our journey I have not felt convicted that barrier methods of birth control are wrong. I don’t feel that methods such as rhythm method or natural family planning are wrong. The primary concern is when a method allows for fertilization and then prevents that life from continuing to live.
Here’s the issue (and where many conservatives will disagree… so let’s agree now to continue our friendship). How does birth control work? I will let you read it for yourself here off of PLANNED PARENTHOOD’S site. Which is, by the way, the leader in the abortion industry…you need to see it for yourself and realize who the writer is… it’s short.
Let’s flesh it out right here, right now. Birth control works on several levels:
1- You don’t release an egg… you don’t ovulate. Ok. Morally acceptable I suppose. No egg means no meeting with sperm… therefore no conception… no life. Ok. But not a guarantee continue to step 2.
2- Thicken cervical mucus. This blocks the sperm. Morally acceptable I suppose. No sperm means no meeting with the egg… therefore no conception… no life. Ok. Not a guarantee… continue to step 3.
We’re ok up until now. Think of these things as lines of defense. #1 should catch it, if not let’s look to #2… BUT if ALL else fails. We always have #3.
3- Here’s what we are missing. I’ll just quote it directly from planned parenthood:
“The hormones also thin the lining of the uterus. In theory, this could prevent pregnancy by keeping a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus”
So. this last (effective) method does not prevent the sperm from meeting with the egg… it just creates an inhospitable place for your newly joined sperm & egg to implant. The fertilized egg would then be shed from the body. Notice the careful wording, “this could prevent pregnancy.” What about conception? Does that matter? I know no better place than to look than God’s Word.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.
Even before I was born, God had chosen me to be His.
For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mothers womb… Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.
—Psalm 139:13, 16
Your hands shaped me and made me… Did You not clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews? You gave me life.
This is what the Lord says—He who made you, who formed you in the womb
Did not He who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same One form us both within our mothers?
Each and every life is of great value to God… even from the beginning of time… EVEN when that life is still a little zygote. You can read here on the Merck website about the stages of development.
We can put this information together to make the following statement:
BIRTH CONTROL DOES NOT PREVENT CONCEPTION (the beginning of life),IT ONLY PREVENTS PREGNANCY (the point at which the zygote implants… sticks to… the uterus). What do we do with the fertilized egg before it implants. Is it a life at that point? Some conservative Christians will say no. I take issue. If you believe life begins at conception, then you should take issue as well.
When does life begin? I will let you read an excerpt off of the Association of Prolife Physicians website... they have great data from a medical perspective:
According to this elementary definition of life, life begins at fertilization, when a sperm unites with an oocyte. From this moment, the being is highly organized, has the ability to acquire materials and energy, has the ability to respond to his or her environment, has the ability to adapt, and has the ability to reproduce (the cells divide, then divide again, etc., and barring pathology and pending reproductive maturity has the potential to reproduce other members of the species). Non-living things do not do these things. Even before the mother is aware that she is pregnant, a distinct, unique life has begun his or her existence inside her.
Another great perspective from The Westchester Institute:
Resolving the question of when human life begins is critical for advancing a reasoned public policy debate over abortion and human embryo research. This article considers the current scientific evidence in human embryology and addresses two central questions concerning the beginning of life: 1) in the course of sperm-egg interaction, when is a new cell formed that is distinct from either sperm or egg? and 2) is this new cell a new human organism—i.e., a new human being? Based on universally accepted scientific criteria, a new cell, the human zygote, comes into existence at the moment of sperm-egg fusion, an event that occurs in less than a second. Upon formation, the zygote immediately initiates a complex sequence of events that establish the molecular conditions required for continued embryonic development. The behavior of the zygote is radically unlike that of either sperm or egg separately and is characteristic of a human organism. Thus, the scientific evidence supports the conclusion that a zygote is a human organism and that the life of a new human being commences at a scientifically well defined “moment of conception.” This conclusion is objective, consistent with the factual evidence, and independent of any specific ethical, moral, political, or religious view of human life or of human embryos.
I also found this quote from the American Pregnancy Association curious:
“It is possible that you may not have been aware that any ethical questions existed concerning contraception. The contraceptive methods that involve the changing of the lining of the uterus to prevent implantation from occurring create an ethical or moral consideration for some people.
When contraceptive methods fail to prevent ovulation or fertilization, the changing of the uterine lining is used to prevent the fertilized egg or “life” from implanting in the uterine wall. It is this action that leaves people believing they have crossed an ethical boundary.”
You may be thinking, “This is REALLY extreme… legalistic even.” I’d probably agree. Let’s look at it from a more liberal perspective… Planned Parenthood’s perspective… NO ONE can accuse them of being too conservative or legalistic. I think most Christians would agree that we believe the “morning after” pill is unacceptable. I find it curious that the “how it works” description of the morning after pill looks familiar. I’ll just let you read it for yourself off the planned parenthood website:
The hormone in the morning-after pill works by keeping a woman’s ovaries from releasing eggs — ovulation. Pregnancy cannot happen if there is no egg to join with sperm. The hormone in the morning-after pill also prevents pregnancy by thickening a woman’s cervical mucus. The mucus blocks sperm and keeps it from joining with an egg.
Ok. Let’s run with what Planned Parenthood says… it’s not an “abortion.” So let’s look at the abortion pill itself. I’m certain we can agree an “abortion” pill is wrong. Let’s see what Planned Parenthood site says about the “how it works” of that pill.
I must point out that the final line of defense for the morning after pill, the abortion pill, and the birth control pill are all similar. This should cause us pause.
Life begins at conception. The ethical consideration does apply to evangelical Christians who believe life begins at conception. I encourage you to consider other methods of birth control that do not allow conception to occur if need be.
There are other arguments… “But we can’t afford more children.” What CAN we afford? We can afford cars, dinners out… daycare… vacations… and so on. I urge you to trust the Lord in this area. I can’t see your checkbook nor could I make my checkbook make sense with our having 6 children. I would have NEVER thought we could have supported such a large family on an educator’s & part time minister’s income. Be wise, be sacrificial, be selfless, tithe, bless others and the Lord can show you how to make your dollar stretch.
Certainly there are health factors to consider. I know of more than one woman who after having their first, second, third child that they found out they could have no more for medical reasons. There is conservative Christian literature out there that tells you to basically ignore the mother’s health. I disagree. After our last daughter was born I was still in surgery when my doctor told me that I had a weak spot on my uterus. He told me that if I had gone into labor on my own… if the baby’s head had pressed down on that spot… “It could have been tragic for both of us.” The Lord used this moment to confirm our decision to have a tubal ligation since this was our 2nd C-section. I’m so thankful He allowed me that peace of mind. In my opinion the health of the mother MUST be considered when deciding how many children she can birth.
Besides, it’s Biblical. What does God’s word say?
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
Is it hard? Yep. Are my hands full? Absolutely (but it beats being empty). Do I feel like screaming and running like ‘ole Forrest? More often than I can mention. Am I patient? No, I’m one of the least patient people I know. It’s hard… but it is so worth it! One of my most precious friends, Teresa (mom of 5), says, “With each child I had I became less selfish.” I think about that all the time (and quote you, T… I’ll stick your royalty check in the mail) It’s really true. With each child I had to be more sacrificial of my time, desires and demands and it has made me a better person. We live in a world that does not encourage sacrificial giving… even to our families. We live in a world that encourages giving from our abundance (which is good)… but I believe the Bible encourages giving even when we have nothing to give.
Here are some resources I have enjoyed on the topic:
Check out the website www.onemoresoul.com. They have great information on this topic.
Another great resource is a book by Nancy Campbell called “Be Fruitful and Multiply.” While I do not agree with everything she says, the data proves to be great food for thought.
I also really love Voddie Baucham’s sermon entitled, “Biblical Manhood.” This is another perspective on the topic of having children and the blessing they are from God. A promised blessing to the listener!
I’m curious (and angry- truth be told). Why has the evangelical church been silent? If I may be so bold, I believe it is because we have been lead like a lamb to slaughter… we’ve been that frog on the hot pot that has had his gizzard cooked because he is unaware of his surroundings. We’ve been lulled to sleep by the silence of the church. We speak of giving our entire life to Christ… we even point out our finances, our marriages… the decision of what vehicle we purchase… how to relate to difficult people… what church to attend… we say Christ should be in control of every aspect of our lives… except our uterus. Too many feel that WE control that… WE decide when we are “ready” for children… when WE can “afford” children… how many children WE feel like WE can manage (and keep our designer shoes)… Please hear the heart of my message. I do not stand in condemnation because I have used several types of birth control as mentioned above. I put off having children because we couldn’t afford them. I have had similar fears that you probably have. I don’t think we are all called to have huge families. There are many variables to consider and I’m not sure there is a cut and dry answer for all those intricacies. I do want us to think. Let’s not simply accept the way of the world, especially within the walls of the church. Search the Word. Ask yourself, better yet, ask the Lord, “When does life begin?” There is a definite answer here… it’s not one answer for me and another for you.
I know this is a touchy subject. A subject close to my heart… one I feel passionate about… one I feel we have long kept silent on. At the end of the thinking, praying and searching if I’m going to err… I’m going to err on the side of life.