Hey, if you're voting for me...thanks SO much! We're still hangin' in there at 3rd place, and it's your votes that are keeping us there! Remember, you can vote once each day until October 3rd! To vote, simply clink the button above and once you reach the website simply scroll down until you see Toddlers, Teens and In-Betweens...then click the vote button! It won't let you vote more than once in 24 hours, so you have to kind of time it the same each day ;D
So, my thoughts on birth control.....
I decided to do this post because I've received more than a few emails in recent weeks asking me for my opinion on the subject. And although I've talked about it briefly in different posts, I've never really summed up my thoughts in one concise way.
Before I say anything else, let me first say that while I believe strongly that children are a gift and a blessing, I do not believe that what works for me and my family will work for everyone. The truth is, not everyone is meant to have a large family! I do, however, believe that it is most definitely an issue of prayer for each and every family.
Do I advocate against birth control?
As I said before, that issue is one that I firmly believe comes down to you, your spouse and God. It's going to be different for everyone.
Was I always against birth control for myself?
In fact, I've actually used several different forms of birth control over the past 20 years, to include the pill. Would I use it now....
Well, let me give you a little background. My husband and I married when I was just 20 years old. We had dated for four years straight at that point, and by the time we were actually married, we saw no reason to use anything to prevent our first baby. We had always talked about having lots of kids (4 was the number most batted around at that point). I am from a family of only two children and my husband is an only child, so anything more than two was lots of kids!
I became pregnant with our first child within 6 months of our wedding, and found out that I was expecting baby number 2 when Allie was just 4 months old.....whew! Although it was a bit of a shock, I quickly warmed up to the idea, and was happy to welcome our second daughter just 12 months after our first was born :D
We had a small break in between numbers 2 & 3.....2 years to be exact....almost to the day! When Miss Sophie joined our family, my husband began to feel a little outnumbered, and feeling as though we were sure to have another girl if we were to conceive again, he pretty much told me he was done. That was hard for me to hear. At that point, our family didn't feel complete, and I still had a feeling in my heart that there was more to come.
When Sophie was about 16 months old, my husband left his position as a Captain in the U.S. Army to pursue a career in the private sector. Shortly after we moved from Texas to Reno, Nevada, I became pregnant with our 4th child. I think God knew that this was going to have to be a boy because that's the only way my husband was going to survive in our family ;D And sure enough, we welcomed our first son into our family in June of 1998.
That was four.....we had our boy.....we were done.
Well, of course you know the answer to THAT one ;D
After Josh was born, I sold all my baby stuff, started on birth control pills, and settled down to raise my four children. I was trying so hard at that point to accept the fact that we were done, but I had such a hole in my heart. I tried several times to talk to Zack about the possibility of just one more, but he was done, and wouldn't even consider the alternative.
God had other plans.
By that time, we were living in upstate New York, and my husband had just accepted a promotion with his company to move to Texas. That was August, 2001.
Within 4 months of moving to Texas, my husband was promoted once more, and we were asked to move to Montana. We were so busy with moving in and moving out again, that I had put my heartache aside and was in the process of trying to loose some weight. Shortly after Christmas, as we were trying to adjust to life in Montana, I realized I was late getting my period. I chalked it up to stress, but then had a strange reaction to the smell of hamburger cooking on the stove, and decided I'd better take a pregnancy test....
My husband's initial reaction was one of shock, but then he quickly came around and we were thrilled to be expecting our 5th child....and our second son!
But Zack was done. He decided he didn't want anymore surprises, and he scheduled a vasectomy about a month before Noah was even born. For him, it was more an issue of how we would be able to afford another mouth to feed than anything.
I'll never forget the day I dropped him off at the hospital to have his procedure. When he left the car I began to sob, and when I picked him up a couple of hours later, I could hardly look at him....
I was mad.
You see, this was NOT my decision. I agreed to it because it was what my husband wanted, but I STILL felt a tugging in a different direction. At the time, it wasn't something that I prayed about. I felt as though this was how life was. You marry, you decide how many children you want, you have them, and then you're done. It's all about what you want.....God had no role.
We welcomed Noah on September 11, 2002....the first anniversary of 9-11. Did that mean anything?
I spent the next year in a fog. At the time, I chalked it up to postpartum depression, but looking back, I realize it was something much different.
It was guilt.
I felt guilt for making a permanent decision to end our ability to have children. I just didn't understand it at the time.
Shortly after Noah's first birthday, Zack's company cut his district and we were forced to move again....back down to Texas.
Texas....one of the few places where they advertise vasectomy reversals on gigantic billboards!
We hadn't been there more than 3 months when I found myself beginning to imagine the possibility of reversing the wrong decision we had made. I even went so far as to check with our insurance company to see if any part of the procedure was covered. Seeing as how it's not something that most insurers would cover, I was ecstatic to hear that, not only was it covered, but it would only cost us about $800 out-of-pocket to have it done. The interesting thing about the insurance is that they only covered the procedure for a short time....not long after we did it, they decided to discontinue coverage. So, not only did we end up in a place where there were world-renowned surgeons doing the reversals, but our insurance was going to pay for it!
And $800 to reverse the damage we had done and to have a shot at another baby?!
Of course we had to do it....I just had to convince hubby ;D
Now, this may sound awful, but you have to keep reading all the way to the end before you judge! I talked with Zack about what I had learned and told him how I felt so miserable, and, to my surprise, he agreed to go through with the procedure so we could have just one more because it would make me happy.
Zack had the procedure in August, and by December, he was "back to normal" and we were given the green light to try to conceive! I was nervous as there were no guarantees that the surgery would work. It took about 7 months, but by July of the next year, we were finally pregnant!
BABY #6.....Matthew Augustus was born March 15th, 2006.....his name chose carefully for it's meaning....gift of God!
But we still didn't get it.
After Matthew was born, we began to discuss birth control, and we had limited choices because I was breastfeeding. I knew I had to do something because Zack would literally explode if we had anymore surprises, so I talked to my doctor about the mini pill (safe for nursing). I decided that would be the way to go, and she wrote me a prescription.....but I never filled it.
I kept that piece of paper tucked away for a couple of months, but I just couldn't bring myself to fill it. I talked to Zack about the fact that I just wasn't comfortable with using it, although I couldn't put my finger on why, and we eventually decided to use the calendar method.....
HELLO baby #7!!!!
Yeah, let me just say, that's not the most reliable method when you're nursing and your cycles are irregular ;D
We found out we were pregnant with Jacob shortly before Matthew's first birthday, and I remember telling Zack when we were at dinner at Chuck E Cheese one night because I wanted the kids to be preoccupied when I told him....
and I wanted witnesses!
I was a bit worried about his reaction ;D
I must say, in his defense, he took it great, and we welcomed Jacob in November of 2007!
As Jacob began to grow, something in me began to grow as well. I still couldn't put my finger on it, but I knew something was wrong. Zack and I couldn't agree on birth control, and he was threatening to have a second vasectomy. By the time Jacob was about 6 months old, I knew we had a decision to make, and I FINALLY turned to the One with the answer.
I began to pray. I prayed for understanding and acceptance, and I prayed that God's will would be done.
You see, all this time, God had been talking to me....I just wasn't listening. I kept thinking that somehow we were in control of the number of children we were having. That we were choosing them. They were something we wanted, went after and got.
Boy, was I WRONG.
Why couldn't I see them as the gifts that they truly were? Why was I so quick to leave God out of the equation? Only choosing to include Him if it was part of my plan and I wanted help conceiving!
The more I explored my feelings and prayed, the more I realized what God had been putting on my heart...not just from the beginning of my childbearing years, but from the beginning of my life. As a child, I wasn't one to dream about being a doctor or lawyer or dentist. No, my dreams were much more simple than that... I dreamed of being a mommy....a mommy to many. I would spend hours pouring through the JC Penney and Sears catalogs, pretending that all the babies in the baby section were mine! For my birthday, I asked for real baby clothes and I remember going around to garage sales and buying real baby clothes for my dolls.
God had a plan for my life.
So, in trying to control what was happening with my childbearing, I was going against God's plan for my life. That's why I felt so miserable. That's why nothing ever felt right. That's why we kept having babies when we weren't trying and that's why everything worked out for Zack to have a reversal. Truly, the odds of having even ONE child after a reversal aren't all that great, and the fact that we've had THREE......
It was all God's plan, I just wasn't paying attention.
But I am....
I mean, WE are....
now. Yep, Zack and I talked after my realization that I was trying to control something that wasn't mine to control. We talked about listening to God's will and about letting Him decide where we go from here.
BEST decision ever.
Finally, I feel free from the burden of having to decide whether or not to have more children.
So, where do I stand on birth control?
As I said before....
it's an issue for prayer.
And will you see an announcement from us that we are expecting again?
Well, that's up to Him. To be specific, we don't take any steps that might take away a gift He's trying to give.
And I'm OK with that....either way ;D
*Please feel free to email me if you have any questions! I'm no expert, but I do have about 20 years of experience :D