“Bless Your Heart,” a blog authored by Cindy Colley, was the first blog I ever followed, and one of the select few I still follow. After hearing Cindy Colley speak and talking to her at Polishing the Pulpit in 2010, I became an avid follower of everything she wrote. Since then I have read almost every article she has put out.
Hubby and I had been married for a little over a year when she wrote an article about contraception. I hadn’t read anything about it written from a Christian perspective before, and so naturally I was intrigued.
I was not at all expecting what I was about to read.
I didn’t believe it. It couldn’t be true. I had been on the Pill since I was 14 (for acne and other hormonal issues) and had kept taking it through our married lives to this point. We didn’t want to have a baby right away. We had planned to wait for 5 years before we started, so that we could get to know each other separate and apart from children… and the Pill was working so nicely.
How could I not have heard this before?
The information sheet that came with my monthly Pill dosage said nothing about any potential abortive properties, and I never recalled my doctor saying anything about it either. I had to be sure, so I went to my doctor and pressed her.
“Is it true that the Pill causes abortions?”
“Well, your body does that naturally almost every time.”
“But does the Pill cause abortions that the body may not have caused?”
“The Pill’s first defense is to stop you from conceiving at all.”
“But you can conceive? What then?”
“Your body might reject it.”
“But does the Pill help it along?”
“Look, the Pill’s first and second defense stop you from conceiving, but yes, if you do conceive the Pill has a third defense which is to stop the egg from planting on the wall of your uterus once it is fertilized. But your body will probably do that anyway.”
So that was that. It really was true. There was a chance. A slight chance, yes – but a chance all the same.
I decided I was not going to take the Pill anymore. I felt sick with guilt that I ever had.
I was shocked to realize how dishonest my doctor was. It was extremely hard to get the information from my doctor as to what the Pill actually did. Most doctors simply want to fill prescriptions and stop “unwanted pregnancies,” so of course they don’t mind if there is a small chance of an abortion occurring.
I was even more shocked, however, to find out that my church family – the ones who I thought would understand and support my decision – were not supportive of my decision at all. When I explained to them what I was doing and why, there came a flurry of derogatory and discouraging remarks:
“What? I don’t think that’s true.”
“Why? Don’t be ridiculous! Your body aborts 9 out of 10 babies anyway!”
“You’ll be pregnant by the end of the year! Ha ha ha.”
“I’ve taken it for years and I’m not going to stop!”
As a young wife trying to do the right thing, the scorn I received from these older women was incredibly discouraging. It’s like they thought that I didn’t know about the world, thought I knew nothing of the consequences of my actions, and didn’t care about my conscience… regardless of what they chose to do.
That is exactly what I don’t want you to go through. Wondering what is right or wrong, facing ridicule, and feeling ridiculous.
I wish it wasn’t like this, but unfortunately there will be those that will make fun of or even misunderstand your decision. We even had one man ask us – quite sincerely – if we practiced abstinence as a means of contraception. Wait, what?
Let me assure you, my husband and I have been married for 5 happy years now, have managed to not fall pregnant, and have enjoyed an intimate relationship happily and frequently without using the Pill. It is possible.
The Pill is a bad choice. Period. So then where does that leave the conscientious Christian wife who does not want to fall pregnant right away?
Some possible alternatives for contraception:
Male Condoms: These are the most commonly spoken of method of contraception, and you can buy them at any supermarket or pharmacy. Actually, you can buy them basically anywhere. These do decrease some of the pleasure derived from intimacy, however. I personally don’t like to use them, but there are a lot of couples that use them happily. If they work for you, then that’s great. Get a close fit and try different kinds until you find a suitable one for you.
Female Condoms: These are just like the male condom, but the female wears them. I don’t know exactly how they work (and even if I did, I wouldn’t describe the procedure on here!), but you can read more about them here.
Diaphragms: This is is something that the woman uses, and can be reused for a year or two before having to be bought again, apparently. I have actually have no idea how these work, and have never tried them. Some swear by them, however. Read more about them here.
Spermicide: This is a chemical substance that kills the sperm to stop it entering the uterus, where fertilization takes place. It is recommended that this is used with condoms or other contraceptive devices, as it is only about 70-80% effective at preventing fertilization.
Read more about this here.
The Rhythm Method: This method is employed by some where they monitor their times of ovulation and use contraception at the times when they are lost likely to fall pregnant. Honestly, I have not met a person who has solely used this method successfully. In fact, all my personal friends who have used it have ended up getting pregnant very quickly after their honeymoon. But that’s just my personal experience. I’m sure it works for some, but I’m jut saying I’ve never met someone who has done so successfully. Some use this in conjunction with withdrawal and/or condoms successfully. Read more about this method here.
Withdrawal or Pull-out Method: Think Onan and Tamar, and you know roughly what this method involves (Genesis 38:8, 9). This method requires effort on the man’s part, as he has to “withdraw” at just the right time. This method is not fool-proof, and can result in conception, but honestly this is all we have used for 3 1/2 years and we haven’t had a pregnancy yet. Also note that if you haven’t had intimacy in a while, or it is your first time (e.g. your wedding night), then it will be difficult for the man to control this, and you should probably try another contraceptive method or another avenue (other than penetration) to prevent fertilization. This also takes practice to get right and can be stressful for the man as he learns it, but once learnt, it really is easy. Read more about this method here.
Note: The Pull-out method was only a negative thing for Onan to do because his father had specifically asked him to give Tamar a baby (under the law of Moses there were provisions made for those women whose husbands died to still have offspring) but he refused – which made God angry. There is nothing wrong with the practicing of this method in general.
These are the main methods I am aware of, I’m sure there are more – but the bottom line is that as long as the (1) does not potentially result in an abortion, and (2) is enjoyable for you and your spouse, then it is a fine method for you to use.
Remember that no method is fail-safe, not even the Pill. When you are intimate with your husband, there is going to be a chance of fertilization – all you can do is inform yourself, do your best, and leave the rest up to God. If you do your part you then just need to trust Him, that He will never give you more than you can handle. He trusts you, and knows how much you can bear.
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Also remember that babies are a blessing. It can be hard to keep things in perspective in this progressively baby-and-responsibility-hating world, but they are a blessing from God, and there are many women who are trying very hard to become pregnant while you re trying not to. If you do happen to become pregnant, remember that it is always a blessing.
“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” (Psalm 127:3-5).
Do you have any further questions about this or anything else in regards to intimacy? Write to me! I will be happy to answer any questions you might have in more detail via email.