Family Planning and the UnplannedWhen I got married, there was one thing I suddenly had to think about that I hadn’t given any though to before: birth control. I know I’m not in the majority here, many women think about it far before marriage, but for my husband and I birth control was a moot point until our wedding day came.
The pill was the first method I considered. A couple of months before the wedding I experimented with different types of pills, trying to find one that worked well with my body. Some were so strong I felt sick all the time. Others weren’t strong enough and my body stubbornly menstruated despite the hormones. The last one I ended up with was very strong. What it did successfully was to make sure I didn’t have my period on my wedding night or during my honeymoon. When we got home and stepped into our normal life, both my husband and I discovered that this particular pill also gave me bipolar qualities and I became easily angry about the tiniest things. “I can’t go on like this,” my husband said, not a month into it. “Me neither,” I agreed.
I tossed the pills and we switched to condoms without looking back. I liked the idea of condoms because it was a pretty safe guarantee that we wouldn’t get pregnant without altering my body’s systems. Since my husband and I weren’t accustomed to sex yet, we didn’t know anything different and it became our norm to use one. It was neither a bother nor was it restrictive to us.
After our daughter was born, we went back to condoms because her pregnancy had been traumatic and I didn’t want any surprises. When she was two years old and we were ready to try for another one, it was seventeen months until we actually got pregnant.
Sick of trying to conceive and of scheduling intimacy around my body’s clock, and tired of my period coming every month to ruin my party I told my husband I never wanted to use birth control again. We were going to leave it in God’s hands from now on. He agreed.
This was frustrating, trying and failing every month, not knowing if we would have had a second child sooner if only we would have left it up to God in the first place.
Then, oh blessed day, our son was conceived. His long awaited pregnancy was twice as awful as his sister’s had been, and when it was all over we were so happy to have him, and doubly scarred by our second pregnancy experience. I still look back on it today and shudder as if I’m dealing with a mild form of post traumatic stress disorder. It was that bad. When he came and it was finally over, we really wanted to use birth control, but we knew we wanted more kids. Ultimately, we remembered our resolve to leave it up to God and decided to stick to it.
Except we sort of didn’t. I was so scared by getting pregnant again that I kept a watchful eye on my periods and ovulation. I even got an “app for that” (It’s called Period Tracker if you’re interested), and during certain times of the months we were both quite motivated to be temporarily abstinent. I’m not going to lie, I felt guilty. We were holding back on our pact. We prayed about it and thought about it and felt that if God really wanted us to get pregnant, our schedule wasn’t going to stop him, so we kept being really careful and vigilant. I didn’t realize this but we were following a tried and true method of birth control called “Natural Family Planning.”
Natural Family Planning worked the way we wanted it to...until last month when I didn’t pay very close attention to my body or the Period Tracker and we miscalculated. I honestly didn’t even know it had happened until five days passed without my expected period and I peed on a stick to rule it out...only I didn’t. Woops!
So, our family planning method “failed” and now we’re completely caught off guard at being pregnant. Even though I’m scared terrified of another bout of hyperemesis gravidarum, I look at my beautiful kids and I know it will all work out all right. I believe in God and I know he is intimately involved with every detail in my life. If he feels that this is the time for another little one to enter our family, then I take comfort and peace in the fact that He knows more than I do and He will get us through it. This little life I’ve barely had time to consider is precious and loved, even when inconvenient. For that, I’m glad we went the natural method.
So what’s your birth control method? How many different methods have you tried before you got here? Did you ever have an “oops” pregnancy due to the family planning you and your spouse chose? How did it all work out?