Dear Gwen,I'm a huge fan of your blog and I just wanted to write and say that I'm so glad there is a voice like yours for women everywhere. I've been dating my boyfriend for over 6 years and we are still waiting! I never thought I'd find a guy who would agree to wait, but he has been a trooper. I mean, seriously. He must be in for the long haul, right? haha....I may have missed this in a previous post, but what are your thoughts on birth control? I know it is against the beliefs of many Christians, but since I haven't had any need for it anyway, it's never been an issue for me. Just curious as to your take since I put stock in your opinion!xoxo,A Reader
Thank you so much for your kind comments and question. I do not speak for any church or organization but am happy to offer my opinion and insight. Some religions, including the Catholic Church, teach against the use of birth control. From what I have learned (1, 2, 3), it appears that religions who advise or command against birth control are encouraging similar principals and working for a similar result: the creation of loving families. I believe that this is one of the most noble accomplishments.
Ultimately, however, I believe it's a personal decision that needs to be made between husband and wife. In determining whether to use birth control in your marriage, here are some factors to consider:
- A Unified and Bonded Marriage: How would the use of birth control alter your ability to connect with your spouse? Do the hormones in the pill have negative sexual or emotional side effects? Do you have a more difficult time climaxing with the use of a condom or other form birth control? On the other hand, maybe you feel more confident in connecting with your spouse without worry of conception? Birth control has enabled couples to bond sexually much more frequently where before they would have refrained to prevent pregnancy.
- Mental, Emotional, and Physical Well-Being: It is also important to consider the mother (and father's) emotional and physical ability to care for a child. Children last for about 78 years, so this is no light commitment. Health factors may make pregnancy very dangerous for the mother. Also, consider Postpartum Depression or other mental health concerns and your ability to cope with these issues and this point in your life. The answer, however, shouldn't be, "This is going to be hard, I'll pass." But, "This is going to be hard, how much can I take on? I'm ready at this point in time to stretch myself by constantly loving and serving another human being."
- Economic Ability: Are you sufficiently self reliant to financially care for a child at this time without excessively burdening your family or society? Not only is the pregnancy and actual delivery of the child expensive, but raising a child is expensive too. Birth control can help in the planning, preparing, and saving up for child rearing. But you also don't have to wait until you have the "house on the hill" and perfect finances before having children.
- Successful Procreation: Procreation is truly a gift. To carry a child inside you is a life-changing experience. Children bring joy, happiness and companionship. They push us to learn, grow, and become less selfish. In deciding against procreation you may be denying yourself these opportunities. Additionally, delaying procreation may bring difficulties in conceiving or carrying a child.
"From a strictly biologic point of view, it makes sense to have a baby in your 20s if you are healthy. Your fertility is at its peak, the chances for miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities are low and you are as fit as you’ll ever be for carrying a child. As we age, our fertility lessens and our chances for miscarriage and chromosomal accidents increase. It may be more difficult to conceive a healthy a baby in your 40s. Once your ovaries stop producing healthy eggs there are no medical techniques to reverse this. I have had the heartbreaking job of telling a number of women in their 40s that they are too old to conceive naturally. So I generally remind childless women in their 30s about their “biologic clock.”"-Dr. Laura Stachel, Obstetrics & Gynecology
These are just a few factors to consider. Don't look at birth control as something that is either good or bad. Look at it as one of many tools for building a family and a stronger relationship with your spouse. How, or if, you use it should be completely up to each individual couple.
This is a very personal and important choice that should be approached with much thought, research, and discussion. As always, your constructive insight is welcome.