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Christians: Thoughts on God and Our Fertility - Page 2

post #21 of 37
My view of fertility and God is simple. We are to have faith in Him for all things, and fertility is one of them.

Follow this thought with the fact that the Bible is full of verses and times where it is shown that God loves children, God views children as a blessing, people pray FOR children, the more children you had the more "blessed" you were percieved, the infertile were considered "broken", and so on.

I can easily make a case for being open with your fertility (ie quiverfull) with the Bible, yet, there is no place in the Bible that can make a case FOR birth control or limiting children. It is just not there, and in two instances that I can think of it lead to punishment by death. Leads me to believe that BC and limiting children are not what God intended. Not to mention it is just no natural.
post #22 of 37
This is an interesting question for me. I was brought up vaguely 'quiverfull', although we didn't use that term--Mum had had a tubal ligation and then reversal after baby #4, and ended up with six kids in all (followed by a miscarriage). I heard all the anti-birth control arguments and agreed with them, albeit not very critically.

Then I got married and the issue of birth control suddenly became a lot more personal. My daughter's nine months old now and I'm struggling with the issue, partly because I really don't want to be pregnant again just yet. I had a difficult time emotionally with the pregnancy, a traumatic birth, and some other mental issues I don't really want to go into here; but anyway, the thought of another pregnancy terrifies me. And obviously, I don't think one should make theological decisions based on fear or what one would prefer to be God's truth; but on the other hand, you shouldn't make them based on the unconsidered tenets of one's bringing-up either.

So I've looked at the issue long and hard, and my conclusion is that while the Bible definitely considers children a blessing (along with, you know, trials and hardships ), there is no definitive statement that spacing them is sinful. And when I really looked at some of the anti-BC arguments (Onan, for instance), I couldn't really say that the conclusions followed logically from the texts. Which is not to say that BC isn't a sin for some; if you're doing something for the wrong reasons and against your conscience or your understanding of the word of God, it is a sin. And I certainly admire quiverfull folks. But I'm more inclined to view it as a matter of individual conscience these days.

That said, I am opposed to HBC for pro-life reasons (and other, general, 'you're doing WHAT to your body?' reasons). And I'm anti- a lot of other forms of BC because they just suck. I like what a PP said about God giving us obvious fertility signs--I've just been reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility, and I can't believe I grew up and even had a baby without knowing that stuff! It's fascinating.

So, one of my New Year's goals this year is to prepare myself, physically and emotionally and spiritually, for TTC at the end of the year. I really want DD to have a sibling who's close in age, and while the thought of being pregnant again pretty much sends me into a cold sweat right now, I'm hoping to get myself into a healthier mentality by the end of the year. It's a struggle though. I'm just beginning to feel like me again, and reconciling my long-held dreams of having a large family with the reality of actually having to have them is a lot harder than I thought!
post #23 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by StacyL View Post
Saliva should NOT be used as a lubricant during sex (on him or her) if you are ttc because it actually acts as a spermicide due to the digestive enzymes present in saliva.
Oh my word, I know this is OT, but for sharing this. I had not known, and suspect it may have been affecting our ttc efforts (and may explain why sometimes I seem super fertile and other times it takes a year to conceive)

Quote:
The Christian POV is that even if your child is born abnormal, or with health problems, or into your poverty, or at a difficult time, or other such obstacles, it is also a blessing in that you are sanctified by your hardships.
In other words, if God sends you the child, He will also provide a way to make things work. We were broke beyond broke when DS2 was born...DH took a second job (on top of full-time teaching) just so we could eat. Then he lost his original job and we thought we were toast...until he ended up getting a new job that was better than the original had been. Sure, we had to move, but the whole thing has been an enormous blessing. I am glad that part of our lives is over, and hope we never have to do it again...but God does provide.
I basically feel that I will remain open to children so long as God sees fit to send them to me. I know many stories of 'caboose' children who have been enormous blessings to their families. My own youngest brother was definitely not 'planned', and is 5 years behind the prior child. Mom was in her early 40s and had a very difficult pregnancy. Years earlier she'd had a dream where she saw all her children, so she felt sure of how many there were (8), and this one was additional...so she worried about miscarrying or him having serious health problems or all kinds of things. But nope, he's fine. And at the time he came there were several family members who were sortof pulling away or having problems, and he sortof brought them back together.
Mom says that she thinks that she *was* done having kids, but that for whatever reason someone else decided to stop having kids and he was left out, so she got to have him instead--like a bonus because God knew she would take him.
I guess what I'm getting at is that, so long as you are willing to have another baby, then it's not worth fretting over. Economic issues may arise, so cross that bridge when you come to it. Health issues may come up--deal with them if they do. But stressing over hypotheticals will just detract from the beauty and happiness of your life now.
post #24 of 37
Thread Starter 
Smokering, about the spacing-thing, sometimes I wonder if there are differences in our modern way of life that make breastfeeding less effective as a child-spacer for many women. I wonder about this because I've heard that among the African !Kung, kids are pretty uniformly spaced around 4 years apart.

And the !Kung don't have any taboos prohibiting intercourse while breastfeeding, which means the frequency of nursing itself inhibits fertility for quite a long time. In contrast, fertility varies among western women who do childled breastfeeding.

Some, like me, experience a huge gap between kids. Other mothers who follow the same practices of nursing on-cue, co-sleeping, and babywearing, get their fertility back almost immediately after giving birth.

Yet, in my case, my huge gap certainly isn't due to my eating more like the !Kung. I'm obese, I eat meat and dairy -- and, no, we can't really afford to do organic, so we're getting all those hormones and everything. And I'm sure many of the MDC mamas whose fertility returns early, are vegan, or even if not vegan, probably are a lot crunchier than I am.

So, I'm not sure why there's so much variation here. But whatever the cause, maybe this wasn't an issue back in Bible times -- meaning, maybe the diet or whatever created a similar situation to what's experienced by the !Kung.

It certainly does seem strange when a mother conceives while her infant is still totally dependent on her milk for survival, it doesn't seem natural -- and yet, it happens quite often. So I don't know, maybe our current unnatural way of life has created a situation wherein some of us can conceive "too soon."

And, as I've said, my own huge gap in kids certainly isn't due to me having a superior diet or lifestyle or anything. In my case, it's probably the fact that I didn't marry 'til I was 35, and am obese, so maybe when I was younger and thinner I was more fertile, too, but just wasn't having sex so I never knew.

My point being, maybe there are factors in-play in our current times, that make it necessary/feasible for some mothers to put a little effort into spacing their kids. Also, you mention all you're learning about your signals that you're surprised you never knew -- I kind of wonder if ancient women grew up more in-tune with their fertility, and if this knowledge is one of many wisdoms that got lost along the way.
post #25 of 37
I wouldn't be surprised if our hormone-saturated world made us hyper-fertile! And I think menopause has gotten later and menstruation earlier (and life longer as a whole) of recent centuries too, no? Of course, if you really believe birth control is wrong this is just an observation, not an argument (just as noting that aggressive tendencies have ncreased due to diet in the last hundred years does not excuse Christians from being angry).

I would tend to expect that if the Fall hadn't occurred, women would have been a lot more in tune with their bodies. It's an interesting thought, actually. Maybe women's cycles would have been more regular--there certainly would have been less stress to throw them off! TCOYF does mention some isolated tribe which uses cervical fluid to determine fertility, so it's certainly possible that this used to be common knowledge. Of course, now I know about it it seems oh, so obvious!
post #26 of 37
Thread Starter 
Well, and then there's the question of whether paying attention to our fertility-signals, and using the information to make conception more or less likely, constitutes birth-control. I suppose with a literal interpretation of the word, birth control means any attempt on our part to control the spacing of our children (whether we're trying to to have more children closer together, or fewer children further apart).

And yet, the Catholic Church promotes Natural Family Planning, and doesn't see it as contraception (against the beginning), because you're not having sex and doing something to prevent conception, you're simply abstaining from sex during the times you believe you're fertile.

So, is NFP birth control but not contraception? Or do the words "birth-control" and "contraception" mean one and the same thing?
post #27 of 37
Thread Starter 
Of course, when I was observing my signs in my desire to conceive my second child, it never worked for me. I didn't get pregnant (expect for one miscarriage) until I stopped trying.

And breastfeeding obviously works quite well as a "child-spacer" in my case ...

So it's all rather a moot point for me, now that I no longer feel a need to make sure we don't have a baby "too" late-in-life.
post #28 of 37
The thing is that even if you are choosing to abstain during what you think is your fertile time the Catholic Church teaches that one still should be open to life. That is the foundational difference. I do hear what you are saying regarding timing sex. It does seem to me to be completely against out bodies nature to abstain when we are fertile, as least mine . Our hormones make sex so desireable at that time for a reason.
post #29 of 37
I was raised Christian, and I do believe in the bible, but I just can't get down with being quiverful *for me*. I don't think taking control of my fertility is sinful. My main job is to take care of my children that I already have, and is it wise to create a child that I do not feel I could physically or emotionally give everything he/she deserves? I view children as a blessing, but I do not take that to next level, that every fertile woman HAS to have a large family. Nor do I believe women struggling with their fertility have to just accept that fate. God gave us the ability to create tools and use our resources, so as long as we use them responsibly (and of course that is subjective), I do not think there is a problem.

What about that lady that drowned her kids in the lake? She started showing signs of not handling it well long before that day.

I respect anyone's decision to be quiverful, but it is not for me. There are a lot of things about the bible that I do not think I will fully understand until I die. Are we supposed to live by the ways of the old testament? Are we supposed to take the bible literally?
post #30 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
and doesn't see it as contraception (against the beginning), because you're not having sex and doing something to prevent conception, you're simply abstaining from sex during the times you believe you're fertile.

So, is NFP birth control but not contraception? Or do the words "birth-control" and "contraception" mean one and the same thing?
It's my understanding, though, that they didn't use to. It's more of a modern thing (last 50-100 years) or so.
post #31 of 37
My thinking is similar to one of the above posters, like Nichole,

I'm a Christian (liberal Protestant variety) and I believe that g-d gave us knowledge and reason to help ourselves and others. Many of us live in circumstances where contraception is safe and available and we can use it to limit our families if we choose to do so. That's a great blessing, because many women are not prepared physically, emotionally, or financially to have lots of pregnancies and children.

For women who feel called by g-d to "open the door" to however many children may come and are physically, emotionally, and financially able to cope with who comes: great.

Think & pray for discernment on the matter.
post #32 of 37
I can give absolutely no theological advice here, whatsoever, I can only say that, assuming I was in good health, if I was in your situation (i.e., married, with a 10 yr old and a 5 yr old and 44 years of age), I would just roll with it.

There are lots of reasons I would feel this way, but one that comes to mind is this: you are probably already perimenopausal. You have maybe 6 years before full on menopause. Why mess with yours (or your DH's) bodies for such a short window of babymaking? It doesn't seem worth it to me. Especially if you are open to the idea of another little one. (I'm talking HBC, IUD, surgery... you know...)
post #33 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FormerlyKnownAs View Post
I can give absolutely no theological advice here, whatsoever, I can only say that, assuming I was in good health, if I was in your situation (i.e., married, with a 10 yr old and a 5 yr old and 44 years of age), I would just roll with it.

There are lots of reasons I would feel this way, but one that comes to mind is this: you are probably already perimenopausal. You have maybe 6 years before full on menopause. Why mess with yours (or your DH's) bodies for such a short window of babymaking? It doesn't seem worth it to me. Especially if you are open to the idea of another little one. (I'm talking HBC, IUD, surgery... you know...)
That makes sense. Thanks!
post #34 of 37
Honestly, if I were in your same situation I would not use BC and I would lay it all under the cross.

I know it is difficult.

: for you.
post #35 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

And yet, the Catholic Church promotes Natural Family Planning, and doesn't see it as contraception (against the beginning), because you're not having sex and doing something to prevent conception, you're simply abstaining from sex during the times you believe you're fertile.

So, is NFP birth control but not contraception? Or do the words "birth-control" and "contraception" mean one and the same thing?
Just to clarify.....the Catholic church DOES NOT promote the use of NFP.

They have ok'ed its use in only certain situations after prayerfully being concidered by wife and husband.

There is a huge amount of debate about NFPings use in marriage as many think it is being used for selfish reasons and not for dire ones.

But promote is not really the right word as many Catholic leaders would prefer nothing be used at all.

(PS I am tired and not able to word what I am trying to say exactly. )
post #36 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelBee View Post
Honestly, if I were in your same situation I would not use BC and I would lay it all under the cross.

I know it is difficult.

: for you.
Thanks!
post #37 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelBee View Post
Just to clarify.....the Catholic church DOES NOT promote the use of NFP.

They have ok'ed its use in only certain situations after prayerfully being concidered by wife and husband.

There is a huge amount of debate about NFPings use in marriage as many think it is being used for selfish reasons and not for dire ones.

But promote is not really the right word as many Catholic leaders would prefer nothing be used at all.

(PS I am tired and not able to word what I am trying to say exactly. )
Thanks for clarifying!
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