Recently, I discovered something about my birth control pills that alarmed me.
Hold up, did I just reveal something very personal in my publically published blog? Why yes, I did. But that’s ok, because I’m not shy about my views on or use of birth control! Well, at least not on the internet I’m not. And I know that this is a much different kind of topic than what I usually write about on here, but I think that this is something I should share. So if you don’t mind, let’s dive in!
Before I jump back into what I was saying though, I think a few things need to be addressed. First of all, I do have some very strong views on birth control, and because of that I usually try to avoid discussing it. The last thing that I want to do is to offend or get pointlessly angry at somebody. And believe me, I will get angry if the topic of abortion comes up and they have strong beliefs that are the opposite of mine. I just can’t help it; I’m that passionate about it. Of course, while abortion and birth control are related, they are not by any means synonyms. Still, it seems that these topics often go hand in hand in discussions, and people are either on one side of the fence or the other; they support a woman’s right to use birth control and her right to terminate pregnancies, or they don’t. If those are the two choices, then that puts me squarely in the middle of the fence.
Without getting too political here, I’ll just simply state that I do not support abortion because it affects not only the woman, but an actual live human baby. On the other hand, I do support birth control because it only directly affects the woman. I realize that some people argue that birth control is evil because it prevents the creation of life that would otherwise be, well, created. But to me, this is just ridiculous. It’s the potential for a baby that we’re talking about here—one egg and bunch of sperm. If preventing the potential for a baby from becoming the reality of a baby is evil, then having sex is evil. Each time that a man has sex, there is 100% chance that at least one of his sperm will die, which means that the potential for at least one baby dies. Yet nobody complains about that! So why complain about contraception? God didn’t create sex just for making babies, and it seems to follow that He is okay with sex that doesn’t make babies.
Now that that’s out of the way, I return to my original point. I recently discovered something unfortunate about my birth control pills. Hormonal methods of birth control prevent pregnancy in three ways: first, they prevent ovulation; second, they thicken cervical mucus (I know, gross) so that the sperm can’t get through; third, they thin the lining of the uterus so that any egg that did get fertilized would not be able to implant. This last property in birth control pills is called an abortient. That’s because it technically causes an abortion.
Fortunately, this last property is just that. It is the pill’s last defense against pregnancy, and in most cases it likely never happens. The first two safeguards would have to fail and the last one would have to work in order for an abortion to occur, which seems improbable at best. That’s why I am not saying that the pill is the same as an abortion. It isn’t. An abortion is a planned, deliberate termination of a pregnancy; the pill uses methods to prevent pregnancy from occurring, and could result in an abortion in unlikely cases. Because of this, I am not saying that taking the pill is wrong or evil. But for me, this piece of information made a big difference because I’m just not comfortable with it.
As a result, I’ve felt morally obligated to search for a new method of birth control. After weeding through all of the effective, ineffective, plausible, and implausible options, I was left with very few choices. The most effective method of course is abstinence—its effectiveness hovers right around 100%. But that’s not an option for a healthy marriage, in my opinion. The second most effective method is sterilization. My husband and I would like to retain our ability to have children one day, so that’s not a solution for us either. The third most effective methods include all of the hormonal options (which would do the same thing as the pill) and IUDs (which are too invasive for my taste). Everything less effective than those methods is not effective enough for what my husband and I are looking for.
I was searching for other options when I stumbled upon fertility awareness methods (FAMs), also known as natural family planning. I was happily surprised to discover that one of the methods of FAM, called the symptothermal method, is extremely effective and safe. It’s 99.6% effective when used properly, which is actually the same as or even more effective than the pill. The best part is I don’t have to take any medicine or put anything in my uterus! Thank God for that, right?
Some quick information about this method of contraception:
- Though it has the reputation for being a “Catholic thing,” it’s not just for Catholics. It can be for other Christians too! Only kidding—this method is for anybody who wants to do things more naturally or safely, or who has concerns about the morality of other birth control methods.
- It does take a lot of work. The woman has to tediously chart observations about her body throughout the month. This can be difficult if you don’t want to have to think about your method of contraception every day, or if you have trouble remembering to do things.
- It also takes a firm commitment on the parts of both the wife and the husband. This method requires periods of abstinence from intercourse, so if you cannot control your sexual desires for more than a few days at a time, then this one isn’t for you.
- It’s easy to stop! If you decide that you’re ready for babies, than you can try to conceive right away. No waiting for your body to resume its natural rhythm, removing anything, or surgery. How convenient!
- Hormonal methods of birth control can decrease your sex drive. Enough said.
Interesting in going au naturel? Do you homework first! You shouldn’t start any method of birth control until you understand how it works—take it from me! I may not have understood completely how the pill worked when I started it, but I sure wish I had. Then I wouldn’t have started it in the first place.
Anyhow, what’s done is done. From now on though, I’m doing things differently. No more pills for me!