Hi there! My good friend and NLS contributor Cassie Krueger is tackling a topic that we are both passionate about today, and I stand behind her words. We’ve both gone on this journey separately and arrived at the same place. It is not our intention to condemn anyone, but rather to encourage those who truly believe that life begins at conception to do their research before choosing a form of contraception.
With love, Kate
A few years ago, I had a conversation that would drastically change the way I imagined my marriage, my life, and my values.
It happened right before I got married. We were newly engaged, still admiring the sparkle of the ring on my finger, when I happened to mention that I would be getting a prescription filled for birth control.
Almost every girl I knew was on birth control, even those I knew who were not sexually active. I hadn’t considered any other options, because, in my mind, there weren’t any other options to consider.
That is, until my soon-to-be husband expressed his strong reservations about chemical birth control.
This forced me to do some intense research, think deeply about my convictions, and to conclude that I could not stay true to my morals while on any form of chemical birth control including the pill, the patch and the shot.
My View on Life
Upon beginning my research, I realized two things: 1.) I had no clue how my own body worked! And 2.) I didn’t understand what birth control could do to my body.
Let’s take the Pill, for example. There are three ways that the Pill works:
- The primary purpose of the Pill is to alter hormones so the body does not release an egg. However, sometimes there can be a “breakthrough ovulation.”
- The cervical fluid is thickened so that sperm cannot swim through it, preventing sperm from joining with the egg.
- If an egg does become fertilized, the wall of the uterus is altered to become an environment that is inhospitable to implantation (for a newly fertilized egg to implant, it has to have a rich “soil,” so to speak).
When the Pill acts in steps 1 and 2, it prevents a pregnancy. But there’s no way to know how often a life begins and then is unable to implant and grow, as in step 3.
The medical community has actually defined a pregnancy as beginning when the fertilized egg implants in the uterus, which takes about five days after the egg is actually fertilized. What’s important to note is that, for those in the medical community, the term “conception” literally means “implantation”.
What does this mean?
It means that the Pill has the potential, however rare, to cause a very early abortion. There are hosts of debates surrounding this topic, but I can’t comfortably use the Pill with this possibility.
More on the medical community’s debate regarding the beginning of life.
For more on the possibility of birth control causing early abortions, click here.
Effects on Physical, Emotional and Sexual Health
If I had pneumonia, I might take penicillin to clear up my infection.
If I had a serious injury, I might take a pain medication to give me relief.
The purpose of every drug on the market is to normalize a dysfunctional process in the body.
The Pill is the only drug that takes a healthy, normal function and works against it; or, as TIME Magazine put it: “It was the first medicine ever designed to be taken regularly by people who were not sick.”
More and more women are growing concerned with the effects that chemical birth control is having on our bodies. Just in the last few months, this study came out, revealing that the Pill is linked to depression.
Chemical birth control (including the IUD) is linked to these side effects:
Decreased sex drive
Cancer (read more about this here.)
In a culture that says no to GMO’s in our food, chemicals in our bathroom cleaners, and lead in our paint, we are slowly becoming aware of the danger that chemical birth control is to our bodies.
The Contraceptive Mentality
At the very root of birth control, there is a mentality that has become prevalent in our culture. We are taught from a young age that “safe sex” means “contracepted sex”. The possible pregnancy that could result from sex is something we need to be protected from. We have rejected the connection between sex and children, where children are not the natural blessing of marital sex, but are seen as an inconvenience, as something to be avoided. One hundred years ago, it would have been unthinkable to separate children from sex. Now it’s the norm.
I am not advocating that everyone should have 15 children (kudos to you if you want that many!) But I believe that children are truly a gift from our Creator to be treasured. They are not to be feared, dreaded, disregarded or ignored. He delights in life, so should we.
God created sex as a gift to the couple to bring life, love, and bonding to the marriage. When a couple has sex without contraception, they offer their whole bodies–even their fertility–to one another.
The point is this: there’s a difference between choosing a family planning method that intentionally works against a woman’s natural fertility, and one that works in tandem with her fertility. [When we embrace our fertility, we embrace life.]
That’s why I’ve chosen to practice Natural Family Planning (also known as the Fertility Awareness Method). It is the only method that allows me to stay true to my convictions about life, preserve my health, and honor my beliefs about sex and children. If you would like to learn more about NFP, it’s benefits, and how to practice, I will leave you with a few resources that I feel will explain better than I can.
(I’m including an affiliate link that will cost you nothing extra to use, but will instead support the family behind this blog.)
Taking Charge of Your Fertility is hands down the best book I have ever read on the subject. If you’re interested in learning more about NFP/Fertility Awareness methods, get yours hands on a copy of this. Pronto.
The Couple to Couple League is a Catholic organization (don’t let that scare you if you’re not Catholic-I’m not!) that offers onsite and online classes to teach couples how to practice NFP.
Here is a simple, straightforward instructional site on reading and understanding your fertility signs.
Here are some free downloadable charts.