Saturday, March 15, 2008

BC Part Two: Phyll's Story

I mentioned in a previous blog that I would be having a "guest blogger" as a part of this series. But after Phyllis and I talked about it, I decided that we are really doing this series together. My sister-in-law, Phyllis is very educated on the topic of Birth Control and Family Planning. She and her husband, Chet have taken courses, read books, listen to many teachers, read articles and met with people like Dr. and Mrs. Molher (the president of Southern Seminary) regarding these issues. She is posting my blogs and I will be posting hers as this series unfolds. I encourage you to stop by her blog and comment as well.
She started by sharing her story and it is well worth reading. Like mine, it is pretty long, but PLEASE take time to read is so good. For this post, I am just going to copy and paste a couple of exerts so as to entice you to make it over to her blog for the is so worth it!

"I had graduated from college and was gainfully employed. Chet, however, was raising support to pay his salary as a part-time associate pastor at a church plant in town. He had two other jobs in addition. Oh, and he was part of a band that traveled quite often, especially on the weekends. We were busy, didn't really have "all that much money", and were working to pay off Chet's undergrad student loans. So we still weren't ready to start "trying" to have kids. Our mindset was that, if we're not ready to start trying, then we're preventing and there's no reason to go off the pill. We didn't discuss it much. It was just part of the normal routine, and if I forgot to take it one day, we just made sure we were careful. Pretty simple.

At this time, I was hanging out a lot with a good friend of mine named Angie. We would walk at a nearby park after work quite frequently. She too was on the pill and hadn't thought twice about it, especially since her cycles were strange (this is why it was initially prescribed to her). Her husband heard some stuff about how it was possible that the pill could be an abortifacient (it could cause abortions of fertilized eggs... aka babies). So he started researching. He came to the conclusion that Angie should stop taking the pill immediately. She nearly freaked out! They still weren't ready to have kids because of some circumstances in their lives, so they enrolled in a Natural Family Planning class at the local Catholic church. I basically watched Angie walk through all of this, but I was still a little bit skeptical of what her husband was saying.

That's when I started researching for myself. Any of you who know me well are aware of the fact that I love to learn, and if there's something I don't know much about, it kind of (or REALLY) bothers me. Realizing that this could possibly be a moral issue, I researched with gusto. Angie shared some things with me that they had come across. I forgot to mention that, in the process of all the aforementioned stuff in their lives, they were converting from Protestantism to Catholicism. As a result of this and the fact that they took the class at the Catholic church, most of the resources were produced by the Catholic church. In my mind, there was no inherent problem with the Catholic church producing useful resources that I could learn from even though I wasn't Catholic. The problem I was running into is that, in the things I was reading, most of the reasons why a person shouldn't use the pill were based on what the Pope said and not on what the Bible said.

I continued my research. I basically got online and typed "Oral Contraceptives as Abortifacient" in my search engine window. Immediately, all kinds of articles popped up, and many of them were written by Protestant authors. Wow! Can I just say that this whole time I never knew this was even a question I should be asking! It was just something everyone did. I had NEVER heard this discussion brought up in any of the Protestant churches I had been part of (and for that matter, I had never even heard it as a discussion among my Catholic friends, who were admittedly nominal Catholics, but still... shouldn't I have heard this SOMEWHERE?).

Actually, it was this shocking moment 5 years ago that has prompted countless hours of research, interviewing, praying, thinking, etc. and that has produced in me a great desire to make it known that there is indeed a moral aspect of decisions regarding family planning and birth control methods, and people need to be able to make INFORMED decisions. Further, there have been many people who have come to us asking us to discuss our journey and our findings in the past, and we assume that there are many others that would ask about if they knew it was something to be discussed. Hence the blog series.

Okay, back to my story. I researched a lot. I read the articles from both sides. I read the Physician's Desk Reference listings for all the types of hormonal birth control that were on the market as well as devices like the IUD. After HOURS of reading from both sides of the issue and tossing these things around in my mind throughout a lot of sleepless nights, and after a lot of talking and praying with Chet, we came to a conclusion... finally. We determined that because it seemed very clear that there is at least a possibility that the birth control pill (of any kind) renders the uterine lining so hostile that it could make it impossible for the already-fertilized egg to implant (thereby aborting the baby), we could not in good conscience continue taking the pill. We recognized the IUD as abortifacient right away because one of its main functions is to irritate and thicken the lining of the uterus to "sluff off" the fertilized egg (which is a baby because it's already fertilized even if it's not implanted). That meant that the IUD and other such devices were also out of the question. So what would we do? Barrier methods don't always have the best track record."

Phyll's story goes on and she recounts life and family planning decisions after baby number one, Ladan came by C-section and then baby number two, Gabe did as well. What do they do facing continued C-sections and the effects on her body....seriously dont miss it.
Please visit her blog for the is SO good!
She ends by linking an excellent article by Dr. Al Mohler that we both think is a MUST READ!

Can Christians Use Birth Control by Dr. Albert Mohler
In his conclusion he writes, ""For evangelicals, much work remains to be done. We must build and nurture a new tradition of moral theology, drawn from Holy Scripture and enriched by the theological heritage of the church. Until we do, many evangelical couples will not even know where to begin the process of thinking about birth control in a fully Christian frame. It is high time evangelicals answered this call."


arich81 said...

here's my question: why do you put the point of conception where you do?

thehirschgang said...

hey amber-
I'd left a post on one of your blogs, when I found it from Michelle's...but, I also have seen that you've been really busy, so I was just waiting. :) I was SO excited to be able to see a little glimpse into your life and see what God's been up to!
Oh my- this is SO funny, the whole birth control thing, that you are writing about it now. We went into marriage almost 7 years ago May 5th (can you believe that?!) with this same belief. Many thought us crazy, cause just like you said about birth control "it's the thing to do". And those same issues of surrendering complete trust and control to Him over our controlling what we think is best is what we faced. Not that we're being lax on it either. We were pregnant with Bekah 3 months into marriage, KNOWING we were probably going to have a baby. But, we did go another 2 years before being pregnant again, lost that baby, and then 2 years later, had Belle. We have 3- almost 6 yr. old, 21 mth old, and 7 mth old.
A major concern we have with our generation is that children aren't about us. When WE want them, when WE think we're ready for them (who IS?!), etc- instead of seeking God, just like we should with every other aspect of life, on what HE desires. This life is about HIM, therefore all things should revolve around Him, including our children.
Now I'm going on and on...sorry. I'm just SO tired of all the looks we get because we have more than the standard 2 children per family in America. We do see them as a blessing- though, yes, much work. But they are such gifts. And we're looking to have more! :)
one more thing...I LOVE your list of books! Most all of them are in our library too! :)
Love you! And so glad to be able to catch up!