Saturday, September 06, 2008

Yes, I'm Actually Telling You This!

Note: the topic of this post is controversial. I am sharing my opinion, but I am not saying this is the only way or the best way to do things. I will share my research with you on this topic and the conclusion I came to. Please understand that I am not judging you if you do things differently! I just wanted to share this with my readers because it was a big decision in my life.

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I am waiting for a package right now. You know what that feels like! I'm excited but a little anxious at the same time. Austin and I ordered the "Lady-Comp" a few weeks ago and it should be arriving at my house any day now. I'm a little anxious because this is a territory that I have never ventured on before:

Birth Control.

It's the topic that every engaged couple should discuss (but I'm not sure all couples talk about before they get married).

People don't talk about it very much, and to be honest, I have no idea what any of my married friends are using, if they decided to use birth control. I wish I knew more about this part of married couples' lives, but for some reason, no one seems to mention it, at least not to me.

I believe that all decisions, especially one like birth control, should be prayerfully considered and Biblically researched. The problem is, the Bible doesn't have any specific chapters regarding the subject. The only one I know of is in Genesis 38, and that story is apparently very controversial.

My assumption for most of my life was that birth control = the pill. Honestly, I thought that was really the only way to go (and I'm not quite sure what I thought the purpose of condoms were if you were using the pill...). Anyways, I just thought that was the norm. You got engaged, you went on the pill. You wanted to get pregnant, you stopped taking it. Simple.

Then several months ago I started thinking about birth control more. More and more of my friends were getting married, and some people seemed to get pregnant straight after their weddings. If they were all using the pill, and it was supposed to be so effective, then why was this happening? It dawned on me that maybe not everyone chose to use the pill. I started doing research and discovered a whole world that I never even knew existed. Sure, we had that nurse lady come and talk to all of us in 9th grade, and sure, I had heard the names of other forms of contraception such as "spermicide" and "diaphragm" but I didn't know much. And I didn't really listen to the nurse lady because I was nowhere near marriage.

During my time of research, I tried to figure out what I believed. I had no reason to think that the pill was the best thing out there other than the fact that most people seemed to use it, so I was going to go into the research with an open mind. My mom had told me that she could never use the pill because it made her crazy. Completely insane. The same thing happened to a friend of mine who was engaged, and it made me think about them: what was the solution?

I started with the pill. I was actually on the pill for a year and a half because of acne, but eventually I went off of it because I didn't have a strong reason to stick with it, and because they didn't sell the same pill in the U.S. that I was taking (it was a British one). I ended up with headaches every month after getting off the pill and never thought the two were related until my mom suggested it to me. I had heard other negative things about it from someone else, so I decided to find out exactly what the pill does.

Basically, it delivers hormones to your body and suppresses your period each month. The only reason you bleed is because your body goes into withdrawal since you don't take the pills for seven days each month. It's not an actual period. It fakes everything. The only reason why you take these fake pills (or no pills at all) for seven days each month is because doctors thought it would freak women out to not have a period at all. It's all psychological. It's funny because now there is a pill called Lybrel that suppresses your period all together.

The pill is medically designed to do three things:

1. Suppress ovulation
2. Prevent the sperm from meeting the egg by thickening the body's mucus
3. Prevent a fertilized egg from implanting on the wall of the uterus.

Did you read that last one correctly? Yes, a fertilized egg can die because of the pill. The pill is not actually a contraceptive because it may allow conception to take place. If you believe that life begins at fertilization, then you have a problem on your hands because that little baby embryo, no matter how small it is, is left to die since it cannot implant. The pill is actually defined as an abortifacient. Seriously, look it up online, it's everywhere. I was shocked when I read that because I had no idea that a baby can actually be made when using the pill. I honestly thought that its purpose was to suppress ovulation. No egg, no baby, right?

What I discovered was that it's the estrogen that mainly suppresses the ovulation. However, pills are containing lower and lower doses of estrogen now. You've heard of "low dose", right? That's talking about the estrogen content. There's even a progestin-only pill (the PoP), which doesn't contain any estrogen at all. Therefore, ovulation is barely suppressed and so job numbers 2 and 3 (listed above) happen more and more.

Another shocking thing I found out was about the morning-after pill. Most of us know it as an emergency early abortion pill (sometimes called "Plan B") which can be taken up to 72 hours after having sex. It causes a very early abortion and the baby is flushed out of the uterus, pretty much. Well, I found out that the morning-after pill is just a high dose of progestin, the same stuff in the regular pill. Yep, same darn stuff.

I had no idea that the pill caused early abortions!

Some people don't have a problem with this fact. I talked to my grandmother about it (who is a super conservative southern Baptist) and she didn't think it was a big deal at all. But for some reason, those facts really bothered me. I also didn't like the way the pill completely reverses everything your body is made to do. God made us in such a beautiful way and it works so wonderfully naturally. The pill pretty much screws everything up and makes your womb so foreign and uninhabitable for life to occur. I just didn't like that. There are also other nasty side effects like blood clots and headaches (like the ones I suffer from now).

So anyways, my research of the pill left me feeling uneasy and weirded out. I knew that I couldn't use the pill when I was married and feel completely comfortable with it. I began to pray about it, even though I wasn't engaged at this point, and I wanted God to show me His plan for my life in regards to birth control.

I researched other things:
-male and female condoms
-the IUD
-cervical cap

Almost everything I read about had something about it that I didn't like. I didn't like the IUD because it did basically the same thing as the pill. I didn't like spermicides because I didn't like the thought of putting a foreign chemical inside my body, especially one that some people are allergic to. The diaphragm weirded me out and it seemed kind of old-fashioned.

I couldn't figure out why on earth I wasn't at peace with anything I was reading about! I wasn't even engaged at this point but I wanted to figure out what God's will was for me. (I got engaged about a month or two later, though!)

I don't remember why I started reading about natural family planning. I honestly don't know why I started finding out about it. At first, I was completely against the thought of not using any form of contraceptive. I didn't want to be pregnant for the rest of my life! Natural family planning was so foreign to me. I read about taking your temperature each morning, charting it, and looking at cervical mucus (ewww) every day. I also read about how it increases communication between the husband and wife and how you actually learn more about your body. And an added bonus is the fact that when you want to get pregnant, it's a lot easier!

People sometimes use 1 Corinthians 7:5 as an argument against this method of contraception. I have thought about it, too. However, the Bible says that one of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control. We can learn to control our own bodies! Also, the husband and wife may be separated for various reasons during their marriage (business trips, going to see family etc.), and of course they cannot have sex then...! If you both agree to abstain during certain days of each cycle, it's okay. I don't see a problem with that. (You're only fertile for 6 days out of each cycle anyways!)

Another thing: natural family planning is accepted by Catholics, and they do not agree with using any other from of contraception. I'm not Catholic, and I don't see a problem with using a condom during those fertile days if needed.

I discussed these forms of contraception with Austin about a month before we got engaged. It was a general conversation, not talking about us personally or assuming that we would get married. Come to find out, he didn't really like the fact that there were health risks associated with the pill. He also didn't have a problem with the fertility awareness method (what you call the non-Catholic version of natural family planning). Austin's best man is Catholic, so they have talked a lot about it and how good it is.

It's good that we discussed birth control before we got engaged, because it made it a lot easier afterwards. We agreed that we would use the fertility awareness method once we were married. Good grief, never in a million years did I think I would do that!!! I seriously could not have guessed.

I discovered something online called a "Lady-Comp", which does all the temperature readings and charting for you. After it gets to know you and your cycles, which takes a few months, it can accurately tell you whether or not you are fertile each day. It gives you a red, green or yellow light depending on if you are fertile, unsure, or infertile. I liked this concept because charting seemed like a pain to me.

It was expensive, but not compared to using the pill each month! One of those little gadgets works for about 10 years or so. Austin bought it for me and so I should be receiving it any day now!

Oh, and one thing I forgot to mention about the Lady-Comp (and natural family planning/the fertility awareness method in general): it's 99.3% effective. Seriously. That is, if you use it correctly!

I am so surprised that I just wrote a whole post about this. I'm honestly interested to see what people think. I would love to hear from you guys. It's ok if you don't want to post on here - you can email me. Are there other people out there who use the fertility awareness method? Does anyone have a Lady-Comp? Is anyone using the pill? I'm just curious. This really is a whole new world for me!!!

Well, I'm tired of writing so I'm going to end here. If you have any questions about anything that I wrote about, I don't mind listening and answering. I'm not an expert by any means and I am still learning myself. I might have gotten some of the terminology messed up since I'm not a doctor, but I did my best!
Also know that I didn't write this to try and make anyone on the pill feel guilty, or try to persuade everyone reading this to buy a Lady-Comp. I simply wanted to inform you on our decision and let you know why we chose the fertility awareness method. Yes, we could get pregnant on our honeymoon, but so could anyone. We trust that God's plan for us is best and the He knows what He's doing. Choosing the fertility awareness method was a huge step of faith for me. I want to be in control of my own life, and by deciding not to use the pill took a lot of trust. (And honestly, if you're married and you get pregnant, how could you not be excited about that?!) So there you go. I'll let you all know how the Lady-Comp is once I receive it!



Anonymous said...

i know it probably wasn't your intention...but this post made me laugh a lot.

i love your honesty, and i think it's great that you've done so much research and are so well-informed about your options. a lot of people don't stop to consider how things work and how they affect your body...i also think it's great/hilarious that austin bought you a lady-comp.


The Family Sewells said...

Hi Katy, I would be happy to talk to you about it. Please give me a call sometime.


LAstar said...


fascinating topic! i never really thought about birth control much...i was told i needed to take it in highschool for the intensity of my cramps, but i said heck no tekno! i am glad you did all that research - it's good not to walk into these kinds of things blindly! let me know how this strange lady-comp thing works out for sounds so star trek! lol

also, how did you get your layout onto your blog without it deleting everything? i like the way how on yours to the right you have all the blogs you read and when they updated last - how do you get it to do that? i am completely incompetent, i have realized...!!!


Ben and Amy said...

go girl! i was excited to read this post... wait by the way this is amy grimme... not ben- although he would be more excited to read this than I probably was.
we/ he did A LOT of research on the topic before we got married and neither of us had a peace about the pill... for several reasons but anyway... natural family planning and condoms (omg i just wrote condom on a blog) were what God wanted us to use for the purpose of wise family planning- we are currently reading/ referencing the book called Taking Charge of your Fertility. I HIGHLY recommend it- Rusty Bacak recommended to the Carls and they recommended it to us (it's legit basically). It has little charts just like the one you posted and we track my temperature every morning and ya know... and presto! we know my cycle like that and when i'm fertile and when we can not use a condom (hooray!) aaanyway, just wanted to share our similar convictions. and YES! everyone should talk about this and prayerfully consider what to do. we also have nothing against others taking the pill- it's something we know each couple must be obedient to the Lord which comes full circle to what marriage is- a picture of Christ and the church. so i'll end my babbling here. love you Kate :)

Ben and Amy said...

ok i just re-read my comment...i meant love you katIe. ugh i hate missspelllingz.

kathryn said...

Christy's already volunteered to talk with you about it, but I'm open, too. The women here at church actually talk about it a lot, but (like sex talk) it usually not brought up until a woman is engaged. There are several of us who do FAM, but I hadn't heard of that automatic thing you ordered - you'll have to let me know if you like it!