Titus 2:3-5

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Dealing with reproductive health choices?

Today I got fed up with reading about how terrible it is that Susan G. Komen for the Cure had withdrawn funding from Planned Parenthood on my Facebook news feed. So I wrote a status update to counter it.

My gripe is not against Planned Parenthood on their own. They are under investigation for good reason. They support pimps who use under age and illegal immigrant girls. They encourage young girls to lie in order to carry out some of their abortion work. Yet this is only a tiny part of it. My gripe is a much bigger picture than just Planned Parenthood.

I have a gripe that extends to all those who push population control at the same time as encouraging sexual activity outside of marriage. It seems ironic to me that the same people who want to control population growth, also actively encourage the very behaviour that leads to growing the population. This is a problem to me, and why I have such a gripe about the subject.

I am no expert. I'm not medically trained. I'm a stay at home wife and mother. I am also a disciple of Jesus Christ. I believe in a literal creation that took only 6 days and happened only 6 or 7 thousand years ago. I say all of this to make clear my context as I share this post. I have no hidden agenda. I do however believe that the Creator who made us knew what He was doing, and knows best how our bodies work.

Reproductive choices is very personal. It is also a very emotional subject. Everywhere you turn it seems like every side (there isn't just 2 sides in this one) is on the defensive, trying to justify why they are the ones with the high ground.

The choice my husband and I have made is one that is not very popular right now, but it used to be the most common one. We simply do nothing other than enjoy our marriage and let the children come as they come. This has not always been an easy decision. The most difficult time for us, and when our convictions were tested the most, was just after the birth of our wonderful first son. Aiden was a home birth turned hospital transfer than ultimately resulted in a c-section. The first thing we were told about another child was that we should wait 2 years before getting pregnant again. We researched and found no evidence for this advice from the nurse who gave it. At my 6 week post-op appointment with the OB/GYN I asked about it. I was told that they prefer a longer gap for a c-section mother, but 6 months would be safe and as long as we were 3 months postpartum it shouldn't be life threatening. So were did the 2 year wait advice come from? I later found out they tell all their maternity patients to wait 2 years, not just the c-section ones. Rob and I had already discussed our options. We talked about doing something to prevent another pregnancy too quickly. We prayed about it too. We came back to the same decision as always. We trusted the Lord. We trusted Him to not open my womb before it was ready to be opened. We trusted Him to heal me from the surgery too. We trusted and we got a 6 month gap between pregnancies, but both pregnancies and birth stories are available in previous posts here on the blog.

The need for population control is a lie. This planet is not over populated. It can actually sustain a much greater population than most people realize. Sexual activity outside of marriage is not a given either. It is possible to choose abstinence. It is possible to only have one sexual partner for life and for that person to be your spouse and for you to be the only one for your spouse too. What about those who don't marry young? I've heard that one too many times and I am here to say even for those who don't marry young it IS a valid option. My husband and I both chose to wait until marriage, and have only been married to each other. We were not young when we got married. I was 35 and he was 41. We didn't meet for the first time until just 2 years before our wedding. We both made choices along the way on our journey towards each other that allowed us to be in this position. Everyone has that choice too.

I think what it basically comes down to for me is that I am tired of hearing about "the poor" and how they are always the ones who end up being victims. I don't want to be harsh, but what about taking some responsibility for your own choices for a change. If you choose to be sexually active outside of marriage don't expect others to pay for your mistakes. They are your choices, so live with them. You have chosen to take the immediate pleasure, but don't want the long term health implications. You chose to do things to your body to stop babies being born while still enjoying the pleasure of sex. Then live with the consequences.

Abortions, hormonal birth control and sterilizations all cause a dramatic increase in risk to reproductive cancers. Prostate cancer is much more common among men with vasectomies. Ovarian cancer is much higher amongst women with tubal ligations. The list could go on, but it does seem that the less children we have and the less we breastfeed the most cancers women are at risk for. Sexually transmitted diseases bring about even more health risks.

I have seen too many friends struggle because of the choices they have made earlier in life. Infertility is on the rise. Reproductive cancers are on the rise. Yet too few want to admit that abstinence is a valid choice before marriage.

I had to watch as a friend took a painful journey through infertility and trying to become a mother. She made some bad choices as a teenager. It did not take a lot of sexual activity to leave her infertile. All it took was giving in to the pressure of 1 boyfriend at the age of 15. She got a STD that scarred her fallopian tubes and left her with just one working ovary. Many ears later when she got married and tried to start a family she couldn't. They chose to seek treatment. Finally they tried IVF. The second time she even got pregnant. But the baby implanted in her fallopian tube and didn't survive. She eventually got to a point of accepting that she would never have biological children. It was all because she made a bad choice at 15. If you ask her if it was worth it I know she would tell you no. She would also tell you that she wishes someone would have told her about abstinence when she was a teenager, instead of assuming and encouraging sexual activity.

I've also watched others battle with infertility, mostly due to bad choices. Some are as simple as using hormonal birth control within marriage until they felt ready to start a family. Then when they felt ready the family never started. Years of artificial hormones have left their bodies confused and unable to conceive.

There are also too many I personally know that have chosen to make themselves infertile after only 2 children. Then within only a few years their marriages begin to fall apart, unable to stand due to the change in the partner that was sterilized. Sterilization does change people, not just physically but emotionally too.

I know I'm not going to change every mind that may read this article. I may even offend some. For me this is a pro-life issue, but it isn't as simple as being an anti-abortion issue. I do believe that life is life from the second of conception, and that all life is precious. I know many couples who would adopt those unwanted babies in a heart beat if they were not hand-tied by overly expensive legal costs. If they cannot afford fertility treatment then they are not going to be able to afford a $30,000 price tag for private adoption either. But the pro-life issue is bigger than just birth and babies. It is also about preventing people from dying needlessly because they didn't know their choices would dramatically increase their risk of a more deadly cancer.

This is not as simple as being pro-life or pro-choice. You cannot truly be either if you only have propaganda from either side to inform you. You can be both if you start looking for the truth that is out there to be found. I am pro-choice. I am pro choosing life by making truly informed decisions that leads to life for me, my family and every other person out there.

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Baby Mordecai

Our blessed first baby, Mordecai, gone to heaven on July 23, 2009 at 13 weeks gestation.

You will never be forgotten by us.