Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Babies and Birth Control Post

Occassionally I get asked why I have so many kids aged so close together.

More often people make assumptions about why I do.

Usually I just give a short answer or leave people to their assumptions because, well, it isn't really anyone else's business really.  Plus, I think the philosophical, theological and personal reasoning behind family planning is a very rich, meaty pie to bite into and I could write several volumes on it and still not cover all the implications.  The problem is most people's eyes start to glaze over after the first few paragraphs so I don't think it'd ever be a best seller and I am too busy raising all these kids to ever get around to writing a complete treatment anyway.  Also, like many big stances, the reasoning behind this action may change as I grow in knowledge and wisdom so I don't really like to tie myself down too closely.

But because this blog is a place where I share quite a few things that are my business and because it is my little place in cyberspace to make people's eyes glaze over, and because I can put little disclaimers on here that say *I may change my mind*, here goes a short mini-treatment on why I have so many kids so close together in age.


Because Jon and I wanted to.

I always wanted a bunch of kids and I slowly won Jon around to the idea by producing such excellent specimens (that's what I like to think anyway!).  We love the lifestyle and dynamic of raising a large family.  My pregnancies and births have all been relatively easy and previous to Kaylee all of our babies have been horribly healthy and easy to manage.  We were happy to make the financial choices involved in having a bunch of kidlets like ours.

So we had 'em - and kept having 'em!

There are some people who have assumed that we did this because we felt the Bible says we shouldn't use birth control and this is not the case.

I believe when the Bible talks about children being a blessing it is right on the money and it is as true and relevant today as it was thousands of years ago.

However, I believe people who have just one or two children are equally blessed as those with larger families and I believe that those who are childless (through their own choice or otherwise) are just as blessed in a different way.

I do not believe that having more children will make me holy in and of itself (although God certainly uses my kids to polish my character if I let him!).

I do not believe that I am less holy or blessed if I choose to actively manage my fertility.

Personally, I do have qualms about the potential abortificant effects of hormone based birth control and do not like what they do to my body - but there are many other barrier and natural family planning options out there that are quite effective**.  I do believe that if I did not actively manage my fertility right now I would risk bringing the gospel into disrepute. 

If someone knows that I am a Christian the choices I make will often shape their view of Christians, God and the Bible.  What I do has the potential to soften or harden their heart to the Holy Spirit.

1Thessalonians 4:11, 12 urges Christians to "Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before." so that those who are not Christians will respect our lives and we will not be dependent on others
If I were to keep having lots and lots of babies while dependent on government allowances I would not be making these things my goal, I would be making having lots of babies my goal.  While I can find a lot of places where the Bible talks about having kids as a blessing, the only place I can find a direct imperative to have children is in Genesis when Adam and Eve were given the command to "go forth and multiply" - a command that speaks in general terms to humanity.  If I were to take this command and ignore the multitude of urgings in the Bible to be wise, owe no man anything and live a life that brings the Word of God into good repute also in the Bible, it would be legalism and selective verse-picking.

I don't believe God was telling each individual that they MUST go forth and multiply in this verse and  even if I did, "obedience" to this could be achieved with one child anyway - and would not exempt me from the other guidelines for living in the Bible.
One of my main hesitations in putting this post together is, well, babies happen.  I personally know of more than one post-vasectomy baby and many other pregnancies that have happened in spite of pretty much every type of birth control.  While I am not planning any more babies at this stage and am actively taking measures to manage my fertility accordingly, I still COULD fall pregnant.  And I do not want to chance any child I have feeling less that totally loved and wanted.  ANY child that enters our home, planned by us and God or only planned by God, IS loved, wanted and considered a blessing.

Right now I have more work in each day than I can really effectively manage without my husband at home working with me*** which makes us dependent on others.  We are privileged to live in a country whose social security systems do provide for us.  One of our goals at the moment is to not be dependent on this help again as soon as we are ready.  So for now we are not planning any more babies.  If I were to keep having babies right now and keep saying that "God will provide" for them, the hard-working taxpaying atheist would be justified in pointing out that they, in fact, are providing.  I had my babies because I wanted them and we could provide for them and I am thankful for a million different reasons for those choices we made.  I have no regrets and I am thankful for my children and enjoy having them so young all together.  God has blessed me with a "fruitful" womb, six fantastic kids, and placed me in a rich country where all my needs are provided for.  He also blessed me with a brain, common sense and the ability to reason and make choices.

And I pray that whatever I do, whatever I choose, the glory will be to God.

And that, in a nut shell, is why I have so many children aged so close together.

** No, I am not going into what I use because frankly, my parents, grandparents and in-laws read this blog and there are some things I think we just don't need to know about each other.

***yes, I know I am on the computer and not doing that work but I am pumping milk as I type.  It's called multi tasking....and I may be a LITTLE bit defensive.


skimbly said...

Thanks for this - nice to read some bible-based common-sense on this subject.

Caroline said...

Wow! Thankyou! This post really spoke to me, you just answered a prayer :)