Part 1 of 4
A rather lively discussion on birth control has been circulating on our local homeschooling loop. The discussion of birth control in Christian circles inevitably involves a discussion of being quiverfull, so I thought I’d share my own story here.
Before I married my wonderful husband in 1996, we were required to have a few pre-marital counseling sessions. On the line of our little pre-marital worksheet where it said How many children will you have…I wrote 3. I had always wanted 6, but 3 sounded more “reasonable”. Somewhere in there I vaguely remember my soon-to-be husband mentioning that he didn’t think birth control was necessary. I wrote off his comments as not fully understanding the gravity of having children “too soon,” and under the advisement of well-meaning family members, I started popping The Pill. However, within a few months, my biological clock was ticking and I began to “miss” a pill here and there. By 6, I had quit them altogether.
I truly expected to be pregnant immediately. But by May I still wasn’t pregnant and I was beginning to be a wreck. When I brought my concerns to my husband, he simply said, “It’ll happen when it happens.” I grit my teeth and tried to remain calm while vowing to just give up. On our 1 yr anniversary I became pregnant and the following February I gave birth to an 8# 15 oz baby boy! At my 6 wk appointment, the doctor handed me a pack of pills and off I went doing what was expected of me.
Now, let me tell you, this little boy was a bundle of energy! He never stopped moving! And as he grew, he never stopped talking!!! (Don’t know where he got that from! lol) I tried my best to keep up with him, but there were many nights when I fell into bed crying because I was the world’s worst mother. There were no missing pills on this watch–not only could I not handle another baby, I didn’t deserve one! Just when I had gotten used to the idea of only having one, my dh said, “Don’t you think it’s time we tried for a sibling?” After about a month, the idea began to grow on me and I put away the pills.
Within 6 weeks I was pregnant! I was excited by the fact that I didn’t seem to be plagued with the horrible morning sickness I had experienced the first go-round. But, as I reveled in this, I had an uneasy feeling. I caught myself reading the Miscarriage section of What To Expect When Expecting. I noticed that I just didn’t even “feel” pregnant. At 8.5 weeks, as I was taking laundry out to be hung on the line, I began to bleed. I knew immediately it was over. I mourned for days and weeks and resolved to begin trying again right away.
Within 6 weeks I was pregnant again! But this time, the innocence was lost. I no longer felt blissfully happy. I was a nervous wreck constantly checking pregnancy signs, spending countless hours on the PG after MC boards analyzing myself, and crying every time I didn’t “feel” pregnant. I was afraid to believe that all was fine until I made it past the 9 week mark, by which time I was throwing up so much and so often that I am amazed I had time to even consider whether or not I would carry to term.
On top of the horrid morning sickness, I was depressed. I became obsessed with getting my tubes tied after the baby was born. I brought my demand to my OB’s office one day (a new OB who was renowned for having a high VBAC success rate). My doctor, who has 8 children of her own, literally said, “NO.” My husband begged me to give it 3 years before making such a decision. I thought they had ganged up on me, and I was miserable knowing that I could be pregnant again before the 3 long years were up!
That December, our precious baby was born VBAC. And even after 4 hrs of pushing, I remember thinking, “I could do this again!” I went home fully functional.
As the next few postpartum months went by, I began to notice large families. They seemed to be everywhere. They were in the magazines I was reading, they were at the grocery store and in church. I felt drawn to them. I was curious about their lives. I began to notice that many of them homeschooled. But the one thing that struck me was how much fun they seemed to have just doing things together. Then I met a family who was moving out of a house we were considering renting. As I drove up to the place, I saw what looked like a million children all running around the yard. One of the older boys stopped what he was doing and introduced himself and then took me in to introduce me to his mama and daddy and show me around the place. There in the kitchen sat his mother obviously pregnant packing boxes of food and looking contented and serene. I stared at her. I wanted what she had. I never felt serene, and I only had 2 children!
That night I went home and began searching the internet for anything on large families. I came across several websites that mentioned the word QUIVERFULL. Then I happened across Nate & Paula Wilson’s website and an article entitled “The Case Against Birth Control.” I remember thinking, “WHAT?! There’s nothing wrong with birth control! We’re not supposed to have baby after baby!” But I was so intrigued by yet another huge family, I decided to read on. Little by little, God worked on my heart and I began to see where this was what God wanted for our family.
I sat there in front of my computer in the wee hours of the night and prayed and cried–not because I repentant, but because I didn’t want this conviction. I was the last person who needed to have more babies! I am awful at being pregnant! Aren’t these sorts of convictions for people who have easy pregnancies? Oh, but wait! A back door! I am supposed to be submissive and my husband will NEVER go for this!
So, the next morning I ambushed him with, “Honey, I think God wants us to leave our family planning up to him.” I had a teeny weeny smirk on my face, knowing I was about to hear the words that would save me from certain doom…and then he said,
“Yeah, I agree.”
“I’ve thought that all along.”
(Continue to Part 2)