I feel like everyone has questions for newlyweds that they don’t really want to ask. Like, “What are you doing for birth control?” “When do ya’ll want to start having kids?” ‘What have the first few months of marriage really been like?”
So over the next couple of weeks, on my short summer break from school, I thought I might tackle these questions.
First up, birth control.
Before being engaged I had not thought about birth control once. I had never had sex and I had never had issues with my "monthly visitor," so it never crossed my mind. Not only that, but I had heard it talked about it in a mostly-negative context. So last June found me newly-engaged and clueless.
|(The moment I realized that Jon was proposing!)|
We decided to plan our wedding in two months. We were feeling all the pressure that came with an engagement, with the added disadvantage that I was totally clueless about sex and conception (besides, you know, the stuff in textbooks).
All that to say, we rushed to the decision that I should get on a pill until we were married, slightly settled, and could figure out what a more long-term plan was.
Long story short, I hated it. I got every side effect in the book, and each week was something different. I am not exaggerating when I say it was a horrific experience. I went on the pill for a complete month before the symptoms (which included a scary round of depression towards the end… no thank you!!) were just too much for me to handle. We didn't know what else to do, but those hormones made my body miserable.
After that fiasco and a lot of tears, we decided just to use protection until Jon and I could go back to the doctor together after the honeymoon. And we prayed. A LOT.
We almost got a hormone-less IUD, but never felt 100% about it. All we knew, was that we wanted something that struck the perfect balance (for us) between trusting God wholeheartedly and still being a good steward of what the Lord had given us (financially, and with other responsibilities He has given us).
Finally, after much prayer, this was the conclusion we reached:
We set out in our marriage to never be satisfied with a comfortable life if the Lord was calling us to be uncomfortable. We had said that we wanted to trust the Lord with our future, but here we were, trying to maintain control over one part of our life. And that did not feel right.
Those were the thoughts that led us to a method called Natural Family Planning.
I thought it would be really difficult and annoying to figure out, but it is SO easy. I track my cycles using an AWESOME app that makes it very practical called "Groove” and we simply avoid sex on days 11-17 (Day 1 being the first day of your "monthly visitor"). It works very well for us because I am very, very regular.
The Groove app has a lot of resources and research to help me know my body and know the signs for when I am at a point of high fertility. It has helped me understand my body and also take care of it by not using those extra hormones that my body didn’t need. Like I said, I was totally clueless about a lot of these things before I was married, but I know a lot more now because of this app. Still not an expert, but I know way more than I did.
A lot of our friends say that using Natural Family Planning is foolish, and not even "birth control." But that brings us to the 3 reasons we chose NFP:
1. We don't want control.
The most important part of this for us is keeping us humble and trusting before the Lord. Jon and I both struggle with intense needs for control, and because of that, stronger or more protective birth control would only encourage this hunger for our control in our hearts. For that reason, Natural Family Planning has brought us to a scarier place of trust than we have been to before, but also to a deeper trust and reassurance in God's good plans for us, helping us begin to relinquish this need for control.
2. We still want to be smart.
It also allows us to find a balance between trusting God wholeheartedly and still being a good steward of our family. We knew there would be financial sacrifice when we got married in college, but there is a limit to how much a baby can be budgeted! While we want to be trusting that the Lord knows best for our family, we want to set our future children up for success.
What I mean by this, is that we know God can step beyond any form of control or protection (He is way bigger than we are!) but we want to give Him a lot of room to interfere in our lives however He wants to. It keeps our hearts in the position that we really don't know what could happen! It keeps us open to God's plan, even if that means giving us a child before we think we are ready.
Yes, we are trying to be wise because we are waiting for a consistent job before we purposefully put ourselves in the position to receive the incredible blessing of a child.
Yes, we know that we are still in school and that school would be difficult as a parent.
But His timing is always right, and His plans are always best. Why would we want to listen to anything or anyone else?
One last note…
Jon and I are very aware that not everyone chooses Natural Family Planning. There are so many issues, life circumstances, and preferences that go into this decision! But my intentions are to share our heart on this topic because there are a lot of questions about this topic for Christians, especially young people. Birth control is so common, there are even a lot who don’t know about other options!
Jon and I say that we want to trust God’s control over our lives, and we want to be making decisions that show we believe it is true. We wanna talk it and walk it, and we feel that using stronger birth control would be contradictory to our desire to trust God’s plan with our family.
Besides, sex is all about saying to another person "I love you and trust you enough to possibly create and take care of another soul with you."
...but we can talk more about that specifically later;)
Anyways, hope this was interesting and slightly informative. Regardless, I am learning that it is important to share what the Lord is teaching me and showing us as a new family, so this was fun to share.