Okay, so I was thinking about what I needed to post about today, and this is what I came up with... birth control. Oh gosh, my husband and I have had our own journey in this and I just wanted to share what the Lord has taught us in our own lives.
I had been on the pill in high school to help regulate my crazy cycle. Mom didn't like the idea of it, but I didn't really care. I didn't think it really effected me, but thought it would be nice not to have to take a pill every day. Midway through college I went off of it.
I was never really regular on my own until Ben and I started dating. Weird, yes. No, we were not having sex, by the grace of God we were able to remain sexually pure until marriage, I want to emphasize BY THE GRACE OF GOD because those pre-wedding months were difficult. I recommend the shortest engagement possible. It's weird because when we were just "dating" our physical relationship was just sweet holding hands, light kissing, and hugging. But then it was like after we got engaged the fire was fed. Suddenly temptation went through the roof. I will just say that, I don't know if anyone else has struggled in that way, but we sure did. Okay, enough about that.
So about a month before the wedding I went on the pill. That's what everybody did, I wanted my body to be "used" to it beforehand so there would be no chance of us getting pregnant. I had my music career going for me and that would seriously get in my way. We had talked about having kids and we thought we would revisit it in a year or so (in the back of my mind it would be a few years, Ben was less than that:)). I was going to be a serious songwriter, Ben had his job at Alltel, we were living in this cute little old apartment, it was going to be great.
Well, after the honeymoon we came home and I was working part-time at Starbucks, learning to be a housewife and cook dinners (I was SO terrible at this) grocery shopping was overwhelming to me, keep our apartment clean, try to do music and art on the side, and I was getting caught up in watching TV shows on our computer. Lovely, uplifting shows like Desperate Housewives, the Office, and some other show that was about this rich, spoiled family. I would get this attitude and Ben would come home and I was a total jerk to him. He probably thought, what happened to my sweet wife that I married? He would ask if there was anything wrong. I would be aloof and be like, yes, but I don't know what it is. I didn't like who I was becoming, but I didn't know how to stop.
Then I started to get angry. Violently angry. I would have thoughts that I just wanted to take a sledgehammer to something. I wanted to take our fishbowl with our innocent little beta and just toss it on the sidewalk and watch it break. Now, as I would have these thoughts it was like I was standing outside of myself thinking, I'm crazy. I've totally lost it. What the heck is wrong with me? I would wake up in the middle of the night... "Ben, Ben... wake up." "What's the matter Jody?" "I don't know, I just feel angry, like I just want to break something." CRAZY. Thinking back on this makes me amazed at Ben. I'm amazed that he didn't leave me. He just tried to talk me out of it, he prayed for me... then we thought, maybe it's this birth control. So I called my doctor and we switched to a new pill. The anger went away.
In it's place came a deep, dark depression. I had experienced this before, so I thought for sure it was spiritual. When I had the strength to, I would pray. I would wake up in the mornings and just be sad. Ben would often just have to leave the house with me sitting on the couch and staring blankly into the distance. "Are you going to be okay Jody?" and I would reply, "I don't know..."
Trying to fight it, one day I drove out to a park with pen and paper. I was so lost in this, just crying for help, I wrote on the paper, took a picture of it and sent it to him. With a body of water in the background he was afraid I was going to take my life and immediately started calling me. I didn't answer for a while, I was not in a healthy state of mind. It was crazy. Finally I answered and he came and found me. He told his boss he had to leave work to get his wife...
He came and sat next to me, he said, I don't ever want to go through that again. So we decided to try going off this pill. I didn't want to try another one for fear of how the next one would effect me. Ben agreed. He said he didn't want me to ever take any of those things again.
So for a while we tried condoms, but those made me dread intimacy.
Then a couple in our small group told us a about a diaphragm, I went and got fitted for one, but it was on back order for a few months.
Finally, I felt like the Lord was just leading us (blocking our efforts) to step out in faith. We were just supposed to do things the way God intended. He didn't put Adam and Eve in the garden and then say, "Okay, here are your condoms, birth control pills and so on..." No, He commanded them to be fruitful and multiply. I came to the conclusion that it is the Lord who opens and closes the womb, that no pregnancy, no child is brought into this world (even a pregnancy outside of marriage) apart from the will of God. He is the Creator of life, not us. So who am I to sit in the place of God and decide when and if I should be pregnant?
Okay, this is where I'm going to backtrack a little bit. This is what the Lord revealed in Ben and my life. This is not a blanket post to say that you are an evil person if you try to control pregnancy. I can immediately think of four of my friends (who love the Lord, love their kids and their husbands) who were ill, some more violently than others, throughout each of their pregnancies. I support their decisions to take permanent (or semi-permanent) measures in order not to get pregnant so that they can be better wives and moms. All four of these friends have each had three kids and I have so much respect for them that after their first experience they had even more.
I am thankful that God led us as He did. Exactly one year after we were married we found out we were pregnant. He provided every step of the way. If we hadn't followed I wouldn't have had the opportunity to be pregnant alongside my sisters-in-law, which was an experience I am so grateful for. I am closer to them in ways I would have never dreamed of. Most importantly, I wouldn't have my Levi. I could not imagine my life without him. The things that he has taught me, the ways I have had to put my needs aside in order to meet his... it just causes you to grow up a lot. I highly recommend not putting off kids. I'm just gonna say that. Having them young so you can keep up with them, so that your body can recover more easily from the pregnancy... It has just been amazing.
Also, I just want to clear the myth that kids cost a lot of money. Yes, insurance is needed for the delivery and everything. We got all of Levi's bedding second-hand, strollers second-hand, I haven't bought him but one or two toys (all he really wants to play with is an old cell phone). We have a crib that was given to us, a pack 'n play that was given to us, diapers are expensive, but I saved and got nice cloth ones and that has taken care of a lot of that expense. I don't ever want Levi to have a lot of "stuff" ... if little kids in poor countries can just play with a tin can, Levi can just play with his little blocks and be just fine.
Okay, that was a long post, but it's a story I love to share.