My husband and I began our marriage using traditional forms of birth control, in order to plan and space our children according to what “everyone who is responsible does." While we believed children were a blessing, we followed the American Christian model without much thought. They are blessings if perfectly planned and spaced, sent to school when mom wanted or “needed” to work, limited in number, and pushed towards college education as the qualifying answer to whether or not you are a successful parent.
After our first child turned school aged, we found ourselves expecting our fourth child within three years. Even though we had experienced a miscarriage, and very closely spaced pregnancies, we felt happy! My days were filled with taking care of home and children, and I felt fulfilled! I lost the desire to return to my college education or to leave my children for a job or career. We didn’t always have as much money as the next family with one or two children and two incomes, but we were abundantly happy.
However, although my husband and I desired more children, the voices around me of “You can’t just keep having children," and “Don’t you know how to prevent that?” rang in my ears. Coupled with the financial burden of traditional medical care for pregnancies I succumbed to the lie of "We should be done... it’s the responsible thing to do.".I made all the standard arguments about not wanting my time to be spread too thin between my children, about them being so expensive, about “God” giving us the technology to prevent pregnancy (with absolutely no biblical support of that idea), and that my body would suffer, etc.
Since I had a c-section for a transverse presentation with my third child, and we live in an area that bans VBACs, this next birth would be an unnecessary and forced repeat c-section. This was extremely terrifying for me, as I did not have good anesthesia during my first section, and experienced a lot of pain. With this looming before me, I convinced myself that I could not endure anymore repeat c-sections, and I must have a tubal ligation. I ignored the pull of the Holy Spirit to take this to the Lord in prayeras well as my husband's desire to not close off my womb. I held fast to the feminist mantra of “my body, my choice”.
At the c-section birth of my fourth child, the OB tied my tubes. I remember pretending not to care. Within a few months, I began experiencing a myriad of symptoms that I couldn’t understand. Before I even truly regretted the decision from a reproductive and spiritual standpoint, I began dealing with intense and cyclical migraine headaches, low milk supply (unusual for me), early return of menstruation that included a horrible flooding flow and terrible pain. As I researched, I learned I had PTLS (Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome). It is a very real, and largely dismissed disorder. It is caused by the closing off of the hormonal receptors through tying off the intricate communication system of the womanly reproductive system, thus throwing the woman into hormonal chaos. I had never experienced any hormone or cycle issues, and now it ruled my life. As I learned what I had done, I confessed my rebellion to my Lord God and my husband. This was the beginning of the great change in my life. Now I realized that the desire to close the womb is a heart issue, and as we know, all selfish heart issues can indeed manifest themselves with physical ramifications.
My husband and I saved up and eventually I was able to have a reversal. We prayed for restoration, not just in search of a "baby," but to turn this part of our lives; the very foundation and reason for marriage, over the Lord. If He is powerful enough to save, He is powerful enough to provide and control every aspect of our lives, even the “challenging” and ways we don’t understand! It was now in God’s hands, the way it always should have been!
The next month I was pregnant! I was determined to allow my body to birth naturally and found a hospital in the next state with a great OB who promoted VBAC for healthy women. I delivered an 8 lb. 10 oz. baby boy, Henry, via VBA2C, with a normal and healthy pregnancy and labor. I praised God for restoring my womb!
A mere 15 months later we welcomed Oliver James--all 10 lbs. 9 oz. of him in our bedroom at a homebirth. Our seventh child, Samuel, arrived last June, and we find we are more committed to following and obeying the Lord with each new child.
Our children are the vehicle God uses to mold and shape this clay from selfishness into selfless servanthood. The comments about how we must be so busy are quite misinformed. We choose a simple life at home, and therefore find ourselves less busy than many families we know with one or two children that are over-involved with sports, activities, public school, etc.
It is sad and unfortunate that the world has no trouble “investing” money into material possessions, technology, trips, large homes, and fancy cars, but find children “too expensive." Debt and a life lived for self-achievement is promoted through training children for college, but neglecting to train them in righteousness. There is no greater investment than the eternal! Fully mothering and raising children, whether you are blessed with no biological children and adopt, or have a house filled with young ones and a perpetual wardrobe of maternity and nursing wear, leaves its mark in the Kingdom in a way no activity, education, career, or possessions here on earth can do.
Post Falls, Idaho, USA