From time to time I talk with married women who are eager to be fruitful and multiply, but God has not yet blessed them with children. It can be difficult and confusing. Questions arise like, “Am I barren permanently?” or “Is God punishing me?” or “Why are we not having kids when everyone else seems to do this so effortlessly?” So I’m going to begin a few posts on this tender subject.
First a few observations about the modern mindset. Frequently, newlyweds practice birth control for the first year or two because one or both are in school or because husband’s job needs to get on a more solid footing, or simply because they have been told that they should wait a year so they can “get to know each other.” Whatever the reason for the delay (and they may have entirely valid reasons), there is an assumption of fertility, that they’ll be able to have babies whenever they desire. And though they may not realize it, this attitude can border on presumption. You just don’t know how fertile you are when you get married. You may be diligently preventing conception not knowing that you are one of those women who may have a harder time conceiving.
I always advise women to stay off the pill, not because I am an expert on the effects of the pill, but because I’ve talked to lots of women who have had a hard time getting themselves back on a normal cycle once they go off the pill. It would be far and away better to get pregnant a little sooner than you thought was prudent than to wonder if it was the pill that caused you to be unable to conceive later. Messing around with delicate hormonal balances is way over my head. But I would rather hear of women taking the pill after they have their quiver full of children than before they have ever gotten started.
The problem is setting yourself up for regret. You don’t know if you are able to conceive. We all know women who couldn’t get pregnant for a couple years and then went on to have several kids. Or, women who had a couple of kids and then never were able to have more. If you go on the pill for the first couple years you are married, and then switch gears because now the time seems right for babies, but have trouble getting pregnant, then it is easy to wonder if those two years on the pill contributed to this state of affairs. It would be much better to make love “irresponsibly” the first two years and let God bring on the babies, than postpone the process and tamper with things you know nothing about.
At the same time, I freely admit that I’ve known women who went off the pill and conceived the next month. The point is, we just don’t know, so we ought to be careful. We ought not just assume that we are able to conceive whenever we want. In all things we are to walk humbly before the Lord. Conception isn’t something we can order from a catalog or pick up at the mall. And taking a pill seems pretty harmless. Think it through and consider the other options before you. You may think you are simplifying your life when you are actually complicating it.