Prevention: Isn’t that for things we don’t like?

Birth control is as common a term now as “housefly.” But it hasn’t always been so. Margaret Sanger had her work cut out for her when she first launched the campaign to make it a common household term. Birth control serves one purpose: to prevent children.

Many will argue that birth control itself is a neutral entity, with neither good or evil intentions. But I challenge you to think about something. The only thing anyone ever wants to prevent is something unpleasant. We have preventative medicine to ward off illness. We try to prevent heart disease with excercise and diet. We do all that we can to prevent catastrophes, tragedies, financial loss, etc. I submit to you that birth control could have never come to be an acceptable practice until someone convinced us that children were in some way “negative” and in need of preventing.

For the Christian, it should startle us to think this over in light of what the Lord says about children (blessing, gift, heritage, happy is the man that has a bunch of them, etc.) If we believed the Bible, and thus believed that children were a real-live gift from God, would we have a shred of audacity to try to prevent them???

What must it do to our Father’s heart every time one of his treasures it turned away from the very people that call themselves children of God?

20 Responses to “Prevention: Isn’t that for things we don’t like?”

  1. JBSmiths says:

    SO TRUE! I agree with you that the general attitude toward child-rearing is negative in this country. It is viewed as unpleasant, burdensome, and often rebellion is expected and even encouraged. There is a lack of love, of concern, and lack of involvement from the parents, which I believe, and agree with you, too, is a product of our times and culture. The “me first” attitude prevails…plus the approaching conviction that children are not much more than material things, almost without futures or souls. While many still consider child- bearing, at least one or two children, to be a must in this lifetime, many, and even these same ones, consider it unimportant for themselves to raise their own children, and will shuffle their kids off to school, ball games, friend’s homes, parties, baby-sitters, camp, spending almost no time alone with their own children, thus allowing the “village” to raise their children, instead.
    Babies and children are growing men and women, given to us to care for, influence, and instruct. They should not be thought of as unfeeling, stubborn, rebellious, time-stealing obstacles in life. Seeing them as “men-children” and “women-children”, we have a more realistic perspective and should show more concern for their well being and upbringing. We ought to be thrilled with the opportunity to make such an impact on a few persons (our own children). We’d probably start showing more concern for all people in general, as well. I guess first, though, we have to stop saying, “Me First!!”.

  2. JBSmiths says:

    Kelly, where do you think all this negative stereotyping began? I wonder, and I don’t understand it. I think God has given most people a natural love for the children that they have…but then why…do some say that they would hate to have any more?…and why are people becoming so apathetic toward parenthood and the raising of children? That really puzzles me. Where does all that come from?

  3. Word Warrior says:

    In response to the comment about “why are people so apathetic toward parenting”…I believe it is summed up in the religion of our culture: “Meism”, or for the real term, “humanism”. We are inundated with it from commercials, to our public school curriculum–“it’s all about me, what makes me happy, what’s in it for me”. And how can this philosophy possibly be compatible with Scriptures admonition for the Christian: “You must lose your life to save it”…”present your bodies a living sacrifice…”

    Motherhood, especially when we receive all the children God would give us, IS a very sacrificial duty. It is usually NEVER about me, with a house full of children! But how beautifully God works out his purposes in my life by this very mission…to receive my children is to inevitably create in me a servant’s life. God’s Word is perfect and true. And when we simply obey, our lives become vessels through which God’s supernatural power is at work in us, in ways we cannot know.

    Me first, is no fun. The whole of Scripture is one big IRONY. What LOOKS to be hard, sacrificial, “giving my life away”, is the only way to true joy. The opposite is true of the me-first religion. The more I focus on what makes me happy, the unhappier I become. This applies to all of life, but I think is especially fitting in the realm of having children.

  4. Melissa says:

    I came across this post and while I definitely agree with what you are saying I want to present my situation to you and ask what you would do… First of all let me start of by saying, God has blessed us tremendously, We are 28 years old and have 6 children 6 and under with no multiples! They are 14,15,17,21,and 11 months apart. They are all truly gifts from the Lord. Our first pregnancy presented no problems or anything out of the ordinary, he was born 2 1/2 weeks early but that is no big deal! With our 2nd-6th child I was put on bed rest for preterm labor and this last time for complete placenta previa AND preterm labor for a total of around 16 weeks including recovery… If you do not know about Complete Placenta Previa, Preterm Labor and complete Placenta Previa do not go together! I had a couple of big bleeds, With the second bleed the doctor had to take the baby or risk endangering the baby’s and my life. I was going into labor and they had to do an emergency c-section (not “natural” but I am so thankful that there are c-sections, fortunately I was 36 weeks along and had steroid injections already and the baby was fine. Bed rest and c-section recovery require a lot of help from others: meal preparation, childcare, house cleaning, etc. And each pregnancy my bed rest has been longer and my body is showing the signs of having these babies so close together without time to completely heal. Our church is very small so we get limited help from our church family. My family is almost completely uninvolved and so the burden falls primarily on my mother-in-law. And while she loves our kids and at least seems happy to help most of the time, she has health problems and it is really hard on her. Unfortunately my husband’s job doesn’t allow him to work from home. We were told after our latest c-section that we needed to wait a year before we got pregnant again or I would have to have another c-section and for me, bed rest is just a “we know this is going to happen” fact of pregnancy. So, that would mean another season of 14 or more weeks of rest and recovery time. Breast feeding (obviously) isn’t a natural birth control for me, at least not for long. So how are we supposed to wait a year to get pregnant? We have only managed that once and it was during a season where we used the rhythm method! After my 4th pregnancy we decided that we weren’t going to prevent at all because that wasn’t the way God intended, it wasn’t “natural”. But after much prayer and reading we have decided to use natural rhythm method+barrier method to prevent a pregnancy this time around until we can safely have a natural birth. Not because we despise children, but because my husband wants to protect me, we do not want to burden others, my husband wants to protect me, and so my body has time to heal so we can have a natural birth (Lord willing) the next time. We researched and researched and found no answers for a situation like ours. It seems that most people do use birth control for selfish reasons, and that is what pastors and Christian writers(with our convictions) addressed (voddie Bacham briefly addresses it here and leaves it open ended), but we do not feel like we are doing that. We LOVE children, we welcome them! We are seeking the Lord and in that seeking my husband has felt it necessary to be my protector. That is also God’s calling to a husband, to be a protector. I know that any kind of birth control is not “natural” but neither are c-sections, and I am so thankful for them! I guess I am just saying that we can’t always put a blanket statement on everyone and we need to make sure we are being compassionate toward those who love the Lord and are really seeking to obey and honor Him! Do you have some wisdom to offer? What would you do in my situation? I hope this comes across in a gentle and kind way I am writing with a smile on my face!
    By the way I love your blog. I have read so many things on here and am inspired, convicted, and encouraged so many times! Thank you for writing and encouraging all of us follow the Lord more closely, especially when it comes to being a wife and mother. Thank you!

    • 6 arrows says:

      Melissa,

      I feel for you in your situation. I hope you don’t mind me sharing my thoughts here, even though you did not ask me.

      Clearly you and your husband have a heart for children. God looks at the heart. I don’t believe your decision to delay pregnancy reflects any selfishness on the part of you or your husband. In fact, I think it’s beautiful that your husband is so serious about his role as a protector. That, in and of itself, is a true blessing from God!

      If I may share a personal story here about my husband’s and my journey regarding birth control: After we’d been married for 14 years (and had had 3 children), we decided we would stop using birth control. However, in the 11 years since that decision, we HAVE had seasons where we very carefully went back to delaying pregnancy.

      One of those times was following my first miscarriage. After the first time that happened, my oldest daughter (then 9 years old) was DEVASTATED. (We had just announced our pregnancy a couple weeks before that.) My husband and I decided that it would be prudent to follow the advice of our doctor and avoid “trying” to have a baby for at least 3 months. My husband was very protective of our daughter, and felt it would just be too much for her emotionally if I got pregnant right away (which is very typical for me) and ended up miscarrying again when her grief was still so raw.

      There have been other times, also, that we made similar decisions, although not because of physical situations like what you have described. My advice to you, Melissa, for what it’s worth, would be to just keep doing what you’re doing: seeking the Lord’s will. You and your husband sound like very compassionate people, who desire to know the heart of God and do right by Him and the family with which He has blessed you.

      One other thing I thought of (and I have no experience with this myself): have you and your husband thought or prayed about adoption? If pregnancy and childbirth become increasingly dangerous, would you be open to receiving blessings from the Lord through adoption instead? (Not that adoption is only a consideration for when pregnancy problems exist.) Perhaps adoption might be a way to receive children while your womb is at rest? (I hope that doesn’t sound like I’m trying to outline what God’s will might be for you.)

      Blessings to you and your family, Melissa!

    • Word Warrior says:

      Melissa,

      I would echo much of what 6 arrows has said here. I’ve always maintained that while it can be a slippery slope to make various “allowances” for the prevention of children, only because in our flesh, it’s so easy to want to avoid certain hardships, by the same token, I don’t hold to a hard and fast “never” rule about it. I think when the heart desires children, understands God’s sovereignty over life and truly is open to that gift, there are times when we are certainly allowed to exercise some discernment, especially in times of illness and/or abnormalities. I appreciate your heart and your desire to enter into God’s will with prayer and trepidation. Many blessings to you and I’ll pray for wisdom and healing.

  5. Melissa says:

    I forgot to put the Voddie Baucham link! So like me, sorry! Here it is: http://web.me.com/voddieb/vbm/Blog/Entries/2009/6/11_Is_An_Economic_Downturn_A_Good_Reason_to_Stop_Having_Kids.html

    6 arrows,
    Thank you so much for your input, it was so encouraging! We have struggled so much with our decision and want so much to do what God desires we do! We have considered adoption, it is something both my husband and I have always wanted to do. We hope that one day God opens the doors for us and we can give a child a home that needs one. We have a daughter with down syndrome and have considered adopting another child with some sort of special needs. Thank you again for sharing your sweet story and for your encouragement, it was much appreciated.
    Blessings,
    Melissa

    • 6 arrows says:

      You’re welcome, Melissa. And just for the record, my husband and I often struggle too after making major decisions, wondering if we did the right thing. Sometimes it seems God puts us on a path that seems contradictory to the one we thought He had us on before! Keep regular in the Word and prayer, as you have been, and it’ll all work out for good. Praying for you, Melissa!

  6. Kristie says:

    I totally and completely understand that children are a gift from God and are to be cherished. However, I have to strongly disagree with most of your post. I respectfully say that I take great offense to the following comments, as they are unrighteously judgmental. Perhaps thinking of others’ reasons for not having more children is in order. You just can’t make blanket statements like this. … ” The only thing anyone ever wants to prevent is something unpleasant.”; “I submit to you that birth control could have never come to be an acceptable practice until someone convinced us that children were in some way “negative” and in need of preventing.”; ” If we believed the Bible, and thus believed that children were a real-live gift from God, would we have a shred of audacity to try to prevent them???”; “What must it do to our Father’s heart every time one of his treasures it turned away from the very people that call themselves children of God?”

    • Kristie says:

      I should also add that the statements in the article are just as bad as people harassing those who choose to have large families. Again, just because a person doesn’t want any or more children doesn’t automatically put them in the category this article places them in.

    • Word Warrior says:

      Kristie,

      I’m sorry you take offense for my repeating what Scripture teaches about children. If you will allow me, it may help you get my point a bit though.

      Because we have bent so far left concerning the sacredness of life, I am trying to bend way far right to reveal how wrong, GENERALLY speaking, our thinking is.

      This article isn’t mean to say there is never, ever a time it would be right to prevent a child (for some reason, people always seem to default to this assumption and get mad at me). I have repeatedly stated that it is my personal opinion that in rare cases of health problems, etc., it may be prudent and acceptable for a couple to prayerfully decide to delay children so that a woman can heal. I have been open about this stance. The heart of the matter is that our default assumption, under normal circumstances, is that God longs to give us children, He’s created our reproductive system to function as He wants them to, and that He has clearly taught us in Scripture to desire children and see them as a heritage…something longed for.

      Articles like this address the general idea that “WE” think we are controllers of life and have decided that it is normal only to have a couple. That is the cultural norm, but that is vastly incorrect, according to God’s Word.

      Maybe that helps??

  7. Micah says:

    What about the “prevention” of health issues (for example, post-partum depression) that would likely inhibit the mother from caring for the baby (and possibly other children), her home, her husband, and her spiritual duties? I don’t believe your blanket statement adequately reflects everything that goes into the decision of bringing lives–souls who have been placed in our care–into this world. If I am not physically or mentally capable of adequately caring for a (or another) child, then I believe I would be SPIRITUALLY irresponsible and I will be held accountable for my actions. True, the church would also have a responsibility in helping in dire situations. However, it is MY ultimate responsiblility as a mother to raise my children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. There are times and circumstances that call for the prevention of losing my soul and possibly the souls of my children.

  8. Brandy L. says:

    Kristie,
    I am very sorry that you have taken such offense to this article. You say in your first statement that you “completely understand that children are a gift from God”. Yet, you condemn this lady for her beliefs and statements that children are exactly what God called them “gifts” she only called children what God called them. God is the giver of blessings. You said that just because someone does want any or more children doesn’t place them in the category this article places them in the please tell me what category it places them in? Because I think she’s pretty right on to say you either accept the “gifts” of children that God gives you or you prevent them.
    The “WORLD” has convinced Christians that it is okay to control this area of our lives. We say we want God to be in control of our lives but we really don’t. I challenge you to look at scripture before you make such harsh comments to this lady accusing her of harassing those with small families.She made us think about things in life we prevent and challenged you to think what God would think about us preventing HIS “gifts”.

    Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean they are harassing you. I pray that you will be challenged and to take a look at what the bible says about this subject. I know in 1st Timothy 5;14 when speaking to young widows God told them to “marry and bear children”
    In Christian Love,
    B

  9. Brittany says:

    I must state what to me seems the obvious. I mean this in good will and not ugliness. Before birth control…all of these situations such as health issues from being pregnant and other reasons would not have been an issue. It is an issue because birth control does exist now. If a husband wanted to protect his wife and knew that it was unsafe for her body to have children for a while, then I would think abstinence would be the only biblical way to solve such a problem. Denying your desires until your body heals was what was done in the past. What is wrong with it now? That is how you allow yourself to heal… self-denial…abstinence.

    • Word Warrior says:

      I haven’t stated that I think this is wrong. I agree. But there is a caveat: it can become very easy for us to justify preventing children under the guise of “health” and that’s why I mention that it’s a heart issue. If our thinking about children is right–that they are a welcomed blessing, something to be desired, not the burden that our culture treats them as, then those hard decisions become clearer and a bit easier. But if our thinking aligns more with the culture, then we tend to find every reason we can to prevent them. Preventing them should be the exception, according to what I read in Scripture, and handled very carefully and prayerfully. I hope I’m being clear.

      • Brittany says:

        Yes Kelly, you are being clear. It just bothered me that people (not you) were stating situations such as health issues as a reason to use modern birth control. I agree that it is a heart issue. If our heart is not in the right place, then we can make excuses all day long about just about anything. If a person has their heart in the right place and really would need to abstain from having children for a *period of time* for real health reasons, then I just wanted to mention that abstinence would then be the way to go…self denial really is good for the soul and is biblical. 🙂

        • Jennifer says:

          For how long, Brittany? Six months? That’s an awfully long time to deny your husband. And since the result is the same (no children), I don’t see the difference. Either way, you’re closing the door to more children for the time, so to call the execution of this by the pill a “heart matter” is unfair.

  10. Natasha TheGoatGirl says:

    Hey, on this topic, for those of you who want to “prevent” children for a season – health, economics, whatever… There is a biologically sound, and very easy method that a Catholic group is developing. That doesn’t require prolonged abstinence, hormone-altering pills, or surgery. It can also identify female system-related problems of multiple kinds, including infertility, by a simple, noninvasive, and very accurate testing method. The data collected by the woman (and her husband helps – if she is married) and their instructor can also be used by medical professionals outside of the method’s practitioners for any health issues that show up. They call it the ‘Creighton Model FertilityCare System’ and their research ‘NaProTechnology’.

    I was able to sit in on a conference on the subject, and the doctor heading it is highly credible and was quite obviously passionate about the value of life and protecting both babies and families as a whole. He has published a very thick book from his findings that can assist doctors in diagnosing and treating female problems, often with treatments as simple as vitamins. His group is following up on data that was ignored once the Pill was widely marketed. They have superb results with both preventing pregnancy (better than the other ‘natural/rhythm’ methods) and attaining it with infertile couples.

    I started using it although I am single and am still a virgin (and not a Catholic), for a chronic female health problem. I am also a nursing student, and from a medical background and from using it, I highly recommend it. If you are a post-puberty, pre-menopausal breathing female or related to one, I recommend you check it out. 😉 And no, nobody paid me to write this.

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