My Choice?

This is the rhetoric of pro-choice feminists. As a woman who has chosen to have a family, I can attest that this is certainly not the reality these feminists have created.

This is the rhetoric of pro-choice feminists. As a woman who has chosen to have a family, I can attest that this is certainly not the reality these feminists have created.

Recently, I shared some of my hope for what life would be like in a society that accepts and embraces women in their totality. Today, I’m going to share some of the pain I experience living in a society that doesn’t.

Every time I hear the phrase, “My body. My choice.” I vomit a little.

Seriously.

Ok…not seriously.

But it makes me incredibly angry.

The women who coined this phrase don’t really mean it. They mean that they will wholeheartedly support any woman who does not want to be saddled with the burden of pregnancy, children, and family life. They will fight to the death (tragically, I have to say no pun intended) to ensure that a woman will never be forced to shoulder these responsibilities if she doesn’t want to.

But what if she does want to?

By their own logic, it seems that a woman should also be able to CHOOSE pregnancy, children, and family life. If that’s what she wants, more power to her. Right?

Sadly, I know first-hand that the reverse is simply not true.

They do not support women who want to be pregnant, who want to raise children, and who want to devote their lives to their families. And, unfortunately, this lack of support doesn’t stop with them, but extends to society at large.

I can’t begin to count how many snide, rude, and downright cruel comments have been made to me and my children when we dare venture out in public. Men occasionally make comments about my workload, “My, you’ve got your hands full…” But they rarely, if ever, have anything ugly to say. Women, on the other hand, are often vicious in their commentary, and have no qualms about questioning the need for my children’s existence right in front of them. Interestingly, when my husband takes the kiddos out in public alone, he never gets nasty comments, only praise and admiration.

I’m certainly not looking for praise and admiration. I haven’t chosen my family life for the sake of what others think. But it would definitely be nice if I didn’t feel like I was preparing for battle every time I left the house. It would be nice if I didn’t have to rehearse witty answers about my knowledge of the reproductive process or my ability to provide financially for the little ones that have been entrusted to my care on the way to the store. It would be nice if I didn’t have to warn my children that if someone is nasty to us at the store, they should simply smile or stand there quietly because mommy will handle it. It seems funny that a group who loves to make posters about “rosaries on their ovaries” and “government in their bedrooms” has no issues busting up into my bedroom in the checkout line at the grocery store. Double standard much?

I don’t need a reason to have a child. And I certainly don’t need your permission. My children have a right to exist. More than that, they are a gift. Each child brings a new spark, new joy, and a new dynamic to our family. I am so grateful for each one of them.

When questioned by strangers if she’s “done yet” my girlfriend, also a mother of four, joyfully replies, “I certainly hope not!” I couldn’t agree with her more.

It makes me so sad to know that it doesn’t matter how much I love and want my children. The fact is, the world doesn’t want them. The world thinks they don’t deserve to exist. But I can’t understand why. Why would you not love these precious, irrepeatable, bundles of joy and laughter and creativity. Aren’t those good things? Why can’t the world want more of that? But even if you don’t want more of that, isn’t it supposed to be my choice?

This is my decision about what to do with my body. Don't infringe on my right to privacy by assuming you have a voice in my most intimate decisions. No one has more of a say on my own rights than me. If you're going to be pro-choice, you better get prepared to stand by your own logic. Meet my "choice." I am grateful for every one of them.

This is my decision about what to do with my body. Don’t infringe on my right to privacy by assuming you have a voice in my most intimate decisions. No one has more of a say on my own rights than me. If you’re going to be pro-choice, you better get prepared to stand by your own logic. Meet my “choice.” I am grateful for every one of them.

Your Body Is A Wonderland

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Image credit: http://theguidingstarproject.com/ “Don’t be afraid of your body. Take the time to listen to it and understand how it really works. There are thousands of wonderful resources out there to help you feel more comfortable with yourself and teach you about how amazing you really are.”

Although I always enjoyed the John Mayer song of the same name, this graphic gave me a new appreciation for the phrase. My body is indeed a wonderland. It is not in need of alteration of any kind, neither cosmetic, nor chemical. While this graphic is clearly aimed at the oppressive lie that women need to regularly ingest chemicals in order to live up to their real potential, the message is broader than that.

Feminists have a loud voice in the world. I am very grateful for many of their accomplishments. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, they got it all wrong. At some point feminists decided that in order to prove the value, worth, and dignity of women, we needed to renounce that which makes us women. I can understand how this started. As an effort to gain equality with men in the eyes of society, they sought to prove that women could be like men. They felt the need to prove themselves capable of that which they had been deemed incapable.

While this approach has achieved many victories for women, it is fundamentally flawed. It’s basic message is that’s a woman’s worth lies in the fact that she can be like a man. I find that unbelievably insulting! My worth results from my femininity, not in spite of it. Maybe that’s why feminists often seem so angry and bitter. They may not be able to put words to it, but they must sense that what they are fighting for is not accomplishing what they intend.

Enter the new feminist movement. New Feminism recognizes and affirms that women are different from men. One only need to open a biology book to recognize this truth. New Feminism allows us to be women without shame. We don’t have to hide or renounce who we are and how our bodies work to believe we are equal in dignity and value to the man sitting next to us at the conference room table. New Feminism acknowledges that a woman’s strength lies in the fact that she is a woman, not in her ability to conform herself to be like a man.

I long for this movement to take hold over and above the traditional feminist movement. When it does, great things will happen. Imagine the world when women are valued for who they really are. In this world: we won’t have to fight for adequate birthing conditions in hospitals. We won’t be shamed for nursing a baby in public. We won’t be forced to chose between our career and our health after the birth of a child. We won’t have our pumped milk x-rayed, dumped out, or endure public humiliation in order to nourish our children. We won’t be told by nearly every doctor in the country that the only way to control the gift of our fertility is by ingesting dangerous chemicals or undergoing surgery. We wouldn’t feel guilty about “wasting our education” by choosing to be stay at home moms, yet feel equally as guilty about choosing to work outside the home. When femininity is valued for the great gift it really is, we will stop finding our worth in the reflection we see in the mirror and we will stop treating other women as our enemies. We won’t judge our value based on the cleanliness of our homes  or how we measure up to the items we pin on pinterest.

I want feminism redefined. I want more than what women have accepted as progress. I want more for me and especially for my daughter. I want my daughter to know that her body, her feelings, and her aspirations are not a mistakes. She is fearfully and wonderfully made, and I want her to behave like it.

good enough

NFP Top 10 List

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I love this top 10 list! I stumbled across it on Facebook and it’s so true. The author discusses the top 10 reasons she and her husband have chosen to use natural family planning. I can totally relate to all she says! Here are her top 10 reasons for choosing NFP over artificial birth control.

  1. NFP is good for the environment.
  2. NFP is good for my body.
  3. NFP is good for my marriage.
  4. Artificial hormones didn’t mess with my attraction to my husband when I decided to marry him.
  5. NFP is effective.
  6. I’m not always worried that there’s a chance I could be pregnant.
  7. NFP is empowering.
  8. It’s free!
  9. We have more sex.
  10. We have really good sex.

Read her blog for her support of each point. I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Natural Family Planning IS NOT The Rhythm Method

Having written some of my recent posts has opened me up to slew of criticism, which happens to be, for the most part, nasty and uneducated. While I don’t intend to address most of it publicly, this is the one point that absolutely has to be cleared up. NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING IS NOT THE RHYTHM METHOD. I’ve even had nurses at former OB/GYN’s offices smugly make comments about my choice to use the “rhythm method.” I suppose the Rhythm Method is a form of Natural Family Planning, albeit a very bad one, but saying one uses NFP DOES NOT mean she uses the Rhythm Method. For those of you wondering what I could possibly be talking about, let me explain.

The Rhythm Method is when a women tracks her periods and basically guesses at when she might be ovulating based on the standard of a 28 day menstrual cycle. The huge problem with this is only something like 12% of women have a “normal 28 day cycle” every month. Attempting to achieve or postpone pregnancy based on an “average” is just foolish. People who oppose NFP are quick to cite statistics regarding the regular failure of the Rhythm Method and apply it to NFP in general. This is neither fair nor accurate.

True, reliable NFP comes under several names (the Sympto-Thermal Method,  the Billings Ovulation Method, and the Creighton Model, just to name a few) but all methods involve charting when you, as an individual, in that particular month, ovulate. When taking an NFP class, you learn the science behind ovulation and the menstrual cycle. You learn how to observe your body to know when you are ovulating. Whether you’re trying to achieve or prevent pregnancy or even just be proactive about your health, this is invaluable information. NFP works no matter what. If you’re early, if you’re late, if you’re stressed, if your fertile cycle begins before your period ends, if you’re breastfeeding, if you only have a few periods a year, if you’re illiterate, if you’re blind, whatever your unique circumstance is, NFP will let you know when you’re ovulating.

Common scientific sense tells you that if you have sex when you’re ovulating it is very likely you will get pregnant. If you don’t, you can’t. You absolutely can not get pregnant if you are not fertile. It’s not possible. (If you’re ever bored look up the case studies in India and China where NFP was implemented with a practically non-existent pregnancy rate. You most definitely can’t say the same for handing out artificial contraceptives.) For couples desiring to postpone pregnancy, they simply abstain from sex during the brief window of fertility. That’s why people freak out. Something about brief period of abstinence completely baffles and overwhelms our culture.

All things considered, (click here to read a transcript of a fabulous talk by Dr. Janet Smith where she discusses the relationship between contraception, divorce, abortion, poverty, and other social ills) I would much rather abstain a handful of days each month during the times I feel we are unable to accept another child than pollute my body and marriage with artificial birth control. I think if more people did a little research before popping that pill, getting that shot or inserting that ring, they would feel the same way.

In this day and age of it being so trendy to “go green,” eat organic foods, and be environmentally responsible, I find it laughable that so many people mindlessly choose artificial contraception over natural methods. (For information on how birth control is harming our environment, click here or just google “birth control and fish”) While my motives in choosing NFP aren’t necessarily “green,” I’m glad I’m not contributing to this problem.

I do want to point out, if you are interested in NFP it’s crucial you take a class or order an at home study kit, so you can learn what you’re doing. If you just read an article and attempt to implement it, you will likely be unsuccessful. However, with very little time, effort, or expense, you can learn NFP and say goodbye to artificial contraception and all its unpleasant and harmful side effects for good.

Lastly, my family size should not be used as an indicator of how well NFP works. Josh and I have never had a “surprise” pregnancy since beginning NFP. (The same can not be said for when we were using artificial contraception. I wouldn’t give Andy back for anything in the world, but he definitely wasn’t “planned.”) We know full well when we “risk” becoming pregnant. Believe it or not, we love our family and we don’t consider our children or family size to be a burden. Despite the negativity we receive from our peers, friends, strangers, and family, we adore our children and are open to more if that’s what the Lord has planned for us. At the same time, we know that we can also rely on NFP to postpone pregnancy if the need arises and have effectively done so in the past.

And just for good measure, I want to share these questions from FertilityCare Centers of America. If your answer to any of the following questions is “yes,” they highly recommend (and, of course, I agree) looking into a natural family planning method.

1. Do you want to know more about how your menstrual cycle works?

2. Are you tired of taking birth control pills, using condoms, using gels or diaphragms?

3. Are you looking for something to manage your fertility that is entirely natural?

4. Are you tired of having the birth control pill recommended for the treatment of nearly every woman’s health problem?

5. Are you interested in a family planning system that also allows you to monitor and maintain your health?

6. Are you looking for a family planning system that is completely safe and has no medical side effects?

7. Are you looking for a family planning method where surveys have shown a high level of couple satisfaction?

8. Are you looking for a solution to a reproductive problem? Infertility? Miscarriage? Stillbirth? Prematurity?

9. Are you looking for a solution to premenstrual syndrome? Recurrent Ovarian Cysts? Abnormal bleeding?

10. Would you like a family planning system that actually helps bond your marriage? Where both the the man and the woman work together?

11. Are you looking for a system of family planning that is morally acceptable to you and your spouse?

If your answer was “YES!” to any of the above questions, then you should seriously consider contacting an affiliated center of FertilityCare™ Centers of America.

To locate a FertilityCare™ Center in your area, please go to http://www.fertilitycare.org for a complete listing of Centers located in the United States and Canada or write to:

FertilityCare™ Center of Omaha

6901 Mercy Road

Omaha, Nebraska 68106

fcco@popepaulvi.com

My Pro-Choice Epiphany

lightbulbAs I sat here wasting entirely too much time reading blogs and other online articles about the Tim Tebow Superbowl Ad, I had an epiphany. The Pro-choice Movement is made up of two camps, one who is honestly pro-choice and one who is actually pro-death.

The pro-choicers advocate a woman’s right to choose. Period. She can choose yes. She can choose no. It doesn’t matter. What matters to them is the fact that she made the choice. For the most part, these people seem unbothered by the Tim Tebow ad. Those who are bothered seem most disturbed that a serious issue is being mentioned for 30 seconds during their football game.

My favorite quote regarding the ad not being suitable for the Superbowl was given by Jehmu Greene, president of the Women’s Media Center. She’s upset because CBS is “inserting an exceedingly controversial issue into a place where we all hope Americans will be united, not divided, in terms of watching America’s most-watched sporting event.” All Americans united? Come on lady, it’s the Superbowl.

Speaking as a member of a “house divided,” football, or any sport for that matter, is not the place for breeding unity. Sure the fans are united in that they are fans of the sport and enjoy watching it. But have you ever seen what happens when a graduate from Ohio State has a get-together and his buddy from work shows up in a Michigan shirt? Haha…not pretty! And it doesn’t even have to be football season! Or how about visiting Yankee Stadium when the Red Sox are in town? I’d advise you didn’t walk into the stadium, or perhaps even the state, wearing a Boston ball cap…whether or not the Red Sox are in town. Sports fans are true to their teams and therefore their rivalries. They hold them as sacred as their religious affiliation and their political beliefs. On Sunday February 7, more than a few drunken buffoons will end up in fist fights during or immediately after the Superbowl. Clearly, Ms. Greene is not a sports fan to propose National unity is the underlying goal of sporting events.

Back to the topic at hand…

The pro-death camp actually doesn’t care anything about women having a choice. In fact, it seems they want anyone who chooses life to be silenced. It’s as if they want abortion to be the only outcome of any pregnancy. This is the group who is outraged by the Tebow Commercial. Take this viewpoint for example:

“You cannot tell a woman that she might give birth to the next superstar, the next president, the next great thing…. What you won’t hear in this commercial is that a woman might die giving birth, or go broke after she has the child, or lose her own future and compromise her kid’s….[W]omen and their partners in this situation are left with difficult, horrible choices no one wants to be beset with.” ~ Elizabeth Gettelman, Mother Jones regarding the Tim Tebow commercial.

By all means, Ms. Gettelman, lets just stop reproducing all together because life doesn’t turn into a fairy tale after you conceive and bear a child. I didn’t realize children were only worth having in the most ideal of circumstances. Do you, my dear reader, actually know anyone who has conceived and bore a child under ideal circumstances? We don’t live in a movie. Life is hard and full of challenges. But what I don’t understand is what that has to do with children. The fact that one could loose their job and “go broke” is supposed to be sufficient reason to use abortion as birth control? (I’m glad I don’t make all of my decisions on unlikely what-ifs.) And when did children become a burden rather than a blessing?

But here’s my favorite part of my whole epiphany. In general, children adopt their parents viewpoints on politics, religion and other important issues. The best predictor of the way an 18-year-old will vote in an election is the way his/her parents vote. So, using that same logic, the pro-death camp that refuses to reproduce or support others in their decision to reproduce (a decision which should be made before having sex, not upon pregnancy as they seem to advocate) will likely cause the extinction of their own movement. If they aren’t reproducing, they don’t have anyone to pass these views on to.

That’s why they’re so mad. The future of the pro-death movement isn’t a legacy they can pass on to their own offspring because they won’t have any. They’re forced to spread their message and recruit others to their cause, which is where the logic quoted above comes from. Their only hope is to convince other women that having a baby will ruin her life, her career, her figure and anything else they can come up with to terrify her. They need to scare others into agreeing with them. (Laughably, that sounds a lot like the “fire and brimstone” sermons they are so vehemently opposed to.) That’s why this ad is dangerous to them.

It’s terribly hard to convince someone to buy into your twisted logic especially if there are tv ads, celebrities, and every day people illustrating the opposite. No wonder they get so mad when someone chooses life. More people choosing life and talking about it means the inevitable end of the pro-death movement. Their radical opinions are going to take care of themselves in a survival of the fittest type fashion. I find that to be very amusing.