Thursday, July 26, 2012

Every Part of You

Dear woman,

You are are wonderfully made...every part of you, inside and out. And, as a woman myself, I am honored to share a common womanhood with you and all that is distinct and unique to us females.

You are beautiful--every part of you. Please don't ever forget that.

I can understand why you may have made the choices that you did.

My boyfriend and I aren't ready for a baby yet. We're just not at that point in our relationship.

I can't have a baby now...I can't support myself as well as a baby on this salary.

My husband and I are going through a rough time in our marriage. A baby is the last thing we need.

We already have two children; we don't want a large family.

I just delivered a baby. My doctor said my body isn't ready to get pregnant right away.

And so, to prevent an untimely pregnancy, you followed your doctor's/friend's/parent's/boyfriend or husband's/society's advice and took the pill.

I know you have acted out of the best intentions and did what you thought was the best choice--I'm not here to judge you. You love your boyfriend/husband and want to physically express that love, without creating a baby in the process. It might be for medical reasons, or social, emotional, or financial reasons.

But I also respect you, dear woman, and because I respect you, I want to tell you that there's a better way.

There's another solution to your situation and, while it's as effective as the pill, sadly you probably won't hear your OBGYN telling you about it. Similarly, you won't find it touted around in popular culture because, unlike the pill, this solution doesn't earn tons of money for pharmaceutical companies.

Natural Family Planning (NFP) closely monitors the natural signs of a woman's body so the couple knows when ovulation occurs and subsequently abstains from sexual relations for a few days to avoid pregnancy.  NFP is accurate, effective, and scientific. But it's something else, too.

NFP respects you.

Let's just stop a moment to think about this. When a woman is on the pill, she is telling herself: there is something going on within my body that I need to stop. There is something wrong with this part of me, something inconvenient. In order to feel good (and make my boyfriend/husband feel good), I've got to stifle my fertility.

But hold on: that fertility is part of you. Even more: it is what makes you a woman! Every part of you is beautiful and the fact that, each month, your body is able to welcome the gift of life is incredible.

Compare the contrasting messages given to you (explicitly or implicitly) by your husband/boyfriend:

(On the Pill) I love you, except the part of you that is able to produce a baby. So, in order to make us both feel good, I need you to change. Please take this pill to trick your body to become infertile.

(Using NFP) I love you--every single part of you, especially the part that is able to produce a baby. So, in order to show my love for you, I will willingly abstain from making myself feel good during those times of the month when you are fertile.

Which of the above is showing the woman due respect? Love is sacrificing yourself for the good of the other. With NFP, your beloved is showing his love through action, through his self-restraint and respect for your amazing body.

Where there is no sacrifice, love easily becomes lust.  Take a look at what Ghandi has said regarding contraception: "Contraceptive methods are like putting a premium on vice.  It makes man and woman it is, man has sufficiently degraded women for his lust, and contraception, no matter how well-meaning the advocates may be, will still further degrade her."  

I think that, in many cases, a woman is handed contraceptives by her OBGYN and there is no discussion about the ramifications of taking the pill. It seems like such a simple solution to avoiding pregnancy: just take one pill each day and there you have it.

But the consequences of this pill are enormous, both for your own health and for your relationship. Here are just a few effects of the pill:

* The pill is classified as a group one carcinogen for breast, liver, and cervical cancers.  As a point of comparison, cigarettes and asbestos are also group one carcinogens.  

* Every year on the pill ages a woman's cervix by two years.  This can lead to infertility for many women.

* Decreased cardiovascular health in women (particularly concerning since heart disease is the number one killer of women)

* Lowered sexual drive in women

* Damage to the environment. (A synthetic estrogen, ethynylestradiol (EE2), is released into the water systems through the urine of women taking contraceptives. In 2009 the New York Times reported that estrogen present in the Shenendoah and Potomac caused dual-gendered fish.)

* Possible abortion. The pill is supposed to prevent ovulation, but there is the possibility that ovulation will still occur (with Norplant and Depo-Provera ovulation may happen as high as 40-60% of the time). If that ovulated egg is fertilized, a new human being (distinct from both mom and dad) is created. However, the pill contains artificial progesterone, which dries out the lining of the woman's uterus, effectively making it impossible for this new baby to implant him or herself. If the baby isn't implanted, he or she will be swept out of the woman's body during her period...and the mother will never even know she was indeed a mother. We have no idea how many abortions occur each day because of this very process.

Today, more and more people are becoming health-conscious and careful about what they eat.  Many opt for organic food and exercise to keep in good health.  Yet, ironically, so many women are okay with filling their bodies with artificial hormones. 

I've written before about body language and how the sexual act speaks volumes about the relationship between a man and a woman.  What does contraception do to this relationship?  

The whole mentality of contraception causes a disunion between the man and woman during the very act that is supposed to form a union. The message of any contraceptive (pill, condom, IUD, etc.) is: let me protect myself before I give myself to you.  It's not a complete, total gift of self because a key part of the person (his or her fertility) is being withheld.

Is this the message of love? Shouldn't love be saying: let me give everything that I have and all that I am to you! Let me hold nothing back!

With NFP, each sexual act involves the couple giving everything to the other. Every act is both fully unitive and fully procreative--fully open to life.

And if the couple isn't ready for new life?

Well, first they really need to ask the question: if we aren't ready for a baby, are we really ready for sexual relations? If the couple isn't married, they should seriously consider loving each other by giving the perfect gift.

If the couple is indeed married, why is it that they aren't ready for a baby? Are the reasons truly legitimate? Perhaps the greatest blessing of any marriage is the gift of a child. Why delay that, unless there is grave reason?

If there are indeed legitimate reasons to postpone pregnancy, NFP is the effective method that respects the woman and protects her health. It strengthens communication between the man and woman--less than 4% of married couples who use NFP become divorced. Most importantly, NFP preserves the sacredness of the marital act by maintaining both its unitive and procreative purposes. 

And, when you are ready for a baby, you can use NFP to conceive!

So, dear woman, I just ask you to consider a better way for you. Take a look here and here. These are extremely informative and helpful sites for learning why contraception is so damaging and why NFP is such a better choice.

Let me close by saying that I think you are beautiful...every part of you.

Much love,


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