Thursday, February 26, 2009

Q&A Follow up from IDMWT post

Anonymous: I was wondering if you know anything about this question...once someone goes off the pill, are there any lasting harmful side effects? Or could you say, for example...the uterine environment is no longer inhospitable? Just curious.

Dear Anonymous, I do not know the effects on the uterine environment long term or after stopping the pill. My guess would be yes, however I do not have research one way or another. I know you can get pregnant and stay pregnant right away after coming off of birth control - I have a friend who's done this. But unfortunately I'm not aware of the scientific case for this question. I hope you can find answers for yourself.

Jennie: Now, I do have a question for you. What are your thoughts on Vasectomies? Do you view them as unethical?

Dear Jennie. Congratulations on #3! If this is the Jennie I think it is, I'm really excited for you! I don't have an issue with a vasectomy or a tubal ligation either. My reasoning for not using hormonal birth control is simply because of the potential for a miscarriage. I have no issue with "prevention", only with "destruction". I have no ethical issue with a vasectomy. It's incredibly permanent though, so it's definitely a big and very serious decision to be making.

Dear Mum of 2 Girls: Do you use condoms or just things like the rhythm method?

Dear Mum of 2 Girls, well obviously this is a little silly for me to be answering, since I've been pregnant most of my married life. Obviously I'm not following through on something. Condoms, diaphragms, and spermicides have graced my dresser drawer. Natural Family Planning is not Rhythm Method. Rhythm Method - in my opinion - is not reliable. The book Taking Charge of Your Fertility is a HUGE book and has a plethora of information. It's not simply saying"These are safe days and these are not safe days."

Tamara: Does it make you feel really limited, like you have to be super strict/not be spontaneous...if you know what I mean? ;)

Dear Tamara. I think all I have to say about strict and not being spontaneous is this. Exhibits A, B, and C. Obviously I haven't figured that question out for myself.

Jenn: Would you mind sharing what you do use for family planning? Is it natural family planning, one or more barrier methods, or a combination?

Dear Jenn. Oh my goodness, I have to remember that my grandmother has access to this website. I'm dying over that. But anyways, shame aside... Oceana: failure to use a diaphragm. Joshua: failure to use a condom. Flip Flop: failure to use self control. My face is so red right now, I'm laughing out loud and I can't believe I'm typing this for the wider world to see. In FUTURE I'll be following Natural Family Planning and probably some back up barriers.

The Leezers: There are 2 types of the IUD (that I know of) the Mirena, and the Paraguard. I have been told the Paraguard does not contain any hormones. Is that something you would consider and option?

Dear Leezers: This is straight from the Paraguard website: "Ideas about how ParaGard® works include preventing sperm from reaching the egg and preventing the egg from attaching (implanting) in the uterus. ParaGard® does not alter your body's natural menstrual cycle."

Devin: My question is: have you ever come across ANY research of ANY pill that works in the way of forms 1 and 2 only? Are there any that do not perpetuate an inhospitable uterine environment?

Dear Devin, I have done my research. I have asked midwives and doctors. I have been told that this or that version doesn't cause #3 to happen. But every time I've been told, I go and check out that particular version - and there's always something buried in the "How does this pill/ring/etc work?" and I've never found one that doesn't prevent implantation. I think this is simply because the hormones used in hormonal birth control work the same ways each time.

Rebecca: What do you think about condoms/diaphram/sponge? Those got me through 14 years before I decided to have children. Would you get your tubes tied or Matt get a vascectomy if you felt your body was done having children?

Dear Rebecca, I think barrier methods are a God-send. They are fine in my book, and I use them. [....however ineffectively....] I would consider a surgical preventative measure if Matt and I were sure that God had completed our family.

Kristen: If "Natural family planning" is your choice, isn't that its own form of BC? It's preventing what could or could not be a baby. Prevention is prevention.

Dear Kristen, As I stated in a previous answer, I don't have any issues with prevention. I have every issue with destruction. I don't see any ethical issue with the prevention of pregnancy - the prevention of sperm meeting egg. I will never condone any form of birth control that destroys a fertilised egg.

Anonymous: Question though- you work a lot with single, pregnant, teenage girls. In a perfect world I would assume it would be your preference to teach more about abstinece than birth control, but let's face it, that's not reality. So what type of responsibility is there to teach not only about our bodies and where babies come from, but also about the different choices out there in birth control?

Dear Anonymous, I was afraid to answer this question. I think I am most afraid because I don't have a concrete answer. This bothers me constantly. It's very true that birth control pills are preventing young girls from becoming mothers before their time. However, the pill still works the same way it does in a woman who is ready to be a mother. This is a difficult question for me to address. I think it's important for girls to be taught more about their bodies and their cycles. I find it apalling that the extent of my knowledge regarding my cycle (in high school) was that I ovulated on Day 14 and I get some PMS and then I have a period. I think that's probably about as much knowledge as anyone else has at that stage in life. I full agree with one commenter who said she will be teaching her daughters (as teenagers) about their personal fertility. I think this is a fantastic idea, and I think I'll probably do the same. Unfortunately I don't have much more of an answer than that. And yes, I do think abstinence needs a stronger backing than it has in our current society.

Anonymous: I am wondering what your feelings are on using medical (hormonal) options to become pregnant?

Dear Anonymous, I don't have an answer for you on this. I have friends who have used hormonal options to help them get pregnant. But because it's never been something we've struggled with, it's not something I have ever researched. I don't think I'm the best person to be answering this question. I am a Christian and I'd have to say that my best answer for this would be that I would have to pray about my decisions if we ever had to cross this road.

I think I got everybody's questions. I hope this post is helpful in answering all of your questions.


  1. Amen! I think I agree with everything you said except one little thing. And I'm not actually disagreeing I just think I'm a little scared to follow my own advice. You said that if you felt God had completed your family you would have no problem with a more permanent BC plan. I was just thinking that if you truly believed He had completed your family then wouldn't it be impossible to become pregnate? What would be the need? My husband and I talk of this alot and we are yet not strong enough to trust God on this, I'm emmbarresed to admit. We have made the leap to trust God over man to safely bring our babies (3) into this world. We had a Midwife to do the messy work but I can honestly say that if it was just us I wouldn't be scared at all. So why can't we trust God over a little piece of rubber to help plan our pregnancies? I ask myself if we are truly preventing anything and I see God smiling down at us thinking "silly humans, don't you know I am more powerfull that that?" I guess I know that children are a gift and why would he want to give us a gift if we are saying "no thanks" but still we know that to some(on BC) he does still bestow a gift because afterall he knows better than us what we need at times in our lives. So why can't we just use prayer to say "we trust You and your timing" I think its because he would make us accepting to lots and lots of babies, and dangit I want to go to Paris on my 10 year anniversary and not be pregnate or nursing. I'm not done having babies I just want a break. So maybe you could share what your thoughts are on this as I'm sure you and your hubby have had the same discussion. Also have you done research on longterm affects of a tubal? Ok I know this whole thing is probably confusing and out of order and I'm gonna go now.
    Waiting to hear in exas...

  2. Still wondering what "flipflop" refers to. I must be dense. Thanks.

  3. Hey goose, proud of you. I love you heaps and I'm really proud you're bringing out the feisty side of Susie.

  4. Whoa!

    Guess I missed a very 'hot topic'

    I'll do it my way thanks - Birth Control. 60 comments. Wowza!

    I think this choice... decision... doing it your way thing is the way it should be. YOU alone decide what works for you.

    Frankly I am surprised that some people are so bold as to be cantakerous about the issue. YOU weren't suggesting that they should do what you do... hello!

    Love you Susie.
    Keep on Keepin on...
    and always... Do It YOUR WAY!


  5. I just wanted to throw in some thoughts on the teenage pregnancy issue...

    Don't you think that access to all these forms of "birth control" are in some part driving the prevalence of unwed teens engaging in sex? I'd love to see statistics, but I'm going to guess that a huge percentage of them were relying on condoms or some other barrier when they became pregnant. Maybe if that option wasn't available, they would have a little more hesitation about having sex in the first place. Same goes for access to the pill - I wonder what percentage were on some form of the pill, and just weren't consistent in their use of it. But, the availability of it gave them a false sense of security.

  6. I think it's great that you addressed the honest questions that were sent your way. :)

    One addition- Anonymous talks about single, pregnant teenage girls & whether they should use hormone birth control. Any sexually active teen girls SHOULD be using barrier methods of birth control EVEN if they are on hormones, to protect them from STDs.

  7. Thank you, Susie, for taking the time to answer my question, and the questions of others!

    Can't wait for the next topic. I think you have a "hit" on your hands with this idea!

  8. ok I read more and you answered my questions. You're the best. I love your blog.


  9. Susie! Love your answers to questions and LOL at your "failure to use self control"comment! Sometimes I think that is the best way to concieve a child. It is all about the love and passion you have for Matt and he has for you. That is what babies should be made of! My Husband and I tried to concieve for 12 months, Trust by the end of that 12 months, "passion" have been taken over by "determination". LOL!

    I will say that if you learn FAM and apply it's rules to your life, it is very effective. YOu really only need to use a barrier method for less than 7 days per cycle. The rest of the time is all about being spontanious! And really so is the 7 days al long as you USE the barrier method of your choice. But the FAM is not learned in one cycle. And while learning FAM you do have to use a barrier method more than your fertile week. But the method works, if you follow the rules! God was pretty amazing when he created our bodies. He gave us all the clue and signs.... we just have to learn them and use them effectively!

    Good luck and I still can't wait to hear about Flip Flop's arrival!


  10. Thank you so much for sharing! I'm not at a place in my life where I have to decide on methods of birth control (still a miss) but I do have to say that you really got me thinking about it. I really appreciate your honesty. Keep up the good work! God bless!

  11. Hi, Susie,

    I had always thought, and was taught, that the main way the "pill" worked was by preventing ovulation: no egg released for any sperm to fertilize. My O.B. even told me that being on the pill was better for my ovaries since they wouldn't be working so hard. Of course this was before I was a doula, but even then, I didn't believe her because I've always trusted in the natural processes of the body over western medicine.

    A few years ago I found out that in some women, an egg is released and the lighter uterine lining prevents implantation and the baby is miscarried. Then there are others who get pregnant while on the pill and manage to have a healthy baby. Had I known this, I would not have chosen the pill as my method of birth control in my early twenties.

    I'm glad you are writing about your views so that more and more women can be educated.

    I would NEVER use an IUD. One family in my church did and conceived and had a micro-preemie. The man is now in his early twenties, but when he was born, he was the youngest gestation baby ever to survive at that hospital at that time. He was barely one pound. Miraculously, he is very healthy.

    Teen pregnancy is a very difficult subject to address. In The Netherlands, they are VERY open about full sex education and birth control, but are also a very friendly and family-oriented society. Homebirth is even the norm there. On school field trips, there is a TV on the bus and it has shows talking frankly and informatively about sex. Surprisingly, there is LESS teen sex in The Netherlands than in the U.S. and other western countries and an EXTREMELY low rate of teen pregnancy (not due to abortions). Besides thorough education, the society itself has many things for teens to be involved in that give them healthy relationships with others and are satisfying, plus family life seems more stable there than say, in the U.S.