This is the conclusion to a four part article on Fertility Awareness.
Part 1 – The Beginning of Our Story
Part 2 – Birth Control and its Effects on Reproduction
Part 3 – Personal Interviews
I believe in fertility awareness and know that it works. There isn’t a day that goes by that I am not grateful for the choice that Kevin and I made. It has brought a depth of respect to our sex life that has resulted from the shared responsibility and consistent communication. It also gave me a peace knowing that when we did have children, whether planned or unplanned, my body would be in its natural, God-made state. I have seen our experience inspire other women to try the same method, or at least investigate other options. Even my dad came around. Two years after he had told me that I was foolish for not going on the pill, he pulled me to the side and said with humility, “I was wrong — I’m sorry.” When he pulled me into a hug, he whispered into my ear, “But don’t feel like you have to do this forever – I do want some grandkids at some point.”
Well, as you know, the grandkids came.
Our First Conception Story
Kevin had broached the subject while we were away on vacation.We had ventured out on the beach for a romantic walk, when he informed me that he had a dream that we had a son, and what did I think about trying to get pregnant?
What did I think about it?! We were somewhat at a good spot; we both had completed the majority of our graduate programs and we were in the process of buying a home, and I was discontent at my job. But having a baby? Why rush it? Kevin told me that I was just afraid, and that if I always allowed fear to get in the way, we’d never have kids. The time was right, he said. I was not ready for our entire lives to change, I retorted, especially not just because he had some silly dream. We argued for a while, and the romantic walk on the beach turned into a tearful conflict.
That night, I really processed what Kevin had said. I was afraid of having a baby. I was terrified of pregnancy, delivering, the responsibility of parenting, the way it would change my life — the whole bit. I did want to have children, at some point, but was the time truly right?
I decided to lay out a fleece. Sort of. I woke up the next morning with a sense of peace, and I told Kevin, “Ok. We can try. One. Time.” Because I had been tracking my cycle, I knew I was fertile, but wouldn’t ovulate for a few days. I figured the odds were small. But if we were meant to get pregnant, we would. So we went for it.
Two days later, I noticed spotting, which was the tell-tale sign that I had ovulated. Deep down in my soul, I knew I was pregnant. A test three weeks later proved it.
Now, I look at my son and wonder at the significance of his existence. Had I been on hormonal birth control at the time of the conversation; had Kevin not had a dream, not brought up the topic, not confronted me lovingly about my fear; had I not humbled myself and self-reflected and submitted; had I not known about my body and my fertility, had we not made love at that exact time; had God not intervened in every way, Levi wouldn’t be here. I can’t imagine.
Our Second Conception Story
As for our second child, well, she was not planned. But it’s not because the fertility awareness method failed; my self-control did. God had his hand in that, too. He lost our condoms.
I had placed an order on Amazon for more (you know, because it’s slightly less awkward than buying them at Target with your toddler). The package supposedly shipped, but it never came. We had an opportunity for intimacy, and Kevin asked if we needed protection, and I knew full well we were at the beginning of our fertile window, but I had to make an impromptu decision between declining sex or chancing it, so I said, “I think we’re ok.”
The following day, when I called the Amazon customer service rep and asked about the missing condoms (a conversation I hope you never have to have), she said they had been shipped back to Amazon. I was confused. “I never shipped them back,” I said. “Well,” she chuckled, “I can send you a new box.” She did. But we never used it. I was pregnant. My plan of having the children three-years apart was demolished, but I was totally content.
And I look at my daughter and wonder at the significance of her existence. Had I been on hormonal birth control; had the condoms been received; had Levi not napped that afternoon; had I been more disciplined and focused; had we not made love in that exact moment; had God not intervened, she would not be here. And I can’t imagine that, either.
Fertility Awareness is For Us
The point is, choosing to do Fertility Awareness has helped me to have a clean conscience, a healthy life, a stronger marriage, and a beautiful family. It effectively prevented pregnancy when we weren’t ready for it, and helped me to get pregnant when we wanted to. My hormones and cycle and body have not been tampered with, and I am so grateful for that. I know and understand reproduction in a way I never would have if I had simply gone on another form of birth control, and my husband is educated, too. We are a team.
We continue to use fertility awareness, and I know better than to let our condom supply get low. As for now, we are not planning on having any more biological children, so we continue to put our faith in this method of birth control.
But we’re not foolish enough to know that we can play God completely. And we don’t want to. Having children is the natural consequence of having sex, and we all must be prepared for that outcome, no matter how much we try to prevent it.
We are some of the lucky ones who do not have trouble getting pregnant, and I am humbly grateful for that. I know that is not the situation for everyone, and I know that for some, trying to conceive can bring heartbreak. I do believe, though, that fertility awareness gives parents the best, most natural situation for pregnancy to occur. Ultimately, though, none of us can control the amount of children we have. We cannot create life. I’m grateful, though, to be in submission to the One who can.
I’m grateful, too, that Marjorie was unafraid to approach me about birth control all those years ago. If it weren’t for her, I likely would have made this huge decision in ignorance. The research, the questions, and the advice provided me with a buffet of options and opinions. Ultimately, though, I had to make the choice for myself.
Is it the right choice for you? Maybe and maybe not. Choosing to do fertility awareness is not easy, at least it wasn’t for me. Hormonal birth control is more convenient. Sometimes hormonal birth control is super helpful for other health concerns, and it is a better choice for some women. I have a dear friend whose endometriosis has deeply complicated her life. If it weren’t for hormonal birth control regulating its growth, her reproductive organs would be compromised. Hormonal birth control certainly has its place.
But you have the right to know that there are options out there. And the right to know that there are a lot of families that use fertility awareness with great success.
We’re one of them.
Are you ready to try the fertility awareness method yourself? Check out my how-to article.