After the first child is born you ask him if he still wants six children. This time, he tells you that four or five would be just perfect. But after the second child arrives, maybe taking you by surprise, you’ll hear your husband “reviewing” his “great expectations” and cutting the number down to three children. Even if you, in the meantime, think to have even four kids, he will shock you after a while by saying that he wants no more than two children. You just smile back to him – thinking: “Works for me!” – and say in a loud voice “Perhaps someday you would change your mind!”.
FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE FAMILY PLANNING
Many families plan to have children after they will have at least a regular income that should cover the costs for raising a child. For some people, to have a child is even a luxury, because of the financial challenges involved as daily care, education, health, etc. Sometimes we spend a lot of money on things that we do not really need, using them only once or twice and never ever after that. Even if you plan to have more then one child, the same thing happens. And all that is because each of us as parents wishes our children to have what is the best for them.
2. Professional Development
Nowadays women are less focused on a family life, but rather on a professional career. The desire for a professional fulfillment is one of the main factors in deciding to have a baby only later in life. Some couples are to busy, each of them has two jobs and therefore no time to think at children. We are more than ever interested how to have success and get easy and fast right to the top; in other words, we are selfish, being preoccupied only by our own welfare. That is why for so many of us it’s difficult to realize the essential impact that children could have on our lives by building our character and contributing to our own development as human beings.
3. Family Context
In many cases, those people born in large families wish to have only few children. On the other side, a child raised in a small family (having only one sibling or even none) later on in life would wish to have many kids. It cannot be stated as a rule, but in a large family, the eldest child either never gets married or will prefer to have only one or two children. It easy to understand why: usually, the elder children in a family are responsible for taking care of their younger brothers.
Sometimes the parents insist in coming with their own suggestions in the decisions that a couple is faced regarding when and how many children to have; in some cases, the parents are quite persuasive in imposing their views. This is especially true in those situations where the new married couple lives with the parents due to the fact that there is no other option available. It is a life fact that for a family to have a stable and healthy relational life, the partners need to take such decisions by their own. Both husband’s and wife’s parents should keep the distance, letting the couple to decide on these matters. A young couple could ask for advice from a gynecologist, but eventually the decision has to be taken by the couple itself. A physician may suggest the methods to be used and tell how many children they can have considering certain medical aspects, but he cannot take the decision that the couple itself has to take. The responsibility on the number and the method(s) used in planning belongs to the couple alone.
DIFFERENT METHODS IN PLANNING
Who decides which would be the appropriate method(s)? Which is the adequate birth control? Which method or treatment would not harm the human life in its earliest days?
1. Natural Contraceptive Methods
Ogino Method (using the calendar)
Vaginal Washing Method
2. Mechanical Contraceptive Methods
Intra-Uterine Device (IUD)
3. Chemical Contraceptive Methods
Emergency Contraception (The “Morning After” Pill)
Manual Vacuum Aspiration
4. Surgical Contraceptive Methods
THREE PARTICULAR METHODS
The goal of this article is not to describe each method. You can find information about different methods just searching on the internet or reading books that treat this topic. We would rather describe only three methods considered questionable from a Christian perspective and with tragic consequences for the human life and family relations.
There are several contraceptive methods promoted by gynecologists, but a Christian or at least an ethical approach views them as abortive methods, and therefore they are to be opposed to. However, even the doctors share different perspectives upon which method is to be considered abortive and which one is not. We will now consider three of these methods: the intra-uterine device, the morning after pill and the abortion.
1. Intra-Uterine Device
IUD is introduced in uterus by a gynecologist. This device does not allow the fetus to be implanted in the uterine tissue. That is why in most of the cases, the fetus dies after the first or the second week of pregnancy. In some circumstances, the Intra-Uterine Device could cause different negative reactions in a woman’s body: infections located in the uterine tube or in the abdomen, blood infection (septicemia), anemia, etc.
In a more vivid language, we could describe the IUD as “a child-eating and disease bringer serpent that some women carry beneath their hearts”. In USA, some companies that previously produced the IUD ended up in bankruptcy due the damages they had to pay to women who used the device and suffered severe health consequences. Presently, only several companies still manufacture this product and export it to other countries.
Those from the “pro-choice” side consider that a pregnancy does not begin when the ovum has been fertilized. According to their view, a pregnancy generally begins after twelve days from conception, when the ovum gets implanted. Therefore, IUD does not determine an abortion, but it rather prevents the pregnancy development. From the opposite side, the “pro-live” movement sees IUD as a method that stops the pregnancy and leads to abortion; in other words, the fetus is killed.
2. The “Morning After” Pill
On the 25th of February, 1997, the members of The Christian Medical & Dental Society from Bristol presented their concerns regarding the so-called “morning after pill”. According to their analysis, this pill will not bring a decrease but rather a dramatic rise in the number of abortions. The people are misguided and led to believe that this method would prevent a pregnancy, while in fact it generates the abortion of a pregnancy.
If this treatment is accepted and encouraged by the medical authorities, that proves not only a lack of responsibility, but also a deliberate misinformation of the population. Instead of presenting the emergency contraception as a valid option for family planning, those who work in this field would do better by underlining the sexual responsibility.
Emergency contraception ends the development of a pregnancy when the pill is taken no later than twenty seven hours from an unprotected intercourse.
Its effect goes as following: if an ovum has not been recently released, the treatment hinder its release; if the ovum has been already delivered, the “morning after pill” prevents its fertilization; and if the egg cell has been fertilized, it is assumed that the treatment alters the lining of the uterus and inhibits the implantation. Eventually, if the implantation has already taken place, the pill has no effect (according to several studies on this issue). It is a general agreement among medical professionals and pro-choice adherents that emergency contraception do not induce abortion. For pro-life group the pills can and sometimes induce an abortion.
3. The Abortion
The third method to discus here, i.e. the abortion, is the most popular contraceptive method and many couples use it to limit the number of their children. Some people are doing this consciously; others are quite ignorant in respect of an abortion’s consequences. It is known that abortion cuts out the life of a human being, it kills a future baby who has the capacity to develop till maturation. But no one has the right to take that new life, neither his mother, because a fetus is more than just a part of a woman’s body; it is a whole human being.
Each couple faced with an unwanted pregnancy has to choose between having an abortion or keeping the child. From that day on, the parents will live with the consequences of the decision taken. An abortion will lead to a tormented life and a guilty conscience. On the other hand, deciding to give birth to one child (or more) brings personal fulfillment and self-understanding in the relationship between the child and his/her parents (particularly his/her mother). It is an enormous blessing and a privilege to give birth to a child and to help and assist that person throughout the years in understanding and appreciating the dignity and value of the human life.
In conclusion, we must say that to plan to have a child is a challenge from many points of view. First because you wish (in some aspects you don’t wish) him to follow the family and social values. You can “borrow” some values for outside (especially from media) or you could strive to maintain a Christian ethical perspective. There are a lot of good examples around you or along the history, but it is very important to assume your own decision and responsibility regarding the methods, the number and the way a couple raise a child.
It is not easy to raise a child; we have to carry each day the burden of responsibility for somebody’s life. But it cannot be compared with the guilt and pain that come with an abortion and the burden of responsibility for somebody’s death. And there is no other fulfillment in somebody’s life greater than to have a child. Each time you look to your child, you’ll see imprinted in him or her, your face and God’s face. Each life is a miracle, each miracle brings a challenge, each challenge requires a responsible decision.