Sunday, January 28, 2007

What's been going on with me

A lot went on in my life during the long break where I did not post.

The whole story goes back to last January, when I began the road I am currently on.

In January of 2006, I miscarried at about two weeks. Although I never saw my baby, and never suspected I was pregnant, I loved him and I miss him. My first baby's name is Joseph.

Joseph's death sent me on a long and introspective journey, but it was not the only thing going on at that time. In November, my baby nephew was born over a month early.

My nephew was conceived by unmarried college students. I love my brother-in-law and his wife and son, who are Christians, but I could not help but wonder how many children created under these circumstances are killed by abortion. Babies exactly the same age that my nephew was when he was born can also be legally killed in this country. I cannot remember how much of that was going through my head at the end of Joseph's short life, and how much I thought of later.

At any rate, losing my own baby made me think of abortion. I wanted to do something to stop babies from dying.

I went for a walk and asked God for a sign.

Not far from our house is an area where people (illegally) dump garbage. Here I found a baby sit 'n' play, baby baths, and some other items such as a bassinet and a bottle. (Some are in my garage; some were not salvageable.)

Okay, I have a sign. Can't deny that. But what am I supposed to do with or about it?

What I did was read a lot. I have probably read almost everything on the internet that speaks out against abortion. As I did my research, I came across the link between birth control and abortion, and especially the abortifacient effect of hormonal birth control. My husband and I have now repented of our use of the birth control pill, which ended about a year and a half before Joseph, so I have no worries that this caused his death. It is possible that we did lose one or more children because of the pill, and if this happened, I know we are forgiven.

With this knowledge, we set up a meeting with our pastor because birth control is unthinkingly encouraged in our church. We quickly discovered that going through the proper channels only means that we can be properly ignored. Eventually I was able to convince him to read Randy Alcorn's book "Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?" (I am also willing to send this book to anyone who wants it--you can comment a request and include your address and I won't publish the comment.) We were allowed to put the book out in church for those interested, but to my knowledge this has not had an impact on the general pro-birth control attitude in my church.

Perhaps part of this is my fault. I should probably be talking to people more--but it's so hard to talk about my children. I want to work on this, but I don't know where to start. I hear the cliches--"I have all I can handle!" and don't know how to respond. I also know that sometimes I deal with some bitterness and anger towards those in my church over this issue, and I know that I have to get rid of that.

To me, it is clear how this issue hampers us from fighting abortion. First and most obviously, many Christian woman are unknowingly aborting their own children because vital information is withheld by doctors and is not given out by pastors, mentors, and counsellors. In addition, those who are against birth control tend to be firmly grounded in scripture, starting with God's first command to mankind, but those who are pro-birth control take scripture out of context when they use it at all. They speak of vaguer concepts like stewardship, but not about how our bodies are a perfect creation of God. The false teachings of evolution pollute so much more than Genesis. The pro-birth control teachings--which, by the way, were condemned by every Christian denomination until the 1930's--are evidences that we are failing to take God's word seriously. Another problem with the pro-birth control mindset is that it is a pathway to considering abortion. How can the church make a legitimate stand against abortion when we feel that it's okay to use birth control for exactly the same reason that women choose to kill their children? Whether it is because they think they are too young, too old, not financially secure enough, or simply do not want the responsibility of kids, how many excuses do Christian women have for preventing the creation of life that could not end in "so I had an abortion" instead of "so I use birth control"?

When I thought I was pregnant again, I was thrilled. It did not occur to me that the same thing that had happened before would happen again. With all I that my husband and I had learned, and with our conviction that we would have as many children as God wanted, it felt like we had learned what God wanted us to from Joseph's death.

However, the same thing did happen again. I named our second child Isaiah.

I searched desperately for a pro-life doctor, and eventually found one through a combination of internet searches and phone calls. I made an appointment to see what was wrong, why my babies were dying. I knew I wanted a doctor that would care whether my children lived or died and I was hoping to avoid hearing platitudes that started with at least ("At least you hadn't bonded with the baby yet." "At least you know you can conceive.") It soon became more urgent--I thought I was pregnant again. I was prepared to lose this child, this time, but also determined to fight for her life. What they told me was worse than anything I could have imagined.

They told me that I was not pregnant and likely had not been before.

It was like they took all three babies away from me.

My symptoms at the end of that month were not like they had been before, and I still maintain hope that the doctor could have been wrong--that I might have at least one and as many as five children waiting for me in heaven. Even after a negative pregnancy test, I still can't shake that hope. Their names would be Joseph, Isaiah, Elisha, Enoch, and Simon Hosea, whom I adopted through Stand and Be Counted.

I now have a diagnosis of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), which doesn't quite fit me, I don't think. I am trying to lose weight and I took some tests that my doctor recommended. I am trying to be at peace and have joy.

It's been driven home to me by now that I cannot control or predict or even figure out God's plan. His thoughts are not my thoughts; my ways are not His ways; and His way is the best way. I don't know what else to say about it. I don't know what the ending to my story is, or why God chose these experiences for me. But I do know that I need to trust Him, to put my joy and my hope in Him.

Somewhere in our journey, after the doctor told us that we had no children, we also started the process of adopting. Adoption had always been something we had been willing to do; I always imagined that I would adopt at least one child after I had my biological children. We want children, and although I cannot say I know for certain that adoption is God's will for my husband and I, it is a door that is open and we both want to pursue this option.

So I hope somehow this is edifying to someone. Otherwise, there's not much point in my writing.


Anonymous pam said...

I came to your blog through Dawn Eden's. I read often and only occasionally comment there. I was moved by your account of babies lost. I too have miscarried and it is very important that we allow ourselves to grieve these children we could never meet in this life. I also read your entries about birth control and want to applaud you for your willingness to really explore the issue rather than accept what is easiest and most accepted in our Christian circles. You are truly brave for talking to your pastor and others about an issue NOBODY wants to talk about. It always gives me renewed hope when I hear of another young couple deciding against the cultural imperative to control fertility and limit family size by artificial means. That said I did want to help you to understand the Catholic position on NFP a little better. I will comment on that entry to make sure I don't repeat what someone else has said or misrepresent what you said. I don't advocate that everyone use NFP by any means or that everyone uses it correctly, however I think I can clarify the moral difference between NFP use for child spacing and contraceptive use. Thank-you for your honesty and I will pray that God grants your heart's desire for a child, whether from your body or by adoption.

11:24 AM  

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