Where Do You Stand?
As a mom of many, I always appreciate posts like this one by Jess:
Some Subtle Effects of the Birth Control Culture
Lately, I've been noticing some trends that I think are directly attributable to the rise-- indeed the expectancy-- of birth control use in our culture. I'd like to talk through them one by one so it's clear what I'm getting at. I believe that there are consequences that are a direct result of our culture's embracing of the birth control mindset as normative, and here are a few.
#1: Young couples are thought irresponsible when they get pregnant right away......because, the implication is, any "wise" couple would wait and follow the oft-given advice (even by pastors) that you should "take a few years to get to know each other" first.
This basic assumption overlooks the fact that even with birth control usage, regular intercourse often leads to a pregnancy. Indeed, that is the general plan of God's design for marital intimacy.It also overlooks the fact that children are a part of God's design for sanctification of parents, and that the continuation of a self-focused lifestyle has not served America's "Christian" marriages well.
#2- "Was it planned?" is no longer deemed a rude and quite personal question, but in fact, is seen as a natural question......because, the way our culture sees it, it is up to us to "plan" when life will begin according to our own time tables and goals. The abortion-on-demand mindset tells us that we can control when life ends, so why not believe that we have full control of when it begins as well?
#3- Children are often seen, and even referred to, as an "accident".
Perhaps you've been fortunate enough to not ever have actually heard someone call their child by such an insulting description (an "oops baby", or "our little accident")... but it's all too common. Linked to the idea above, this whole notion is a natural attitude when we believe that we are the ones in control of life.
#4- Large families are often seen as incredible (and thus, put on an undeserved pedestal) or insane (and thus, sneered at behind their backs)......because once you can control how many "little buggars" you get, someone who has more than the two (or maybe three, if your first two are of the same gender) MUST be either Mother Teresa, or one step away from the loony bin.
#5- Anyone who has clearly NOT bought into the birth control culture at any point is seen as fair game for jokes, criticism, or invasive questions, because (it is assumed) they "chose" something different......because now, the "norm" is obvious: it is assumed that you WILL limit your own family size, shape, and timing according to your own will. The family that has two children 14 months apart gets jokes ("Haven't you figured out how that happens?" hardee-har-har) and eyerolls at their (implied) stupidity. The couple that has struggled with infertility now feels obligated to share that very personal information, because others imply or outright state that they are intentionally avoiding children, calling them selfish or scared. (Talk about adding insult to injury!) And of course, there's the classic large family comments.
#6- By extension, because they "chose" their family size, the larger-than-average family is often expected to never lack, to never struggle with discipline, to never be tired, etc.... even by Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Don't believe me? Think again.If a two-year-old in a family of seven children has tantrums or is wearing mismatched clothes, it's because "the mom is spread too thin". But if that same child is the only child of two doting parents, it's because "bless his heart; he's a normal two-year-old" and because independent little two-year-olds love to pick out their own clothes.If a mother of three children is exhausted as she's pregnant with her fourth, it's likely to be met with an "I told you so" attitude from those who have already inappropriately shared their thoughts about family size. And she rarely gets sympathy. More likely, she'll get a "you made your bed, now lie in it" perspective from most of the people around her. But a first time mother struggling with morning sickness gets sympathetic comments and offers for how others can help.And lest you think I'm just whining as a mom of four, I'm really not... I'm just stating things the way I've plainly seen them. And these are things I hear from many of you, my friends and readers.
#7- A young professional women is "throwing her career away" if she opts to stay home with her new baby.... ...because she could have controlled that for another 10 years, and really DONE something with her life, don't ya know?
#8- Couples are often shocked and dismayed when they struggle with infertility... ...because the whole issue is so framed by an "in control" attitude. It seems so easy to NOT have children, and thus, it should be easy TO have them, right? Sadly, many modern couples either aren't even marrying until less fertile ages, and then may find themselves desperate to have children... or they have followed the common advice to take some time for themselves, only to find that once they finally get off the pill, they struggle to get pregnant at all.Even the couple who would love to have children and hasn't put it off or waited gets rude comments from family and friends because our culture has such an "if you want it, you can get it" attitude about everything, including children. And underlying all of it is the cultural idea of "rights"... that we have the right to have children or not have them, whenever we so desire.
#9- OTHER EFFECTS I won't even go into the rise in casual sex (a.k.a. fornication), affairs (a.k.a. adultery), and abortion (a.k.a. murder) due to the ease of birth control procurement and use.SO WHAT'S THE SOLUTION???The answer isn't that we bang down the doors of the courts and seek to legislate birth control usage. That ship has sailed.In my view, the answer IS that Christian couples should seek God's face and become that peculiar people-- a people that stands out as set apart and different from the world around us-- in this area of how we view children. A people who see children as blessings. A people who discipline our children in the Lord, so that we aren't so bowled over by our disobedient, bratty children that we can't STAND the thought of more. A people who aren't afraid to live as strangers in this world that kills and throws away imperfect children, medicates children instead of offering loving discipline, and that acts and thinks as though we are the ones in control of life. Heaven help us!
If you're a part of a big family, I'm sure you can relate to this. If not, what are your thoughts or perspective? Have you been guilty of some of these thoughts? Please chime in.........