TMI Warning: This post discusses birth control. If you don't want to hear about it, and especially my own thoughts on it, I suggest you leave now. You've been warned!
I've blogged about NFP (Natural Family Planning) before. I think it's a great technique and, when practiced by the book and under normal circumstances, an accurate one. We used NFP when we were first married, up until the point we decided to try for our first child. When we made that decision, we became pregnant immediately.
After Lucy was born, I discussed birth control options with my husband and midwife, and decided I was comfortable with continuing NFP. I guess I expected that it would work as well post-baby as it did pre-baby. Was I ever surprised when I discovered I was pregnant (with the baby now known as June) at 6 months post-partum!
Whereas before I bragged about how well NFP worked and couldn't imagine using any other method, now I can't help but feel a little let down by it. I guess I shouldn't- breastfeeding kept me cycle-free for six months. I know that even when practiced carefully, ecological breastfeeding is only recommended as reliable birth control for that amount of time. (I don't mean to imply I practiced ecological breastfeeding- as I work out-of-the-home, it's impossible. What I mean is that even under solid "breastfeeding-as-birth-control" conditions, 6 months is the standard).
Please, please don't think I regret my pregnancy with June. Although it was certainly a surprise, I trust in God's timing and my love for my baby girl is indescribable. That being said, I am not ready to join the 3-under-3 club (that is, having 3 children under 3). My mother, as well as several other people in my family, are members of that illustrious group, but I have zero desire to join them.
Problem is, I feel stuck now.
I don't use hormonal birth control because of my religious beliefs. As a Catholic, I believe that life begins at conception. But wait, you might say- the Pill prevents ovulation, and therefore conception, entirely. But that's not an accurate statement, at least not 100% of the time. Yes, the primary method by which the Pill works is by suppressing ovulation. However, it has a secondary method as well in that it works to make the lining of the uterus inhospitable to implementation.
The bottom line is that by using the Pill (and other forms of hormonal birth control), I would be knowingly taking action that could prevent a fertilized egg from implanting. I'm not cool with that.
Further, most hormonal birth control presents the risk of killing one's supply while breastfeeding. Even the progesterone-only pills present a risk, albeit a lower one. Exclusively-breastfeeding my baby is something I take very, very seriously, so this is another reason why I don't consider hormonal birth control a good option.
So where does that leave me? As far as I can tell, I'm back at old-school contraceptives, i.e. barrier methods. Boooooooo.