jump to navigation

The Problems With Natural Family Planning March 13, 2012

Posted by frrobins in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

Self-control. Self-restraint. Keep your legs closed. Abstinence. Those are things I hear from people who want women to shut up about getting easy, cheap access to birth control. As if every woman who wants to use birth control is some sort of nymphomaniac who simply cannot control herself.

I’ve seen Catholics advocate natural family planning, saying that abstaining for a week is good for the marriage and we should just exercise self control.

One of the many problems I have with this is that for most married couples, there is a problem with sexual activity, but it’s not too much. It’s too little.

Life is busy and stressful. Jobs, kids, housework, juggling friend and family. For a lot of married couples, sex becomes another chore. I’ve seen many married couples complain to me about the lack of sexual activity going on in their life and non who are complaining (or bragging) that they get too much. I’m sure one or two exists somewhere, but they are the exception to the rule.

So, suppose tired, overworked couples using Natural Family Planning and, in the mist of all of the day to day stress and hassles, becomes surprised to find that they are both in the mood at the same time. Until they realize it is during the wife’s fertile period. The next time they get around to fooling around could very well be next month. For couples who desperately need to reconnect or who are trying to work on improving their intimacy, this becomes a huge obstacle.

If hypothetical family wants to use NFP, that’s fine. The thing is, it is not a good solution for the majority of families. For one thing, it’s not something that only one partner can commit to. Both partners have to sign on. If the wife wants to use NFP but the husband doesn’t and neither want a pregnancy, well, hello strain to the relationship. It also ignores the reality that we still live in a culture where some people believe a wife does not have the right to refuse the sexual advances of her husband.

A lot of work also goes into NFP. When it was originally conceived, advocates believed that women were consistently fertile for only one week of the month. The problem is that this fertile period varies greatly. To track when the fertile period occurs requires daily monitoring of the bodies’ vitals. A lot of people don’t have the time. A lot of people don’t want to think about their fertility every day. And ask any couple going through infertility what constantly having to monitor their fertility does to their relationship. It causes a lot of strain.

I’m tired of the assumption that engaging in consensual sexual activity is somehow irresponsible or shows a lack of self control. I’m tired of people who are against birth control forgetting that married couples use birth control. And I’m tired of the idea that somehow taking steps to ensure that an unwanted pregnancy does not occur means that a woman is irresponsible.

Women who use birth control are not nymphomaniacs who need to reign in their lusts. They’re the women you and I know, struggling to juggle intimacy with everything else on their plates. For some, the cost of birth control is prohibitive. It won’t fix everything, but it will take another worry off her shoulders.

Advertisements

Lawmakers: Stay Out of My Uterus! October 11, 2011

Posted by frrobins in abortion, activism, Current Events, health, Politics, privacy.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

I am very concerned about something going in Mississippi, where lawmakers are trying to pass an amendment that would give a fertilized egg the same rights as a human being. This is something that should send chills through every woman and man. The consequences would included criminalizing abortion and BIRTH CONTROL! This could pave the way for criminalizing taking the pill as it prevents a fertilized egg from becoming implanted in the uterus. This bill will require criminal investigations when a woman suffers a miscarriage.

For those who say that people are blowing the consequences of this bill out of the water, women are already being criminalized for having a miscarriage or still birth.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, the causes for most miscarriages ARE UNKNOWN! In most causes, CHROMOSOMAL ABNORMALITIES are most likely to blame. Meaning that there is nothing that the mother did or did not do to cause it! So, we’re going to put women who have suffered the emotional trauma of a miscarriage under investigation?

Last year, I was pregnant. Considering I have PCOS and was at a higher risk of miscarriage I was nervous all the time about it happening. Most women in the early stage of pregnancy are in the same worry boat. They worry about that one glass of wine they had before they knew they were pregnant. They worry that the pollutants they are exposed to at work will harm their baby. They worry that the tumble they took caused permanent damage. When a miscarriage does occur, some women feel intense guilt for something they probably did not contribute to! How is subjecting them to an investigation going to assuage that guilt? It is going to make them think of EVERY THING THAT THEY DID OR DID NOT DO THAT MIGHT HAVE CAUSED THAT MISCARRIAGE!

Moment of truth. I did not do everything “right” during my pregnancy. I had shrimp the week before I found out I was pregnant. Eating shrimp could have given my son listeria and killed him. It didn’t. When I was three months pregnant I was so sick and nauseous that everything I ate came right back up. I lost 20 pounds during my 3rd month of pregnancy. I stopped eating because even the thought of food made me sick. I lived off water, ginger ale, and a little bit of rice and mashed potatoes. I hate ginger ale but I drank it because it was the only thing that helped with the nausea. Ginger ale is not healthy and even contains a minimal amount of alcohol. I was definitely not getting the nutrients that I or my baby needed that month.

Later I petted and played with a stray kitten. I worried and worried afterwords that the kitten might have had some parasite and that I might have passed it on to my baby. I worried when the place I worked in was found to have mold. I worried during the weeks I was too nauseous to exercise. I took Tylenol for the mother of all headaches. I took benadryl to control a bad allergy attack. I worried.

I dare you to find the pregnant woman who went for 9 months without having one drink, went without eating shrimp/lunchmeat/things containing raw eggs such as Caesar salad dressing, never went into an area where there was dangerous fumes such as a freshly painted nursery, ate a perfectly balanced diet every day for 9 months, exercise moderately every day, never smoked, never used drugs (legal or illegal), never cleaned a cat litter box, never got a bit reckless and took a tumble, etc. People are not perfect. While you won’t find someone who did ALL of those things, most pregnant woman would have done one of those things at some point in their pregnancy.

So, what should we do? Put pregnant women in a bubble? What if they have a drink before they realize they are pregnant? Put all women of childbearing age in a bubble? I read an article once by someone advocating that every sexually active woman of childbearing age should take folic acid even if she’s not planning on having a baby. So, should every sexually active woman of child bearing age act as though they are pregnant when they aren’t? Can you see how ridiculous this gets?

What about cases where it is the health of the mother vs the embryo/fetus? Anti-abortion activists live in a world where women never die from complications related to pregnancy or birth. This is a fantasy world. In the US, 2 to 3 women die every day as a result of complications from pregnancy or childbirth! I went to a panel discussion on medically necessary abortions headed by an OB-GYN who told stories of women who desperately wanted children but encountered some severe health problem that would kill the woman, the child or both. What to do in such tragic cases should be a private decision between the woman and her doctor. The government should stay the hell out of it!

Need an example? Here. There are medical reasons for abortions! And for those who say that you should always hold out hope for a miracle, that’s YOUR choice to make for you, not them. And in their case, it would have been a wrong choice. No miracle happened. Their baby is dead.

With regards to abortions for non-medical reasons, I say I want to see the abortion rate decreased. Abortion is not a desired thing. Which is why we need to focus on preventing unplanned pregnancies. And the best way to do this is through birth control.

Telling people not to have sex if they don’t want to get pregnant does not work. And in countries such as Romania where birth control was outlawed they have a problem with unwanted children being put on the street. Do lawmakers REALLY want to see something similar happen in the US?

Further, there are medical reasons for using birth control. I was put on the pill before I was sexually active to control my PCOS. What right do legislatures have to say what medicine I can or can’t take to control a medical condition I have because it might prevent a fertilized egg from becoming implanted?

So, to prevent any harm from happening to potential fertilized eggs, should sexually active women of child bearing age be prevented from taking medicines that could harm/terminate an embryo? We wouldn’t want a woman taking medicine that could harm a “person” before she realizes she’s pregnant after all. Is this something that we really want to see?

Think. Really think. This isn’t about protecting fertilized eggs or embryos. This is about controlling every aspect of a woman’s reproductive self. This is something that the government should stay the hell out of.

I know that there is a lot of energy directed at the economic woes that our country is facing, and that needs to happen. However, I don’t want to see this very important issue swept under the rug as a result. We need to make noise over this issue, and we need to do it now.