I’ve noticed that apparently a number of people find my blog because of my birth control saga experience and the IUD information (ParaGard and Mirena) I’ve posted. This is surprising to me for a number of reasons, not the least of which is my relatively recent arrival in the realm of the contraceptively controlled.
First of all: I am not a doctor. I don’t have a medical degree and don’t ever plan on having one. I leave that stuff up to the people who are OK pulling all-nighters and living on caffeine and cigarettes for ten years. The thing is, even they don’t know how exactly IUDs (or IUCs- specifically the ParaGard) work. They may work by making the uterus “inhospitable”. They may work by preventing the little swimmer-guys from reaching l’oeuf. They may work in a number of different ways, but they all add up to a fairly safe, hormone-free, reversible contraceptive device. Do I sound like an ad for ParaGard? Here’s the site- knock yourself out. We chose it for a number of reasons:
1. I had already had a baby and was (am) in a committed, monogamous relationship.
2. We wanted something long-term (like, at least five years).
3. We didn’t want to mess with my body chemistry (hormones), and my cycles were normal (i.e., no need for Mirena).
4. We wanted something with a proven, long-term track record.
5. We wanted something that I could take out and immediately get pregnant again (unlike the pill or hormonal methods like NuvaRing).
Now, many people arrive at this blog wanting to know if IUDs are moral. This is also interesting to me, since most of those who search for “ParaGard moral” or “IUD moral” aren’t specifying what faith they are using as the basis for making a moral judgment. In other words, if you ask me, “is getting an IUD morally right?”, you have to tell me whose eyes you’re looking through. I come from a faith tradition which allows families to choose whatever they (prayerfully) think is best for their situation. So, from a Reformed Evangelical (Protestant) perspective, it is left to the work of the Spirit to speak to the couple and help them make a decision. It has to be said, though, that even within Evangelical circles, there are some who are beginning to take the Catholic view on contraception.
SO…if you see the world through Catholic eyes, (and desire to be faithful to the teachings of the Church- there’s the clincher), then you probably know already that any kind of man-made contraception is considered to be messing with the divinely-ordained cultural mandate, i.e., the “be fruitful and multiply” command from Genesis. Catholics believe they should trust God to provide for whatever children he may send to the couple, and thus, unless there is some dire necessity, couples do not engage in contraception of any kind (which is why you have all the “Catholics have 18 kids” jokes). You have sex to have babies, period. If you want to read the original Catholic church document called Humanae Vitae that “put this in writing”, it’s here. If you’re not the theologian-type, and prefer a fairly concise rendering of the question, try the Wiki entry on it. The church advocates something called Natural Family Planning, which is a method using signs from the woman’s cycle and abstinence, but again, only in situations of having a “just reason” for “delaying a pregnancy”. Here’s the info on this method.
Other traditions? If you’re Muslim, there’s no specific forbidding of contraception, according to this site, as well as this one. So ParaGard is ok. If you’re Jewish, all forms are OK, unless you’re Orthodox, in which case you do the Catholic thing and let whatever happens, happen. Atheist? Basically you take into account what’s important to you (population control? scarce resources? global warming? your sanity?) and make a decision- the “whatever works for your situation” idea. So again, an IUD is perfectly fine, assuming, of course, that you meet the requirements, which are on the ParaGard site.
PLEASE note: I’m not getting into a theological discussion here of which perspective is better, or which one is Biblical, or right, or correct. I leave that to the apologetics blogs, and if you’re into that, you can go argue your life away on one of those. Obviously I have chosen the one I think is best, but you could come to a very different decision, even using the same factors.
I wish you the best in making your decision. The very fact that you have found this blog is evidence that you’re researching the options, so congrats. Thinking=good.