Family

Why I Don’t Use Birth Control And Never Will Again

I, Mandy, boldly declare that I do not currently use birth control and I never will again. I’m about to tell you why, but first…a photo of my amazing family!

Family

Aren’t they cute?

This is a hot topic, isn’t it? Let’s all agree that no matter what our views are, we will discuss this topic in a respectful manner. I’m posting this based on my personal feelings after having researched this and considered for quite some time. I didn’t just get a wild hair and decided to make everyone mad. 😉

First of all, I want to say that in past, I have used both “the pill” and Paragard. I recommend neither for reasons that are both secular and faith-based. The pill I used was Seasonale. What this particular pill offers is birth control with regularly scheduled periods every three months. That’s nice if you hate periods, or, like me, you needed a jump-start to your periods because you hadn’t had one in four years. Yep. I started this pill long before I even became sexually active. I have a long, painful history of endometriosis and ovarian cysts that burst every four months or so, causing me a ton of pain.

Back to the pill. I took this pill for just under a year and then stopped. When I got married to Anthony, I decided I didn’t want to take birth control. To me, it felt irresponsible. When you have sex, you have to know that pregnancy is possible. If you don’t want to get pregnant, don’t have sex. I have always had a strong faith in God, and I wanted to let Him decide the size and timing of our family. It never felt right to prolong pregnancy for any reason. I will touch more on this in a moment, in addition to the downside of any birth control pill, even Seasonale.

Flash forward five years to 2011. I was healing from yet another miscarriage (I’ve had more than I can count on both hands) and I wasn’t dealing with it well emotionally. My husband was deployed again and I was raising our two girls alone in a weird town, surrounded by people I didn’t really know all that well. I felt pressured to stop having babies, and I wrongly succumbed to the pressure. I started a conversation with my doctor that lead to me making an appointment to get an IUD installed in my body. I chose Paragard at the advice of another friend. This device remained in me for two and a half years until I just could not take it anymore and I got the thing out of me. Seven months later, I got pregnant with Jackson. He is now about to turn a year old! Cue the cute baby picture…

Baby Saber

Jackson chose an advanced weapon from a more civilized time as his first toy weapon. That’s my boy!

All that having been said, I’m going to tell you now what issues I had with birth control and will always have with any and every form of birth control. They stop God’s blessings from coming. I do not believe that it’s ever okay to limit what God wants to do in my life. By taking birth control, I would be doing just that.

I am pro-life. This includes suicide, doctor assisted suicide the death penalty and abortion for any reason. It also includes birth control. I believe that life begins at conception and I have not seen evidence to support that it doesn’t. I am open to receiving actual scientific proof, but so far, it doesn’t exist. There is, however, scientific evidence that a flash of light occurs at conception. That is incredibly exciting! You can read the article HERE.

My biggest issue with “the pill” (all types of birth control pills”) is that they thin out the uterine lining, making the womb a very hostile place for fertilized eggs, and keeps them from implanting. Instead, they cause your body to eliminate the egg, fertilized or not. This means you can still conceive a child but thanks to the pill, it will not implant, so the fertilized egg – your baby – will be eliminated from your system. It will be aborted within a week of conception. It’s not a natural phenomena because your body hasn’t just randomly selected this life to end. It ended because your body has synthetic hormones inside that are making it a hostile environment for fragile new life. I’m not okay with that. In fact, I feel really sick to my stomach considering that fact. I was on the pill for a couple of months after getting married. I have had to really pray and ask for God’s forgiveness, knowing that I may have gotten pregnant sooner, had I not been on “the pill.” If you’re interested in reading more about birth control pills and what they do, please visit the links at the bottom of this blog posting.

What I’ve discovered about IUDs is not much better. They are inserted into your uterus and are supposed to prevent sperm from ever meeting an egg, however, they can still meet an egg and you can still conceive and abort a baby while having an IUD inserted, just like being on “the pill” and I am 100% not okay with that. One of the ten commandments directs us not to murder and I take that seriously. I don’t believe that passively murdering the unborn is acceptable in the Lord’s eyes.

All that having been said, I also understand that it’s quite the challenge to raise a large family in this day and age and that everything is really expensive, kids are a challenge and that money doesn’t go too far for most families. Yep. I totally get that! I also know that what is impossible for us to accomplish on our own, God makes possible through His people, through faith and through very hard work. I also know from personal experience that we do not need as much stuff or as many activities as we think we need. But that is a blog post and a discussion for another time entirely. 😉

What should you do if you’re currently on a form of birth control? That is for you to decide. You will need to talk about it with your doctor and make a decision that is right for you and that is in line with your own beliefs. If you’re a Christian, I encourage you to discuss this issue with your Pastor or another trusted member of your church leadership in order to gain more insight. Weigh this against God’s Word. I encourage you to seek out what the Bible says as well. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you, through God’s Word what you are to know regarding this topic. Prayerfully ask God to make clear what He wants you to do. I am not going to tell you what to do or not do beyond that. It’s your body and this is your choice. I encourage you to educate yourself before making any decision. Whenever I’ve jumped into things without ruminating on them for a while, I’ve always regretted it. Don’t do or not do something because someone told you to.

Sterilization is something I’ve only recently heard discussed in faith communities and I don’t feel that for our family, it’s a good choice. I may change my mind later, but right now, my personal belief is that while it doesn’t even allow for any chance of conception, it still limits what God can do in your life. I don’t want to limit that. I want to do what God asks me to do, no matter what. Parenting is hard, but it sanctifies me. It blesses me. It sanctifies and blesses my husband. And it increases the number of God’s people on the earth. In the end, I believe it blesses God, too.

As I was editing this post before posting, I read it to Anthony in order to gain his insight. After all, he is a big part of our growing family! 😉 He said he agrees wholeheartedly. I’m not too surprised since this is a topic he and I have been discussing at length recently because…I have the baby fever again and we are hoping to conceive again, in God’s timing. Our family is not “done” yet.

Having said all that, I am very curious to know what your beliefs are on birth control. Do you believe it’s okay to use it? Do you believe God calls us to use it? What about sterilization? Do you feel that it’s okay to medically sterilize yourself in order to avoid pregnancy? What have been your experiences? Please share them respectfully in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helpful links:

http://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/birth-control-pills

http://www.pfli.org/faq_oc.html

http://www.hhs.gov/opa/reproductive-health/contraception/birth-control-pills/

http://www.rxlist.com/birth_control_pills-page2/drugs-condition.htm

http://americanpregnancy.org/?s=birth+control

http://www.acog.org/Search?Keyword=birth+control

http://www.drugs.com/seasonale.html

http://paragard.com/What-is-Paragard.aspx?&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=paragard&utm_campaign=Branded%207/15&utm_content=sVNUIk71A_pcrid_86316850505_pdv_c

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both girls yelling in RV doorway

When God Asks YouTo Do Something Incredibly Brave {Part 2}

Hopefully by now, you’ve read part 1 and know that we’re in the process of moving our family of five plus one dog into an RV to live in full-time. I have a little update for you – we’ve purchased the RV and are in the process of fixing it up as we clean out our rental house. This weekend, we’ll be selling just about everything we own and packing the rest into our little tiny house. We will be moving into it full-time in about ten days or less!

Our RV is a late 80’s model with only 53,000 miles on it. “Georgie Boy” has had just one owner in his lifetime. (Yes, I name all our vehicles). He’s been well kept. We paid far less than $10,000 for our new home and are hoping it was a good investment. We’ll see!

Both girls yelling in RV doorway

Welcome to our new home!

We are painting the cabinets white, the walls a light yellow and will recover all of the fabrics. The carpet is pretty new, so we’ll steam clean what little of that there is.

Girls and beds

Chelsea is pointing to what will be her bed – the pull out couch. Theresa is pointing to her bed, a pull down bunk.

We will be putting the curtains back up soon. I pulled them out to wash them. They’re a warm sandy color and we’ll be keeping them for now. I will likely tie dye them this coming spring because I hail from a hippy and it got into my blood. 😉

RV kitchen

This is the sum of my new kitchen. What adventures will we cook up in here?

We do plan to paint the counter tops and make them look like faux granite counter tops. Also, not shown is the refrigerator/freezer. We will be painting the outsides in chalkboard paint to create a fun family message center. Because I need all three kids underfoot when I cook on that tiny three burner stove. I really do. 😉

Tiny bathroom

Five people, one bathroom. Madness. Or as Chelsea put it – “Poopin’ on a plane”

I’m not real keen on the towel racks either and will eventually be replacing those with something more fun and whimsical. Stay tuned for that!

View front to back

View from living room/girls sleeping space to kitchen, bathroom and “master bedroom” area

That kitchen faucet has totally got to go! Anthony has his eye on one, so we’ll save up to replace it.

Chelsea wave

See you soon with more updates! 🙂

Stay tuned for more updates! There’s a lot happening!

Peace Be the Journey,

Mandy ❤

The Tirado 5, hours after Jackson was born.

Then and Now {Praise Him}

Have you ever looked back to the worst moment in your whole entire life and then looked around you at your present life? Can you see an immense difference between the two moments in time? This morning, as I was holding my son, I did just that. As I attempted to count my blessings, I found that I could not, for they are far too numerous. That realization caused me to stop everything I was doing (other than breastfeeding) and just praise God for His mercy and grace. He delivered me from what once felt like the pits of Hell. I cannot even begin to fathom how different the world would be without my kids. You see, the worst moment in my life is the moment I was pronounced dead at age 16 during a suicide attempt. I had totally given up on life because I figured that everyone who mattered had already given up on me. I was wrong. God had not given up.

At age 16, there was no way that I could even begin to fathom that my life would work out to what it is right now. I married my high school sweetheart. We have been together now nearly 20 years. We have two beautiful daughters and a very handsome infant son. I survived military life (which almost killed both of us) and I have spent years teaching Sunday school, working with kids – including special needs children. I’ve traveled to and lived in several different states and I’ve met people from all over the world. I have a great life, despite our struggles. None of this would’ve happened had God given up on me.

1997

Anthony and I in 1997, shortly after we became a couple and not too long before my suicide attempt that nearly took my life.

You see, when we’re at our worst moments and we don’t even have the strength to call on God or to acknowledge His existence, He’s still there anyway, saving us from the Enemy. He knows we have a purpose long before we know we do.

I did not call on God that day until the bitter end. I called on Him to bring me Home – to Heaven. He said “later” and sent me back to the World. Initially, I was outraged by the outcome of a failed suicide attempt. Now, I am praising Him for it. I cannot imagine a better life than the one He has given me.

 To all who mourn in Israel he will give: beauty for ashes; joy instead of mourning; praise instead of heaviness. For God has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory.

Isaiah 61::3 TLB

The Tirado 5, hours after Jackson was born.

The Tirado 5

You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.

Psalm 23:5 NLT

Let’s Pray: Lord, we thank You for the blessings You’ve bestowed upon us. We have experienced such intense moments of weakness that we could not even call out to You, but You in Your infinite Mercy came to our rescue anyway. You have replaced our mourning with joy and songs of Praise. All Honor and Glory rightly belongs to you, O Lord. How we love Your ways! In Jesus’ Name we Praise You. Amen.

How has God come to your rescue in moments of weakness? Has your life turned out better than you ever thought it could? In what ways?

Jackson Henry Aaron is HERE! {Delayed Posting}

Hey all! Jackson Henry Aaron is here! He’s actually been here for the last six weeks, but I’m a bit slow on the uploading and I’ve been wrestling with whether or not to continue blogging at all, realizing that it’s going to require a whole lot more commitment on my part. I’ve gotten over that initial freak out and decided to try a 30 hour work week from home, especially since my husband’s work schedule has changed and he’s home more during the day now.

Anyway…back to the big, exciting news. Yes, I had a baby!

Baby Jackson

Jackson Henry Aaron – born May 20th at 08:39, weighing in at 8 lbs 2 oz and measuring 20.5 inches in length.

I had my third, medically necessary cesarean section. My husband, Anthony was there to document it for me.

I'm ready!

Here I am, ready to meet my little boy. This was taken just moments before the doctor began operating on me. I was fully awake for the entire ordeal.

Jackson and I both came out of the surgery a little messed up. He had some initial breathing difficulties which were quickly remedied, while I had some challenges with pain medication prior to the surgery and some endometriosis and old scar tissues removed during the surgery. I didn’t recover as quickly this time as I did in the past, but six weeks out – I’m finally feeling like a champ. Jackson is extremely healthy as well.

Little Sheriff

Our little guy just two days after birth. He’s a healthy, growing boy!

And of course, our girls are absolutely in love with their little brother.

Theresa, holding Jackson hours after he was born.

Theresa, holding Jackson hours after he was born.

Chelsea, burping Jackson just a couple of days ago. Jackson has grown like a weed in the past six weeks since his birth!

Chelsea, burping Jackson just a couple of days ago. Jackson has grown like a weed in the past six weeks since his birth!

While the birth experience wasn’t ideal, my son is so much more beautiful and amazing than I ever could’ve expected him to be. He is such a little gift from Heaven and I’m so blessed to be his mother.

How about you? Was your last birth experience what you expected? Did you experience a quick recovery or did you face some challenges? Share with us in the comments below (without getting too graphic, please).

Let’s pray: Lord, we thank You for the gift of children and of childbirth. Even when things do not go as we expected, we still receive the beautiful gifts that You have offered to us. Everything You give us is good. Thank You Lord. In Jesus’ Name. Amen. 

Victim and Survivor Shaming Must Stop

Victim and survivor shaming must stop. It’s imperative to the health and welfare of all victims past and current of any type of abuse, domestic, emotional, spiritual and sexual, for the shaming to stop immediately. We must be allowed to tell our stories. We must be allowed to tell them accurately and as honestly as possible. We must be allowed to tell them as often as we feel called to. We must be allowed to tell them in public, online, in books, in stories, in private and to friends and family. We must be allowed to be heard, whether our abuser is a celebrity, family member, friend or stranger. We must not be continually questioned as to the validity of our statements. Even when something is remembered only partway, there is a valid reason for that – the event was traumatic and as a result, the formations in our brains were changed dramatically. Our brains may not want to retain the information, so it attempts to lock it away in a deep dark corner, like stuffing something revolting into the bottom of the trash in order to dispose of it entirely. There is no way to completely dispose of trauma, except to heal from it and move forward. Otherwise, we are stuck in a never-ending cycle of running from it only to find we’re actually running in circles, gaining no actual ground. There is no road behind us except that which is well worn by our own souls – the same sights, smells, tastes, memories on repeat.

When we’re allowed to tell our stories, we take the power away from the event little by little. We effectively state that we are no longer stuck in the past but are actively moving towards a brighter future. We build in our community, hope. For each survivor that speaks out, another victim is listening, gaining strength to someday break free from their own hell and begin to tell their own story. The path to healing is paved by the bravery of the freed survivors – those who were not silenced by hatred and shaming but spoke up anyway. I will be one of those that help pave the road for the next generation. I will be one of the brave and you who hate what I have to say will not stop me. My God gives me strength and in Christ, all things are possible. I will speak up for those who are too weak to speak for themselves. I will inspire the next generation to stand up and tell their story. I will no longer sit in shame, but will look you in the eyes and tell you my story. I am no longer a victim, but a survivor. You cannot take that from me.

Over the years, I have been told that I should not give pearls to swine and that by telling my story openly, I am giving pearls to swine. I respectfully disagree. By keeping my story secret and protecting the identity of my abuser, I am giving pearls to swine. I choose to take my pearls back. My abuser was not only my step-father, but several of his friends as well. Most of the abuse occurred while my mother was out of the home, tending to work or to my severely handicapped sister, Melissa. My step-father was very manipulative and found many avenues for gaining control over me. It seems that one of his favorites was to nurture me. Often times he’d turn children’s shows on the television – shows like Disney on Ice that were meant to fascinate me and hold my attention. He’d then call me onto his lap and proceed to molest me, his hands between my legs and my hands often between his, at his insistence. If I rejected him, I’d often be punished severely. I remember being cornered in a narrow hallway on a few occasions, his leather belt in hand. I’d refused him. He didn’t care for that too much. I learned my lesson. The next time I focused on the television show and did not resist him. I pretended I was somewhere else and that it was not me who has touching him, but someone else. This is how I coped. This is also how the abuse was allowed to go on for so long. My memories were deeply repressed and this abusive behavior became a way of life for me, like waking up and eating breakfast before going off to school. It was habit and I was overpowered, my choices removed from me before I even realized I had a choice to make. I’d also refer to this as brain washing.

It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. Luke 17:2 (NIV)

I fully believe my step-father will answer to God for all of his sins against me. The Bible makes it clear that my step-father not only sinned against me, but against God Himself as well. That is a strong statement with lasting repercussions, and it’s one I believe whole-heartedly. If he doesn’t repent fully, I believe my step-father will burn in hell. I see him suffering now in his personal life with work, health, his continued marriage to my Mother, and his fractured relationships with family (his only son, my younger brother) and with friendships. There is a large part of me that finds satisfaction in his suffering, though I am aware that Christ is not pleased with my satisfaction. I pray daily for His Light to overcome the darkness in my heart. If Christ can forgive those who crucified Him, I too can forgive my abuser. I’m finding it’s a daily, if not hourly process. Each time I think I’ve fully forgiven him, my heart finds more bitterness and I lash out. It’s my intent to forgive but never forget.

Out of the pain of the past, it’s become difficult to trust others. In my own personal life, there are precious few who are allowed intimate glances into my daily life, and fewer still who are allowed to remain in my life for long periods of time. The time of abuse from my step-father and his friends has taught me to trust no one, and to keep no one around for long periods of time. Habits form when people are allowed to be near you. It gives people time to manipulate and brain wash you, therefore, relationships must be considered disposable in order to remain safe. This has been the most difficult thought process to overcome. I understand intellectually that it’s flawed and needs to be revised in order to live a full life, but it is one of the hardest for me to address on a consistent, daily basis. It is simply too painful. I will continue praying for Christ’s Light to overcome this darkness in my heart. Could you, reader, pray for me as well? This is a hard battle, and I’m not the only survivor walking it. This battle has threatened my marriage multiple times. I will not allow it to overtake me or my marriage, but I can’t do it alone. Neither can you. I continue seeking help.

Seeking help is another area I want to address in regards to victim and survivor shaming. Over the years, I’ve sought help from many different avenues. Some of them have been entirely appropriate – talk therapy, behavior modification counseling, psychiatry, Christian Bible-based counseling, support groups and prayer. Other avenues haven’t been nearly as successful, especially within friend groups, but they did often lead to other, more helpful solutions. I also gained a better understanding of who my true friends are, and who I am in Christ. The most painful avenues I took were speaking to close and personal friends, entrusting them with information, and then being told that I was too broken to formulate a lasting relationship with. I understand their point of view to an extent; however, the delivery was painful. We are all a broken people in one way or another. This is why we must live in community. We complete the beautiful picture that Christ has painted.

I’ve written many times on the struggles that I’ve overcome – homosexual tendencies, adultery, depression, suicide, addiction…these are nothing new within the sexual abuse survivor community. These are prevalent themes. They’re sins and they need to be addressed as such, but they’re also causes for deep concern. Why are these things happening to our youth? Why are so many survivors turning to harmful avenues as a way of healing from the pain of the past? I have a theory, but you probably won’t like it.
We’re being silenced, shamed, told to keep it quiet and move on, but we can’t. Our stories are banging on the walls, begging to be let out. We can’t move on until we can heal. We can’t do that until we can talk about it, explore the depths of what happened to us and be allowed to move on in our own time. I’ve been told by several professionals that for every year of trauma a survivor has endured, it takes an equal amount of years to heal from that. We can’t even begin to heal until we’ve been effectively heard.

In the news, we’re reading about celebrities abusing youth and we turn our heads and scoff at the victims and the abusers. We make jokes about it and quote famous lines from movies, TV and commercials. It becomes funny to us, but it’s deeply harmful to the victims. I’ve been on both sides of this, and it’s disgusting no matter where you stand.

Satan has twisted scripture for so long and has whispered lies into so many ears. He’s using sexual sins, among others, to rampantly overtake the world. He’s started with the innocent children, molding them into confused, scared little people who grow up to pray on the children they’re entrusted to protect. It’s a rabid hamster running around in the same wheel, in the same putrid cage, breeding and killing it’s own off-spring. We have to treat that rabid hamster, no matter how disgusting he really is on the inside. We have to do it without killing the off-spring and without silencing their cries for help. Each person needs their own space to heal, their own space to tell their stories and their own space to carve out a life for themselves. We cannot continue to group survivors in with the abusers, nor can we continue to ignore either’s cry for help. I know, this is a controversial statement, but it’s one that needs to be made. Perhaps if my step-father had received the help he desperately needed, he would not have abused me, my handicapped sister and my younger brother. Perhaps if we have been removed from the home, we could’ve healed sooner and more effectively. Perhaps if more victims and survivors’ voices were heard, there would be less abuse and more action towards ending it.

I do not propose that simply hearing our stories will end all abuses, but I do propose that it will end for us, the cycle of abuse and begin the path to effective healing. We need more success stories and more survivors to find their voices and call out for action. We need more bravery and less cowardice. Join me now in sharing your stories. Stop protecting your abuser. Speak out and speak up!

My simple prayer for you: May God bless you in your endeavors to tell your story and heal from the horrors of your past. In Christ’s Name. Amen.

Today Is A Gift!

Today is a gift

Brothers and Sisters, today I just wanted to remind you that today is a gift from the Lord! Whatever your worries, whatever your struggles, the Lord is aware of them. He has given you this day as a gift and wants you to deeply rest in Him, trusting in His providence and sovereignty. Take some time today to remember all the Lord has done for you and know that there is still so much yet to come.

Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father, today I lift up to You all who feel burdened by heavy worries. I ask You to surround these brave souls with Your loving care. Place a hedge of protection around them. Surround them with Your people who will remind them to slow down and enjoy the preordained blessings of this beautiful day that You have created. In Christ’s Precious Name I pray. Amen.

Your sister in Christ,

Mandy 🙂

And….baby makes 5 (or 6?)!

 

 

 

I’m PREGNANT! I’ve “known” for a couple of weeks, but I had several chemical pregnancies this summer and I’m dealing with endometriosis, so I waited past the point when I felt I should probably test. This afternoon I stopped at the Dollar Tree after church to purchase a couple tests to verify and it’s a BFP (Big Fat Positive)!

I’ve been having dreams that it’s twins, so we’ll see in a few weeks. I have to call an OB/GYN tomorrow to make an appointment for next month. I’m a person who cannot hold a secret, so you’ll be getting to see ultrasound pictures, too.

Positive pregnancy test

double lines!

I’ve had several miscarriages and my blood type is Rh negative, so I’ll need a rhogam shot or else my body will become allergic to baby and spit him/her out. Please be praying for a healthy and safe pregnancy for me. Our girls are really, really excited and I think I made my husband deaf when I read the results and started screaming.

Praise be to God from whom all blessings flow! 

If you’re not familiar with some of the terms used above, I’ve provided some helpful links below. Additionally, I’m including a few of my favorite pregnancy sites.

Chemical Pregnancy:  http://miscarriage.about.com/od/onetimemiscarriages/p/chemicalpreg.htm

Endometriosis:  http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/basics/definition/con-20013968

Miscarriage: http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/guide/pregnancy-miscarriage

Rh Negative Blood Type: http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/rh-factor/

Rhogam Shot: http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/ask-heidi/rhogam-and-rh-negative.aspx

Baby Center: http://www.babycenter.com/

The Bump.Com: http://www.thebump.com/

 

Do you have any favorite pregnancy websites or Facebook pages you want to share? Let me know in the comments. Also, what’s your most memorable pregnancy moment? Share that in the comments, too!