On never having used contraception…

In all this discussion lately about the HHS contraception mandate and the Catholic Church’s stance on paying for it, there have been anti-Catholic voices who have decried the Church as trying to subjugate women (again) to lives of being barefoot and pregnant for all of eternity (or at least those 20 years or so of fertile life that some women experience). Now, putting aside for the moment the fact that when you are pregnant you don’t really want to WEAR shoes, I would like to give a little insight into the life of this woman who has never been on birth control.

I take my inspiration from this post, written by Jennifer Fulweiler over at NCR.com about a new book that has come out recently, full of the voices of Catholic women unashamed of the fact that they do not, in fact, use birth control and are quite happy that way, thank you very much.

I have never used hormonal contraception. I was very much a “good girl” in high school and had a mother who, for better or worse, trusted me to not get pregnant during those tender teen years. I know that the idea of staying a virgin until marriage is, if not passe, at least considered ridiculous for us sex-crazed, unable to control ourselves, post-sexual revolution generations, but I managed (by the grace of God) to do it (or not “do it” as the case may be).

But it would be disingenuous to say that I EVER intended to use birth control. I am a Catholic convert. Mac and I still joke about the fact that on our first official date (we were friends for a long time before dating) the concept of birth control came up and I expressed that I did not intend to ever use it. My parents, though not Catholic, had done a lot of research when they were a young, married couple and decided to use natural family planning after the birth of my younger brother, their second child. And they used it successfully to avoid pregnancy for more than eight years until my youngest brother was born. Having them as an example, hearing that birth control may act as abortifacient, led me to know, even as a teenager, that I did not want to ever use hormonal birth control. Perhaps I felt the need with Mac to draw a proverbial line in the sand and see if he would have any trouble crossing it. He didn’t.

I have not learned anything about birth control in the last 20 years of my life to lead me to believe that it is anything that I want in my body. I have a mother and an aunt who have had breast cancer. I now feel that it is by the grace of God that I have never used birth control. My risk of contracting breast cancer would have been greatly increased if I had.

I don’t feel oppressed. I feel liberated to know that I am not putting anything in my body to alter my hormones in such a way as to suppress my God-given fertility. There are so many girls who start on birth control before they even know if their bodies work correctly, doing 15-20 years of damage if they begin birth control in their teens and get married late in life.

There is great joy and great freedom in the Church’s teaching on marriage and fertility. And yes, when pregnant, there’s the freedom to NOT wear shoes.

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6 Comments

  1. I love this! And in this season of my life, I’d rather not wear shoes, either 🙂

    Reply
  2. Stacey

     /  March 15, 2012

    Interesting conversation. I think you and I could talk for hours about how we have arrived at the same conclusions, by God’s grace….

    Reply
  3. You brought up so many things that had me going” YES! THAT! *sigh* unfortunately. And WHY have II gotten used to many thinking we’re oppressed…..
    a. I feel QUITE free. I often feel for those on that crusade to portray us as opressed or some poor dear who knows no better or maybe a very contrary, annoying person who just ignores this apparent oppression.
    I studied medicine and love astrophysics and am now studying to become a linguist and philologist. And I’m Catholic. I can hear these people just suddenly getting a bad case of cognitive dissonance. Wait, academics are supposed to know better than to let Men opress them much less….be religious!
    Well, they’ll have to accept i’m maybe a paradoxical entity (too much Doctor Who.) I WISH they’d stop speaking for us so much. “WORLD! No, we’re NOT catholic and a lot of us are maybe agnostic or atheists…but we know they’re experiences as Catholics. Send out the warnings! These women are being OPPRESSED!!”
    Rendering anything one may want to say in defense or rebutting that statement just something that draws more pity and attempts to ‘help those poor dears realise they’re living a lie.’ (Ok, I’m sounding a tad bitter and using that dry and sarcastic manner of putting things.)
    What I am trying to say is I NEVER have felt oppressed. I never wanted to be a priest (oh yes, those Priests…..envy-rousing people if ever I met them!)
    Priests, Cardinals, etc…they’re NOT CEOs, not attending physiicans, owners of huge companies yadda yadda.They follow a calling.I can SEE how the fact less women are CEOs (in cases were they’ve been halted on the path because of their gender) Thatisn’t fair, the mindset of most 50 years ago (a woman? being an astrophysicist? *laughs and doubles over*)
    But that just ISN”T ow it is in Catholic-land, folks. Women have our own place, our own amazing contributions….we have female Docors of the church (and these lived long before women in the secular world were as accepted in scholar circles. So…yeah…..maybe it’s a bit GLARINGLY obvious I’ve had to say these things to other people (I’m just sharing here…not telling you lol, sorry). But if you don’t even GET what it is to be Catholic, you don’t want to open your ind to those crazy ideas, likely don’t even WANT to read posts by these oppressed wilting daisies….or anything by the Church Fathers, those oppressive gits! I’m sorry but that SORT of disqualifies you as being able to speak about this apparent oppression and go crusade for us.Mostly it’s been other women who i;ve tried to debate correctly with only to get some rude replies, some very self righteous ones. Simply because you’re a woman….yeah, no, you don’t get a free pass or fre knowledge of what it’s like to be Catholic women.

    Reply
    • Katherine Barron

       /  June 7, 2015

      Thanks for your comments, Maria. I can tell you feel strongly about this. And I love it. Passion is inspiring. Keep it coming!

      Reply
  4. And I am SO sorry for comment being essay length. My asperger brain knows i am sort of going on and on and just can’t stop >.<

    Reply

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