Thursday, June 18, 2009

She Said: Surgical Sterilization

Well, let's see.

If speculation is the order of the day, I will venture into this subject. If we are restored to our perfect form in the afterlife, surely any surgeries of this type will be negated. However, it makes sense to me that someone who has decided so strongly that they don't want any more children that they are willing to undergo such an invasive procedure to stop them from coming may find that they have made an eternal decision. Because I have many moments when I fear this may be so, I wouldn't consider such an option for myself or for DH.

If we are getting personal, I will agree that for the first 14 years of our married life I was content to let children arrive when they might. But after 8 children and when I reached my 40th birthday, it was time to reconsider. Though the birth control we use now is not a surgical, chemical, or barrier form, it is birth control nonetheless. It is calculated to stop children from coming into our family. What makes this so very different on an eternal level than some of the other types?

One more admission: I think I burned myself out here in this earth life with my paltry 8 children. I can't imagine having millions of spirit children in the eternal realms, no matter how perfect my body is or how easy pregnancy and childbirth might be then. I loved bearing my children, nursing them and raising them. But an eternity as a mother of spirit children doesn't fill me with longing bliss--it rather makes me tired. I don't think I'd be very good at it, and as a motivator for living worthy to gain an exaltation, it isn't quite up to snuff. I've said before, give me a harp and a cloud and just put me in the choir.


  1. I was also content to let my children arrive whenever they might, but I had 2 natural limiting factors. First, I did not marry until I was 30. Second, I breastfed my babies until they were ready to wean. My first nursed for nearly 3 years. Consequently, my second was born 3 years and 8 months after number 1. I do not ovulate while nursing - it was great! I have only a paltry 4 children, but I never did anything to prevent them from coming. I would have liked more. I guess I should have started earlier, but that was beyond my control. I've hosted several foreign exchange kids to make up for it.

    I also do not understand why one connected Utah family was able to adopt 9 infants when I have known several wonderful couples, even 20 or 30 years ago, who longed for children and had a hard time adopting even one.

  2. Well, it looks like y'all aren't too far apart on this one.

    Our children at either ends are about the same age, I think (maybe your oldest is younger than my oldest) but I only have three. In retrospect, I would like to have had another after the youngest, but at the time, I was exhausted, and DH was Done.

    Requiring frail, breakable humans to conduct themselves as if they are perfected exalted beings in order to become perfected exalted beings is the way to madness.

  3. Maybe your thoughts here explain why we don't hear much from Heavenly Mother?

  4. Poor thing. She's burned out and has been resting on a cloud for the past 6 days / 6000 yrs...

  5. Seriously, give the woman a break.

  6. My meandering thoughts on this: "Natural birth control" is an oxymoron. Birth is natural. Controlling it is not.

    There is no functional difference between a couple who plans out their family using chemical and barrier methods v. a couple that plans it out using NFP/"the rhythm method." There is no functional difference between a couple who opts for surgical sterilization v. a couple who decides they're done with kids and sticks with NFP until menopause. There may be some ethical concerns about whether IUDs and hormonal contraception constitute a form of abortion, but that's debatable. Not having sex when you want to have sex because you might get pregnant is birth control as much as anything else is.

    There's only two kinds of people then: people who have kids as often as they are able and people who practice birth control. And since most married women aren't having children every 1-2 years from marriage until menopause, I assume almost everyone practices birth control. (People who don't have sex very often for whatever reason and people with fertility problems would be the exceptions.)

    With all that in mind, I have a hard time seeing what the problem is with surgical sterilization other than the permanence of it. Since men can sire children into old age and women can't, women are probably more likely to know when they're "done for good" and would be better candidates for it, but then there's the problem of it being an easier procedure for the man.

    As for my own marriage, my husband doesn't ever have to do anything he isn't comfortable with. If he doesn't want to get sterilized when we decide we're done with kids, I will.

  7. The Lord wants us to have as many children as we can handle. For some that means none, for others ten, twelve, somewhere in between! Who are we to decide for others what that number is or isn't? It's nobody's dang business. BiV, I'm glad you were able to handle having eight children, good for you. You've had some of mine!!! Some people aren't up to the challenge for whatever mortal reasons, whether it be emotional, physical, or some combo. My brother got a vasectomy after three children and two wives. His first two wives weren't so good for him. They were mean, immature, and spiteful. He obviously has a lot of emotional problems and just because he decided to stop having children doesn't mean he should be condemned for all eternity! As mortals we can only handle so much.

  8. Kayla, you're right, and the problem comes when it is made into doctrine and then used to condemn others.

  9. I really enjoy your posts and those of your hubby's! Keep the coming! Thanks!

  10. I had a tubal ligation right after my c-section for my fourth child. This decision was not made lightly. I had experienced 4 c-sections and my doctor told me that he would not perform a 5th and I would have a hard time finding an OB willing to take that risk. In addition to that, I suffered severe back problems and had back surgery a few months after the birth of my fourth. My health was being seriously affected by my pregnancies. My husband and I also knew our family was complete. It was a matter of prayer and was between the two of us and the Lord...I would never have consulted my bishop about something that was a medical/spiritual and highly personal decision. My health is personal and not up for ideaological discussion.