What is the Right Family Planning Method for Your Supersized Family

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Family planning can be such a sensitive topic for those of us with large families.

So many people can get all uppity about whether or not you should natural family planning, use no birth control, use condoms or non-hormonal birth control.

I am not going to tell you what you should do, but I’ll tell you about our story and how we’ve used different methods and their failure or success rates. Then, I’ll tell you briefly about some other options that I’m not using and why.

This post assumes you are married and not needing protection against STDs.

What Family Planning Method We Currently Use

My husband has become an AVID period tracker.

He’s got not one, but TWO apps on his Amazon Kindle.

Crazy, right?

But he’s serious about this family planning business.

OR should I say, he’s serious about controlling our fertility?

I’m more hands off.

I’d prefer if we would just “let go and let God” but he’s not so much of a free-spirit as I am. We balance each other out like that.

Since he’s the one that supports our family and the head of our household, I’m a firm believer that he is the one that gets the final say in the matter.

I’m old-fashioned like that.

So, every month he clocks my cycle in both apps.

If we are ovulating, we use a diaphragm or abstain from sex.

At one point, we were just using a diaphragm regardless of time of the month, but when he started tracking for a couple months, we figured using something during non-ovulation times was pointless (and annoying).

Family Planning Methods We’ve Tried

Diaphragm

For most of our married life, we’ve used a diaphragm (as stated above).

We’ve found that a diaphragm used in conjunction with spermicide has been a VERY effective method of birth control.

We’ve used other spermicides available at local stores and found that they agitated the cervical area, which is why we order this kind from Amazon.com.

We’ve not had any pregnancies while using this method.

It’s also been the most enjoyable method for both of us.

You can insert the diaphragm right before intercourse or up to 6 hours beforehand. The man or woman do not notice it. It’s removed 8 hours after sex.

You DO need a prescription for it.

Male Condoms

After a few of our children, we didn’t opt for a diaphragm.

I think this was because I need a new one and didn’t get one from the doctor yet.

We were actively preventing using condoms, but after two “surprise” pregnancies, we decided this was NOT the method for us.

(Note: Condoms break or slip off…which leads to pregnancy.)

For a woman, condoms may feel physically and emotionally disruptive — like something is coming between you (because there actually IS something, right?)

For a man, condoms lessen the sexual sensation.

On the flipside, women might enjoy the “less mess” for them afterward. They may also enjoy the sensation if a condom is textured.

Female Condoms

We used this one time.

They are expensive and odd.

They hang outside of the vagina and make crinkly noises.

That’s about all I have to say on this subject.

Non-Hormonal IUD

After one of our children, the gynecologist inserted a copper non-hormonal IUD.

I did this because I didn’t want hormones to interfere with breastfeeding.

Had I read up on this device, I probably would NOT have gotten it.

The copper interferes with the uterine lining so that IF a sperm does fertilize an egg the uterine lining is too hostile for implantation, causing a miscarriage.

That’s just too close for abortion in my mind.

We had other reasons for removing it as well, it was causing a reaction in my husband.

This device was removed before I was six months postpartum and still in the LAM season, so I doubt I would have conceived anyways.

What is LAM? Read the next section.

LAM

The LAM method means three things:

  • You are exclusively breastfeeding (not even ONE bottle or pumping)
  • You haven’t had your period
  • Your baby is less than 6 months old

The LAM method is very effective if you meet all these requirements during the first six months postpartum – touting less than 2% risk of getting pregnant.

Studies have confirmed that women who exclusively breastfeed their baby around-the-clock and who have not started menstruating are very unlikely to get pregnant during the first six months after they give birth. (Source: BabyCenter)

Natural Family Planning (aka “the Rhythm Method”)

Natural Family Planning, also called the Calendar Method, assumes you follow your cycle and avoid sex (or use alternative birth control methods) on fertile days.

It takes about six months (or more) of watching your cycle (and using another form of birth control) to understand how your body works.

Stress, illness, and medication can affect your cycle and the effectiveness of this birth control method. As can another female who cause your cycle to get off track as your cycles start to sync up.

You can also use a basal thermometer to determine when you are ovulating, avoiding sex on those days your temperature is slightly elevated.

I’ve never used a thermometer, but my sister has with much effectiveness when she was TRYING to conceive.

I have gotten pregnant using this method because I didn’t know my sister was pregnant at the time and I SWEAR that her lack of cycle messed up mine (she lives next door to me).

I’m pretty sure that she hates when I say that.

Family Planning Methods We’ve NOT Tried

Hormonal Birth Control

I used birth control when I was sexually active as a teen (and non-Christian).

I personally have not opted for hormonal birth control, including IUDs, injections, implants, the pill, the patch, or the ring, because I’m just not so sure messing with my hormones is something I want to do.

To me, I know hormones control almost everything in your body.

I don’t want to jack with them.

Other people say that they could be abortive, which is another reason I don’t want to use them.

The hormonal method of birth control is the biggest group of birth controls out there.

From a spiritual and political standpoint, I have non-confirmed conspiracy-theory type suspicions about anything the government touts so whole-heartedly. I’m curious as to why SO much funding and money is thrown at preventing pregnancy. I wonder how dark of a place does prevention of pregnancy and messing with hormones comes from. But that’s just my personal opinion. Obviously, like I say…unconfirmed. Call me crazy, I don’t care.

Surgical

As we aren’t sure if we want to be done having children, we’ve elected not to do any surgical procedures, like tying the tubes or vasectomy.

Even if we were “done,” I don’t think we’d personally do something that drastic unless medically necessary.

As the same with hormonal birth control, I’m not into messing with my body’s natural makeup…nor is my husband.

This is a personal choice.

We’ve already read many stories of people who’ve regretted permanent methods.

It’s quite expensive to get them reversed and there is no guarantee that things will work right after that anyhow.

What is the Right Family Planning Method for Your Supersized Family

So, what should you do?

That depends.

It really is a personal decision.

I’m personally opposed to anything abortive (or presumably abortive), but after that, I have very little opinion on what other families decide to do.

I would rather INSPIRE people to continue to have children rather than REQUIRE them to use a certain method of birth control.

In the end, it’s between you, your spouse and God.

Every couple is different and has different needs, both medically, emotionally, spiritually and physically.

You really will have to weigh all the options to decide what is best for you.

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Too Many Kids? Too Many Chores? Too Little Time?

Me, too!

How to Get Things Done with A Supersized Family ebook and Worksheet

Download this ebook and worksheet that's saved my sanity!