Not everyone has to be dragged kicking and screaming into CSPP. But here’s one version of my story.
1) This is your brain on drugs. You pop your pills, congratulating yourself on being responsible enough to put off children while you “get to know each other” and do Important Things like Hanging Out and collecting random graduate degrees. You may have an occasional sense of unease but it’s vague (and quite possibly related to the side effects of the hormones you’re pumping into your body).
2) Isn’t that a Papist thing? A longtime RC friend speaks gently to you about why the Pill might not be such a great idea. You try to relegate this to the same category as purgatory propaganda…but your hormone-addled mind is nevertheless more uneasy than usual. Perhaps the disquiet is reinforced by a brochure Renee Gibbs handed to you at seminary, and by rumors of classmates—uber-Lutherans!—who are tossing their pills.
3) Uh-oh. Now it’s getting personal. The unease grows and you think hey, maybe this is important enough to consider for more than half a minute. You come across evidence like this that makes you quit drugs cold turkey. Perhaps you attempt some other “methods” or perhaps you’ve simultaneously become an NFP convert, squinting through the Kippleys’ papistry in order to become champion charters (or learning the Billings Ovulation Method, or…).
4) Slippery Slope. As we well know, the trip from NFP to Baby to CSPP is notoriously short...
5) Reluctant Martyrdom/Angry Resignation. By this time you have a baby or two and are adjusting to the normal systemic shock brought by bearing a child and being in the full-time company thereof--but also to the staggering realization that the road ahead is paved with more diapers and less You than you ever envisioned. You can recite the pro-CSPP arguments in your sleep (when you get any sleep) but that doesn’t mean you have to like them. This stage may also be characterized by CSPP-evangelism that is motivated largely by Self-Pitying Self-Righteousness and Misery Loves Company.
6) Earnest zeal. You’ve become somewhat reconciled to your fate but still tense up whenever childbearing-related topics or references to being Done arise in casual conversation, feeling an intense burden to say exactly the right thing every time. (Like anyone’s really listening to you anyway!)
7) Live and let live (literally!), and revel in the wonder of it all. Theological arguments for CSPP are great…if you’ve got the time and can organize your gray matter, which seems highly unlikely, given the jumble of shoes in the back hall and the upheaval of playthings across the house. You’re not afraid to speak boldly for truth, but your life becomes your witness, along with quiet conversations at opportune moments.
And these children—they who seemed (and indeed still sometimes seem) to be your prison wardens—these same children, they are amazing. Incomprehensible. Every new morning, new every morning, you have the opportunity to nurture their growing bodies, to shape their stretching souls, even as you yourself are sanctified through the same process. And you think: I would trade the co-creation of persons who will live forever in Christ’s presence for—what again? A cubicle? A corner office? More stuff and more vacations? More time to pursue “my Christian calling and gifts” as dictated by my own self?
O, this tow-headed row of blue-eyed boys—these unexpected, undeserved, unruly and unrivalled blessings—there is no contest. There will be no trade.
Or as Rebekah has so adeptly, so succinctly, so eloquently described it: Kick A where you’re planted!