05 August 2008

CSPP Conversion: A progressive tale

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!


Elizabeth said...

What you don't talk about here is the sex that makes the babies.

How often do you have sex if " the trip from NFP to Baby to CSPP is notoriously short..." and if as soon as your latest child is done breastfeeding you think you'll be pregnant again soon?

I know you will delete this post because I used the word SEX. But I wished you would allow nonCSPP women to add to your discussion.

Reb. Mary said...

Elizabeth: Well, here you are, apparently nonCSPP, and adding to the discussion, three-letter words and all :)

What I was referring to, when I wrote that "the trip from NFP to Baby to CSPP is notoriously short," was to a change of heart that I and others of my acquaintance have had after or concurrent with tossing the Pills and going NFP/CSPP: more openness to children.

Hope that clears things up a bit for you.

MooreMama said...

Elizabeth -
Why does it matter how often anyone has sex besides you and perhaps your husband?
Why would you ask such a thing?

Reb Mary -
Amen and amen to "these unexpected, undeserved, unruly and unrivalled blessings"!
Well into my 8th month of my longest pregnancy, I am finding myself fighting off the urge to curse these swollen ankles and this incessant heartburn. I fight back with reminders that I BEGGED for this baby to be right here at this very stage of development and more. I begged for the chance to nurture her and grow her and birth her. I begged for the chance to see her face - the literal manifestation of two becoming one. My husband and I, all mixed up into one beautiful person.

And, shortly after she is born (maybe sooner) I'm sure that I'll be begging for another chance to do it again.

As always, hugs to Gauntlets and family.

Blogversary said...

Interesting and good post. I think women go on the pills for many reasons and not just to delay building a family.

Unfortunately, I think our younger women go on the Pill not knowing exactly what they are putting in their body and the negative effect those hormones can have.

Reb. Mary said...

Mooremama, you're almost there!!! Don't you love how even things like Cream of Wheat can give you heartburn?

Blogversary, it's too true: the Pill is prescribed almost as casually as a vitamin. Scary stuff!

Gauntlets said...

I will also attest that NFP is surprisingly thin defense against a CSPP life, especially when one is in love with one's husband, in submission to him, and in perfectly good health. Our journey from "responsible pill popping" to NFP to baby factory was mind-bogglingly quick; once we stopped thinking of Science as savior, very little of its propaganda made sense anymore. We all know where babies come from; what we no longer understand is how unScientific the making of babies, nay all of nature, is.

mooremama: I'm so glad to see you. :) You kick total rear. That last month is among the lousiest (you know, like the previous eight), but, good news! It's only four weeks! And our ankles can only get so big, right? ;)

Michelle in NM said...

(never posted and a new reader but here I go)...
DH and I went from pill to NFP to pill, etc always trying to "do what was the responsible thing". Now, we have been richly blessed with 2 toddlers (ages 3 & 2) and twin girlies on the way. Mooremama, I'm with you - 8 weeks to go, rice gives me heartburn, never comfortable, but already talking about the next time around. Blessings to you.

Thanks CSPP for the encouragement to give the Lord the control over things that are His to begin with.

Reb. Mary said...

Michelle: Glad you found us :) Sounds like your life is getting richer all the time! Wow, best wishes on those loooong last weeks as you anticipate double blessings.

Gauntlets: Well said!

MooreMama said...

Gauntlets -
In love with one's husband? In SUBMISSION to him? You've gotta be kidding... is that where babies come from? What a novel idea.

Reb. Mary -
Cream of Wheat, nothing. WATER gives me heartburn if the wind is blowing right.

Polly said...

LOL - we became Kippley NFPers in 1990. It changed our marriage in many wonderful ways.

Rebekah said...

Hey, I have one of these drafted too! :D

Elizabeth, ??? xxoo, Rebekah

Rebekah said...

Um, I got so confused by the comments that I forgot to mention this is, you know, right on and eloquent as ever.