28 April 2009

Coooonnnnnnnvvvvvveeeeeerrrrrrrssssssion

We were not overnight converts to CSPP. We were overnight converts off the pill. Our plan was to go to NFP but we got pregnant in the meantime. Our late-arriving CCL book persuaded us while we awaited the birth of Baby 1 that other forms of contraception were out. (It persuaded me, anyway. Now that I think about it, I don't know how Dad got where he is or much else about his feelings or meta-thoughts on the topic, just that we landed at roughly the same place at the same time).

Our plan after Baby 1 came was still NFP. But the dirty little secret of NFP is that figuring out return of fertility when you're nursing a baby falls somewhere between tricky and impossible. So we got pregnant again when our first baby was 9 months old.

Back to asymptomatic NFP (which is to say: no NFP. Come on, people). Baby 2 was 13 months and I got pregnant again. (In case you're wondering why we were at least thinking we were NFPing--our reasoning then was that we were in a two-bedroom apartment in a sky-high housing market. We'd have gotten evicted by law for more than two kids, and since that was the cheapest apartment we'd been able to find for our tight budget, we didn't think we had a choice. I've got enough current sins to contend with that I haven't taken the time to precisely weigh out past conundrums. And for those of you wondering why on earth I feel some need to explain myself here . . . I'm not really sure, either.)

I distinctly remember the day I told Dad that we should just take them as they came (not that we had been able to manipulate their arrivals before). I was six or seven months pregnant with #3. God had graciously delivered us out of the deluxe hamster cage and its incipient occupancy dilemma by calling Dad to a parish with a nice big parsonage. Now the only reason I had left for NFPing was "mental health." This exception has always made me nervous since it's also the one that lets anyone get an abortion. Moreover, I didn't have true "mental health" problems. It was just that running a baby farm was pretty far from the top of my career list. Being sad and angry about it didn't excuse me from it. [Disclaimer: I know mental health is a real thing, but it's also easy to abuse.]

Anyway, the point is, the CSPP conversion process has a lot of time (9 months + 6 or more months, usually) and uncertainty built into it, such that many people may find themselves practicing before they're true believers. It took me a while to get this crazy, and I had already been effectively acting crazy for a while before I really believed whatever it is I believe. It's taught me that there's no need to terrify others on the path with excessive righteous fervor on the topic (my mere existence is terrifying enough for some, although the people I really get a kick out of are the ones who get angry). The path often changes people naturally and, in a kind of twisted way, gently.

And then again, 15 months isn't that much time. I've felt pretty stable about all this for a couple of years now. But I don't know that I would if we had kept up at our initial turnover rate. Right now I'm living the longest non-pregnant stretch I've had since the night of the Pill-toss, and I feel downright CALM. It's weird.

I also used to think that our kids were really close in age. I've learned from our readers and commenters that there are women out there who are back in the game post-baby much earlier than I am. Girls, you're tough.

5 comments:

MooreMama said...

With the return of my "normal" cycle (read: irregular and odd)last month-ish, a full time job, a 7 1/2 month old that I get to spend far too little time with, and a get-out-of-debt plan that is currently looking like it'll take 2-ish years to finish, I am feeling particularly crazy at the moment.

Hi, I'm MooreMama and I am at the Leap of Faith Point of my CSPP Journey.
(wave, wave)

Pam said...

Oh, y'all have SO much to which you can look forward, and no I am not being sarcastic! :o)

It seems so crazy, so chaotic, right in the middle of it, but at some point you stop and look back, and realize that without even realizing it, you have indeed muddled through the craziest of the craziness.

Which is not to say that somehow there becomes any normal that isn't "NO normal," because so far for me that hasn't happened, and I sincerely doubt it will!

BUT, the worst part, and the toughest to live through, is the conversion, transition, whatever you like to call it. That anxiety, the feeling of being trapped, stuck, wondering if it will ever be anything but constant insanity.

Like with everything else I've ever experienced in my life, it's when we finally let go of all that "other stuff" (perfectionism, other hangups, in other words CONTROL in all senses of the word)... That's when the Holy Spirit can really move in and do His thing.

Also in the case of my own experience, it usually has to happen by force. Meaning I have to be broken in order to be receptive. Which is why it's taken this long, this much stress, this many kiddos, this close together, to finally have broken me. And oh, man, was I/am I broken. Ouch.

Ever hear of a "good hurt?" That's it, and man does it feel good.

And if you are wondering, yes I do realize that everything I've just said is "Duh... that's what our whole theology is."

MooreMama said...

it's when we finally let go of all that "other stuff" (perfectionism, other hangups, in other words CONTROL in all senses of the word)... That's when the Holy Spirit can really move in and do His thing.

Also in the case of my own experience, it usually has to happen by force. Meaning I have to be broken in order to be receptive.
Pam, you have no idea how much I needed to be reminded of this today.

Sarah D said...

Good post. It is funny, because I am headed in the way opposite direction from CSPP, but I am downright calm too. The Lord has given me strength beyond what I could imagine. And, I believe the same is true for the strong women who are CSPP converts.

Rebekah said...

Sarah D, I'm so sad for your sitch, but praise God for the calm. Weird.