A Choice is still a choice

A Choice is Still a Choice

Still a Choice

This is my nephew. As we await his arrival (in January), I can’t help but wonder who he will look like: my sister or my brother-in-law or even his late Grandpa.  That’s the wonder of a new human being…they are each unique and wonderfully made.

Once again this week the Duggar family is the topic of gossip.  I don’t normally get myself involved in the whole Quiver-full vs. Limited Family debate.  However, I’m going to throw myself out there on a limb, because I’m really exasperated by the extreme stereotype statements made by both.

Cindy at Get Along Home become a temporary celebrity this week when she posted about the Duggars.  (For those who do not now, Michelle Duggar had a miscarriage of her 20th pregnancy this week.)

The comments were, um amusing:

Why do you delete posts that have a difference of opinion than you? I personally don’t understand why people give these freaks any attention…Anonymous

Has anyone ever considered that quite possibly there is a “child” addiction though?

I Don’t waste your time creating lives when you could be saving them.

If you cant adopt, that does not give you an allowance to breed dozens of more hungry mouths to feed…Why not make the ones that are already stuck here happy?

I can understand the concern that people have for Michelle’s health. I appreciate that they are seriously afraid for her and for the baby but if God brings you to it He will bring you through it. Again, God doesn’t make mistakes.

I don’t understand why people freak out if someone else wants to have a lot of kids but how can someone say that people are using health risks as a “convenient excuse for dropping out procreation after the standard two-maybe-three babies.”

Those are NICE compared to what you can find on Yahoo, Facebook, Google, etc.

I’m going on the record stating that THIS is NOT a pro-Duggar/Large Family or even an anti-Duggan/Large Family post.  I simply want to address this comment (I think the original comment was removed): “people are using health risks as a “convenient excuse for dropping out procreation after the standard two-maybe-three babies.”

My issue with most mothers who adhere to the “God will provide” concept of family-planning is that they have NO problem with judging a woman who does not have children OR limits her children.

I present to you Exhibit A: Being Quiver full.

I  would have had more, but pregnancy was too hard on me. I just wasn’t made for it. (***Or my doctor advised me not to have any more.)  This may sound harsh, but I think all of these really are just excuses. I think that many people, for many reasons, just honestly don’t want large families and when they see a large family they instinctively feel a bit defensive. We obviously disagree with their choice in family size. Knowing or assuming this, they will seek and find the excuse they need to justify their decision.  But an excuse is not a legitimate reason. “I can’t, because…” doesn’t sound any better coming from an adult than from the child who doesn’t want to do what he’s told. If you see a large family and immediately feel the need to defend your choice not to have a large family, maybe you need to reconsider. Do you think we couldn’t use the same excuses?

****If your doctor advised you not to have more children, I understand that yours was a hard decision – but it was a decision nonetheless. You had a choice and you made it. Not everyone obeys their doctor’s advice; not every doctor offers the same advice, and not everyone who goes against the advice of a doctor winds up regretting it. I’m not saying that you should have decided differently. Only that you did, indeed, have and make a choice.

THIS is the type of judgmental, self-righteous beliefs that are often espoused by large families.  The same ones who complain that people question or rudely declare, “And how many children are you going to have?”  “Do you not know what causes that?”

The point is that NONE of us have a right to dictate what a woman DOES or DOES NOT do with her body.  I am a Pro-Choice person in that I believe a person has a right to do with their body what they want. AND, I do not see preventing the conception of a life as killing a life.  I am not necessarily a pro-abortion person.  And I don’t wish to get into abortion, I just wanted to give you the basis for my belief that a person’s decision on procreation belongs to NO ONE but the person themselves.

Now, does that mean I’m not Christian (I’m not), I don’t believe in the sovereignty of God (I do), or I don’t have faith (I do). NO.  It simply means that I recognize that God deals with all things spiritual and leaves the natural to the natural.  I believe he created this planet. He set up natural laws.  Biology is one of those natural laws.  I do not see a problem with managing the reproductive biology of my body. This is no different than the medication I take daily to control the chemistry of my brain nor the medication I take to kill the bacterial infection that could end my life.

This is why my husband and I made the deliberate choice to limit our family.  Actually, we were only going to have two children, and our third was a surprise blessing.  We are happy with our family.

Even if we wanted a larger family, WE were recommended by my midwife AND psychiatrist to have no more children.  Yes, I suppose I could have “disobeyed” the doctor’s advice so I wouldn’t “regret” my choice.  However, I have a MORAL obligation to the children already alive.  That triumphs over any potential children I may or may not have.

I have ADD and chronic depression with tendencies of OCD and Anxiety.  They are not curses I received from disobeying God nor the works of the enemy. They are the results of my biological genetic make-up as a result of the breeding between my mother and father’s DNA.  It is who I am.  Thankfully, our medical world has found a way to manage the symptoms and give me a somewhat normal life.  It has ZERO to do with my faith.

When I became pregnant with my son, I had no idea the basis for my behaviors in life. I simply thought I had un-forgiven sin in my life.  After he was born, I became angry, paranoid and delusional.  I was simply told it was post-partum and it would go away.  After about 9 months, the symptoms did alleviate.  3 years later I had my first daughter.  Her birth was amazing, however, my initial postpartum period was horrific.  To top it, my daughter had GERD and spent the first 9 months of her life screaming about 23 hours of the day.  About that time I became pregnant with my second daughter.  I discovered that the birth control I had used up until her birth, I no longer could use.  It made my mental symptoms uncontrollable.

Bear’s birth was hard. Really hard.  I ended up with a curettage procedure when the placenta would not detach from the uterine wall.  I was given amnesia drug during the procedure.  After this, I never did feel “right”.

The months after her birth are still a blur. What I do know is after 2 months I begged my midwife to end my life…that I was crazy and felt that I was going to harm my children.  I have never shared that publically, because it usually makes people who don’t understand make hurtful comments.  However, after 9 years…it’s not as painful.

She sent me to my psychiatrist, my new best friend.  Because of issues from my upbringing, it took her another month to get me to trust her enough to share what I was thinking.  Then the darkest day of my life happened.

I was home alone with a 4 year old, almost 2 year old and 3 month old.  I had not slept for a couple of days.  My husband and I were fighting due to him quitting his job and starting his own company.  I was delusional, angry and completely paranoid, if not totally convinced, that he secretly wanted me dead so he could get a new wife and mother who wasn’t crazy.

I don’t remember what triggered it but when I went to pick up my baby because she was crying, I dropped her on the ground…and lightly kicked her yelling to please just shut up…please…

I remember watching myself in slow motion and collapsing on the floor realizing what I had done.  I looked at my other children and saw the confusion in their eyes..and decided that I must die. Right then. Because my children did not need me as their mother.

I’m not sure what I was thinking…but I went to my bedroom and decided to throw myself out the 45 foot high window.  I remember begging God to end my life before I hit the ground.  I pushed the screen out, put my leg over when my son came into the room, “Mommy?”  I looked at him and something snapped.  I shut the window, took him in my arms, sat on the bed and cried.  I then called my psychiatrist and told her I had to see her immediately.

The next day she prescribed medication that started to clear my head.  I began a long process of healing from spiritual, physical and sexual abuse.  I’m still working on healing from the shame I felt from those dark days. I still pray that God will make up the difference for my children on the day I failed them.

Today, I realized that I made the BEST choice for my children.  I decided to not have anymore children.  The story of Andrea Yates haunted me for months after that day.  I desperately loved my children and wanted what was best for them.

It was decided that my mental health after childbirth was not a risk worth taking.  Each baby my paranoia and anger increased.  I was afraid that I would end up with Postpartum Psychosis, a terrifying disorder; my psychiatrist agreed.

My husband agreed to a vasectomy.  Last year I went through an endometrial ablation due to prolonged bleeding that started after the curettage procedure.  My child bearing years are done.  By choice.

The point is that the choice of whether or whether to not have children is such a complex issue.  I even found myself saying that Michelle should stop due to her advanced maternal age and number of times her uterus has been used…but ultimately, that is not my choice.  To make a judgment, is not my place.

We can debate the merits of overpopulation, the lack of adoptive families, homelessness, etc.  But when it comes to whether a family chooses to manage their bodies or not we should have a hands-off approach.

I had not intended to share my entire story today.  In fact there is a part of me that is terrified to hit send, because in my mind, I am a judge.  I am the one saying, OH YOU HORRIBLE WOMAN. YOU SHOULD BE BURNED AT THE STAKE.

Yet, my God, my Savior, they do not, did not condemn me.  I should not condemn myself.

I pray that we as human beings would start to spend less time judging another person and start understanding, being compassionate and lending a helping hand.

Blessings to you all.

NOTE:  If you post a hurtful or inflammatory comment, it WILL be deleted and your ISP will be blocked.

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Comments

  1. For the record, I didn’t delete any posts. People misunderstood what I meant about deleting nastiness. I don’t delete disagreement. I just wasn’t in the mood to hear people gloat about the death of that baby.

  2. And I do believe that there are good health reasons to limit family size. I don’t believe that *every* person is making “convenient excuses”, as I put it. I don’t presume to know what God wants any one family to do. That sounded quite a bit more extreme than I meant it to.

  3. Taunya, Love you very much.

  4. I’m back! Sorry about all the comments. I changed my post to reflect what I really meant, as I actually found that offensive myself, after I thought about it. That’s the trouble with banging out a blog post in an hour. Things slip through poorly worded. Now it says “But the Duggars prove that most of the medical rationale for an otherwise healthy woman not having “too many” children is a convenient excuse for encouraging women to drop out of procreation after the standard two-maybe-three babies. Pregnancy and childbirth are natural processes, but our culture treats it as disease.”

    • I do agree that people treat pregnancy & childbirth as a disease, and that is sad. But I think it’s just as sad to treat it as anything but a wonderful biological process, not the whim of God.

  5. Rachel Runyan says:

    Thank you for sharing your story Taunya! I agree with you that we have no right to judge anyone’s choice about THEIR family. I honestly have no issue with the Duggars because they take care of their children and do not rely on government money to care for their family.
    Taunya, I’m so happy that you found the help that you needed to have a happy family and more importantly the best possible life for yourself. You are a strong and courageous women and an inspiration for all your readers.

  6. Julia Stone says:

    I’ve never followed the Duggar family, I figure that that’s their business and leave it at that. I don’t believe it’s my place to judge others on a large number of issues, family size being one of them. However, I do have experience on the topic of having small families and being frowned upon for it. I’ve included my story below, up to you if you let it post or not. As for your story, I think it’s absolutely wonderful that you’ve managed to keep going through so much. I have Borderline Personality Disorder, which causes suicidal tendencies. I know how hard some things are to talk about, when (to me) the shameful thing would be to ignore them rather than to acknowledge them, and learn and grow from them…

    I’ve had a lot of people criticize me for only having 2 children, and getting my tubes tied after that to prevent future pregnancies. What they don’t know is that my son (my second child) was born 3 months premature via an emergency c-section. His umbilical cord was deteriorating and he had less than 24 hours left to live if the doctor hadn’t caught on and pulled him. He spent 4 horrible weeks in the NICU, where they did everything they could to keep me from my baby, including performing an unnecessary transfusion against my will (2 out of 3 doctors said not to do it)…

    They never did figure out what caused the problems and there was an 80-90% chance that if it happened during the next pregnancy, they wouldn’t be able to save me or the baby. Between that and all of the emotional turmoil experienced by me and the rest of my family, I knew I couldn’t bear going through all of that again. It wasn’t a risk I was willing to take. Yes, it was my choice, and I thought about it and debated it for 3 months before going through with it. But I decided it was more important for me to be healthy and to make the kids I already had happy and ensure they had a good life than to risk everything and maybe having one more sometime down the line.

    My daughter was 3.5 years old when her brother was born, and she was there with me every step of the way. She’s 7 now, and she knows how close we came to losing him and she’s told me repeatedly how thankful she is that we don’t have to worry about ever going through that again. I love how naive kids are, willing to say exactly what they’re thinking without worrying about criticism from the rest of the world.

    As for my “small” family, it officially doubled in size this summer when I got remarried and became the step-mom of two kids, bringing the kid count up to four (ages 7, 7, 5, and 4)…

    As for my son that fought with such determination to make it through those early struggles, he turned 4 last month. He’s autistic and deaf, with minor cerebral palsy. But more importantly, he’s wonderful and happy and perfect in every possible way! Exactly how God meant for him to be – HAPPY :)

    • Julia,

      Thank you for sharing your story. That’s the thing about judging people from afar…we DON’T know the circumstances and if we did, we’d often find that what we do is stick our foot in our mouth!

      My daughter was in NICU for a weekend when she was 3 weeks. I hated every moment of it. I was used to nursing her on demand and sleeping with her. I had to nurse her every 3 hours and of course I could barely hold her.

      Taunya

  7. Oh Taunya, you are such a brave woman. Hugs to you. I’m glad you got the help you need. I think secrets fester and make us worse. Helping others helps. Those judgmental people are fighting inner battles they are too afraid to admit. People who have walked through the worst things a person can endure and survived with hope and peace can go on to help others. The judgmental people need help. What is that saying? If you judge me without knowing me it says more about you than it does about me. ((((hugs))))

    I also don’t understand quiverful to the point of risking health and death, but is a choice. We pushed all the limits to bring home our babies. We lost many trying. We brought home two and decide enough was enough. I finally found peace and decided to stop risking so much. We had two children at home to think about too. I risked my health but I couldn’t do it after I had a children to care for… I almost quit after H, but a specialist in Portland helped me have C. With C I had a 1 in 5 chance of T18, delivered early, pre-e for the 3rd time, etc. I am thankful that I feel at peace with our choices.

  8. I just love ya. Squeeze. Darren says almost every other day how amazed he is that Jon and I are so close. Believe me when I say I understand postpartum depression. I would love to be a quiver full, but i know the Lord was / in control of our family size. I too have to watch my days, my rest, stress, and triggers to keep my mind healthy. Bravo for being brave. I just love ya.

  9. Hugs to you! It takes a lot of courage to share post-partum depression stories. Trust me, you are not alone–nor are you crazy. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you Gina! It is definitely hard to share the stories…which is sad. If we felt safer I think we’d be able to help mothers from suffering it as much.

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