I spotted an article online this week entitled Closed for Business: 5 Reasons I Love Having My Tubes Tied. It was written by a woman who had undergone a tubal ligation after the birth of her second child.
Nine months later, she is exuberant about her decision. Whether she’ll still say it’s “the best thing I ever did with my reproductive organs” twenty years from now, when her kids are grown and the nest is empty, remains to be seen.
As an aging mother on the opposite end of the fertility spectrum, the article made me sad. I’ve seen a lot of my friends come to regret having their tubes tied, so much so that several have gone through the trouble, pain, and expense of having the procedure reversed. Of those who did, a few enjoyed successful pregnancies afterwards while others remained barren.
All of which makes me grateful my tubes are still intact. Here are 5 reasons why I am always open to having more children:
I love being a mother
Getting pregnant, feeling movement, giving birth, nursing babies, cuddling toddlers, nurturing adolescents, guiding teens, and watching them all grow into confident, capable, compassionate young adults — I love everything about motherhood.
Sure, each stage has its challenges, but those pale in comparison to the blessings children bring to a family. And the trials are so short lived; blink and your babies are gone. My nest would have been empty for more than a decade by now if my husband and I had stopped at two children. I’m happy to think we have another ten years to go before the last chick fledges and flies.
It keeps everyone in suspense
When people ask us if we’re going to have any more — which they do, all the time — we tell them honestly, “God alone knows… but it’s a distinct possibility.” They get a similar response when they ask if all our children were planned. “Yes they were… but not by us! We only planned to leave the planning to God.”
A reader once told me that letting God plan my family sounded like “giving up my free will and holding myself not responsible” for the consequences. But I’d say, for us, it’s more like dining in a five-star restaurant and telling the world-renowned chef, “We know that anything you prepare will be absolutely amazing, so don’t bother fetching a menu — just send out whatever you think we’d like.” And guess what? This method worked splendidly, and we could not be any more delighted with the results.
It avoids unnecessary surgical complications
Any medical procedure carries with it certain health risks, and sterilization is no exception. Known side effects of tubal ligation include castrative menopause, severe hormone imbalance, increased risk of heart disease, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, atrophic ovaries, bone loss and osteoporosis, to name just a few.
I know that bringing up children is hard work, and I can understand the desire to space pregnancies out a bit, but there’s a big difference between closing the shop for a short vacation and burning it to the ground. Time has a way of changing one’s perspective on things like “the perfect family size.” That’s why I’d caution against permanent methods of pregnancy prevention.
It packs sex with potential
Choosing to leave my tubes intact (and forgoing other forms of birth control, as well) means that every time I have sex with my husband — which I’ve done with unwavering regularity for nearly thirty years now — there exists the marvelous possibility that our union might produce another baby. Even at 52 with menopause undoubtedly looming in my not-too-distant future, I would be absolutely thrilled to find out I was pregnant again.
Sex as God designed it to be enjoyed — by a husband and wife fully committed to one another and open to receiving the blessing of children — is a potent thing. When any of those elements are missing (marriage, faithfulness, procreative potential), sex is stripped of some of its power and meaning, and what is left is a distorted shadow of what was meant to be.
It’s an exercise of faith
As Christians, our goal is to love and serve God with everything we’ve got: with all our heart and soul and mind and strength. (Luke 10:27) He calls us to yield every area of our life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. For us, fertility is a natural extension of that concept.
If we believe that God can be trusted with our health and our home and our finances and our eternal security — and we do! — then why not trust Him with our family size, too? By leaving the family planning to God, we merely acknowledge what the Bible has made clear from the beginning: It is God who opens and closes the womb.
Of course, remaining “always open” to children by eschewing elective sterilization and other preventative measures does not guarantee you’ll have a houseful — or even one. We’ve known several couples who’ve never used contraceptives yet still remained childless and others who’ve wound up with a large family despite being on the Pill the full time. Clearly then, any perceived “control” we humans have in this area is tenuous, at best.
Yet Scripture depicts fertility and the children it produces as lavish blessings from God. If we are going to err, shouldn’t we err on that side of the argument, by highly prizing both?