The Power of a Transformed Wife, Lori Alexander, Birth Control, Submission
This is a book review series of The Power of a Transformed Wife by Lori Alexander. If you are just joining us, you may click on previous chapter reviews if you’d like to catch up.
Introduction & Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 – Part 1 Chapter 8 – Part 2 Chapter 9
Chapter 10 – Birth Control and Having Children
This short chapter is essentially this blog post disguised as a book chapter. I would like to ask that we not debate whether or not women and families should use birth control. That is a decision that should be made individually and between couples. With that, are you ready?
Lori starts off the chapter with:
The possibility of conceiving and bearing children can happen early and often in a loving marital relationship because men are almost always ready for sex.
It’s a good thing men are always ready to get things going because:
Women usually love sex when they are ovulating and their body is preparing to become pregnant.
Again, men are nothing but walking sex machines where women seem to enjoy it once a month. You poor women with high sex drives are not doing it right! Let’s not get into how sex may change as you age. We’re talking about making babies here!
Lori moves on to talk about different birth control options and chooses to only look at the negative side effects (which are not accurate, in my opinion). There are some positive benefits to using birth control, but since Lori is all about making sure you have all of the children God wants you to, obviously there is nothing positive about birth control.
Even though Lori has strong thoughts about birth control, she tells readers that it is up to each couple to decide what to do about birth control and to stay out of couple’s decisions about how many children to have. If it’s nobody’s business about a couple’s choice of birth control and number of children they want, then why is this chapter in the book?
I am assuming that this chapter is in the book because she admonishes women that the husband has the final decision about birth control, stating,
“A woman who goes against her husband in this decision will suffer the consequences.”
What in the world does “suffer the consequences” mean?! How does Lori have any authority to make a statement such as this? My concern with this thought is that there are husbands who are adamantly opposed to birth control even if pregnancy, labor, and delivery is harmful to the wife.
Don’t worry women if your husband wants you to use birth control even if you don’t want to. You are off the hook because:
Husbands will be the ones to stand before the Lord to account for the decisions they made in their homes. We will only have to give account for the way we lived our lives and our submission, or lack of it, to our husbands authority.
Exactly where is this in the Bible?
I don’t know about you, but I happen to notice one very obvious issue left out of this chapter: the fact that there are many women who are unable to conceive children. Did this even cross her mind when she wrote this chapter? I can’t even begin to think of one empathetic or compassionate response that Lori can offer women who are unable to have children so it’s probably best that she not mention it.
Lori ends this chapter with a blog post that is a “funny story.” Lori was working when she had her first baby and Ken told her she could stay home when they had their second. Lori decided she was ready to stay home so she poked a hole in her diaphragm. She was so happy when she got pregnant and was able to stay home again. Lori tells readers not to do this, however, she is able to get away with turning being deceptive into a “funny story” because she was not a submissive wife at the time.
In the end Lori did get what she wanted. Isn’t that what it’s really all about?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
177 thoughts on “Book Review Series – Lori Alexander’s “The Power of a Transformed Wife” – Birth Control and a “Funny Story””
Every time I read this stuff, I think some of these husbands are not really getting the job done.
I know her reasons are wrong, but I am actually giving her a little checkmark for this one.
And this is our wonderful model, lies to her husband (essentially) so she can do what she wants rather than just having a conversation. And she wonders why people doubt her wisdom? I mean, I guess it works, but wouldn’t it have been easier just to assert yourself a bit? No wonder these two had so many problems.
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Lea – I guess I’m a little hesitant to give her a check mark on saying it’s a couple’s choice. Too many times she writes about how birth control is destructive and that God wants women to have as many babies as He permits. I think she gives lip service to “it’s up to a couple to decide” but she will continue to tell women to pray for a husband’s changed heart if he doesn’t want more kids and she does.
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“The possibility of conceiving and bearing children can happen early and often in a loving marital relationship because men are almost always ready for sex.”
“Women usually love sex when they are ovulating and their body is preparing to become pregnant.”
Even now, three years post-divorce, I cringe when I read such overly simplified tripe.
I did not “love sex” with my abusive husband…and that is why…because he was abusive, sexually manipulative, coercive; a marital rapist. But reading this would have put me in a tailspin – heaping guilt and shame where it did not belong. I would have read her words, agreeing with her first statement that men are almost always ready for sex (oh, yes – especially the addict w/ compulsive sexual behavior) and then I would have condemned myself with her second statement when I couldn’t cognitively agree with it because I don’t “love sex.”
It makes me want to weep…for myself and all those other women who have experienced such similar pain.
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Her statement, in addition to being wrong, is far too simplistic. She ties it simply to ovulation! I don’t recall anyone talking about only wanting sex once a month (as much as people talk about this) and illness, medication, emotional detachment and trauma (as you mentioned, you are not going to want to be vulnerable with someone who treats you terribly!), etc…
Kathi, you have read more of her than I have so you’re probably right. But at least there is some lip service. I’ve been reading Gothard exposes, so maybe that colors my thinking on this because it seems to be literally kill yourself in order to have as many babies as possible.
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While I am no fan of Lori’s, in this she is partially correct (and only to a minimal degree). Biologically speaking, as a result of the release of certain hormones, women are more amorous during ovulation, which is not to say we are never in the mood when we’re not ovulating. And while I accept that birth control is a choice we all make, God designed our sexuality and our fertility to be intrinsically connected. We are the ones who attempt to separate one from the other by using unnatural devices, chemicals and hormones, many of which cause miscarriage if a pregnancy does occur. That’s the truth.
Natural family planning is an option that honors both our sexuality and our fertility. It requires a little self-control (which is a fruit of the Spirit) during fertile days for those who wish to avoid pregnancy, but the method actually creates a cycle of courtship and honeymoon for those who use it. I know about this stuff, because God spoke to me one night when I was taking my little pink pill. He asked me why I was taking it, and when I responded, “Because I don’t want to get pregnant?” He answered, “Is that really your decision to make?” I chose to listen and learn.
I have four children (two unplanned) and no regrets. Those two surprises, both amazing individuals, may not have been part of my original plan, but they were part of God’s.
Just food for thought.
Cindy, there have been studies on the pill and hormone birth control. The idea that it prevented implantation was based on observations of the cervical lining. However, there have been more recent studies, especially on the morning after pill, that the abortive effect is either non-existent or negligibly small. They did that by comparing the pregnancy rates based on what point in the women’s cycle they took the pill and compared them to statistics for women who had unprotected sex. The pregnancy rates were not statistically different for women who took the pill when they had already ovulated vs. those who had not.
Whatever method of birth control is used is still birth control. I don’t see a way to slice and dice scripture in a way that encourages natural family planning, yet discourages barriers, withdrawal or hormones.
I’m not upset that I was born, but my parents, I believe, had two more children than they could handle. Both my parents were emotionally overwhelmed and we were pretty much forced into early adulthood because they couldn’t deal with the conflicts that arose between us in a healthy way. My wife and I both came from large families and saw the effects, so we chose to have a smaller family that would not require as many sacrifices from either the parents or the children.
I think I have to test the spirits on that one. I used to believe in a God that would take whatever conclusion I had come to and then do the opposite to spite me. That was the model testimony I heard, i.e. “I used to pray that God wouldn’t make me a missionary and now, here I am, a missionary”. I pray that God would give me wisdom and that my wisdom would align with his purposes. The wisdom I heard was that my wife and I don’t have the emotional wherewithal to invest in more children.
The thing that smacks me about Lori is that she seems arrogant on both sides. That is, she wants us to think how clever she was in poking holes in her diaphragm to get pregnant when her husband didn’t want it, yet she wants us to think how clever she also is in her newfound conclusions about how that is all sinful and wrong. It doesn’t really sound like she really regrets or mourns the ways she supposedly disrespected her husband.
It’s kinda like a convert from a gang who crows about how much of a tough guy he was and how much bad stuff he did before he was saved.
It seems that if she really regretted poking a hole in her diaphragm there would more the wrong attitude to focus on than her being such a clever girl.
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Her “women will suffer the consequences” thought in the chapter actually surprised me. Where does she get this from? Where is this in the Bible? It’s absolutely nowhere, that’s where it is! How she thinks she has the right to say this is beyond me. What “consequences” did Lori suffer by going against her husband’s will when she poked a hole in her diaphragm to get pregnant?
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Numbers 30 may be what Lori is referring to. About when a woman makes a vow, but her husband or father forbids her to follow through, God will release her from it. Feel free to discuss this, either in this thread, or a Sunday thread. I’m trying to think of when a wife did what her husband forbade and suffered for it; either by death or infertility. Maybe Michal, but looking at the context, everything was totally messed up. Also, Lot never told his wife not to look back, but she did of her own accord. And they all suffered for it. Rachel and Leah manipulated Jacob and each other and their maidservants, and they all suffered in some way. All Jacob did was tell Rachel that he’s not God; that he can’t make himself get her pregnant like he did Leah.
Abigail disobeyed her husband and saved her household. Moses’s wife Zipporah circumcised their son and saved him from death.
“Consequences” is code for a judgmental prick god that the authoritarians believe in. They believe that when women, children, non-church-leaders, etc., do not unquestioningly obey their god-appointed authority, then god removes their “umbrella of protection” and all sorts of bad things happen – like a bad chain letter. This is a return to Gothardism, and who knows where he got it from.
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Well at least folks here, Evangelicals, are Protestants which means they have the option to use birth control. The Catholic folk are suppose to reproduce like rabbits regardless of their ability to support children. Seems to me that the Protestants have a bit more sense in this matter – they leave it up to the couple.
Not knowing the vast majority of these biblical stories, I look them up when somebody mentions one. So I looked up the whole Rachel-Leah thing. I don’t get it. What was the point of this story? Leah is more fertile, for sure, and bears children sooner and in greater numbers than does Rachel. In the end, Rachel ends up with two children, anyway, so what is the point of this story? Is it that one needs have patience? This story, while interesting enough, seems rather pointless to me. There is no apparent take-home message at least none which is apparent to me. .
From Hebrews! It is an interpretation of God disciplines those who are disobedient if he loves them.
For the record, I’m single, but I did raise two young relative’s children when they needed a mommy. One of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, and they are happy and fulfilled young adults. For years, I worked with the poor, both here and overseas. Partly culture, partly religious belief, and the babies came year after year. Families would struggle to support their brood of 5, 6 or more. If the mother had difficulty with pregnancy, children could be left with an ill mother, or no mother at all. For some reason, evangelicals promoted family planning in the culture, as well as abstinence before marriage. What I’ve seen over the years is happier parents with happier children because of planned families. Abortion doesn’t figure in as a form of birth control, but diaphragms, condoms, and the pill are all encouraged, as are proper obstetric and pre-natal care.
I definitely think it’s a couple’s business how many children they choose to have. But, being able to plan, even if you do plan for 5, seems to make a big difference in positive outcomes for the couple, children, and the family. My personal belief is that God gives us medical resources to use for His glory, and that if used that way, much blessing can result.
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To follow up on Mark’s comment, the Bible has plenty of faithful women who went against their husband’s (or male leader’s) wishes or directives, and were honored for what they did.
Jael received honor, not consequences, for driving a tent peg into Sisera’s skull…her husband’s ally.
Queen Esther appeared unsummoned before her husband King Xerxes on his throne, an offense punishable by death…yet she disobeyed and risked her life to appear before him, so that she could rescue her people.
The teaching that men such as husbands, fathers and pastors, have the authority of Christ over women and children… in my opinion that is an antichrist philosophy. “Anti” meaning “in place of”, a stand-in. That is what is being taught, and it’s dangerously wrong. It takes extreme arrogance for someone to think they can assume the authority of Jesus Christ over someone else.
But according to Lori, if you’ve disobeyed your husband on birth control… look out for that huge, falling hailstone.
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Irene, but it still makes no sense. I read this story several times and I do not see where anyone disobeyed God. Seems to me that Jacob is kept quite busy impregnating four woman, all of which are his first cousins. Rachel, the supposedly favored wife, gets no children until the very end of the story. As for Leah, supposedly not being loved or favored, well, it seems to me that Jacob “loved” her enough to impregnate her some 6 or 7 times. Doesn’t sound to me like he was esp ill-disposed toward her and, best I can, tell nobody disobeyed God.
Usually these biblical stories have some message to convey to the faithful or else to anyone else who reads them. Was Rachel being punished for pulling the wool over Jacob’s eyes and getting an extra 7 years of labor out of Jacob? If so, it sounds like something her father did. It does not seem like she had anything to do with it. Also I read where the two “handmaidens” were actually younger sisters of Rachel and Leah supposedly given to them by their father. Sounds like Dad dumped all four girls on Jacob and then got 14 years if labor out of him, to boot. Quite of bit of a shrewd operator, if you ask me, and apparently God had no issue with anything he did. If there is some lesson in this story, damn if I can see it.
JPU, About the whole vow thing, it makes perfect sense. God can’t have it both ways. Either she is to honor her vow or she is to obey her husband. If God wants her to obey her husband it makes perfect sense for her to be “released” from any vows she makes which her husband/father forbids. Of course, I don’t know what kind of vows we are talking about here. I suppose that would have some bearing on the issue. In the Catholic religion, people make all manner of vows esp the religious and the clergy and then they are held to them.
Lois, Well at least folks here, Evangelicals, are Protestants which means they have the option to use birth control. The Catholic folk are suppose to reproduce like rabbits regardless of their ability to support children. Seems to me that the Protestants have a bit more sense in this matter – they leave it up to the couple. Lois, I can’t speak for everyone but there is a large Catholic population in my area and it doesn’t seem like ,generally speaking, they subscribe to the reproducing like rabbits teaching, at least nobody that I know. You know who does? The fundies. I was involved with the IFB church for thirteen years and there were a lot of large families in the church. I sometimes felt like we were looked down on because we chose to stop at 2 children. That’s just my personal experience though, not based on any statistics or anything.
I think the Jacob/Leah/Rachel thing is taking a very real view of the heartbreak caused by polygamy and rivalry. I believe Jacob is the first of the godly line recorded to have more than one wife. Leah’s fertility seems to be a blessing of God to counteract the heartbreak of being the older, less favored wife. It’s a pretty obviously dysfunctional family.
I think there are a lot of Catholics who don’t really do that anymore. I can’t say the official position has changed or anything, but maybe there are a lot of cafeteria catholics?
How old is this trend, incidentally? I know the gothard folks are into that, but that’s what 30-40 years old? I still can’t say how widespread it is. I grew up SBC, where it wasn’t popular.
Sunshine, the Catholic church allows natural family planning, just not artificial means of birth control. What Cindy said is essentially the Catholic position, from what I understand.
Lois, I think it’s often very hard to understand whether there is a moral lesson in an historical account. We’re often limited to what the Biblical commentary is or other passages that shed light. However, I think Evangelicals are too quick to stick “God’s judgment” into difficult situations. Jesus strongly countered that – when asked whether it was a man’s sin or his parents’ that left him blind at birth. Jesus said, “No!”
We can’t assume that Rachel’s barrenness was a divine judgment for something she did, and we see that God allows her to bear children with no commentary on some moral issue she supposedly had.
We don’t see God intervene in every case of sin, and we don’t see Biblical commentary on how we should interpret every passage. Instead we have the Holy Spirit who leads us to a proper understanding of what we should understand.
I’ve seen pastors curse Jael and Deborah for their “evil” actions, yet I see no hint of that in scripture.
I read part of a masters’ degree thesis at Westminster Seminary under John Frame. This person took the position that the lack of water after the Egyptians drowned in the Red Sea was God’s punishment for Miriam leading the Israelite women in a dance. Then he used that to make his overarching claim that dancing is not a valid way to worship God.
I’ve been tempted to write Frame an e-mail saying that guy’s thesis is a complete joke and that Westminster should never have let him graduate with a thesis so full of logical holes and contradictions. Basically, it’s one of the worst cases I’ve seen of someone taking their preconceived notion (dancing in worship is evil) and then trying to twist every last bit of scripture to try and support that notion, despite the fact that there are clear commands in scripture to worship God with dance.
Historical accounts are so prone to twisting for every purpose that I cringe when I hear a sermon that tries to prove some doctrine from Biblical history.
Folk stories of Witches, Conjure-Men, and Hexerai in general are full of the Hexen using their magickal powers to extort money and things from others, and to curse those who “do not unquestioningly obey”.
And when you ring a god in as Enforcer, you get this sort of Hex from an old Cecil B DeMille bible flick:
“O GREAT CHEMOSH! O GREAT BAAL! BRING DEATH AND DESTRUCTION DOWN UPON THESE MY ENEMIES!”
Was it followed up by a story about how david dancing for the lord caused that evil Bathsheba to target him, the great man of god? Suffice it to say, I’m not at all surprised that the examples you are giving of reading things into scripture mostly involve labeling women as evil or errant who clearly were not.
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probably all the ones not related to women involve explanations of why we shouldn’t drink wine.
Maybe so, but mostly there are “lessons” and “messages” in all of these parables and stories. It is possible that there was, at one point, more to the whole Jacob – Leah – Rachel story and it did not make the final cut when they chose what became the Bible. I know at least one religion – and I think it is Judaism – makes a big deal about lifting the veil before the actual vows are taken in from of the clergyman specifically because of this fast one which what’s his face (the father of the girls) pulled on Jacob. Maybe that is the point of the story. I know for fact that the veil is lifted as a big deal in one religion and I am almost sure it is Judaism.
If you read Looming Towers which speaks to some Islamic traditions, the second in command after Bin Laden (who was a physician. – his name began with a Z) was a confirmed bachelor because he could not find a woman sufficiently extreme to be his wife. Well his friends found one for him. She was an extreme practicing Muslim in a family where all the members were moderate. As was suggested, he went forth to meet her to see if she was extreme enough to become his wife. Well, she passed the test and he found her to be suitable wife-material. Before he actually made an offer of marriage to her father, he was permitted to lift her veil once (remember these women are covered head to toe) to gaze upon her face to be sure she was acceptable in that regard for him. She was. Her face was OK and he married her.
They had a baby. He was subsequently killed in the war. She was in a building which was bombed and collapsed. She was unhurt but trapped inside of the building and needed to be lifted out of the rubble. She needed for the men who were lifting out the victims to touch her body so they could lift her out and save her. They had saved others in the building and there were no women strong enough to lift her up and out. It was a man’s job and these men had saved many people trapped in the building. She was so extreme that she chose to perish inside the rubble rather than let a man lift her up thereby touching her body. At least she had the decency to pass the baby to someone through the rubble so the baby did not perish along with her. Even people that extreme in their beliefs are allowed to lift the veil but once to view the prospective bride.
As for Leah and Rachel, I am not entirely sure how much more “favored” Rachel really was. Seems to me that by virtue of all of those children, Leah turned him on quite sufficiently. Perhaps Rachel was not all that much “preferred” after all. Perhaps after getting to know both of them, he actually preferred Leah. Probably she tried harder to please him. Rachel is not stupid. She knows how babies come into being so if she was complaining to Jacob, I doubt it was because she thought he had a low sperm count. More likely she deduced he was spending more of his energies on Leah than on, her thus Leah was conceiving more frequently. How the “handmaidens” ie. the younger sisters fit into this whole thing is anyone’s guess. Three of these four sisters have two each of Jacob’s children and Leah has six or seven of them. It is not hard to figure out which one truly was his favorite.
Lea, I don’t know how old the quiverfull trend is among the IFB churches.. I was in the IFB church for 13 years and prior to that I was in a different kind of Baptist Church, I don’t remember the exact denomination and I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church. Neither of the other Baptist churches subscribed to the quiverfull teachings. I know a couple of families that are neither Fundy or Catholic and they believe in having as many children as you can have. I’m pretty sure the one family does natural family planning because their children are spaced out with at least 2 years between them and not 9 months after popping one out. I would never ask though, it’s not my business.
I find everything this woman says disturbing, but I particularly find it disturbing that she deems it “a funny story ” to deceive her husband (the poking the hole in the diaphragm incident) . That’s not even remotely funny. She deliberately deceived her husband and brought an innocent child into the world to fulfill her own selfish desires. That’s sick!!
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Everything about this woman is exploitative and she laughs all the way to the bank. The best way to deal with her is to NOT buy her book. If you absolute must read what she says, either check out the book from the library or else buy a used copy of her book from a second hand merchant. Authors do not profit from the sale of used books. She has one and only one motive in writing this garbage and that is to sell books. The more outrageous she is, the more she figures she will sell books. On some level, she is probably correct.
Now as for family planning. It is based on a woman being very regular and very consistent with no irregular or odd cycles. Does not happen even in the most regular of women. It is doomed to fail although I suppose one could argue that it is better than nothing – not much better. Every two years is the average interval which human offspring come along for a couple which practices no birth control at all. This is esp so for women who breast feed. Breast feeding will suppress ovulation during the time when the woman is feeding mostly breast milk to the infant. As soon as she starts feeding solid foods or formula, the effectiveness goes way down. Of course really clever women who want to use it as a contraception know to pump their breasts and empty them completely after the infant has finished feeding but that takes some knowledge to do so. The immigrants like my grandmother did not know enough physiology to effect such a practice but they knew enough to keep their children breast feeding as long as possible in the hopes of suppressing conception. They also knew about back alley abortions via the midwife – not the safest practice, either.
I am not sure who is the bigger idiot in all of this – Lori who writes garbage to provoke our interest or we who fall into the trap and discuss her book. Hard telling but I think we have the edge in idiocy. We talk about this fool and thus give her some measure of legitimacy. She deserves about as much attention as a Cosmo article on what to paint on one’s’ nails so as to be “in” with the latest fashion trend.
Frankly I think we should be discussing parables like the Leah and Rachel one. At least we learn something of value from our discussions there. Perhaps we should start a parable thread. We could introduce them – one’s we like – and talk about them as a group. We could analyze their merits and flaws. We even have an expert like Mark here to help us out. Talking about Lori’s book is like eating from a garbage can. We gain nothing from it.
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In my opinion, her blog post was irresponsible, incorrect, immature and ignoble.
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My husband used to be angry at me for asking to use birth control just long enough to be sure I wasn’t pregnant before a dental or doctor procedure. In looking back on it maybe it is just a way for the man to be in control. But i was a lot more submissive than Lori and never would have considered doing something behind my husband’s back– even if he was unreasonable and unloving.
Better to be outright defiant (and fight about it) than sneaky and go behind a spouses back. The former will cause some fighting and marital discord which can be resolved. The latter will do lasting permanent and typically irreparable damage.
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Lois, I don’t recall seeing your name before here. Welcome! We’re glad you’re here 🙂
Yes, this is correct information and that’s the way it is supposed to work. It didn’t work for me despite round-the-clock nursing.
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The interesting thing about Lori lying to her husband is that she seems to brag or laugh about the incident, and then use the “before Christian” excuse. When does a Christian ever boast or laugh about their bad behavior before they were Christians? Oh, I know who – – Lori Alexander. Let’s face it – she enjoyed being in control. No wonder she laughs about it.
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i thought Lori married Ken in Bible college. Wouldn’t that imply they were both Christians?
Lois, “Now as for family planning. It is based on a woman being very regular and very consistent with no irregular or odd cycles. Does not happen even in the most regular of women.”
That is the rhythm method, I think, which is perhaps under the umbrella of NFP, but not very effective. NFP usually involves checking cervical fluid and temping. My wife has used NFP for almost all of our marriage. She added temping maybe seven or eight years ago and discovered that every once-in-awhile the fluid says “safe” and the temp says “risky”. NFP requires both fluid and temp to be safe.
JA, “It didn’t work for me” – yes, there are some women for whom breast feeding doesn’t suppress ovulation. I think the Quiverfull couples, like the Duggars, actually stop breastfeeding as soon as possible so that they can have more babies.
United States has one of the highest rates of birth complications, and one theory is that couples are trying to have children too close together.
Lois, “I am not sure who is the bigger idiot in all of this – Lori who writes garbage to provoke our interest or we who fall into the trap and discuss her book.”
Unfortunately, what Lori writes is the Biblical truth for many, many people. My old church would probably agree with all of it. Even worse, it’s never talked about openly, but is part of the “unwritten rules”. The couples the church raises as examples are the ones that have the external appearances of a godly marriage. We have friends who were one of these couples. The wife said, “I do whatever my husband says, even if I disagree, because he’s the one who’s going to have to answer to God for it.”
My family doesn’t have it all together. Our kids misbehave in church, my wife and I argue. So, we’re not one of THOSE couples, but, on the other hand, there is not this disconnect between who we are at home and who we are at church. I grew up with that disconnect. We could essentially be loud and disrespectful at home (not to our parents, of course), but when we were at church, we had to put on the best performance.
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Mark – we did NFP and it worked well for us. I’m going to go TMI here, so turn your head if you don’t want to read it, but I found cervix check along with mittelschmerz worked great. I obviously was very in tune with my body. Cervix opens/closes, lowers/rises, hardens/softens. It’s pretty amazing.
I don’t think NFP proponents want to claim rhythm method as “theirs.” You might as well roll the dice with that method.
Sorry, lost my train of thought. The point is that we need to understand what the other side is saying and understand why their logic is flawed so that we can be prepared when it comes up in conversation. Hopefully we can make enough sense that people start questioning what they’ve heard their whole lives.
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Mark, But if the issue in question is one which is morally wrong – according to so-called God’s teachings – then she is NOT suppose to comply. Remember, she is to follow God not man. So, then, in these matters, there is no answering to God for her actions because she does not get a pass in the first place.
JA, ‘I don’t think NFP proponents want to claim rhythm method as “theirs.”’
Yes, but most people think rhythm method when they hear NFP.
But what is the difference between using NFP with whatever enhancements make it work better and using any other method of birth control. You are limiting your fertility and likelihood of conception with either. It is only a matter of effectiveness. If it is “wrong” to limit conception with say a diaphragm, what is the difference between doing so with NFP which makes use of thermometers, cervical status, mucus consistency, etc. If you do one, you might as well do another – it is all the same concept. Where and when did God tell people to reproduce like rabbits in the first place – was it the “go forth and multiply” If you have two children, I guess you did then go forth and multiply or perhaps not. That is not multiplying but simply replacing. .
Lois, I think she was talking about an area where she felt it was unwise, but not morally wrong, but I don’t know. There is a “Divine Right of Kings” theology within authoritarianism that says that somehow non-authorities are absolved of responsibility if they are commanded to do something wrong. That would be in a sort of a dark gray area because I think even those people would claim that certain commands should never be obeyed.
Why is NFP better than any other method of birth control. Since when do Protestants even need to deal with that issue. I thought it was OK with them to use contraception. I thought even the most extreme of the Protestants could do so although I know many do not favor abortion.
Some people got hung after their trial in Nuremberg even though they were following orders – same with MeLei although they were not executed here. Following orders is not a good enough excuse to do morally reprehensible acts. It is OK for trivial matters, though.
Lois, “But what is the difference…”
If you look at my response to Cindy, I’m saying the exact same thing. I don’t see a difference between NFP, barriers, hormones and withdrawal. I do believe that we should not choose a birth control method that specifically causes death to a fertilized egg or aborts an already implanted embryo.
But, I believe in all areas of life, God gives us guidance and boundaries within which we are expected to seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. I think there are general truths in the Bible that we can hyper focus on to the point that they become curses. For example, marriage is seen as a blessing, but we see the damage of trying to force abusive marriages into the “blessing” mold. Children are a blessing, but should we be rounding up all the abusive alcoholic couples and telling them to multiply like rabbits and experience God’s blessing?
As I said, I’m not unhappy that I was born, but we were on food stamps and reduced lunches for a few years. My parents did not have the emotional energy to invest in us because they were completely overwhelmed. They really didn’t get that each of us were different in any meaningful way, so they treated us all with the same level of harshness, which was enough for the most obstinate, but abusive for those who were more compliant. I think that’s my best argument for why we chose not to get into that kind of situation. We’re pretty close to our limits with the children we have.
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Lois, there’s a complete range of beliefs. Duggers are Protestant, yet they believe that God calls them to have as many children as possible (Quiverfull), to the point that they stopped breastfeeding as soon as possible so that they could get their cycles back and have more children. I don’t think this is because they really love having children – maybe that’s a part of it – but they believe that the Bible tells them to multiply like rabbits.
Some aren’t that extreme, but they believe they should have sex whenever they feel like it and leave the rest to God. They feel that trying to avoid pregnancy is trying to thwart God’s purposes and take matters into their own hands.
Some in the NFP group believe that abstinence is the only divinely-appointed form of birth control, so it’s okay to understand and use the natural fertility clues to avoid having sex during fertile times.
Others in the NFP group use it because there are unwanted side effects to other methods. There are some NFP+ as well, who use other methods to prevent pregnancy when fertile
Others believe it’s okay to use pretty much whatever method as long as it doesn’t cause abortion.
The only “bloc” of beliefs I know is the Catholic church that teaches the divinely-appointed NFP method. I know that my former church was generally somewhere between the Catholic view and Quiverfull.
I am more cynical than you. The Duggers have all of these children because it affords them fame which translates to money – i.e. their TV show and what not. Nobody actually “wants” that many children. It is a means to a financial gain for them. They can’t even all sit down at the same table – they eat in shifts nor could they all have a family outing together. The Duggers are exploitative, using children to promote their fame and fortune. They found a unique market niche to exploit. The more children they have – the more outrageous is their productivity in this regard – the more they promote and guard their fame and TV spots. The Duggers are an aberration. They fall outside the scope of what is generally considered normal human behavior.
The Catholic injunction against birth control is rooted in wanting to populate the world with as many Catholics as possible. There is no actual scriptural or hard cored religious dogma behind it. Children are,indeed, a blessing in one sense but overdone, they can be a burden, as well. In days gone by, if a farmer and his wife had 8 or even 11 children, they would not all survive. They needed children to help run the farm and as protection against one’s old age. There were no 401Ks, SS, or other retirement safety nets. You needed strong boys to do the heavy lifting and girls to help Mom. If 50% of what you had survived, you were doing well. Life was far more hazardous, then. The very house I live in was sold because the man, a dedicated farmer got too old to manage it alone after his son died in a tractor accident. He held out as long as it could but you just can’t farm for a living or to survive without strong hands and labor.
There is also the whole issue of societal morality and norms which change. Now pre-marital sex is fairly universal. Once unheard of in any sort of respectable society, it has become widespread and acceptable. Bringing forth children in that scenario would be unwise, at very least. As it is, the epidemic of single mothers and the problems they bring out, is costly to our society. All family planning is the same phenomenon. It is simply a matter of where it falls on the effectiveness continuum.
It is the same thing with abortion. People are irrational because many of the staunchest opponents of abortion are OK with the morning after pill. At what point are you “murdering a baby.” It is as much a human on the first day it is conceived as on the day it is born yet people react emotionally much differently to the two scenarios. The morning after pill otherwise known as emergency contraception works by suppressing ovulation but also by preventing implantation. The IUD prevents implantation. So where do you draw the line. My own view is that the line is drawn at the point where the fetus can sustain life on its own but even that is arbitrary. We start to walk down the very sticky path of trying to legislate morality.
Pretty sure ‘respectable’ society has generally turned a blind eye to male pre-marital sex, actually, provided they weren’t ‘ruining’ girls of their own class.
Lea, The girls have gotten harmed in all of this. The men can get sex anywhere and whenever they want so they feel no compunction to marry the various women they sleep around with. Worse, now so many of the women are trying to trap them into marriage by getting pregnant. It has become quite a mess. I am no one to preach on this matter, for sure, but things are not working out so well for the women.
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Lois, you can call the Duggars an aberration if you want to, but most of the homeschooling families we were around believed that it was limiting the blessings God had for you to limit your family size. They all had at least 8 children and several had 10 to 12. I was literally an outsider asked to explain why we only had 2 children.
At least women can get a job and support themselves now. There is no mythical perfect past for women. There has always been abuse and neglect, and position based on luck of the draw.
And to bring it back around, since this is pretty far from the topic, having no birth control, options, or power, didn’t worked out particularly well in the past.
Irene, So what did you tell them when they inquired as t why you had only two children? I am fine with doing God’s “work,” as it were but I am also a firm believer in the notion that if God wants me to do xyz, he,she or it, had better provide me with the tools with which to do it. Raising children is not exactly cheap these days. What did you tell them when they asked or shall we say pried.
You’re absolutely right, Lois. It is limiting. The quiverful folks would say NFP is interfering with God’s plans. For us, we weren’t saying no to children, just not yet until the current baby is a little older. Mine are spaced on avg 3 yrs apart.
For others who use NFP, they are using a non-abortifacient method.
You are correct on the go forth and multiply verse.
Julie Anne, Very interesting information. I never knew about the Quiverful movement until you mentioned it and I then looked it up. I could sort of see your not wanting another baby so soon after the first. It is common practice to schedule a 6 week follow up visit with the doctor who delivered the baby. There are many stories told in the medical field where women have come in, as scheduled, for that visit, only to learn they are pregnant! I do believe that is where the expression ‘Irish Twins” although I am not intending to slur the Irish in any way – just stating that this is the origin of that expression. Also the phenomenon is not limited in any way to Irish persons. It can happen in any ethnicity albeit probably less common with the breast feeding mothers, at least initially.
As for Michelle, it seems that she did not confuse her identity with that of a rabbit until 1988 – 4 years into her marriage. Prior to that she did, in fact, use birth control but subsequently she apparently saw the light and began pumping out offspring at approximately 15 month intervals until 2011 when she miscarried her last pregnancy (20th child) at the age of 44. We’ve not heard of any subsequent conceptions. The wiki article wherein I read this information said that they were raking in 25 million a year for their reality show and book deals, all of which came to a screeching halt after it was revealed that one of their sons was molesting girls to include several of his own sisters. I guess when you have almost 20 children to look after, it can be a tad bit challenging to supervise them all properly so we don’t have incestual conduct ongoing in the home. I suppose that sort of thing can happen in any home and, then, to the best of parents but my point is that when you breed like a gerbil, it is difficult to properly parent all of your children, keeping track of what they are all doing at any given time.
One thing we can all be grateful for is that Mrs Duggar is at very low risk for breast or uterine cancer. These are two cancers mediated by estrogen. Mrs D. has been under the influence of high levels of progesterone for the vast majority of her reproductive years. Progesterone is the dominant hormone in both pregnancy and lactation. It breaks up the estrogen cycles as it opposes estrogen in the body and thus has a protective effect on any estrogen-sensitive cancer.
You have a way with words, Lois. ROFL!😂😂
Well, when speaking about Michele, it is easy to do. Another little tidbit I find very interesting about this couple is the way the maintain pride in the fact that they are financially independent and live debt-free. Well, I should hope so when one is raking in 25 million a year based on their reproductive habits. I would hope that if one is making that kind of money via performing for a reality show, he, she or they would be living “debt-free.” That is one heck of a lot of money simply to put one’s reproductive patterns on display for the world to view.
Living in rural USA is vastly different from living in an appartment or small property in a city like much of the world does. In the UK, it takes 2 salaries to raise 2 children, utilities, mortgages, travel costs are high. Building costs are high too, planning laws are rigid, you can’t just throw up another bedroom annually for every new baby you pop out – if you had the space in the first place. Having 10 children may work in the USA, but not here, unless you are aristocracy and have a mansion. And there aren’t mega-churches to support your QF style which requires the charity of that church so your mega-family doesn’t starve.
There are other uses for birth control pills other than pregnancy prevention.
That sometimes gets lost in the shuffle.
I’m a 40-something virgin but took birth control pills years ago to regulate my period better.
There could be mixed motives. It doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Regardless of the Duggars motives specifically, I think there are some who sincerely believe that women should have as many kids as possible.
Some of these Quivering groups and regular conservative Christians are alarmed about how the number of white, Christian families are now in the minority. They think that Christian families should “out breed” non-whites or non-Christians. I’ve seen that come up on other sites, blogs, and Christian TV shows.
There are some true believers out there. Not all of them are promoting this view due to greed (monetary motives), or not 100%.
As to the conversations above about pre-marital sex.
It may have been true at one time in U.S. history and culture that there was a double standard regarding pre-marital sex, where boys and men got off the hook easier than girls and women, but I don’t see that being so much the case now.
I’m not saying you cannot find any examples of that now, (I’m sure you can), but I think things have shifted.
I was remarking on this phenomenon (or something akin to it) on another thread on this blog a few days ago ~_Here_~
At this point, the culture, both secular and Christian, looks down upon sexual abstinence.
Yes, yes, I know most Christians will probably say, “Oh no, I do believe any sex outside of marriage is wrong, and good for you for remaining chaste,” but where the rubber hits the road, no, they really do not.
Christians actually stand in opposition to anyone over say, age 25 or 30, who is still a virgin.
The assumption (by Christians and Non-Christians) is that “everyone” must be having sex, and if you are not, you are weird, a loser, repressed, frigid – or there is something wrong with you.
Your secular feminists started what they call the “no slut shaming” concept, which worked its way into liberal Christian thought (which turned into 100% condemnation of sexual purity (anti purity culture)), over to conservative Christian thought…
To the degree (as I wrote of previously, see link above in this post, please), we have conservative Christians such as Al Mohler or Tim Challies mocking or de-valuing virginity and celibacy.
It’s gotten to the stage where even girls and women are not expected to abstain or be virgins on their wedding nights. I don’t see so much of a double standard as there once was.
(continued in Part 2)
It’s also gotten to the point in that last, I dunno, 15 or 20 years, for virgin teen girls to be mocked by other teen girls for being virgins. They will get peer pressure to lose their virginity as soon as possible to whomever.
I’ve seen a tiny, tiny number of editorials in the approximately last five years by 20-something, female virgins who have essentially said as such – they say once friends find out they are virgins or living lives of celibacy – they get mocked and get incredulous responses.
They get pressure to run out and have sex (and at this, by female friends, not just by men – they are not getting female support). So, they write these essays telling other women to back off and start respecting their choice to abstain.
There have been articles in the last 5 years saying that more and more millennials (20-somethings) in the USA are not having sex – they are more interested in playing video games and what not than in having sex.
Once that news story broke, a spate of articles (mostly left wing, but a smattering of right wing, too, which was disappointing) came out incredulous and shocked that young people are choosing not to have sex of their own accord, and these articles shamed them and ridiculed them for not wanting to have sex.
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One thing is for certain and that is if the adolescents and young adults are going to have sex outside of marriage, they DO need to use contraception. As best I know, no one thinks unwed motherhood and the whole single-mother thing is a good phenomenon. Will these folks, esp the males, have any incentive to marry? It remains to be seen but the rate of marriage is declining and the age of marriage is advancing. Women, in particular, are not always happy with such a trend. They still want the security of marriage and often they want children, as well. I am hearing where more and more women, who have relationships with boyfriends, try to sneak around – lying about the use of birth control, – in an effort to get pregnant. In so doing, they hope to compel their boyfriends to marrying them or else to satisfy their biological clocks which they fear are ticking away. Such dynamics are not a good thing, at least not in my opinion. It has been show repeatedly that single mother parenthood is not the best or ideal way to raise children.
I mean, the way to get around this is to just keep your private life private, I would think. I don’t agree with you, Daisy, that these are universal things. Some of it dependent on subculture, of course. I don’t think we should be mocking people either way but then, I don’t think your sex life is something to discuss publically. Maybe this is influenced by my family, because we just do not talk about these things.
I was just listening to a podcast about this, and I think basically the newer generations are having sex maybe a year later than mine, on avg.
The problem is more that they are having increased suicides, decreased social interactions, etc. So they may be more ‘safe’ because they are staying at home playing on phones, but this is also risky because it leads to more mental challenges.
As in 1870?-1945 German bureaucratic tradition:
As long as the subordinate could prove he “was only following orders” and produce the paper trail pointing to the superior who gave the orders, he was off the hook. So Germans CYAed by documenting EVERYTHING.
Well that explains why the Germans famously documented everything. Said documentation eventually lead to the conviction of many at the Nuremberg trials where the excuse of following orders did not hold up. Ironically, this CYA practice is what led to their convictions. Many of the camp prison staff were summarily executed by the liberators. I was reading some online material about the liberation of the German camps. One guard spoke out saying to some of liberators “You must follow the Geneva Convention and afford us a hearing.” One of the liberators followed with “Here is your hearing” then shot him in the forehead. Of course, two wrongs do not make a right. I cannot condone such an execution of a prison guard without a trial but apparently what the liberators found was so appalling that many were moved to take such drastic stances. Following orders may well have worked for the Germans but it did not work for the rest of the world. It did not save them from conviction for war crimes. Neither did it save the participants at Mei Lei for their atrocities.
Lois, the Lord just didn’t give me more children after age 27. I didn’t stop it and in fact wanted more. I was just forced to explain over and over.
The Duggars had money before tv; he was a senator.
Matilda, my daughter lives in Scotland. She is involved in a conservative church where people have lots of kids. She gets to stay home and not work as her husband makes plenty of money in oil. It does seem that you can’t speak for everyone. Some families here require two people working and some are able to make it on one income.
Irene, Why would you offer an explanation to anyone who inquires about a matter that is none of their business. Was it not rather rude and prying of these people to even ask you about such a personal matter in the first place? I suppose, from a purely practical perspective, it is easier to say “That is all the Lord chose to give me” versus getting into a bru-ha-ha with them over their inappropriate line of questioning. It is a simple answer which likely shuts them up but truly, “That is none of your business” is more in keeping with what they should be told. The former response is easier with less confrontation and It gets the job done.
Lois, you are totally right. I just wasn’t strong enough to stand against everyone who would make me wrong then. It is full circle– the the theme of this book, that men are in control. My husband would refuse to make decisions and then whatever i decided was rebellious before the Lord. I saw myself as being inadequate before everyone and punished by God.
Irene, we all learn from our mistakes. Truth-be-told, sometimes the short answer about God not choosing to give you more is the easiest and best. We have to choose our battles and we can’t fight all of them. Sometimes people are honestly curious and do not mean any harm; other times such is not the case. It is hard to say whether these people who pried into your business were innocently curious or whether they were really meaning to be hostile toward you. I am not so sure that you should have handled it any differently. If you never got pregnant again, so be it. Sounds like it WAS truly out of your control. I am not so sure what these folks expected you to do about a lack of conception. How was any of it your fault? One could just as easily take the position that God looked with favor upon you and was trying to make your life easier by having less children. That take on it is as good as any other and, frankly, the way I would look at it. The good news is that you have now seen the light and moved past all of that nonsense. Hopefully you now have better friends and associates and you have left these unkind people behind.
You are quite correct in that if your husband did not make important decisions they you are forced to do so without his input. It is not so unusual, at all. Some husbands leave all of the money management to their wives. It is a surprisingly common phenomenon. You wouldn’t think it would be so but it is. It is very common for husbands to turn over their paycheck to their wives and get a certain amount of money to spend as they please. That is all they want to be bothered with. For me, being a control freak, that would be unthinkable to turn over my paycheck to another but you’d be surprised how often it occurs. The wife then does all the hassling of paying the bills and making ends meet.
Irene, I think it is cruel of people to ask these questions about why people don’t have children, or more children, without knowing what the answer might be.
RE, Duggar, I don’t think he was a senator from Arkansas. Now I’ve looked it up and he ran but lost. He was a state house rep at some point but they don’t get paid very much. I don’t know the state of his finance beyond that.
I should say I think he lost in the primary. I don’t remember him running statewide. So it’s not like he was hugely popular.
Lois, thank you for your kind words to me. I can’t tell you how much they mean.
I am glad this perspective is helpful to you. Truly, Irene, I believe what I told you. In today’s society raising a whole bunch of kids is somewhat, if not very, burdenful. It is not like it was years ago when most folks were living on a farm or else in large cities where it was acceptable to quite school at 14 and work in the factory to bring in money for the family. College was not a consideration for the vast majority of people back then and the notion of Mom going to work in order to afford a house for the family was equally preposterous. Things were different and children were not a financial burden. They did not need as much “looking after” to be properly raised the way it is the case today. We did not have youth going off shooting up schools or engaging in gangs where Mom and Dad needed to have kept better tabs on on things. Living was simpler then. Raising kids was easier, as well.
If there is a loving God, then my view is that said God simply wanted for you to have an easier life than you would have otherwise had if you had to raise up a slew of children in modern times. It would have been very hard work and very costly. Sadly, we don’t get “updated” versions of the Bible where the content changes to adapt to changes in society. Best there is would be updated wording but the basic content is the same. It is also possible that God needs for one of your children to do something special and thus requires much input from you to be raised in a certain way or else lots of education which you could not otherwise afford to provide. Who know? Who can say? It is not for us to question the “orders” we receive. The bottom line is that for whatever reason – either for your benefit, their benefit or both – a decision was made which was beyond your control. It was decided that you could best serve by having xyz number of children instead of xyz + n where n is more than what God had in mind for you. You answer to prying questions is simple. It is “Well that is all God chose for me to have and I don’t challenge God’s will.” If they press further, then you say “Well, you really have to take that matter up with God; I can’t answer for him. I just do what I am told.”
My own view is that if there is a God – and I do not know that there is – but if it is so, then I will absolutely do God’s will BUT I need to be provided with the tools to do so. I am not going to bang my head against the wall in frustration because I do not have the means to do xyz. If I am expected to do something – like serve in xyz capacity – I am fine with that but I need to have the means to do so. I expect to have a clear path to perform as I am told to do ……..in which case I will roll up my sleeves and do that work – no problem. Tell me what to do and I will do it. I do not expect to have all manner of obstacles thrown in my way and then have the same requirements to perform the same service as someone without those obstacles. It is not going to happen.
When God makes assignments, it is also not for your neighbors to be questioning the assignment sheet and declaring that your particular assignment was not appropriate. They are not in charge. Can you imagine going to work and the employer posts an assignment sheet only to have one or more of the workers come up and say “I don’t like that assignment you gave Irene; she should be doing xyz.” Absurd, no? Well, what your inquisitors are doing is no different from that.
Someone said there is no mythical perfect past for women. I agree. But….
The Victorian spinsters had an easier time of it–in some ways–to my way of thinking. They couldn’t vote, they had to teach children, sew, nurse sick people, or occasionally write articles and short stories to earn a living without depending on charity or ungracious relatives
What they didn’t have to deal with was a sex crazed culture and a conformist church more sex crazed than the world around them. Miss Daisy and I wouldn’t be suspected of harlotry back then. Everyone would assume we were old maids (older virgins.)
While viewed as pathetic losers by many we wouldn’t be perceived as furtively “getting some” or lesbians, or home wreckers waiting to steal some other woman’s doubtful blessing. People wouldn’t pressure us to look like super models on TV or try internet dating. For obvious reasons.
When you turned 30 you were expected to give up on the hopeless task of hubby hunting. Frankly we need to bring back that idea to help older single women achieve closure. You’ll never find romantic love–give it up–but at least you can exhale and breathe again!
At 44 I wonder what the point to marrying would be. Seriously. The horse is dead, let’s dispose of the corpse, and move on!
Victorian spinsters also assumed all duties when someone was ill or orphaned. That can keep you busy! (I’m a single woman who invested 10 years of my life raising a relative’s children because I was the person available. Loved every minute of it, by the way).
i will be 60 in three weeks. I have never been married or romantically involved. My belief about sex is the classic Scriptural “only in marriage”, so I’ve led a fairly quiet relational life. But, in terms of satisfaction and fulfillment, I am blessed! I embraced my career (teaching/missionary) and there has never been a dull moment.
If you’re single (male/female), you do need to build a community. Mine is very much in my church, but I also have strong ties to my neighborhood and school where I work. Not everyone gets married, and not everyone will stay married (either through divorce or death of a spouse), but I’m not dreading a lonely retirement in the next 5-10 years. If anything, as long as health permits, I will be serving God and neighbor more than ever because I will have more time to do it.
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Rachel and Linn, I am married but I chose not to have children. Everyone is telling me how much I will regret it. I am waiting to regret it – so far it has not happened. Part of why I did not have them was a anomaly within me which lacked the strong desire most women have to have children. It just was not there for me and that fact combined with meticulous attention to detail means I did not have any “accidents.” If I had married someone who truly wanted children, of course, I would have had them. I did spend a whole lot of good childbearing years 25 – 36 wasting time in a relationship with a man who was completely irresponsible – he was not sufficiently responsible to hold down a job and get married much less have children. One might just question my wisdom in that involvement. Most people would have been wiser but not me – I was “in love” and sure it would all have a happy ending and he would some day grow up so we could live happily ever after. That someday never came. Instead he was covertly doing hard core drugs and died of an overdose when I was 36. Damned if I knew what he was doing. I am sure neither of you would have put up with all that irresponsibility all of those years and neither should you have.
By the time I got wise enough to pull my head of of my ____ and chose the right sort of man, I was already 44 – just a tad bit late to start a family. I don’t believe there is any one right way to live one’s life. I will comment that if the time comes when one meets the right person, in terms of a spouse, age does not matter. People marry at all ages if it is right for them to do so. There are countless examples of women marrying for the first time in their 50s and 60s but it is not an expectation. C Everette Coop, former surgeon general of the US married a woman in her 60s who was a devout Church member her whole life. She did all manner of good work in her church and was a world leader in that capacity. She is still around carrying forth her mission. He has since died. Maude Davidson, the head nurse for the nurses trapped on Bataan during WWII and interred in prison camps married after the was. She was in her 50s when s he married and she certainly felt no void in her life – bringing all those nurses through the prison camp in one piece is quite an accomplishment. She is credited with their survival with her expert leadership.
When the right person comes along, age does not matter and there is no such thing as needing to marry in the first place. Some people live very useful and rich lives as single persons just as some people – like me – live very useful and rich lives without children. I personally view it as a character flaw on my part that I put up with irresponsibility for 10 or more years. I was devoting all of my time and energy to a lost cause when I should have been busy serving many people in more constructive ways. I wasted lots of God-given resources, time and energy which could have been put to better use serving others. I am surprised that after all of that squandering, God, even gave me a chance at a successful marriage with a responsible man. I did not deserve it – wasting all of those precious life resources. I can’t figure why I got so many blessings after acting so foolishly. Perhaps he, she or it counted some of my nursing services to HIV victims in inner city Newark and it canceled out some of the debt I incurred with all of this foolishness on my part. Whatever, I am very grateful for my second chance. I surely did not deserve it. I should be doing more in terms of paying it all back than I now am. I should be doing more service.
God always gives us better than our just deserts. You’re not the only one who wasted her life chasing some orange blossoms and chantilly lace pipe dream.
Frankly, banning all “sweet Christian” romances would do all women a world of good! Quit wasting your life weeping around for some figment of the imagination. If you find “true love” when too sick and senile to benefit you’ll wish you hadn’t wasted your life; if you die unwed you will regret that nonsense on your death bed.
Fake hope that most Christian blog sites offer spinsters is no hope at all.
Rachel, I don’t think it is that. I think it is more of an issue that some women are spared the “crush gene” just as some women are spared the “wanting children” gene. If you were like many women, you would not have a choice in the matter. You would be “falling in love” with one or another man regardless of any rhyme or reason. I was always falling for one man or another and many were not wise choices on my part. My involvement with a good many of these dudes was very ill-advised. It wasn’t exactly a choice – it just happens and I think it is common. The difference is that many women used more sense about the whole thing than I did. They don’t waste time with dead ends or persons who cannot bring about a good result in their lives. Not me, however. I wasted and squandered lots of resources. I finally saw the light at age 42 and, for once, got involved with a good man (for a change) who would be a good husband for me. Took me long enough to see the light. I guess I was a very slow learner.
I think the same thing applies to wanting children. Most women have a strong desire and it is not something they can control. They desperately want children and they are miserable if they can’t have them. God makes a few women here and there which fall outside the usual parameters.
Well I certainly got better than I deserve after so much foolishness. I am ever looking for a way to pay it all back. I found lots of ways in the past but now it is more challenging to do so.
I used to fall in love VERY easily. Every year or two. Then I realized no guy would ever love me, since I wasn’t a perky hot blonde. I sank into depression; went on SSRI’s for twenty years. Unfortunately my depression was worse than ever. But woo hoo! Problem solved! No more libido.
At least those pills were good for something.
Yeah, Rachel, they do kill libido……..and they do help depression. It is sort of a trade off. Men get tired of hot blonds just as easily as anything else. They are always cheating on them. In fact, the men who make their decisions primarily on looks, cheat the most because they do not develop deep relationships and they subsequently get bored.
Non-Christian women – or at least those not in the strictest sects of the church – tend to obsess over whatever it takes to attract men. They dress slutty, the act seductive, they do all sorts of things designed to call men’s attention to themselves. I was certainly guilty as the next in this regard although I was not esp free with sexuality as seems to be the case today. I wanted commitment and monogamy..
Christian women in very fundamentalist churches are more limited in that their church does not really condone seductive dress or behavior. They don’t favor such behavior and insist that the women conduct themselves in very “wholesome” ways as they wait until Prince Charming (PC) comes around to sweep them off their feet. This strategy used to work quite well, in fact since men typically did not have so many women available to them. Unfortunately, in our current society, Prince Charming is typically quite distracted by the various women acting seductive – sometimes even throwing themselves at him – and he has many more options available to him as compared to his forefathers. These days he can get it all without having to offer love, commitment or even monogamy. The women just give it away, no strings attached. Now he does not even have to marry a girl if he impregnates her. Single motherhood is quite accepted and commonplace. Family values have sort of taken a back seat to hedonism but I think the women pay a comparatively higher price for these societal values then do the men.
My guess is that it was your depression more than anything else which was driving this equation. Depression is a huge burden to bear and it can affect everything you do. We have effective medicines to treat depression but, as you point out, they are not without side effects. I am sure your looks were not at all the issue. Rather, it was the depression which was stacking the deck against you.
I have to object to your way of describing women in this. Are you really faulting women for attempting to be attractive, to the point of calling them slutty or seductive? Maybe they are just interested and looking. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. Not everyone is a kardashian. Sheesh.
Sorry Lori. I disagree. The drugs did NOTHING to help my depression but strengthen my desire to kill myself. If they’re so d__n effective as the phony commercials with dancing pills claim they are, depression would go away or at least be bearable.
I am off them now. No longer suicidal and my emotional pain is slightly more bearable. And I’m losing weight effortlessly.
No doubt depression prevented my marrying. So did that nasty rumor that I was an evil SMI killer waiting to reenact the shower scene from Psycho. That got me kicked off campus. Lovely pro-psychiatry Christians! Really just as cruel and hateful as the anti-psychiatry crowd when it comes down to the brass tacks.
The only good thing those Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors did was wipe out my libido to console me for my transformation into some subhuman Cockroach in the eyes of all around me. My own parents took to abusing me because psychiatry told them I was a biological throwback/permanently insane monster. Dad cuffed and slapped me whenever angry. He never did that before. Mom took to screaming at me for my ingratitude. Whenever she gets angry she tells me 1. I’m stupid, incompetent and helpless. 2. No one else cares about me or can stand to be around me.
Those pills are not my Salvation and never have been. My belief in God prevented my suicide regardless of my misery and loneliness.
Another good thing my SSRIs did though, come to think of it, was make the Big Pharma companies filthy, stinking rich. If they heard about cases like mine they probably laughed at them all the way to the bank. 😛
Not at all, Lea, and I was as guilty as the next in this regard during my younger days. I DID dress rather slutty and I absolutely did act seductive. I am not criticizing the women, at all. What I am saying is that in super strict church sects, the women are not permitted to do what comes natural to them when it comes to attracting men. Many have dress codes for the women and they are very strict about what may and may not be worn. Girls are expected to be pure as the new driven snow and wait patiently for Prince Charming to come along. Sometimes, however, Prince Charming gets waylaid with all the distractions around him. I would be the last person to criticize women for dressing in seductive ways because doing so would make me a world class hypocrite. Of course now that I am a senior citizen, I certainly do not dress in that manner and have not done so since I was middle-aged. It has its place in the youth of our society.
OMG, Rachel, that which you have described is absolutely horrible! I can’t believe your own family treated you like that – it is criminal. Worse you got kicked out of school because people said or thought you were a psycho-killer !!!! That is absolutely insane. It sounds illegal to me, as well. How could they get away with such an action. You have been around some truly awful people.
I have prescribed SSRI for people because patient’s come to you and ask that you do something for their depression. For some it does help although you are correct, the benefit is not without side effects. It does not help everyone and for some, it can make them worse. The bottom line, however, is that people come to you and they expect for you do to do something for them. They don’t want to hear yo preach to them about pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. It is your responsibility to do something for these people and you don’t have a whole lot of options in this regard. They don’t want lengthy psychoanalysis and they surely to not want any lectures from you about how and what they “should” be feeling or doing.
Rather, they want you to do something for them and prescrbing SSRIs is something you can do. Of course, you can suggest they join a church or they go for counseling or any such thing. The bottom line is that they know all of that and they either have already tried that or else they are not interested in pursuing that avenue. They don’t need you for that approach, anyway. That is not why they are coming to your office. So here you are holding the bag for the patient who wants something for his or her depression. You have the ability to prescribe medication which does help many and does not have a whole lot of dangerous side effects.
So what would you do if you were the health care provider? If you send them to Jesus – which is what, in fact, worked for you – I can assure you they are going to get very pissed off at you. They are probably even going to file a complaint against you with your professional board for trying to push religion on them. It is going to get you into a whole lot of trouble. At best, you can suggest they talk to their pastor but you can’t push religion on them and still keep your license. Some of them are not members of churches and they have no pastor. Some of these pastors, themselves, leave a whole lot to be desired, as many of you here already know. Some of these pastors are not exactly helpful for the patient.
If you turn them away and don’t do anything for them, you have not helped them. If you send them to a psychiatrist, he is going to take yet more of their money and prescribe the SSRI, anyway. You are SUPPOSE to help the person coming to you. So, again, I ask you – what would you do if you were the healthcare provider? I always suggest that in addition to prescriptions, they talk to their pastor or else a counselor but most of them do not even have pastors to talk to. Many say they have tried counseling and it has not helped them.
Lois, your post still seems to imply that all young women dress “slutty.” First, I think the term slutty is very derogatory to any woman, no matter what her station in life. Second, I work at a school where the majority of the staff are younger women and they dress professionally. My two young adult nieces always are appropriate, whether dressed up or dressed down.Third, you can draw attention to yourself whether you are dressed modestly or immodestly. I attended a very conservative church in high school, and we knew which girls were flirting with the boys, despite our knee-length skirts and maxi-dresses.
Linn, No absolutely not all young women dress “slutty” but I sure was guilty of it and I did act very seductive. Now, the truth be told, Linn, if I were to do it all over again, I would like to be less so in both of these regards. We don’t, however, get to do it all over again. What is past is past and we can’t change it. One of the reasons why it took me so long to pull my head out of my _____ is because, as a teen and young adult, I did not have all of my values in the right place. I got there eventually, but it took some time. I was far more interested in boys and getting married i.e. finding a husband than I was in career. My efforts would have been better spent to pursue a career which would be of service to others. Such was not my priority. Finding a husband was. I did eventually get there – meaning proper focus on career and service to others – but it took me quite a while to do so. Absolutely, not all girls are that way but it is fairly common behavior. I was far from unique.
Perhaps what you are saying is that you and your nieces were much wiser than I and had their values in the right place, right from the get go. If so, you won’t get any argument on me on that count. I got to the right place eventually but I took the long road in getting there. It sounds like you and your nieces got there (or in their case will get there) much sooner. I do believe that I was a slow learner on this count.
Thank-you for your compelling testimony. It witnessed volumes to me for through your pain, you are still a bold believer in Jesus Christ and I personally, am inspired by your overcoming story. Continue to be strong in Him, knowing who you are in and through Him as you are “being the church” by speaking out.
I too, was prescribed a dose of drugs to address my depression many years ago. After taking the pill for two weeks, my mind turned numb as I was literally a walking zombie, not feeling a thing, just going through the motions. It was difficult for me to think and process information to get my work done efficiently and frankly, it frightened me to the point that I did not pay for a refill prescription. And when my nurse practitioner called to check up, she became angry with me for not wanting more medication and strongly encouraged me to come back for a lesser dosage of the same drug. Her anxiety level towards me was highly suspicious. I told her “No way” for it was frightening to not feel a thing and to also lose the functioning of my mind. The depression faded away on its own through strengthening relationships with Jesus Christ, my personal LORD and Savior, my parents, and a few trustworthy friends with whom shared a battle with depression during their lifetime. Those who have not engaged in this battle, do not witness nor do they offer any hope nor encouragement with this type human condition, for they speak vain words, not understanding how deadly depression can be; it is truly a spiritual war.
Please keep speaking here Rachel, for you are a true gift to many here, myself included. And I love your personal candor regarding your faith as well as life issues. May the peace of our LORD Jesus fill you up today.
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Thanks Katy. I was actually taking the pills because I thought they made me a more moral person. My family members thought they made me “more fun” or at least easier to stand to be around, because they made me too tired or numb to talk. Duct tape might have had similar benefits if shutting me up was all they wanted.
Psychiatrists and their underlings would warn me I would go on uncontrollable mass murdering escapades or bay at the moon and bite people like Mrs. Rochester in Jane Eyre.
No biting yet! Ha ha.
Angry quite a bit, because I was lied to for 25 years and continue to be lied about to gullible people who think I’m Norman Bates or Hannibal Lector waiting for a victim. And more people keep getting sucked into the system, because these doctors are giving them “life saving medicines” to save them from the chemical imbalances that cause them to sin. And I’m sicker than a dog from withdrawals. If I don’t have plenty of quiet time and spend a minimum of an hour a day praying and meditating I do tend to be nasty. Hard to act like Jesus most of the time. Suffering does not automatically turn you into a saint.
There are no pills that can make an evil person good–though I think the reverse may be true. Eric Harris was meds compliant during the Columbine massacre. So was Andrea Yates and a host of others. Eric was truly evil before he started antidepressants, but they did not sweeten his disposition..
And if anyone reading this is taking psych drugs, for goodness sake DO NOT JUST QUIT COLD TURKEY! That may very well cause you to bark at the moon or simply die from the shock it will cause your entire nervous system. A lot of this stuff is worse than heroin to come off of. So naive pastors need to be willing to take people into their homes and watch over them while they thrash around having DTs for 6 months or longer. Took me 3 years…I avoided DTs by a lot of self education beforehand and tapering very gradually.
Here are some useful sites.
Also google Peter Breggin and Joanna Moncrieff. The William Glassner Institute offers Choice Theory/Reality Therapy that has helped many people make full recoveries from severe psychosis. A lot of experts now agree that what we call mental illness is caused by emotional pain rather than chemical imbalances that cannot be tested or proven to exist. But don’t expect the Zoloft commercials to acknowledge it.
None of these are affiliated with the Church of Scientology. No, I prefer Gene Roddenberry to L. Ron Hubbard. Tom Cruise is good looking, but in his last anti-psych video he looks like he is high on something–not psych drugs perhaps–but more than life or jelly beans. Ha ha.
Katy, I suspect she was just worried about you. I do agree with Rachel that it’s best not to quit these things cold turkey without consulting your doctor (although I can understand why you did).
I am not pro or anti-meds. It depends on the circumstances. Some people really do need them. My friend had psychotic depression, and she absolutely needed them. My understanding of the literature is that medication PLUS therapy has the best results, but everyone needs to decide what works best for them, we are all different. Therapy, medication, coping mechanisms…even exercise are all tools that can be used. I would not reject any out of hand.
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As a prescriber, I would also like to mention that when the people come to us seeking help for depression, they want medications. Usually they have already tried counseling and/or other measures which don’t involve prescription drugs. We offer them what we have available and no medication is perfect. It is not as though we push these drugs on people. The people come to us asking for help and this is what we have available to them. We don’t have any magic rabbits to pull out of a hat which will miraculous cure them. If we did, we would surely give them to the patients but we simply do not have wonder cures for them. Of the various drugs, the SSRIs have the least in terms of undesirable side effects. It tends to go downhill from there which is not to say that the SSRIs always work nor is it to say that they are without undesirable effects. It is usually a good choice for the patient because they have a good safety profile and a good record of effectiveness for many people. It is also easier to get off of them as compared to other drugs and most are now generic so they are the most affordable.
We don’t push drugs on people. The people come to us asking for help and these drugs are basically all we have to offer them. Rachel has found relief through her relationship with God/Jesus and this is great. Most people would not be receptive if you suggested that to them and worse you could imperil your license in doing so. As a provider, one is not suppose to be pushing people into any one religion or any religion,at all, for that matter. We are not clergy persons and we are not qualified to treat people with religion . The best you can do on this count is to ask whether they have talked to their priest, pastor or rabbi. You can suggest they do so and you can offer to refer them to non-religious counseling but that is the most you can do on that count. The vast majority of patients don’t want to hear that anyway. They have come to you because they are wanting medications. It is not like we go around suggesting to people that they take drugs for depression and other mood disorders. They come to us looking for these modalities and if you don’t prescribe what they want they get very angry at you.
If a patient like Rachel had come to me looking for relief from depression and I told her to seek help from Jesus, she could sue me for malpractice. She would likely win because I had the means to possibly help her via a prescription but instead turned her away. If I don’t want to prescribe medication for a patient because I feel it would not be beneficial, the only other alternative is to refer them to a psychiatrist which process will take yet more of their money and end up in the same place, anyway. There is no harm to trying these medications. Many get relief and those who do not, need not use them.
Lois, “The morning after pill otherwise known as emergency contraception works by suppressing ovulation but also by preventing implantation.”
“But they also thought the drug might make it more difficult for a fertilized egg to implant in a woman’s uterus.
Technically, that’s not an abortion, says Wood.”
This is false… The ACOG redefined “pregnancy” medically to mean the time from implantation to delivery, and thus “conception” to mean “implantation” rather than “fertilization” so that they could avoid moral difficulties around the possibility that the pill prevented implantation. Therefore “abortion” meaning terminating a pregnancy, by the ACOG definition must occur after implantation. By all accounts, this redefinition was made in the name of political expediency and acquiescing to the pharmaceutical industry rather than any scientific study.
However, there is significant evidence that these pills do not have the secondary effect of preventing implantation, despite initial expectations that they would.
It is sort of a moot point because if you the religious sort, one who feels accountable to God, then what do you care what ACOG says in the first place. Do we really care about political expediency? I am pro-choice you are likely pro-life (I am guessing, anyway). It does not matter to me whether the embryo did or did not implant. I believe that most pro-lifers hold that human life begins at the moment of conception – i.e. the formation of the zygote. I don’t think most of them care whether or not it implants after dividing xyz times to form the embryo. If the ovum has already been released then the only way the emergency contraceptive could work would be to prevent implantation. For sure the IUD does so. It may prevent the ovum from being released on schedule. So, in that case, everyone is happy except perhaps the Duggars and persons of that mindset.
For everyone else who is pro-life, the issue of implantation would be relevant because taking medication to effectively kill the zygote or embryo would not be acceptable. If the embryo would implant but does not do so because of the morning after pill, then, for sure, one has “killed” the embryo. It can’t survive on it is own. If the morning after pill – which is essentially progesterone – does not prevent implantation, then I suppose you would have a point. I would have to look it up to see what the medical journals are saying about this issue. Seems to me, however, that it is all sort of irrelevant. If one is splitting hairs to that degree, said person probably should not be taking emergency contraception, in the first place. If one believes the zygote is a valid human life, then he or she should do nothing to interfere with its survival.
As long as we are on this subject, I must tell you that I was appalled by the post you put forth sometime back concerning good coming from a woman being raped namely that she might bring another soul to Jesus or whatever. There is no way I am bringing forth any offspring of a rapist. if God were wanting souls so badly as to have me raped, he, she or it had better find some other method of producing said souls. I, for one, am not allowing the seed of a rapist to grow inside of me. The rapist is evil and, as far as I am concerned, said zygote contains half the genes of his or her father. No thank you. Nice and good men do not rape women.
Lois, “Unfortunately, in our current society, Prince Charming…”
I think I disagree with this. The sexualization of our culture is very much in our faces these days, and we assume that this is all new and different. However, I’ve seen a lot of evidence that things like child sexual abuse and rape have happened all along and it was more that women feared being labelled and stigmatized coming forward.
I took sex-ed in high school and it was basically mechanics. Now many of the curricula are geared towards communication – how to be clear about what you want and don’t want. Studies showed that part of the reason for teenage pregnancies was the girls didn’t have strategies for effective communication. We’ve approached our children’s health teacher and emphasized that children need to understand what “consent” means.
The common denominator I teach my children is ‘respect’. A boy who continues to disrespect their boundaries is not going to suddenly respect them when they’re married. In fact, they will respect them less – he’s showing restraint. So, look for someone who treats you with respect all the time.
Dress doesn’t affect this one way or the other. That’s the failure of the modesty movement. A man who is going to lust is going to lust whether she’s wearing a mini-skirt or a denim jumper. The problem is his heart, not what she’s wearing. I think it sends a very bad and judgmental message that a woman walking into the church wearing “immodest” clothes is somehow worthy of mass disrespect.
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Lois, “If the ovum has already been released then the only way the emergency contraceptive could work would be to prevent implantation.”
I (and the studies I linked) say the opposite. The emergency contraceptive ONLY works by preventing ovulation. If ovulation has happened, then the woman is statistically just as likely to get pregnant as if she hadn’t taken the pill.
I’m not talking about IUD’s. Only emergency contraceptive pills.
Lois, “As long as we are on this subject, I must tell you that I was appalled by the post you put forth sometime back concerning good coming from a woman being raped namely that she might bring another soul to Jesus or whatever. ”
I don’t think we have the requisite common ground to discuss this. Since you’re pro-choice, it’s obvious that you are not going to have a moral dilemma with what happens to the innocent life created by such a repugnant act.
I’m not interesting in telling anyone whether they should or shouldn’t have a baby in this case (although I am fairly prolife, I have no problem with the morning after pill and this would be a good time to go for that – I don’t mind the regular pill or iuds either), I think your statement above gets very much into a nature/nurture question. I don’t think the baby of a rapist would be evil.
I agree with this. I’m not sure if that’s what Lois was saying or not, but I disagree with her mindset on some of this in general (and as I mentioned above, the labeling of women as slutty based on what they are wearing).
This is not gendered, either. We should all be taught to respect each other – men should respect men and women, women should respect men and women – as people and do our best to treat them well.
Mark, Not being a woman, you are missing something here. The vast majority of heterosexual women coming of age, WANT to attract men. We want attention, boyfriends, what not. We are not suppose to outright chase after them so we come up with ways to call their attention to us. We labor endlessly about our hair, our nails, our bodies, our manner of dress, our make-up…….whatever. We want to be attractive so that men will pursue us. We want them to choose us……..and we fret endlessly if they don’t. So that is where the dress come in. You sort of push it up to the limit. Push it as far as you can get away with in hopes of attracting the attention of someone who has caught your eye. This is also where flirting comes in. Girls flirt shamelessly to encourage particular men to pursue them. One sorts of picks out males who are of interest and then flirts with them so as to encourage said male to reciprocate and hopefully ask you out on a date or whatever. Some males need a whole lot of encouragement in the form of flirting to do so. Others need no encouragement at all and will pursue you anyway………unfortunately these are not always the ones you want to pursue you.
Usually one’s parents set the limit of how far you can go in the dressing scheme of things and for that matter in the flirting. Parents are going to limit what you can do, where you can go and how you can behave in this whole thing. Parents will vary in this regard. Some are more liberal and permissive; others are less so
Rachel and Lea,
I simply want to go on record as stating that I did not NEED the drugs as I was not suicidal nor damaging to myself in any way, shape or form. And I wasn’t “sinning” per se, but in fact the depression came about from living in a spousal abuse situation day after day. Spousal abuse takes its toll on the body, mind, and soul, and because of the evil and wickedness that lives inside the hearts and minds of churched folks who claim to be born again Christians, yet exhibit none of the fruits of God, the Holy Spirit, I’m more inclined to side with the healing methods offered by the secular world, for many of those people are actually kind, compassionate and loving apart from knowing Jesus.
And I realize that my nurse practitioner was calling me out of care, or perhaps it was a part of her job responsibility in getting that paycheck, either way, it does NOT justify her anger towards me, especially when I was the recipient of an angry, self entitled spouse. There was no good nor edifying reason for her anger regarding my personal decision and I’m thankful I went off of the meds, for God gave me my mind back!
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Mark, what you say makes sense medically even though I have not looked it up in the journals. The morning after pill is progestin, a synthetic form of progesterone and any progestin, basically, will do the trick. Since progestin is, in fact, the hormone of pregnancy, it makes sense that it would not prevent implantation. The whole purpose of progestin is to stabilize the lining of the endometrium and make it hospitable to a fertilized ovum. It is hard to see where a bit more of it, in the form of the emergency contraception pill, will do any harm. After the ovum is released from the ovary, the follicle from whence it came, transforms into a corpus luteum whose function is to secrete progesterone in the interest of promoting a pregnancy. Taken in that light, what you are suggesting does make sense scientifically although I suppose if you are a strict right-to-lifer, you would not chance it.
Well, Mark, this is where the whole reincarnation – karma comes in handy…..and remember Jesus did not condemn that notion. If you subscribe to that view, well the “innocent life” so created by the rape – and now nipped in the bud – can just find another couple from which to be born unto. Those who believe in this view hold that the soul is attracted to a particular couple and enters into this plane through the couple he or she has chose. Over and over, we hear (from proponents of reincarnation) that people choose their parents so as to be born unto them. Of course, this philosophy does not explain why persons would choose abusive parents. You would think everyone would chose the very best of parents so a to have a good life. If there is any truth to this philosophy, I must say that I certainly lucked out. I got great parents or, according to these people, I chose these great parents. The proponents of this perspective hold that not everyone has total choice in the matter. They say, depending on your karma, your options may be limited.