Fertility: Friend or Foe?
By Julia Wilson
From the time a woman becomes fertile, contraception is an issue. It begins soon after puberty with girls eager to experience adulthood as soon as possible. Young women eagerly wait until they turn 16 so they are able to legally get the pill without mum’s consent and their boyfriend doesn’t have to wear a “raincoat in the shower.” This is where it starts – woman’s battle with her fertility – a battle with her higher self.
For the next thirty years, pregnancy prevention is a major theme. The pill, diaphragms, hormonal injections and implants become a normal part of life and often before she has the wisdom or maturity to even question their effects. At sixteen, without parental consent, let alone advice, girls make decisions about their bodies that will affect the natural state of their fertility and health well into adulthood.
The sad reality is that many girls have felt the grief a termination before they’ve felt the joy of being truly in love – or at least, loved back – and for many it’s done in secret. It’s not just that they’ll be in trouble that they don’t tell mum, it’s that telling her will admit to her own soul that she’s sold herself out. Feeling there’s no option, they walk into abortion clinics with a burden too big for a young girl to carry alone and come back out with a broken heart and the possibility of a barrage of unknown future medical problems to come. For many, abortion is the first contraceptive device she knows. She doesn’t realise that this quick, apparently painless operation can be the cause of many complications later, including post-partum haemorrhage, retained placenta, placental abruption and miscarriage.
By the time a woman gets around to actually wanting to conceive with the right man, her body has often been victim to chemicals, uterine scarring and severe hormonal imbalance. It’s not until she actually wants a baby that she realises this is the body we will use to nurture and carry our young and the devastation that she has caused to her temple. Her fertility and her health become suddenly paramount. When a woman wants to have a child, she embraces her fertility, promptly uses it to her advantage and then, once again looks for a way to be rid of it.
However, this suppression is a renouncing of her primal roots. Fertility, giving life, nurturing the future through our wombs and our love, is a woman’s natural calling on the Earth. When we seek to abandon it, in favour of material wealth, lifestyle or primarily self-centred activities, we sever ourselves from our primitive needs and our soul suffers. We are born to give – give life, give love, give knowledge – and it is in this that we truly receive. There is no greater love than the love a mother has for her child. There is no greater high than a natural, instinct led birth. Women are seeking everywhere for the ultimate high. It is within you. Your fertility is your greatest gift. Your children are your greatest blessing.
We are raised to believe that our fertility is a curse and, worse still, our children are, too! Our children can be seen as a blessing – when we are open to having them. There is a natural balance in all things in nature. Our fertility has a beginning, a middle and an end. The attempt to control fertility is getting out of control.
So what’s the alternative? I suggest embracing our fertility and allowing nature to dictate the number of children we are to bear. I can hear you saying right now, “But I’m so fertile that would mean I’d have, like 20 babies. I’d never be able to do anything else! My life would be nappies and breastfeeding.” Exactly what I said and yet, my soul cried out in agony every time I took the pill, every time we talked vasectomy or tubal ligation. I realised that if I was to live with any integrity, I could not repress my fertility or compromise my health any longer. Not for one more day – but what would this mean for my life? I already had four children. Why would I want any more?
That’s when it hit me. I loved my children, I knew I would do anything for them but on some level, I saw them as a burden and was waiting for them to grow up so I could have my life back. I realised that if I were to fully work with nature, work with my body, my fertility and its natural urges, I would have to change this mentality. I looked at it carefully and wondered where on Earth I’d ever got the idea that having children was anything more than my primary purpose, the idea that it was somehow a sideline to my career, rather than my career itself.
I challenged the notion that children are a burden or a curse and that we should therefore limit their number. I meditated and prayed on this and soon realised that the more children I have, the more blessed I would be! Mother Theresa pondered, “How can there be too many children? That’s like saying there are too many flowers.”
That’s when my husband and I discovered an aspect to our marriage that we had never experienced before. Something, a freedom, that I think it would be impossible to know without succumbing to this most primal part of oneself. My husband’s value of me increased one hundred fold. I am the key to the expression of himself, his love, his masculinity, his purpose and his children. Without me, he is nothing. The more children, the more love, the more energy, the more of US.
Our children, too, took on a different place in our hearts. The more we came to see children as blessings that we would not want to limit – in fact, the more the better – the more reverence we had for the ones we already have. Our values, what’s important to us in life, have changed greatly. Nothing is more important than my husband and my children. These holy, sacred relationships have become what life is about for me. It’s seeing them happy that brings me joy. Our family and retaining our love for one another at the highest possible level is what our lives are about. My life has become about relationship rather than status. I don’t think I could regret that when I look back at my life when my children are grown.
I felt a freedom, a lightness of spirit, a sense of gratitude that I had never experienced as soon as I embraced this philosophy. I was free of a curse that I had been carrying since before I was conscious enough to know that I had a choice. My fertility is a blessing. I felt like a real woman for the first time ever and that gave me even more to give to my husband and our children. Hear me joyfully cry, “I AM FREE!!!” This is what I call true woman’s liberation!
Julia Wilson is a mother of four and Childbirth Educator, offering birth support both in hospital and at home. She is also the Australian contact for America’s Midwifery Today’s International Programme. A published writer on various aspects of pregnancy and childbirth, Julia is currently writing her next work for publication, entitled “The Blissful Birth Bible” – an inspiring bedside companion for pregnancy covering everything from cultural ceremonies to unassisted birth.