Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Yes, Still Surrendering

We had a good run (two days shy of 26 months!), but all good things must end. And so it is with some sorrow that I acknowledge the end of lactational amenorrhea. I was hoping this lovely side effect of breastfeeding would continue until Peter was 18 months, but almost 17 is pretty good!

I told someone just last week that Peter's nursing habits had precluded any siblings so far. She remarked, "Well don't count on it. Mistakes happen that way!" I was rather nonplussed and responded with something intelligent and assertive like, "Um, yeah, I know." See, I'm not nursing Peter in order to avoid having more children. I'm nursing him because it's good for both of us, physically and emotionally. Having a short-term reprieve from my period was just an added blessing!

What really caught me off-guard about this comment was that this is a friend of mine. We've talked before about my husband's and my decision not to use artificial birth control and ultimately not to use natural family planning to avoid children. I thought she knew our decision to surrender our fertility was an ongoing life choice, not something we tried once then changed our minds once we found I was pregnant.

We're not doing this because we want to have a huge family. I have two brothers, my husband has one sister. We're not used to lots of siblings. When we talk hypothetically, neither of us are sure what life would even look like with more than, say, four children. So we're not trying to have more children.

I mean, the one we have is pretty awesome!

On the other hand, we're also not dictating terms of conditional surrender. It's not, "Well, let's just do this until we have the right number of kids." We don't have a cut-off in mind, either temporally or number of children. I'm tracking my fertility symptoms to keep tabs on my health and so I have an early indicator if I become pregnant again.

In the interest of honesty, we did intentionally avoid another child for the first six months post-partum because of research indicating significantly higher risk levels for both mother and baby if pregnancy occurs during that time. We abstained for three months (yes, really) and relied on LAM for the following three. I consider health of mother and child to be a grave reason.

I believe that children are a gift from God. I will not refuse a gift, nor will I try to force one from His hands. Surrender. That's how it works.


  1. I think your position on leaving it in God's hands is wonderful. I did the same and now have two adult children, a toddler and one on the way-- so a total of only four. Each one a gift and a joy. One of my adult kids is married and they just had their first-- so I'm a grandmother too. Another precious gift. Enjoy the journey, I loved my grad school studies but the BEST parts of my life have been my children!

  2. TWO YEARS of no period!? Dang. I need to get in on this. :)

  3. i had one period before getting pregnant again, and as sick as i am when i'm pregnant, the whole not having a period still seems like a perk!! and thankfully david, so far, as not had any issues with nursing. he still nurses at least 3 times a day and my supply does not seem to have any issues so far - for which i am very grateful because my sister-in-law pretty much loses her supply the second she becomes pregnant again! i'm sorry that your little break is over, but perhaps not for long?!

  4. Ann: Thank you for sharing your wisdom and joy. What beautiful testament to God's plans for us!

    Rachel: I know, right? Although I do have to say that it varies widely among women, with my experience being on the high end. Here's hoping you have the same lengthy reprieve! :-)

    Donna: Glad your nursing relationship hasn't suffered. I haven't completely decided yet if I want to tandem nurse if that situation arises. *shrug* Apparently I have at least nine months to figure it out. ;-)

  5. I'm hoping for 18 months as well--fingers crossed! We used NFP before Gus was born, but since then, we have just been counting on LA. I've read that 6% of the time, women ovulate before their first PP period. We thought, if that's us, then it is obviously meant to be. I was worried about becoming pregnant before Gus turned 1 and a possible dip in supply, but just tried to trust in God to find a way for it all to work out!

  6. "As for God, his way is perfect" (Psalm 18:30). Still so hard for us to trust sometimes, though! Here's hoping you hit 18 months. :-)