It's an old argument, but always flung at me as if it were fresh and new and something I had never considered before this present moment. I think they expect me to stand there with my mouth hanging open at the cleverness of this point of view. This not being my first rodeo, I simply smile and ask "What about the failure rate?"
It's a statistical anomaly, I'm told, if only people used contraceptives correctly there would virtually no unplanned pregnancies. Education and free access are all that separate us from an abortion free world.
"What about the failure rates?" I press them again, only to be told that those are just statistics. The number of those pregnancies is so small.....
I'd like to introduce myself: I am the Failure Rate. My husband and I have "defeated" almost every form of birth control available. Back in our pre-Catholic days, we did the "only sensible and responsible thing " and tried to prevent babies from coming before we wanted them to come. Look how well that worked out for us:
#1 was conceived while I was on the Pill. It was 4 months before our wedding and we were not spectacularly thrilled. (LOVE her now. Just wanted to get that in there.)
|#1 was conceived while I was on the Pill|
|# 1.5 conceived on Depo-Provera|
We were devastated when # 1.5 died at 11 weeks gestation.
In the midst of our devastation, we decided to have #2. He was to be our only "on purpose" baby.
We wised up to the idea that hormonal contraceptives might not be the best choice for us. Since we had no desire to be celibate, we reluctantly decided that it would have to be condoms. We were not happy. What kind of married people used condoms? The kind who could defeat the Pill, that's who.
We learned that condoms and spermicide don't work either the Christmas just after #2's first birthday. He was a sick and unhappy baby, and I couldn't imagine adding another baby to the mind numbing worry of my life. It didn't matter what I was thinking. Stunned or not, #3 arrived the next August.
|No barrier was going to stop us from having #3|
We were finished with artificial things which didn't stop anything. Not only were we frustrated, I was becoming more Catholic and couldn't reconcile my actions with my beliefs. We turned to our last hope, the Rhythm Method (no snickering, NFPers.) It should surprise no one that #4 came along pretty quickly after that.
|#4 - Proof her parents can't count|
Within 18 months we were expecting #4.5
|# 4.5 - The last time we used contraceptives|
When we realized that #6 was coming, we shook our heads and laughed a bit. We were no longer trying to prevent their coming, but they were still arriving in the "every 2 years" pattern we had established. We had decided that spacing was up to God, and He seems to think every 2 years is a good thing.
We were in the midst of moving and were watching my cycles and charts to avoid pregnancy in the middle of a move. God laughed. My midwife looked at my chart and exclaimed "There's no way you got pregnant that month!" but we did.
|#7 - The "you can't possibly have gotten pregnant" baby|
You can talk to me all you want about the statistical anomaly of the failure rate and how it's only around 1%. You can tell me that the number of babies from the failure rate would be too small of a number to make a difference. You can say that all you want, but you'd be wrong. I know because it has surely made a difference around here. You see, my whole house is bursting at the seams from that insignificant "Failure Rate."