Political Babies

Did anyone read Libby Copeland's Washington Post article yesterday about political insiders planning their babies around election cycles -- instead of ovulation cycles? The article was cute-silly titled Blue or Pink States. It was a tetch annoying in that inside-the-Beltway Washington way (mentioning lots of political couples that most people, including me, have never heard of).

But the article focused on an essential question that affects many normal folks outside Washington politics: How far can you go in terms of planning pregnancies around major events in your career? Are you playing God if you wait to get pregnant until after a major milestone such as turning 30, getting a promotion or making partner? Is plotting your babymaking distasteful, wise, disgusting, or purely practical?

All of the above, is my answer. Of course some people plan babies around their work goals. This doesn't make work more important than children -- it's just plain old smart and responsible pre-parenting, a jumpstart on good work/family balancing. That is what birth control was invented for. We wouldn't have any women in politics in Washington -- or women working full-time anywhere in any industry -- without the freedom from accidental pregnancies afforded by widely available, readily accessible, effective contraception.

But of course this bothers some people. It seems unnatural or unromantic or -- the worst insult -- unmaternal. The first and most enduring lesson of parenthood is that children shake our foundations and rock our worlds -- in ways we can never plan. But we live in a society in which fatherhood enhances men's reputations, electability and earning power. The same culture in which motherhood raises questions about how committed a woman is to her job, her company and constituents. So, of course, women are under particular pressure to time when they have children, and how many they have, in sync with milestones in their careers.

We don't criticize men for holding off on matrimony or parenthood -- we look upon them as wise, or at the very least, indulge them as playful bachelors or focused workaholics. We don't threaten potential fathers with the ticking of their biological clocks, or call them old maids or spinsters, or suggest ruefully that they will regret holding off one day (when their eggs are dried up and they realize what a horrible mistake they've made!) Much as we increasingly respect women for remaining child-free (see Monday's discussion) we should respect women's decisions to delay childbearing, plan pregnancies, or freeze their eggs.

Have you tried to plan a pregnancy around the needs of your business, a political election cycle, a key educational goal or some other milestone such as getting a green card, buying your first house, or turning a certain age? Does it infuriate you that some people try to game the blessing of a child? Is a successfully planned pregnancy somehow sweeter? Or do accidents bring their own particular joy?

For an alternate view, check out On Parenting.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  October 31, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Conflicts
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People are very fortunate that can plan such things. While there are many that can say "I want to have a baby in June" and it happens there are many who do not get pregnant the minute they want. This whole idea of pregnancy planned to the minute strikes me as unrealistic. You will get prenant when all the complications of conception take place this may be the moment you want or not. People should not read this article and think that they can stop using birth control and get pregnant tomorrow.

Posted by: ChesapeakeBeach | October 31, 2007 7:47 AM

Mrs. Mako and I are always planning to have baby makos. For us it is not a choice but a biological imperative.

First!

Posted by: nonamehere | October 31, 2007 7:48 AM

Actually, second, oh, well

Posted by: nonamehere | October 31, 2007 7:49 AM

As usual, the answer is in between. I know several teachers who have planned babies for the summer, so they don't have to leave in the middle of the school year. I think most people call that being responsible. So why would it suddenly become bad or selfish for women whose jobs are based on an election cycle to do the same thing?

At the same time, when you try to plan, you have to have enough humility to realize that your ability to control the situation only goes so far.

We've done it both ways. Twice we decided no kids for now when the timing was particularly bad (ie, when my husband got laid off and we had to move cross-country). On the other hand, we chose to try for no. 2 the year that I knew I was going up for partner -- I was almost 40 and had a history of infertility, so the choice was really go now or decide that one is enough. And having a chance at a second, at a cost of maybe delaying partnership a year, well, that was a no-brainer for us (turns out there was no delay anyway).

Of course, the caveat is that we were "lucky" enough to know from having our first that it really was "now or never" for us, and that we couldn't take having a baby for granted; I suspect without that knowledge, I would have thought, well, what harm can one more year do? If you don't know you have a problem, it's easy to delay for so long that "later" turns into "never" -- especially when you work in a demanding job, when there's always some new crisis. I do feel for the women who don't realize they have a problem until it's too late to do anything about it.

Posted by: laura33 | October 31, 2007 7:51 AM

Romance be damned, I think most people would prefer to plan their pregnancies. Teachers do, and I can certainly see why folks who work on the Hill do. I don't see anything wrong with it -- it's reality. However, the other side of that reality is that procreation doesn't always happen just because mom and dad want it to, really, really badly. And in that case, you take what you can get.

Almost immediately after I got married, I was promoted to the top of the food chain (for me), and I knew that would mean long hours for the forseeable future. My husband and I had talked about trying for a baby right away, but decided to wait at least 18 months given the new job. I am SO glad that we made that choice, because I put in 3,000 hours in 12 months at work that year, was able to achieve many successes and wins, and pregnancy would have made that absolutely impossible. Of course, when I did become pregnant, I felt so god-awful ill that it was noticeable fairly quickly that something wasn't right, but that just meant I had to "out" myself at 8 weeks instead of 12 as I'd wanted. The best laid plans . . .

Posted by: WorkingMomX | October 31, 2007 8:03 AM

I think planning is smart and responsible, when it works out. When DH and I got married at 23, we agreed that we'd wait to have kids until we were 30, and had met some very specific financial goals. The point was to get to where we were financially secure enough to have one of us stay home if we decided that was best. Though I wanted a child years before we met those goals, I'm glad we waited. Our lives are much easier now because we waited until we were really ready. And, of course, we were ridiculously lucky that everything worked out how we wanted it to.

Planning our second has been much less successful. We wanted our kids 18-24 months apart, so I'd only be out of work a total of 3 years. Unfortunately, since we started trying in August 2006, we've lost two pregnancies and learned that I will not be able to conceive again without IVF. One of the hardest parts of this whole loss/infertility roller coaster is dealing with the change in expectations and plans we'd made.

Posted by: newsahm | October 31, 2007 8:15 AM

Given the difficulty in actually becoming pregnant (even when both partners are at their peak fertility it's still only around a 20-25% chance/month), I find it difficult to believe that "planning" for a birth in a given month is even possible. Certainly they can make the attempt, but given the odds it's more likely they'll be having their child a few months or more after their target date.

Posted by: johnl | October 31, 2007 8:23 AM

I don't see anything wrong with pregnancy planning. It is a couples' choice when (and IF) to have children, so why should it be weird for the couple to plan for a time when they will be the most ready (whether that be financially, professionally, emotionally, etc.). I know of couples who have put off getting pregnant b/c the wife was on medication for depression/anxiety. She wanted to take more time to get better before getting pregnant. Hard to really fault her on that. My DH and I wanted to be married for at least 3-4 years before trying to get pregnant. We wanted that time in our married lives to be just about us (and not dominated by kids).

I actually think it good that these parents who work on the Hill are trying to plan for "off seasons" if possible. This is when they are the most available and able to spend the most time with their children. How can this be a bad thing?

Of course, the older a women is, the less she can "plan" her pregnancy. I think we can all appreciate that if you wait too long, you may have a harder time getting pregnant at all. The article in the Post mentioned a 37-year old who put off getting pregnant until recently and is now "surprised" that she is having difficulties. These statements always amaze me. All of my friends in their 30s who don't have kids (and want them eventually) hear their biological clocks ticking VERY loudly. They KNOW it will be harder for them and it stresses them out completely.

Posted by: londonmom | October 31, 2007 8:28 AM

"Mrs. Mako and I are always planning to have baby makos. For us it is not a choice but a biological imperative. "

Mako, Mako, Mako!

Sharkie is the one making babies with skanky Mrs. Mako! You are the back-up lover! Wake up and smell the coffee!

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 31, 2007 8:38 AM

How Do On Balance & On Parenting have alternative views on this topic?

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 31, 2007 8:45 AM

Are you suggesting that we, as a society, "threaten" women with the ticking of their biological clocks? Because that's just plain wrong. Biology threatens women with that. Oh, and it's hardly a threat. Just a reality.

You really shouldn't pretend that biological clocks are some sort of male or societal oppression of women. It's part of life -- women and men are different. Sorry, but it's just the way it is. Rather than pretend it's something else, people should try to work with it and not against it.

Posted by: rlalumiere | October 31, 2007 8:55 AM

I've had friends who showed horses professionally. And more than one admitted to trying to plan to give birth between December and February. March is when the show season prep works starts up again--even some reasonably big shows. October through November is Nationals season for all breeds.

So, this isn't a new trend. Been around for quite some time! I think the only thing "new" about it, is that it's a little more feasible than before.

Posted by: maryland_mother | October 31, 2007 9:00 AM

I was a complete failure at planning pregnancies and for a person who planned successfully pretty much everything else in life this was a shocker. We started trying to have a baby 3 years before actually delivering one. At the end, there was no planning involved, just frantic trying every chance we got...But in terms of timing, my pregnancies turned out perfect. I was pregnant over the winter, was able to re-use the same maternity clothes, and both times had maternity leave over the summer recess on the Hill, which helped tremendously (of course it also helped that the Republicans had a nearly 6 week recess in August, something that Pelosi had put an end to).

Posted by: tsm | October 31, 2007 9:04 AM

I see nothing wrong with planning when you prefer to have a baby (realzing that you don't have too much control). I would have given anything to have had that choice! My husband and I had to endure 5 years of infertility and all the medical tortures that accompany that. We ended up getting pregnant on our own (although the previous medical intervention was essential). When we tried for #2, we got pregnant in the first month we tried!

Posted by: Sylvia1231 | October 31, 2007 9:07 AM

"We wouldn't have
any women in politics in Washington -- or women working full-time anywhere in any industry -- without the freedom from accidental pregnancies afforded
by widely available, readily accessible, effective contraception"

Leslie, your insistance that couples have no control over their sex lives as a means of planning pregnancy without the use of contraception is very insulting to humankind, especially women. Promoting that women should be available for sex at any given time without consequence is doing females, especially teenagers, a grave disservice. Given that contraception is not only prone to failure, but the mindset that procreation should be manipulated to the point where it can, and perhaps should, be terminated by choice to favor a career over human life defeats its very purpose. IMO, the spiritual vacuum and misleading promises created by artificial birth control has created more unplanned, unwanted pregnancies and children than it has prevented.

But go ahead, keep comparing women to men, competing with them on their playing field, and telling us why its so unfair. Perhaps if men gave women more and more of their help, you'll eventually be able to declare equality. LOL!

Posted by: GutlessCoward | October 31, 2007 9:11 AM

I was on the flip side of this situation -- I was asking the state bar whether I would be able to eat a little bit of food during the bar exam because I would be 7 months pregnant (I wasn't actually asking to eat at the test table, but just to step outside the room to eat a granola bar or something; they were saying that I wouldn't be allowed to carry any food with me at all, even if I took time out of my own time allotment to grab a quick snack).

Instead, I was told that everyone knows when the bar exam is, so I can plan my fertility around it. Thus, they did not need to make accommodations for me -- unlike someone who unexpectedly breaks a leg. I was flabbergasted. While I am aware I can TRY to plan my pregnancies around major events, that isn't how it works for me. My husband and I tried for several months, had a miscarriage, etc. The woman on the phone didn't know anything about my ability to "plan my fertility."

Posted by: alharkansas | October 31, 2007 9:17 AM

laura, thanks once again for being a voice of clarity and reason!

the biological clock is a societal oppression! but yes i agree rlalumiere, i am being paranoid here.

i did try to plan one pregnancy. it took several visits to the doctor before it became clear that i had never learned how the menstrual cycle and ovulation work. (some things, harvard doesn't teach).

next baby total accident.

last baby planned to the date.

all happy stories. i think the point is that if you end up with a healthy mom and healthy baby it doesn't matter how or when you get there.

Posted by: leslie4 | October 31, 2007 9:17 AM

I've typed 3 different responses and finally decided I have nothing to add. I'm waiting for the anti-BC crazies to join the discussion for some spice. Given my track record, without BC, I would have had 14 children by now. Bring on the crazies!

Posted by: atb2 | October 31, 2007 9:19 AM

There is nothing wrong with trying to plan when you have a baby. The problem is some people don't seem to realize that you don't have as much control over it as you think. So just because you are trying to get pregnant at a certain time doesn't mean you will. And I find it amazing that intelligent people like some of those in the article don't seem to grasp the concept of a biological clock until it's too late. If you choose to put off having kids because of your career, then you need to be prepared to accept the consequences of that decision - namely that you might have a very difficult time conceiving.

And I also don't unterstand what the "alternate view" is between this blog and On Parenting.

Posted by: dennis5 | October 31, 2007 9:21 AM

Youth doesn't guarantee fertility either. My younger sister had that problem in her 20's.

Posted by: maryland_mother | October 31, 2007 9:25 AM

"But of course this bothers some people. It seems unnatural or unromantic or -- the worst insult -- unmaternal."

Posted by Leslie Morgan Steiner '87 | October 31, 2007 07:00 AM

There is nothing unnatural, unromantic or unmaternal about not having babies when one doesn't want to have them. As so many people have pointed out today, men's and women's bodies are not machines that can turn out babies on demand, so "planning" amounts to a combination of birth limitation (which usually works) and timed childbearing (which may or may not work).

"But we live in a society in which fatherhood enhances men's reputations, electability and earning power. The same culture in which motherhood raises questions about how committed a woman is to her job, her company and constituents." (Leslie)

"We" live in such a society? As opposed to other people, who live in societies where fatherhood raises questions about men's commitments while motherhood enhances women's reputations, electablility and earning power? Leslie, where are these other societies? How come so many men and women are giving up all they have in non-American societies and cultures to immigrate here and join our society?

"We don't threaten potential fathers with the ticking of their biological clocks, . . . " (Leslie)

That's right. Fathers are allowed to have babies even late in life, although there are raised eyebrows when some seventy-five-year-old Senator has a baby with his current, 30-year-old trophy wife. Conversely, there are no busybody professors telling men, "Here's the last rule: Have a baby. Just don't have two," as Linda Hirshman advised "élite women" in her notorious American Prospect article, "Homeward Bound."

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | October 31, 2007 9:30 AM

I am hoping that waiting until I am older to have children will help me achieve balance. I am 33 so I am anticipating it to take longer than if I were 23, but you never really know. I wanted to have time with my husband, save and then find a flexible job that pays well before having our first. (Finally found the job!) So, now we will try.

Posted by: Thought | October 31, 2007 9:32 AM

atb2, you're too late; GutlessCoward has already showed up with its usual screed on how BC is immoral, doesn't work and "leads to more unplanned...pregnancies than it has prevented".

Needless to say, GC's comment is 100%, pure unadulterated hogwash. Those who practice "natural planning", as GC is apparently advocating, usually end up being called parents.

Posted by: johnl | October 31, 2007 9:35 AM

Does anyone know women who opted to have children young and do college and career when they were older? If no woman voluntarily goes that route, what does that say about our real *choices?*

Posted by: anne.saunders | October 31, 2007 9:37 AM

I am actually guilty of this - of trying, at least, to conceive a child around a political election cycle. I used to work for a news organization that covered the conventions heavily. In my job, I rarely, if ever, traveled, but the whole show went on the road for the conventions and it was a big deal (and a great experience - I had attended both D and R conventions in 2000, before I was married).

My plan was to conceive and give birth early enough before the summer that I could still go to the conventions for work. I actually did conceive and was due in February 2004 - until I suffered a miscarriage. It was truly devastating to lose the pregnancy - I was nearly in the second trimester and thought I was in the clear. It never even occurred to me that my plan was in disarray - I was just hopeless that I would never have a child.

In time, I did get pregnant again and my due date was early August, so no conventions for me. I was actually in labor at the hospital watching Barack Obama give the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention that year - kinda funny, huh? So much for planning.

I learned the hard way that babies come along on no one's schedule but their own (and God's).

Posted by: viennamom | October 31, 2007 9:38 AM

Leslie: "But we live in a society in which fatherhood enhances men's reputations, electability and earning power."

~Sigh~

Here we go again. It's getting tedious to come in here every day and ask that if you are going to use a generalization which paints one group as oppressed while another as coddled that you PROVIDE SOME SUBSTANTIATION behind the assertion.

It's damn tedious to re-read every day how Dads Have It So Easy without so much as a single shred of evidence -- not even some blatantly biased study or poorly reasoned corroborating article -- which supports the notion.

So again I'll take the step of doing the straw poll:

Moms, when was the last time you voted for a man or patted him on the back just because he had kids?

Dads, how large was your last Congratulations-On-Your-Baby-Pay-Increase?

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | October 31, 2007 9:54 AM

I tried to plan my first child to coincide with when I was doing dissertation research. There was no reason to believe this wouldn't be achieveable--I was in my 20's, perfectly healthy (if a bit dependant on caffeine), and had three years to work with. But anyone who thinks that their body will always cooperate with what their mind wants has clearly not been paying attention (how about that time you got violently ill at a really inopportune time? Or hiccupped loudly in a quiet church? Or had the hots for someone you really didn't even like very much?). For me, fertility worked the same way. I wasn't able to get pregnant until a year after I started a grown-up job. But it seems to have worked out, and I think my brother was right in his response to some of my agonizing about when to plan to have children--he told me that if everyone waited to have a child until it was exactly the right time, no one would ever have a baby.

Planning children around work obligations is fine, just as long as people understand the difference between planning and controlling.

Posted by: sarahfran | October 31, 2007 9:55 AM

I think it is fine to plan the birth of your children, if you can. This is especially important if you are thinking in terms of big milestones, like becoming financially stable, finishing school, or something like that. As long as you are relatively young, it probably will work for you. Once you get into your 30s though, all bets are off, and you have to be prepared for the fact that your body might just not cooperate with your well laid plans. I had my first child at 34. I had been married almost 2 years by then, and we kind of decided spur of the moment to take the plunge and try for a baby. We got pregnant on our first try, it was an easy pregnancy, and we never really gave the process a second thought, since it went so smoothly. We thought we would try for a second one soon, but the sleep deprivation and fatigue set in after our son was born, and we had second thoughts. For a few years, we thought he would be an only child. But then, when I going on 39, we decided to go for another one. So we started trying, and boom, I was quickly pregnant again. Twelve weeks later, I miscarried. We waited 3 months and started trying again. This time, it took longer to get pregnant, but it eventually happened. Some weeks later, I miscarried again. I went through two more miscarriages in the course of the next two years before a pregancy stuck. I will be 42 when my daughter is born in December of this year. We feel incredibly fortunate that it worked out for us, but now I realize that pregnancy is not something that you can plan precisely. It involves some planning and a lot of luck. Some people have not been so lucky. I remember that during my first pregnancy, I never worried about miscarrying or infertility. It seems like such an innocent time now. I wish all women could have pregnancies like that. But I guess it is good to know what the possibilities are, so that you can at least be prepared to face them.

Posted by: Emily | October 31, 2007 10:15 AM

"i had never learned how the menstrual cycle and ovulation work. (some things, harvard doesn't teach)."

Posted by: leslie4 | October 31, 2007 09:17 AM

Acknowledging that Harvard doesn't teach this stuff, your children will learn how their reproductive systems work before they even apply to Harvard. They will learn this in middle school when the nurse is handing out the condoms and birth control pills to 11-year-olds at the school-based clinic.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | October 31, 2007 10:20 AM

I wanted spring babies (or late winter babies). My sisters and I had birthdays that were within a month of each other - my mom once asked: do you think that was an accident?

My kid due dates were actually within 2 days of each other. The reason that they are about 5 weeks apart is that the first was very early. Again, so much for planning. I would have liked them a few months earlier, but who can plan that?

I learned I was pregnant with both, between the high holidays (jewish new year and jewish day of atonement). For the day of atonement, one needs to fast the whole day, so I was sneaking around the synagogue, getting drinks of water from the water fountain, hoping no one saw. Cause I didn't want to tell anyone I was 4-5 weeks pregnant.

The reality is that most people have a tough time getting pregnant - there's such a slim probability every month. I think we think we can plan everything in our lives - work hard, etc, and then all will happen - if we save hard enough, we can buy that car or house we want, if we work hard enough, we can get that promotion, etc. So we 'work' hard at having babies, and we're not in control (man plans - G-d laughs).
So we get frustrated. And we can't admit to ourselves that we really have no control over it at all. Then we go through expensive medical procedures, or boundless guilt, or frustration or emotional hell. Why? I don't know.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 31, 2007 10:23 AM

"i had never learned how the menstrual cycle and ovulation work. (some things, harvard doesn't teach)."

Try Yale or Berkeley for a well-rounded education.

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 31, 2007 10:26 AM

Thanks ProudPapa, you are right again today. A group that always portrays itself as victims will continue to get treated as victims.

I think Leslie's point was more that men take less societal criticism, not so much that they earn more praise. Men aren't expected to take paternity leave, so a baby is just a baby. It's just a conversation topic and might mean less overtime for a few weeks. Also, a 40 year old man without kids is never approached by acquaintances he hardly knows and asked when he's going to have kids since his time is running out. No, they know he can continue to spread his seed until he's too ridiculously old to even be there for his kids in any substantial kind of way. It's just the luck of the draw, biologically. It doesn't mean men are oppressing women. But in that specific arena, they have to take less crap from people they barely know.

Posted by: _Miles | October 31, 2007 10:32 AM

I know a couple (inlaws by step) that scheduled an induction 3 weeks before the baby was due because the father had a series of business trips to attend. Cool!

Another classic example of how corporate America has its worshipers by the short n' curlies.

Posted by: GutlessCoward | October 31, 2007 10:43 AM

What bugged me about this was the statement that "We wouldn't have any women in politics in Washington -- or women working full-time anywhere in any industry -- without ... contraception." While being able to plan pregnancies is certainly helpful, there are plenty of women (me included!) that were able to have very successful careers even with unplanned pregnancies.

Would my life have been more "perfect" if I had planned out every minute of it? Maybe. Would I trade the life I ended up with for that perfect life? Not in a minute.

Posted by: jjtwo | October 31, 2007 10:51 AM

I planned my first two (first attempt at first child, second attempt at second child), but was on birth control when the third was conceived. Talk about timing, this was April 1999, when there were competitions around the country as to who would have the first baby of the millenium. Low and behold, my due date was Jan 2, 2000. All through the pregnancy, I was being asked if I registered for the competition, and how did we manage to time it just right. I'm glad my son was 4 days late, just to avoid the hoopla. I realize that most people don't have issues with getting pregnant too easily (at least on this board), but contraception and planning don't always work.

Posted by: pamsdds | October 31, 2007 11:16 AM

Youth doesn't guarantee fertility either. My younger sister had that problem in her 20's.

Posted by: maryland_mother | October 31, 2007 09:25 AM

No, but the chances of infertility increase with age, and if you are younger you have more time to work through it.

Posted by: dennis5 | October 31, 2007 11:23 AM

Planning a pregnancy is a foreign concept to me...I got pregnant trying NOT to. Birth control failed. I'm as fertile as they come...

Posted by: pepperjade | October 31, 2007 11:27 AM

I have always wondered how people end up pregnant by accident while they are on birth control. Are they not being careful or taking their pills every day at the same time of day? I was on birth control for 15 years before I began trying to have children, and it never failed for me.

Posted by: Emily | October 31, 2007 11:33 AM

Youth doesn't guarantee fertility either. My younger sister had that problem in her 20's.

Posted by: maryland_mother | October 31, 2007 09:25 AM

No, but the chances of infertility increase with age, and if you are younger you have more time to work through it.

Posted by: dennis5 | October 31, 2007 11:23 AM

I am well aware of that.

Posted by: maryland_mother | October 31, 2007 11:34 AM

"We wouldn't have any women in politics in Washington -- or women working full-time anywhere in any industry -- without ... contraception."

Really? The slaves and 19th and early 20th century factory workers must have known something we don't, because, by golly, they managed to work full-time despite reproducing. We do what we have to do with the hand we're dealt.

Pregnant women and moms have been working full-time for centuries in all cultures. Contraception broadens their choices and gives them some measure of control over their reproduction, but to spin this into the absurd statement that women can't, and haven't, worked full-time without its benefits is silly.

Posted by: MN | October 31, 2007 11:39 AM

Emily

"I have always wondered how people end up pregnant by accident while they are on birth control. Are they not being careful or taking their pills every day at the same time of day? "

There are lot of penicillin babies.

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 31, 2007 11:41 AM

I have always wondered how people end up pregnant by accident while they are on birth control. Are they not being careful or taking their pills every day at the same time of day? I was on birth control for 15 years before I began trying to have children, and it never failed for me.

Posted by: Emily | October 31, 2007 11:33 AM

Lucky you, Emily.

First, chitty rightly points out the interaction between certain meds and oral contraceptives, a relationship that wasn't noticed until oral contraceptives had been on the market for some time.

Second, you'd be only the second woman I've known in my lifetime to honestly state that she takes her pills at the same time of day each day. Most I have known attempt sameness, but life gets in the way. The most common time to take bcps is at bedtime. If you're a college student or the parent of an infant, "bedtime" may be 11 p.m. one night and 5 a.m. another. If you're a shift worker, maybe you pick up an overtime shift from a colleague and get home 8 hours later than you anticipated from time to time. Now let's consider women whose lives are less predicably structured, or who are alcoholics or addicted to prescription meds, or who have diagnosed issues with ADD. There are solutions to all of these organizational issues, but my point is that I don't believe there are as many women whose lives naturally permit consistent, every 24 hour, to the minute, pill-taking as there are women taking bcps.

Posted by: MN | October 31, 2007 11:55 AM

Thanks, MN. That's one reason I went on nuvaring. But so now i obsess about what week it is. *sigh*.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 31, 2007 11:59 AM

Hey, although I think birth control is great, I have no opposition to abstinence or the rhythm method or whatever works for you.

B.C. does work for some, but we're dealing with sexual desire here, so naturally "control" is a bit of a squirrelly concept.

And I have a friend from J&J who got pregnant twice while using the Pill and a diaphgrahm. She was one of those uber-fertile women.

And thanks for the advice about what college to go to learn about the reproductive cycle. I think it would have been a whole lot better if I'd learned about that BEFORE going to college, myself.

Posted by: leslie4 | October 31, 2007 12:02 PM

"I have always wondered how people end up pregnant by accident while they are on birth control"

Emily, that's another problem with the assumption that people NEED to rely on contraception to plan their pregnancies. Responsible couples will be able to use it effectively, and irresponsible couples, by their nature, will fail.
What you end up with is a society of irresponsable people making most of the babies.
Noticed that trend lately?

Posted by: GutlessCoward | October 31, 2007 12:05 PM

First, not everyone is lucky enough to be able to have kids whenever they want. Some of us struggle with infertility and we're grateful to have our children however and whenever they come.

In my social circle, few people who planned to have a baby during a certain season/month and were successful. Yes, many could postpone pregnancy past a certain point in their lives (such as after college), but I know some who couldn't. More than one of my roommates in college can tell you that birth control and excellent planning does not mean you won't get pregnant.

Add in the actual chances of coneciving on any given cycle (about 25% if you're timing everything right), infertility problems, faulty birth control, etc. I think think people are kidding themselves if they think they're 100% in control.

It almost makes this topic moot. Why does it matter whether or not we *should* plan our babies for a certain season? Most of the time we *can't.*

Posted by: tcarpowich | October 31, 2007 12:14 PM

again -

People plan, G-d laughs.

We're just not in control. We can pretend all we want, but we're not.

If you're atheist or agnostic or whatever, this isn't meant to offend - just that there is some other power out there. We can plan and plan and plan. It could make not a lick of difference.

Or the other quote I like:

Life is what happens when you're making other plans.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 31, 2007 12:30 PM

Kudos to those who can get pregnant when they want. For the vast majority of us, though, it's about getting pregnant at all! I'm 2.5 years into it and I have one pregnancy and a subsequent miscarriage to show for it. At this point, getting pregnant is the most important part of it rather than planning. I too have learned the valuable lesson of that we have absolutely no control and not even the semblance of control. I'm still hitting that particular brick wall.

Posted by: estubbesq | October 31, 2007 12:39 PM

People plan, G-d laughs

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 31, 2007 12:30 PM

atlmom, I think you've hit this spot on. I've often thought how unfair it is that I was able to conceive by accident and so many of my friends have tried unsuccessfully to get pregnant. I think I would be happy if I had remained child-free, but I am so happy I had my daughter and I cannot imagine my life without her.

But GutlessCoward is right when she indicates a lot of the wrong people are breeding. Child deaths from neglect and abuse are epidemic here in Arizona. We just had a Hooters waitress leave her baby to cook for seven hours in her car yesterday. Sentencing is soon underway for a man who took his girlfriend's two-year-old son and drowned him in the apartment pool at night because the child didn't like the boyfriend. Down in Tucson, the County Attorney is preparing a case against a man for killing both of his small children (the boy's body has never been found; the girls remains were stuffed in a storage locker). Police had left the kids with him and his girlfriend because the children's mother is a suspected meth addict who disappeared frequently.

Posted by: pepperjade | October 31, 2007 12:49 PM

To the Tune of Having My Baby as sung by Paul Anka

Havin' an election
What a lovely way of sayin'
How much you love me
Havin' my election
What a lovely way of sayin'
In what primary you will see me
I can see it, campaign is growin'
I can see in your eyes
I'm happy you know it

That you're havin' an election

You're the candidate that I love
And I love what the race is doin' for ya

Havin' my election

You're a woman on the ballot
And I love what states you're goin' through

The rep inside you
I see it showin'
Whoa, the senator inside ya
Baby, do you feel it growin'
Are you happy you know it
That you're

Havin' an election

I'm a woman with sufferage
And I love what it's doin' to me

Havin' an election

I'm a woman in congress
And I love what's goin' through me

Havin' an election
and maybe next year we will have a baby....


Posted by: Songster | October 31, 2007 12:51 PM

I guess I'm a little late. We planned both our children so I would be too pregnant to travle during the holidays. I hate traveling over the holidays. We got pregnant first try both times. We had other surprises on the other end , but feel lucky to have been able to get pregnant at all, nevermind, when we wanted to. Good luck to all those trying!

Posted by: moxiemom1 | October 31, 2007 1:08 PM

"Emily, that's another problem with the assumption that people NEED to rely on contraception to plan their pregnancies. Responsible couples will be able to use it effectively, and irresponsible couples, by their nature, will fail.
What you end up with is a society of irresponsable people making most of the babies.
Noticed that trend lately?"

GC,

I think I've mentioned this is our "off-label" chats in the past. It's my opinion that every child needs two parents.

Once you have two (or more) children, they have you outnumbered.

;-)

Posted by: maryland_mother | October 31, 2007 1:14 PM

not necessarily on the pregnancy did we try planning, but on the delivery...

we had twins due the first week of September 2003. we were hoping for them to be early, since Maryland uses August 31st as the cut-off for Kindergarten and we didn't want to pay for an additional year of child care...

twin boys born at 35 weeks, happy and healthy, in their last year of pre-school before starting Kindergarten in Fall 2008...

Posted by: jimcardillo | October 31, 2007 1:18 PM

pamsdds, your millenial baby story brought back memories. We had not one but two different friends who were expecting around the same time, and who got caught up in the hoopla (and, coincidentally, they were both older fathers, one starting his second family after divorce).

Alas, they both missed it too, one baby was born on the 28th and one on the 29th.

Posted by: cjbriggs | October 31, 2007 1:38 PM

jimcardillo- That would be funny except wishing for premature twins is pretty terrible.

Emily- Ya, I don't get the BC mistakes, either. I was on the pill for 12 years, used condoms for 1 year, and got pregnant the month we started trying. That ended with a miscarriage, but I was pregnant again as soon as the OB/GYN cleared me. I clearly have no fertility issues, despite 13 years of not getting pregnant on BC.

One thing that can cause failures is obesity. They've had to change dosage for obese people. Also, tricyclics have a higher failure compared to monophasics if you don't take them the same time a day. My college OB/GYN recommended monophasics for that very reason: college kids don't have "schedules." Prog alone pills aren't as good as prog/estrogen. And there are many medicines that interfere with absorption, though HOPEFULLY your doc or pharmicist knows enough to tell you to use alternative BC methods. Barrier method failures are generally what I like to call pre-ejaculate babies, no different than pull-and-pray babies, though they have been known to physically fail. The best BC? Knowledge. Unless someone explains all this to people, there are going to be failures.

Posted by: atb2 | October 31, 2007 1:43 PM

"What you end up with is a society of irresponsable people making most of the babies.
Noticed that trend lately?"

What are you saying? That because of BC, irresponsible people outnumber responsible people in terms of the number of babies they have?

My view is that these irresponsible people would have the babies anyway. And if responsible people can have some modicom of control over the number of babies they have and when they have them, why shouldn't they? This is not to say that accident's won't sometimes happen. I think we have already established that they do. But let's face it, BC does work in most cases, and it has changed the way we live, and my sense is that thanks to BC, women have more choices on how to plan their lives. We are no longer slaves to biology. To me, this is a good thing. Responsible people abdicating their ability to somewhat control how many children they have and when they have them will not fix the problem of irresponsible people having kids that they cannot or will not take care of.

Posted by: Emily | October 31, 2007 1:54 PM

In NY, they have a semester of health ed in 8th grade and a semester in 11th grade. when I was older, my mom pretty much said she was happy for that - as she knew it was taken care of.
Apparently, most states don't have any health ed - or don't teach it well (?). Teaching abstinence is not really very effective, from what I understand. Not that I agree with the schools who want to give BC to kids in middle school. That's just insane. I mean - really. Without consent of parents? They can't even dispense an aspirin to kids but they want to give them BC?

TMI coming: I have always had large pain upon ovulating, none (until after second pregnancy) during my period. So I was well aware of when I could/could not get pregnant when I was trying. I was keeling over in pain and would say to DH: hey, honey! it's time!

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 31, 2007 1:54 PM

atb2 wrote: "The best BC? Knowledge."

So true, atb2, so true. That's why opponents of a woman's right to practice contraception hasten to spread so much disinformation (see some of the ignorant blather already posted here today).

Posted by: mehitabel | October 31, 2007 1:58 PM

atlmom- Not to mention the egg white cervical mucous! Sorry, but EWCM is one of my favorite baby-making references. There are women who spend WAY too much time jabbing at their cervices trying to see if they are high and tight or low and soft.

Posted by: atb2 | October 31, 2007 2:00 PM

I had one semester of "hygiene" in 8th grade.

I really wish someone would have told me that when I was pregnant, I would look like I had swallowed "fat Oprah"!

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 31, 2007 2:00 PM

Regarding women who take their BC pills faithfully every day at the same time- before I was married, that's exactly what I did. I got up at 6am during the week and took the pill as soon as I got up, so on the weekends, I kept my alarm set for 6am, woke up long enough to take it, and then fell back asleep. Was it incovenient and annoying? Definitely! But it was totally worth it, as I did not want to be pregnant.

Posted by: irishgator1 | October 31, 2007 2:09 PM

"What you end up with is a society of irresponsable people making most of the babies.
Noticed that trend lately?"

Posted by: GutlessCoward | October 31, 2007 12:05 PM

Lately? Hell, the foaming-at-the-mouth "scientific racists" of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were already ringing the alarm that irresponsible, stupid, "lower human types" were reproducing much faster than the "better stocks" of Western white folk. A classic example of this sort of racist drivel is "The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy," by Lothrop Stoddard '05 mcl, '14 Ph.D., published in 1920. Part III of the book, "The Deluge on the Dikes," concludes with Chapter XII, "The Crisis of the Ages," in which Dr. Stoddard declares:

"Thirdly, even within the white world, migrations of lower human types like those which have worked such havoc in the United States must be rigorously curtailed. Such migrations upset standards, sterilize better stocks, increase low types, and compromise national futures more than war, revolutions, or native deterioration." (more at http://www.churchoftrueisrael.com/stoddard/rtc_3-12.html)

We all know what happened twenty years later, when the "supermen" of the "master race" tried their hardest to eliminate the "stupid, irresponsible, lower types" of human being.

Meanwhile, Phillip Longman noted in 2006 that "The 17.4 percent of baby boomer women who had only one child account for a mere 7.8 percent of children born in the next generation. By contrast, nearly a quarter of the children of baby boomers descend from the mere 11 percent of baby boomer women who had four or more children." What proportion of these 11 percent of baby boomers is Gutless Coward ready to label as "irresponsable"?

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | October 31, 2007 2:19 PM

Men do in fact have a much longer period of fertility than women.

Not only is this a matter of biology rather than society, it may be responsible for human longevity.

Source: http://news-service.stanford.edu/pr/2007/pr-men-091207.html

So can we stop being angry at men for being able to father children well into their dotage?

Posted by: ThisSpaceIntentionallyLeftBlank | October 31, 2007 2:25 PM

What proportion of these 11 percent of baby boomers is Gutless Coward ready to label as "irresponsable"?

This is a no-brainer.
I don't give a rat's a$s what Gutless Coward thinks.

Spelling error in GC's original post was repeated.

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 31, 2007 2:28 PM

"Spelling error in GC's original post was repeated."

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 31, 2007 02:28 PM

Only inside direct quotation marks from GC's article. When I wrote the word, I spelled it right. "Nucular," yes; "irresponsable," no.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | October 31, 2007 2:33 PM

"Men do in fact have a much longer period of fertility than women."

Old sperm comes with risks.

Who wants to have sex with an old man? Impotence problems, etc. Yuck! That may be Nature's b.c.

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 31, 2007 2:33 PM

Old men? Maybe not.

But old men who are also rich, famous, or powerful? Doesn't seem to be a lack of interest.

Posted by: ThisSpaceIntentionallyLeftBlank | October 31, 2007 2:36 PM

"But old men who are also rich, famous, or powerful? Doesn't seem to be a lack of interest."

Do people WANT to have sex with the old rich, famous, or powerful guys?

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 31, 2007 2:39 PM

Yes, we tried to time pregnancy, not so much to hit a particular time as to avoid one. In my field, there is only a certain point in one's career to score the desirable job, and interview season is during the spring, requiring travel which would have been nearly impossible +/- 4 weeks around the due date. So we avoided trying during certain months, even after losing two previous pregnancies. When it's do or die for your career, you have to do what you have to do. It's just unfortunate that the two priorities (career decision point, baby decision point) coincide. In my case, kids could come one way or another (adoption), but failing to interview for the job could mean the loss of the career for good.

Posted by: km12 | October 31, 2007 2:42 PM

Planning when to have kids is good; just recognize that it may or may not work out for you. For those of you above saying it worked perfectly for you, congratulations, but don't think everybody else is doing it wrong. Check out the efficacy rates for oral contraceptives even when used correctly. Use the official numbers, from those in the scientific community who know what they're doing and don't have an axe to grind. (Hint: it's not 100% effective.)

FWIW: Misty May-Treanor, one half of the best beach volleyball team ever, is planning a baby around the Olympics. She's going to wait until after the 2008 Olympics; then try to have a baby in late '09 or early '10 so that she'll be back in shape for the 2012 Olympics. Nothing like an event that happens once every 4 years.

chitty: "Do people WANT to have sex with the old rich, famous, or powerful guys?" Apparently, some do. Henry Kissinger used to talk about what an aphroisiac power is, and I doubt he got too many dates on his looks. Also, some women want to have sex to have the old guy's kid because it guarantees a payoff - Suzanne Martin Cooke (Jacqueline Kent Cooke's mom) would be an example.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | October 31, 2007 2:47 PM

jimcardillo- That would be funny except wishing for premature twins is pretty terrible.

atb - nah. it still wouldn't be funny that saving daycare costs rather than considering the academic readiness of premature, twin boys, would be a couple's agreed-upon priority - 5 years in advance. These are the same parents likely to consider, for the parents' convenience, using medications to sedate their kids before flight travel.

Posted by: MN | October 31, 2007 3:06 PM

Then there's Larry King, who got his latest wife (the 7th one?) pregnant while he was in his 70's.

Posted by: johnl | October 31, 2007 3:07 PM

"Then there's Larry King, who got his latest wife (the 7th one?) pregnant while he was in his 70's. "

Yah, the wife wanted to get pregnant. Otherwise, would she WANT to have sex with Larry? Ewwww.

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 31, 2007 3:13 PM

"because of BC, irresponsible people outnumber responsible people in terms of the number of babies they have?"

Perhaps you can explain to me why single women with children represent the most prevalent demographic living in poverty today? I thought the legalization of abortion would have solved this problem. Why hasn't it?

My theory is that a generation of kids have been taught that it is perfectly fine to have sex with whoever they want whenever they want, and the practice of contraception will eliminate the undesirable consequences. The fallout of this teaching has produced an attitude in men that it is the sole responsibility of the woman to govern her own fertility, and when she gets pregnant and decides to carry it to term, the guy abandons her as well as his own responsibility to his own child.

It's not the contraception in itself that's the problem, which BTW, I think women should have the right to use, it's the teadching that separating the sex act from procreation is a good and wonderful thing.

Since I have more than 2.1 kids or whatever the national average is, by my own definition, that puts me in the group of irresponsibles. OK, I admit it! LOL!


Posted by: GutlessCoward | October 31, 2007 3:23 PM

Oh, I almost forgot, One last thing. Happy Halloween everybody!

Posted by: GutlessCoward | October 31, 2007 3:27 PM

"it's the teadching that separating the sex act from procreation is a good and wonderful thing."

You give the parents waay too much credit for teaching their kids about reproduction.

Look at how ignorant Leslie was!

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 31, 2007 3:40 PM

jimcardillo- That would be funny except wishing for premature twins is pretty terrible.

atb - nah. it still wouldn't be funny that saving daycare costs rather than considering the academic readiness of premature, twin boys, would be a couple's agreed-upon priority - 5 years in advance. These are the same parents likely to consider, for the parents' convenience, using medications to sedate their kids before flight travel.

Posted by: MN | October 31, 2007 03:06 PM

I might also add that boys 5 wks early likley spent some time, probably a week in the NICU which cost the insurer somewhere between 10 and 20K per depending on how much support they needed. Wonder what the deductible was? MN, I too would be concerned about the academic readiness of early boys. I know people with full term boys who hold them back when they are that close to the date.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | October 31, 2007 3:48 PM

«Oh, I almost forgot, One last thing. Happy Halloween everybody!»
«Posted by: GutlessCoward | October 31, 2007 03:27 PM»

O Gutless Coward, Happy Halloween to you, also!

Posted by: abu_ibrahim | October 31, 2007 4:24 PM

"it's the teaching that separating the sex act from procreation is a good and wonderful thing."

Posted by: GutlessCoward | October 31, 2007 03:23 PM

"You give the parents waay too much credit for teaching their kids about reproduction.

Look at how ignorant Leslie was!"

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 31, 2007 03:40 PM

There is a new course in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences catalog, entitled "Life Sciences 2. Evolutionary Human Physiology and Anatomy." According to the catalog, "reproduction" is one of the course's topics. Thanks to this new course, even students who don't make it into Yale or Berkeley will be able to learn (at Harvard) how their reproductive systems work. Perhaps the reason Leslie did not learn this in college was that until recently, all the presidents have been men, with their Devil-may-care attitude towards reproduction (i.e., they never get pregnant). Now, the Devil is gone, and Faust runs the place, so they'll be teaching about reproduction.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | October 31, 2007 4:35 PM

"Since I have more than 2.1 kids or whatever the national average is, by my own definition, that puts me in the group of irresponsibles. OK, I admit it! LOL!"

Posted by: GutlessCoward | October 31, 2007 03:23 PM

Are you saying we should call you irresponsible? If so, you're in good company, 'cause Michael Buble says the same thing:

"Call Me Irresponsible"

Call me irresponsible
Call me unreliable
Throw in undependable, too

Do my foolish alibis bore you?
Well, I'm not too clever, I
I just adore you

So, call me unpredictable
Tell me I'm impractical
Rainbows, I'm inclined to pursue

Call me irresponsible
Yes, I'm unreliable
But it's undeniably true
That I'm irresponsibly mad for you

Do my foolish alibis bore you?
Girl, I'm not too clever, I
I just adore you

Call me unpredictable
Tell me that I'm so impractical
Rainbows, I'm inclined to pursue

Go ahead call me irresponsible
Yes, I'm unreliable
But it's undeniably true
I'm irresponsibly mad for you

You know it's true
Oh, baby it's true

-- by Michael Buble

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | October 31, 2007 4:43 PM

I think a point I tried to make earlier got lost -- or perhaps appropriately ignored! It seems like family planning is all about delaying childbirth these days. So many couples struggle with student loans, lack of housing that's affordable, decent and/or commutable. Their family planning *choices* are constrained. I've seen really wonderful people delay child bearing and end up with just one child (or no kids at all) because they pushed things too late -- and for totally responsible financial reasons. I'd question whether *society* is acting in its own best interest by making it so hard for responsible couples to procreate! I know some say it's better for the planet but it's hard on people who want families!

Posted by: anne.saunders | October 31, 2007 4:44 PM

"My theory is that a generation of kids have been taught that it is perfectly fine to have sex with whoever they want whenever they want, and the practice of contraception will eliminate the undesirable consequences. The fallout of this teaching has produced an attitude in men that it is the sole responsibility of the woman to govern her own fertility, and when she gets pregnant and decides to carry it to term, the guy abandons her as well as his own responsibility to his own child."

First, since the advent of AIDS, I disagree that anyone thinks she can have sex with whomever she wants whenever she wants. We are all aware that unplanned pregnancy is only one possible consequence of sex.

Second, though, I'm not as sure as you that the attitudes you describe represent a change in outcomes from the good ol' pre-pill days. Before reliable bc, generation upon generation of men believed that it was up to the woman to govern her own fertility. She sought guarantees of love and marriage and that he would "do the right thing" if she got pregnant. Sometimes they married. Sometimes she went to visit an aunt out of state for 7 - 8 months and gave the baby up for adoption. Sometimes she had a back-alley abortion. If they married, sometimes those marriages lasted. Sometimes they did not.

Responsible men act responsibly. Irresponsible men haven't changed their stripes one bit since reliable birth control has become available. Their irresponsibility has just taken on the form of demanding an abortion instead of pressuring their girlfriends to leave town and give the baby up for adoption.

Posted by: MN | October 31, 2007 4:59 PM

Why is "unmaternal" the worst insult? Some women are perfectly happy without the "maternal" instinct. In fact, recognizing that one is not maternal is better than trying to force something by allowing fear of infertility to compel one to have a child if one is not ready or willing.

I can think of far worse things to be called--for example, "baby crazy." But that's just me.

Posted by: Monagatuna | October 31, 2007 5:21 PM

No planning of pregnancies in my life.

In '82 I threw away my diaphram (starter-husband and I hadn't been very consistent about using it anyway), but I couldn't conceive.

In '85 DH and I found each other, and never used any form of B.C. By '88 we were using the services of fertility docs, but still no conception. In '89 we decided to give ourselves a break, and try again next year. Then several years went by but we just didn't go back to the fertility doc.

To come home to CA, I took an out-of-state job in Oct. '91, with the plan that DH would follow me in a few months after wrapping up all the loose ends associated with our cross-country move - and surprise! Older son was born in June '92 - we must have conceived him in the last couple of days before I left St. Louis. The timing couldn't have been worse! I had no benefits because I'd only been with my new job 8 1/2 months, and during the first 3 months (before I'd figured out I was pregnant - because that just wasn't possible) my boss had promoted me into a first-level management position he'd specifically created for me.

We went back to the fertility docs in early '94, and the new treatment put me into a suicidal depression. That was the end of fertility treatments. Younger son was born in June '97, three days before older son's 5th birthday.

Like I said - no planning for me! Fortunately, I was able to be honest with my employers about my infertility, and they were very supportive and understanding when both miracles happened to me.

Posted by: sue | October 31, 2007 6:03 PM

Matt, your 4:35 post was funny! Esp the ending about the Devil and Faust.

Now, you if only knew how to write a decent song parody!

(BTW, I am feeling under-appreciated for my recent efforts!)

Posted by: Songster | October 31, 2007 7:12 PM

The fallout of this teaching has produced an attitude in men that it is the sole responsibility of the woman to govern her own fertility, and when she gets pregnant and decides to carry it to term, the guy abandons her as well as his own responsibility to his own child.

-Gutless Coward-

Are you too Gutless to substantiate that? Or, did you simply pull it from thin air?

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | November 1, 2007 8:48 AM

Oh please, BC is so very easy to use correctly. If you have an irregular schedule, use the patch, the ring, or get the shot, an IUD, or an implant. This is the magic of reproductive choice!

Even though I wasn't always consistent with taking the pill the same time every day, sometimes missing days altogether, or sometimes being on penicillan, I would follow the directions/warnings on the packaging and take extra precautions. Remarkable isn't it! This is why I know that people who say they got pregnant while on BC are lying. They were sloppy and don't want to admit it. Instead they claim to be part of the .01% of women for whom BC fails.

When I finally decided to go off BC, my doctor told me that there was a 25% chance that I would get pregnant within the first month, and most likely I'd get pregnant within the year. I thought I'd probably get pregnant about 6 months after going off BC, but apparently my husband and I are pretty fertile folk (despite 10 years of not getting pregnant thanks to BC), and I was pregnant the first month. Sure, it means that I'll be going on maternity leave during a very busy time of year at my job, but I wasn't about to have an abortion to make my maternity leave more convenient.

Posted by: foreoki12 | November 1, 2007 11:21 AM

"This is why I know that people who say they got pregnant while on BC are lying. They were sloppy and don't want to admit it. Instead they claim to be part of the .01% of women for whom BC fails."

Judgmental much? I'm surprised your arm doesn't hurt from being twisted so far behind your back to pat yourself. Most women who are sexually active and practicing birth control credit themselves as fortunate to avoid unplanned pregnancies. You've turned it into a competition and designated yourself the winner. After you get off your high horse, consider gettting out more and talking to several physicians and NPs about how unplanned pregnancies occur among the diligent.

Posted by: anonfornow | November 1, 2007 2:30 PM

"Needless to say, GC's comment is 100%, pure unadulterated hogwash. Those who practice "natural planning", as GC is apparently advocating, usually end up being called parents."

I use NFP, and am the only of the four girls in my generation not to have a surprise pregnancy - BC pills and condoms accounted for two sisters, not sure about the other. I have had one pregnancy, planned to the month. NFP works, even where the old rhythyms method doesn't (rhythyms probably wouldn't work for me, irregular cycles). Some versions approach the BC pill for effectiveness, but without the side effects.

"I think I've mentioned this is our "off-label" chats in the past. It's my opinion that every child needs two parents.

Once you have two (or more) children, they have you outnumbered."

Guess our kids are screwed, then. We had twins :-) My family's hyper-fertility really showed up with me, between pregnant after 1 month of trying (well, less then a week, since we knew *when* to try :-) and twins.

I used NFP as BC (it is BC, just not a contraceptive) to plan my pregnancy so we would have time to get out of debt before our child's birth. Of course, that plan still got messed up by the unusually difficult pregnancy, but it was still a good plan :-) I think planning around serious life events like major work events can count as a serious reason to avoid pregnancy (depending on details).

Of course, God gets the final say, as mentioned above. But planning to be prudent has its place.

Posted by: ethele | November 1, 2007 2:48 PM

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