So, not every blog I follow is one I actually agree with. In this case, my interest in home schooling and it’s positive and negative effects led me to start following the wife of Pastor Steven Anderson, notorious homophobe and generally rude person from Arizona.
She wrote this post on “the destructive effects of birth control on marriage” this week and I only got about a third of the way through when I realized I had to comment on this and that my comment was probably more than a comments section could stand. So here I am.
First, birth control is SOOOO much more than The Pill in 2016! There are condoms, patches, IUDs, tubal ligations (and other surgical sterilizations for women), vasectomies (and other surgical sterilizations for men?!? I don’t know this one), and probably a few more that I either haven’t heard of or can’t recall off the top of my head. So you notice how that Pill curve seems to be tapering off and maybe even decreasing? That’s not something anti-birth control folks should cheer about–it’s just that there’s so many other options to choose from.
The lesson I’m hoping to teach here is that people need to understand their graphs and that one is very unimpressive at best!
But it doesn’t seem that Mrs. Anderson is trying to make that kind of point. I think she was just looking for a picture to illustrate her point and was LAZY.
It seems that the point of this post is that men are more important to women. In all cases, but most importantly in pregnancy.
First, let’s insult men and women because “There are the unspoken insults to the other spouse and children – I don’t want your kids, I don’t want any more of you.” Which is pretty barbaric because as a child (which we all are), I definitely didn’t look at my mom after learning that she’d had a tubal ligation after my brother’s birth and think that my mom was somehow hurting me because she wasn’t having more children.
Actually, now that I’m older, I’m PROUD of her for stopping at 2 kids. It would have been interesting having more siblings, but I accept that my mom isn’t a great mother. In fact, I’d say she failed every standard “good mom” test when I was growing up. She has her issues, but she means well. She came from a stereotypical Italian family that SMOTHERED their children so that they were ill prepared to live their own lives and my mom definitely never made an effort herself to become independent. She’s always had low skilled jobs and now that my brother and I are grown, she really has no life. I wish I could convince her to have a passion for something, but all I can do is try to convince my dad to get her to go to therapy for their issues.
Anyway, the next thing Mrs. Anderson said after insulting women was insulting men and women because “There is even the very practical aspect that when there are no children in the home, it is far easier and more likely for one spouse to commit adultery.” Uhh…as a newlywed, I’m not sure how this works. So because there’s a child or 4 in the house, the husband (or wife) can’t sneak away for a quickie with some other man or chick?
First, that scares me that the parents have no life outside of each other and children. My husband has his best friend since he was a teenager. They see each other weekly and often a 1 hour visit really means 4 or more because they’re car-heads. Gonna be honest–it’s boring to hang out with them for any extended amount of time because even though I’m content to read my book, there are no comfy chairs in the garage/yard/house (he’s a recent bachelor with two daughters in there twenties) and then there’s always the weather to deal with if I want to sit in the car. So usually he goes on his own, especially after our bowling league which is on a weeknight. Also, my husband drives a tow truck, so he’s OFTEN out of the house between 11 pm and 3 am. If we had a child, neither of these two events would change one bit, so if my husband wanted to have an affair, all he’d have to do is fake a police call or say he’s going to his BFFs house and not. I trust him, so it’s not like I’m going to call if I know where he’s supposed to be and it hasn’t been way too long (sometimes he’ll get called again while he’s already out at 2 am). OH! And he also mows his stepmom’s yard at least every two weeks and I don’t always go with him. Me, I don’t care to have much of a life. I’m content to stay home by myself and catch up on my quiet activities (reading, writing, crafting, etc). I’m an introvert so I need my weekend to re-coup from all the socializing I do at work all week, though I do volunteer at the church next door (secular historic church, so don’t get excited, haha).
I guess Mrs. Anderson’s reasoning is that parents don’t socialize with people besides their spouse and children, so there’s no significant amount of time when they’re actually outside of each other’s sight. Here’s two anecdotes that disprove the theory that children insulate a marriage from adultery. The first is that my husband’s first two wives (I’m number 3) both cheated on him. He had his son with the first. His second had a son from a previous relationship. He was at times the stay at home dad, though he was also at times a long haul truck driver, gone for days at a time in order to put a roof over their heads and food on the table (mostly the latter case). So…it’s more about the person you’re married to than the idea that children keep the wife faithful.
The second anecdote is when my mom called me crying because she’s found out that my dad was using a phone sex service and she felt that this was cheating. Sigh. I really didn’t need to be my parents marriage counselor, especially when it comes to their sex life! But in any case, my parents are NOT going to divorce EVER because they come from a different generation. Yes, they have their bumps and bruises and NEED TO SEE A THERAPIST! but, their marriage isn’t going to dissolve. So, again, children didn’t stop the cheating. Period. Do not have them because you think it will rescue your marriage–it won’t!
(By the way, I don’t consider this situation as my dad having cheated on my mom, but I do accept that because they never discussed what types of porn are acceptable, if any, that she is entitled to consider it cheating. One of the first conversations my husband and I had on the issue of cheating was what forms of porn are cheating because I don’t believe reading erotica or viewing porn both static and video are cheating because the “source” is a stranger that you have no contact with–there is no emotions crossing any barriers. I would consider calling a phone sex line cheating for us because you’re actually having a conversation with another person (in a manner of speaking). BUT, it is the RESPONSIBILITY of a couple to determine what and where the lines are and for each to respect the opinions of the other person. If your significant other views all forms of porn as cheating and you think that’s crazy, YOU ARE NOT COMPATIBLE. So, in my dad’s case, he gets a “pass” from me on the issue of cheating because they never had a discussion on where the boundaries of porn are, which is their fault and not my problem. When it’s not discussed, the socially agreed upon, overly-simplistic definitions of cheating are the boundaries that must be condemned; anything in the grey area is up for debate unless set in stone by the two (or more) parties involved. Case in point, my husband knew his second wife wasn’t very good with monogamy, but he told her he would accept her having other lovers so long as she was open and honest with him. She wasn’t and claimed that she wasn’t sleeping around behind his back even though by 4 months into the “marriage” he caught her sleeping with his then best friend in their bed. Had she been open about her sex life, he’d have probably climbed in bed with them, but as it was, she lied and he kicked her out.)
You’re probably wondering where Mrs. Anderson gives so much power to men (and declares that women are entirely too weak minded to know their own feelings on the subject of children): “I say “men” because in virtually all cases where couples intentionally prevent having children, the driving force behind that decision is the man, or at the very least he is failing to win over his wife to where she would desire children. Virtually all women, especially Christians who love the Lord and trust in his provision, would want nothing more than children if they felt supported and appreciated, and felt that the children were a great source of joy to her husband.” One of the sweetest things my husband has ever said (even though I disagree with him) is that men need to get their asses out of the abortion debate because it’s a woman’s body that is at issue; there is no reason for an all male panel to be making laws about abortion, he says, when men aren’t the ones having these children. Ain’t he the best?! Like I said, I disagree with him on this because I think that the FATHER has the right to discuss things with the MOTHER about the fetus–really these are the only two people who have any right to make abortion decisions in any instance since it’s the life that they created that’s in the balance. I feel like his position negates the opinion of the father of the fetus, though ultimately we both agree that there’s no reason for ANY third party, male, female, whatever to have any say.
Mrs. Anderson doesn’t mince words as she continues to blame men for women not wanting children: “If your wife does not want a baby, you have failed to make her feel safe, loved, and supported. She doesn’t want children because she doesn’t want more of YOU. She doesn’t want to hear you gripe more about the finances, or how the kids are a burden, or how you wish you could do XYZ instead. Nobody wants to have kids with a selfish whiner who is a spiritual weakling.”
Well, here’s the thing: I’ve never been particularly drawn to having a biological child. I’ve always wanted to be a mom, but it was always towards the needy kids in the foster care system who I’d adopt the moment they said they wanted to be my kid. One of my earliest memories of this is walking home from high school in probably 10th grade with my best friend (who is black) and telling her that I could just see me calling her up because I’d just fallen love with the most beautiful black little girl and I had no idea what to do about her hair! Seriously, my plans for my future never involved having a husband or sperm donor as my family grew. Now that I have a husband, my plans haven’t really changed. Yes, he wants another biological child, but he’s also not certain if he’s even still fertile (he’s 19 years older than me and was defibrillated 14 times 7 years ago when he suffered the “widow maker” heart attack). I’ve never opposed biological children, they were just never my priority simply because I never expected for find a suitable husband. I’ve always been on the fence of “if it happens, it happens” and he’s in agreement with me. So, in case you care about our sex life, as Mrs. Anderson seems to, we use condoms when my fertility tracker says I’m fertile, being slightly extra careful because of the Zika virus and because I’m supposed to be a bridesmaid in Feb 2017 for my stepson’s wedding, and going unprotected the rest of the month.
Mrs. Anderson seems to be a few years out of date on her obstetrics training: “It is no coincidence that permanent birth control measures are virtually always pushed and performed during pregnancy or birth.” While my mother’s and my husband’s first wife’s tubal ligations were performed immediately after the birth of their last child (both c-sections so while mom was still wide open), apparently this isn’t done as regularly anymore. We found this out when we were talking to a friend of my stepson, a young woman who was pregnant with her 3rd (4th?) child, who was ready to make it her last, but was told by her doctor that she had to have the tubal ligation in a separate surgery months after the birth. It took my husband a few minutes to comprehend that the recommendations had changed in the 20 years since his son was born.
Again, she illustrates that men are the all powerful being (interesting since she’s the spokesperson for their family via this blog): “So men, before you do something permanent like getting a vasectomy or pushing your wife into a tubal ligation, please consider that sooner or later, your wife will come to the painful realization that she would like to have more children, even if you don’t.” Because, women don’t know their own selves. Though, I suppose she’s also insulting men for being “selfish” by not wanting children in the first place. I guess this hints at another unhealthy aspect of this ideal relationship she pictures: one where children are entirely the domain of the wife. Because obviously since this husband doesn’t want more children (he’s considering a vasectomy) he’s still supposed to let them continue to come for his wife’s sake. This makes me wonder the nature of the relationship where the wife wants children like Mrs. Anderson encourages, but the husband is done–I guess that’s when she blames him for pressuring the wife to stop having them–the poor man can’t win!
I don’t know about you, but shouldn’t the husband and wife be entirely in agreement on this issue? And what REALLY matters is that they’re IN AGREEMENT? Who gives a damn if they choose to only have 1 or 2 children (or none)–that’s their life. Children AREN’T going to fix a crappy marriage (my husband is an example of this) and having a child as a way of forcing your husband to stick around (plenty of women do it), is a HORRIBLE foundation to raise a child on! THAT is selfish!
It is NOT selfish to look at your individual situation and decide what is best for your marriage. It IS selfish to make a baby because a baby will love you when your man won’t. Mrs. Anderson needs to sort out her priorities instead of guilt-tripping women (and men) who are confused!
I shall leave you with one final anecdote. This is from 1962 or so. My grandma had recently given birth to my uncle, her 8th child, who was born at least a month premature. Back then, this was even scarier than it is today for a parent because the survival rate was so low for premies. The technology just didn’t exist that we have today. Anyway, this scared the hell out of my grandma and even though my uncle survived and is fine, a few months later when my grandpa called her from the ship he was stationed on (US Navy) he mentioned that they were being offered vasectomies. Grandma told him that he’d better get one! Because she didn’t want to risk having another premature birth and losing the baby. My grandfather did just as requested because he respected the decision of his wife.