Life, parenting

I made a terrible mistake.

I made a terrible mistake.

Please bear with me as I explain to you a journey I’ve been on to remedy an unwitting choice I made that rubs against the grain of everything I stand for. This is going to be hard. It’s hard for me to share, yes. Extremely so. But hard too because I know that many of you who read this will be in the position I was about nine months ago.

So, I will preface this by saying, no judgement. Just truth. With bucketloads of love. Because I don’t think it’s loving if we know a truth and don’t share it. Agreed?

Rewind nine months. I’d somehow dropped into conversation with a friend that, after our second was born, I’d opted for the Mirena intrauterine device (IUD) for contraception. I received an odd response. Like a long “oh?” hiking to a tonal summit. Then hanging there. Unresolved and sparking like rogue fireworks in my (often oversensitive) thoughts.

Did I overshare? Did they think contraception was wrong? Was it something about Mirena?

It completely unsettled me. I admire and respect this person, so I decided to do some research. I spoke with a midwife friend, had a chat with Dr Google and, most importantly, I dug into a book that’s been sitting on my shelf gathering dust for a while. Because, in truth, it reminds me of a university textbook. It’s called Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, by Dr Megan Best, and is sub-titled “Ethics and the beginning of human life”.

Dr Best is a medical doctor and bioethicist whose research is highly regarded, and who has been involved in the development of Australian legislation regulating the treatment of the unborn. She is also a Christian, and her book looks at life through the lens of faith. I quickly flicked through to the chapter on contraception, and then to intrauterine devices; Mirena, also known as ‘intrauterine systems’ or IUS (bear with me, the terminology is important, you’ll see!).

“The IUS causes damage to both sperm and eggs, interfering with the way they function and reducing survival, and so decreasing the rate of fertilisation. It also lowers the chance of survival for any embryo that might be formed in the fallopian tube before it gets to the uterus. This last mechanism operates after fertilisation, making the IUS an unethical choice for contraception.”

There it was, in black and white.

My heart dropped to my heels and I thought back to when it was offered to me, at a post-natal appointment at the hospital. “We can insert it straight away,” she said. There was an urgency to it. I was told it was better to have it soon after birth while my cervix was still “soft”. I believe she outlined what it was, how it worked by releasing a hormone called levonorgestrel (similar to progesterone). At no point was it explained that Mirena can also prevent implantation of an embryo. But then, I also didn’t ask. I guess I just naively accepted that, if it’s called a contra-ception, then it must prevent conception. Silly me.

You can imagine how much more gutted I felt in that initial moment of awakening. There I was, a person who frequently takes to a soapbox to advocate for the unborn and their mums, wearing a contraceptive device that could be doing the very thing my heart was bleeding for.

I waited until the kids were tucked up in bed before I spoke with hubby about my findings. We were in immediate agreement: Mirena had to go. We used other precautions until the date of the appointment. And it was all made a wee bit more traumatic as I had to have it surgically removed, under full general anaesthetic, because my cervix likes to play hide-and-seek!

I distinctly remember the conversation I had with the OBGYN before I was wheeled into surgery. “Would you like me to insert another Mirena while you’re under?” No, I said, I’m no longer comfortable with it. “You’ll regret it,” she replied. “You’ll be back when you’re getting a full-blown period and all that.” I was a wimp. Didn’t tell her the real reason. But I didn’t feel particularly respected in my choice. I was also a bit flummoxed by her description of what is a woman’s natural bodily process. Note to self: don’t ask her to give my daughter advice on womanhood.

If you’ve read this far, I figure you might fit into one of these three camps:

  1. You are as shocked as I was and want to know more.
  2. You believe I’ve made a big deal of something unmeasurable.
  3. You knew this stuff (and maybe you’re surprised that I didn’t!).

I can speak to the first two, because I’ve bounced back and forth between those places. I have absolutely no idea how many times sperm might have fertilised egg and been prevented from implantation. No idea whatsoever. And I cannot find definitive data on that. All I know is that, as long as there is a slither of a chance that an IUD could prevent an already fertilised egg… an embryo… a budding life… to reach its full potential, I want nothing to do with it.

There is no doubt in my mind that I did the right thing. As soon as the truth was lit up before me, there was no other option. And I call that God’s steely conviction – of which I am so thankful. Because of his clear voice, I’ve also been able to accept complete forgiveness. There is no room for shame when we walk in truth with our Lord.

And if you fall into the third camp, maybe you can help people like me with awareness. There’s so much clamour in a new mum’s life. Decisions like this can be made without full cohesion. If you’re in the privileged position of doctor or other caregiver, please point this out. I wish someone told me.

The backstory

I want to sign off with the history to this. A while back, some medical sorts decided to change the definition of contraception to suit their dollar-driven agendas. Consider it the marketing strategy behind contraception, because we must remember that all contraception is produced by big companies wanting to increase their profit margins.

“After the introduction of the oral contraceptive pill (OCP) in 1958, Albert Rosenfeld was concerned that rather than only preventing the sperm from fertilising the egg (the classic definition of ‘conception’), the pill might also terminate embryonic human life by inhibiting implantation… Since such interference would occur after conception, he realised that some people would say this represented an abortion. He recommended the ‘solution’ to this problem suggested by Dr AS Parkes of Cambridge: “Equate conception with the time of implantation rather than the time of fertilisation – a difference of only a few days”. That is, he got around the fact that these drugs might cause termination of a pregnancy by changing the definition of when a pregnancy started… Following Rosenfeld’s logic, the subsequent printing of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist’s terminology text in 1972 saw a deliberate change of the definition of ‘conception’.”

(Source: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, Dr Megan Best, p104)

You see? The deception is real. And as Christians we need to ask ourselves if we’re ok with this. We need to be more inquisitive and careful of who and what we put our trust in. I know I certainly will.

When does life begin?

I think most Christians would answer, “At conception.”
And then we must ask, “Does your contraception choice reflect this?”

Another great resource for Christians and other people who object to contraceptives that prevent implantation is Contraception: A Pro-life Guide by Dr O E O Hotonu.

Dr Best’s Summary of available contraceptives

*The above table should really be read in conjunction with Dr Best’s entire chapter on contraception. If it piques your intrigue, I suggest you grab yourself a copy.


  1. Claire says

    Dear Claire,
    I am so glad you have had the IUD removed. To my mind there is no type of contraception, neither devices nor ingested chemicals/drugs that is not a blight on a very special, even sacred function of a woman’s body. “…for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” I have often heard praise of a book on the subject “Open Embrace”, written by Sam and Bethany Torode, which is
    probably freely available online.
    I enjoy your writings…please continue!
    (another) Claire

  2. Julia Preston says

    Hi Claire, thanks for bringing these facts into the light. I am well past childbearing age but believe in makng informed choice. I don’t agree with abortion but feel that any woman and the father of their child should be fully informed on the truths of abortion especially the mental consequences. In the Uk one of the things a doctor considers is the affect an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy will have on the mothers mental health, however as far as I’m aware they are not told that having an abortion will almost definitely have consequences on their mental health at some time in the future.
    I took the pill and later the mini pill. Thankfully I became pregnant while taking the mini pill and have a much loved son as the result. At the time I wasn’t a born again Christian and wasn’t aware of the facts. Later used an IUD which I had removed when a friend told me the facts as by then I was a born again Christian.
    Something inside of me whispered does it really matter? Openly admitting that thought is apart of my bringing it into the light, being truthful with myself and God and moving on from there. We need accurate information so that we can make an informed choice. Children are a wonderful gift from God.

    • Thank you so much for sharing, Julia, and forgive me for such a late reply! You’re right, the main thing is simply having the truth and broad information out their and readily available so that women can make a truly informed decision.

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