Preparing To Be A Help Meet – Knowledge – Pregnancy and Birth Control Part 1

Preparing To Be A Help Meet – Knowledge – Pregnancy and Birth Control Part 1 October 29, 2014

girl-sperm-hiby Mel cross posted from her blog When Cows and Kids Collide

The next two posts show what kind of train wrecks occur when science and health education are neglected.

Jerked Around
What do frogs and autism have to do with preparing to be a help meet? You might think I am jumping around in my book. Couldn’t I have had my editor make the material a little more uniform?! I want you to understand that LIFE will jerk you around.

I might believe that if the other chapters were organized. None of Debi’s books, though, have any sort of organizational schema.

Get prepared! You spent so much time waiting to be the beautiful bride in a long, flowing, white dress, and then in a space of a few weeks you feel like you accidentally boarded a high-speed train. When you’re tired, when you have a headache, when you feel icky, when you don’t want to get up and cook, well, you have to anyway, because now you’re married.

I learned how to push through mild sickness to get school work, finish a shift at work, participate in an extracurricular activity etc. by the time I was a teenager.

Why on Earth would Debi expect that her readers would be that inexperienced before marriage?

Within a few weeks of becoming a glorious, married princess you will find yourself kneeling in front of the potty barfing your guts out because you have a little one on the way. Doesn’t sound very princess-like, does it? I know these things because I am the older lady. Been there, done that, seen it ten thousand times. Your time’s coming.

Since royal families have been obsessed with reproduction throughout time, I think morning sickness is fairly princess-like.

Debi probably doesn’t know this, but pregnancy rates per month for women in their early to mid-twenties is 20% per month AND only 80% of pregnancies involve morning sickness. So, a new bride has about a 16% chance of morning sickness within a month of marriage.

Preparing to Be a Mama
Most every young girl thinks it will be months and months…maybe years before a baby comes. Surprise! Pregnancy is not as easy to control as most girls think. Now is the time to learn how to have healthy babies and what to do if your child has health issues.

In the absence of any form of birth control AND average fertility in both partners, pregnancy rates within 1 year are close to 90%. I think it’s fair to warn CP/QF girls that they are very likely to be pregnant within the first year of marriage.

In a garden, strong healthy plants get that way by being planted in strong, healthy, balanced soil.

Well, kind of.

You need to pick good varieties for your area, pick a suitable site with proper sunlight, water them regularly, prevent / treat insect/mold/viral infestations, weed diligently and amend the soil during the season as needed.

(As a botanist-in-training, poor plant metaphors really irk me.)

Your body is the soil for your coming children.

That’s why you should check your body against the soil chart. I’m a silty loam. My husband is a sandy clay. Our babies will be AMAZING!

Good health starts before conception.

That sentence doesn’t really make sense. I think what she means is that it’s best if the mom is in good health before getting pregnant.

Then again, this is Debi Pearl, so….who knows?

The more you know now, the more you will be prepared to handle what life might send. It is time to start reading on health issues for your future pregnancies. There is list of good reading in the back of this book.

Yeah, I’m not copying that list of books. If you need to know, start at something reputable like Mayo Clinic or your local doctor.

Birth Control
I wish I could avoid this subject, but it will be the single most discussed subject once you are married.

Um. No. It won’t.

My husband and I have had more discussions on whether or not tepary beans can grow in our short Michigan season than we’ve had on birth control. (He likes the idea of blue speckled beans. I hate the idea of a bean that will most likely mold long before it ripens. Clearly, we’ve talked about that more than birth control.)

This is a smidgen of how your future conversation will go:
He says, “We need to use something.”
She replies, “We decided before we married that we wouldn’t do anything.”
He demands, “Well, we’ve got to do something! Three babies in two years – and you’re completely bedridden for the first five months of pregnancy!”
She moans, “What? What do you want to use?”
He throws up his hands. “I don’t know, but something! You’re the woman; what do you suggest?”
She looks baffled, “I don’t know…how should I know what to do?”
He responds, “Well, go figure it out!”


Our conversations on tepary beans were more adult that that conversation.

I sincerely hope that before marriage ALL adults can name at least two birth control methods….


If you are like most girls, the issue of birth control has never crossed your mind. Some girls, and guys, come to marriage with a principled conviction against doing anything to limit or control the frequency of conception. Others are adamant against using any mechanical or chemical means of birth control, but are willing to practice abstinence or rhythm (timing) method to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Certainly no Christian will want to use any method that causes the destruction of the fetus after conception.

Debi then directs readers to a modified natural family planning / lactation-based spacing website that is out-dated and hard to navigate.

I recommend It’s a non-profit organization dedicated to decreasing the number of unplanned pregnancies. It covers everything from abstinence to NFP to condoms to hormonal options. I find it really helpful whenever I need to change methods.

Obviously, after consulting a website, make an appointment with an OB/GYN or another health care provider. You deserve to have an actual medical professional sit down with you and decide as a team what options are best for you. If you are planning NFP or a QF lifestyle, you need to be sure you are off any medications/herbs that could cause problems during a pregnancy and check that chronic conditions are under control.

(As a teacher, crappy information angers me. From one “older” woman to another, Debi should be ashamed of herself right now.)

My object here is for you to learn about your body, come to understand the entire process, and learn what God says on the matter. If you don’t give it any thought now, then chances are you will be pregnant and puking within three weeks of marriage. Your first child will be a girl. Now, how can I know that? Because, if you are like most girls, you will plan your wedding for the week after your period ends. That is when most women are fertile. During the first three days of fertility the woman’s slight discharge is beneficial to female sperm. The fourth day, the woman’s slight discharge is advantageous to male sperm. Did you even know that there are male and female sperm?


1. “Thinking” in the absence of action will not prevent pregnancy.

2. Eggs are viable for 24 hours or so after ovulation. Sperm can survive in the female reproductive tract for up to 72 hours. Combining those two facts means that sexual intercourse can lead to pregnancy on (up to) three days: the two days prior to ovulation and the day of ovulation. [There is a less than 5% chance that sperm can survive from 4-6 days before ovulation. As such the Whelan method described below has a large flaw.]

3. There are no scientific studies that support the Whelan method (sex 2-3 days before ovulation = girl while 5-6 days prior = boy) OR Shettles method (same timing for a girl; as close to ovulation as possible for a boy).

4. The biological definition of female is the sex that has the larger gamete. In humans, sperm are much smaller than eggs so males produce sperm. There are sperm that have an X chromosome and sperm with a Y chromosome, but never a female sperm. EVER.

How do I know all this stuff? I study. Knowing things helps.

Only if the information you know is true.

AntiPearl:Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.
George Bernard Shaw


Read everything by Mel!

Mel is a science teacher who works with at-risk teens and lives on a dairy farm with her husband. She blogs at When Cows and Kids Collide

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  • Melody

    I’ve read about this soil analogy before. It makes the woman out as passive and the man as planter/gardener who has the control over the garden, i.e. his wife and her reproductive organs. There is a reason why these metaphors are used and it’s to strengthen this message of male control, headship, authority, whatever you want to call it.

  • Nea

    How does she know all that? She websurfs for bullshit that fits her biases, bangs on about her age, and then says “because GOD so don’t question me.”

    How many of her readers actually fit her own predictions, that’s what I wonder. How many of her QF readers think or even want there to be “months and months” before the first baby, or are unfamiliar with being told to suck up and do chores regardless of how they feel? How many would consider a husband who demanded they go on birth control, or discuss the evil birth control at all, much less as the biggest topic of married life?

    And if you’re so fertile and experienced, Debi, how come your family is so small?

  • Saraquill

    I”m sure this chapter led many to reconsidering the idea of marriage.

  • Trollface McGee

    It’s pretty medieval isn’t it? Wasn’t the thinking back then that the soul was in the sperm and that the woman just turned soul into baby?
    Like that awful phrase, “she has a bun in the oven” which suggests that she’s just an oven/incubator/soil for the man’s creation.

  • I…am not entirely sure what I just read. That was so…wrong. Just wrong. So much wrongness…

  • Melody

    It is all so passive; the woman does the work (carrying the baby, baking the bun) but the agency is with the baker, gardener, etc.

    Yet, at the same time it also worked the other way around when they used to believe that women could determine a baby’s biological sex and that she was just being passive agressive when the baby was a girl if the father wanted a boy.

    Screwed either way though, so you just can’t win…

  • BlueVibe

    “He says, “We need to use something.” “, etc., etc.

    I’ve heard more adult conversations about birth control from teenagers. Seriously–if this movement became the dominant culture, civilization would end. No science, probably none of this worldly art or literature nonsense (especially from women, who should never have that much free time if they’re living right). Everybody would just be home praying and having kids while infrastructure collapsed around them.

    Also: From what you’ve posted here about QF daughters, I would be astonished if any of them were so coddled they didn’t have a handle on getting stuff done even when you’re feeling less than 100%.

  • Anonyme

    “I wish I could avoid this subject [birth control], but it will be the single most discussed subject once you are married.”

    Not if couples do the mature thing of discussing the matter before committing to each other in marriage.

    “Your time’s coming.”

    The way Debi phrases that, it makes pregnancy sound scary, like “there’s an axe murderer behind you” or “you’re about to be hit by a train”.

    She sounds so adamant that all women are these magically fertile creatures who will become pregnant the first time. For anyone who takes Debi seriously (gack!), this could be very damaging to women who find themselves infertile, possibly leaving them wondering if they did something wrong.

    P.S.: I should start a band called Frogs and Autism.

  • Trollface McGee

    If it’s good (baby) then the man is responsible. If something goes wrong(girl baby) then it’s the woman’s fault.
    It’s designed so you can’t win.

  • Trollface McGee

    Teenagers were exactly what I thought when I read that part. Except your average teenage boy is smart enough not to throw his hands up and start yelling “well figure it out!” and will just get a condom.
    But then again, the Pearls, developmentally, are far below the average teenager, so no surprise.

  • gimpi1

    Wow. so much wrong, and so little time…

    Mrs. Pearl has very little knowledge, and seems to make stuff up on the fly. The only thing I can say is anyone actually needing medical or reproductive advice ought to run, not walk, run as far as they can from her books or advice. Ignorance kills. By that standard, the Pearls are most likely multiple-murderers.

  • gimpi1

    Yes, the conversation sounded like, well, most of Mrs. Pearl’s made-up conversations, and also like the “letters” she claims to get. That’s one of the reasons I think it’s likely that she’s writing the “letters” herself. The same grammar, the same juvenile conversation-style, the same structure.

    In other words, I believe Mrs. Pearl (and Mr. Pearl) to be liars. Isn’t there something about that in the book they are so passionate about?

  • Mel

    Yeah. I seriously have to read sections aloud to my husband to prove to myself that I’m not losing my mind.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Certainly no Christian will want to use any method that causes the destruction of the fetus after conception.

    I know plenty of Christians who have no problem with the “destruction of the fetus.” Of course, it isn’t a fetus immediately after conception, but who am I to argue with Debi? Facts are what she says they are.

  • *growl* couldn’t even finish reading the damn post and had to comment. I find it HIGHLY insulting that she would ASSUME that *every* young bride is going to be a mother. That “your time is coming” bullshit is what has had me in AGONY for sixteen damn years now.

    Way to insult the hell out of those of us who, through no fault of our own, will NOT have “our time” coming at all.


  • Sixteen years. Sixteen fuggin YEARS. No contraception of any sort. Not even a MISCARRIAGE. I have wondered what in the hell I did wrong every single damn month. This… this BULLSHIT needs to be publicly called out as such.

  • I actually *wish* that I’d read more of this stuff before I’d gotten married. A good dose of reconsidering the idea of marriage would have been damned helpful to me. But I wanted out of my mother’s house and that was my ONLY way. I wanted to actually be an adult, and marriage was the only path to that.

    Which is still stupid as hell, but it’s what I was taught, whether they realized that’s what they were teaching me or not.

  • thisone

    I completely agree. I had a more mature conversation about birth control with my boyfriend when we were 15 and only thinking about having sex.

  • thisone

    even women for whom it takes a little longer, could be very worried. It sometimes happens to couples who are educated on the subject, imagine how it would feel for someone for whom this book was their education

  • thisone

    I mean at least she called it a fetus instead of a baby?

  • Baby_Raptor

    That’s progress, yeah. She’d probably insist that they’re synonymous if asked, though.

  • Nightshade

    Now you can know you didn’t do anything wrong…but that is a long time to have to suffer that kind of completely undeserved shame. *hugs*

  • Astrin Ymris


    You’d think they’d at least TALK about the possibility of medical infertility! But then, what if women who wanted to “sneak” using contraception got to idea of hiding behind infertility? Can’t have that! It’s better to throw women who are REALLY infertile under the bus “in the name of the greater good”.

    I’ve been wondering if the Duggars have received confirmation that Jana is infertile, and are refusing to let her marry for that reason, because without kids, what would be the point?

    Though I suppose I shouldn’t look for complicated solutions when “Michelle’s labor needs” explains the situation adequately. 😛