Actually, what I am really wondering about is - have you ever even thought about it at all?
Because I never did. Not once. When I got married I went on the pill because that was what everyone did. Not one person ever mentioned other options. No-one encouraged us to see how different methods worked. No-one even mentioned it. It was assumed you would use contraception (because who wants a baby as soon as they are married?! - again assumed) & it was assumed that everyone used the pill because that seemed to be the most effective, but beyond that - no guidance, no info, nothing.
And now I find myself thinking about it a little more. What sparked this initially was reading God, Marriage and Family by Andreas Kostenburger a few years ago. He has a fantastic chapter on contraception, how each method works and how to think biblically about it. Because what almost no-one talks about is how each method works, which ones stop fertilization from occurring and which ones stop a fertilized egg from implanting and surviving.
And over time, I am coming to realise that the difference between the two is quite large. I didn't think about it at all in my early twenties, but now I wish I had a little more.
What some contraceptives do is clear cut: so IUDs & the morning-after pill prevent implantation, whereas condoms prevent fertilization. However, the big grey area is the pill, beacuse it claims to do both. And of course, we cannot know which method has worked for us. Perhaps it stopped fertilization, or perhaps it stopped implantation.
He also addresses the issue of permanent contraceptive methods, once the family is complete (so much as we can decide these things!)
So I guess what I am thinking now is this:
1. Be informed. Find out about various methods and what they do. A doctor can help with you with this, although you have to ask. Many will just write a script for anything, no questions asked. This also includes being informed about the potential side-effects of any method.
2. Let your theology guide your practice. If you really have a problem with using any method which stops an already fertilsed egg surviving, you need to make choices that match that. And yes, they may be less easy, more messy and less spontaneous choices - but you have chosen that it is worth it. I want to be careful at this point however. I don't think I am ready to speak out wholesale against the pill - but I still think it warrants thought.
3. Be prepared & willing to have children. If you are having sex, you must be willing to have a child as a result. If you are married, whether or not you 'want children', you need to be willing to have children - because you have chosen to have sex. As any group of women with children will attest - no contraceptive method is completely reliable.
4. Acknowledge that no matter how much you want to be, you are not completely in control. This is proven to us is so many ways as women: contraceptive failures, the desire to conceive going unfulfilled, the way a pregancy takes over our bodies, and the changes that occur during and after birth. God is in control, and whether we agree with him or not - he has designed our bodies to work the way they do. Our times are in his hands.
To follow another rather strident discussion relating to the pill, you can see ProWomanProLife here.