Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Unmarried women 'bearing' witness to needs unmet by single lifestyle

A guest post by KIM PAYNE

Self magazine article published on titled "Single, pregnant, and panicked" attempts to explore the reasons why so many women in their twenties—old enough to know better, reporter Laura Beil practically states—"botch" their birth control and end up pregnant.

The reason is lack of knowledge about birth control, the article concludes. It recommends giving young women strong doses of education in birth control, stressing to them that they have to think about not getting pregnant every day, and educating them still more about birth control.

However, if you read the story, the featured women end up pregnant simply because they aren't using birth control at all, or are using it very inconsistently. This is described as "confusing" and "distressing" because it defies reason: if you know sex causes babies, and you know contraceptives prevent babies, then women who say they don't want babies would use birth control and avoid conceiving them.

But they aren't using birth control, and their sad stories of pregnancy and rejection by their sexual partners are a heartbreaking read. All the more so because I believe the author misses the real reason why these young women are getting pregnant despite their knowledge of human biology: their intense and all too human desire to be loved.

If what Dawn Eden describes in The Thrill of the Chaste as our culture's Universal Single-Person rule, "Sex should push the relationship," is the dating standard these days, then the New Corollary is, "A baby should push the commitment."

While our society has changed with the legalization of premarital sex, birth control, and abortion, women's deep desires for love, commitment, and family has not. Hence, the continuing popularity of romance novels that occupy acres of space in bookstores today. All those stories tell the same story: the man physically desires the woman with a passion that is breathtaking, violent, and beyond all reason, but the minute he discovers that she is carrying his child, the hero's lust immediately turns to love. He restrains himself, cherishing her as the mother of his heir and marrying her in the end. I assure you, after reading numerous books of this genre in my college days, that the swashbuckling hero at no time ever growls at our heroine, "Get rid of it."

I'm not saying that the women featured in this article are the product of the romance novel industry; I am saying that these books tap into the primal female fantasy that unconsciously plays in our heads since puberty. And whether we as women realize it or not, we say to ourselves, "That is how it is supposed to be."

And that is how it is supposed be if it is according to God's will, albeit love first, marriage second, and babies third. But women are confused these days about how to achieve this in their lives, believing that the fruits of the gift of love will produce the love itself. That is, the baby will bring about the love and commitment they so desire, rather than waiting on God's plan for their lives. Which is the same concept as the Universal Single-Person Rule of believing sex will produce the relationship (and maybe the love).

This emotional dynamic is demonstrated by the story of Kortney who, after giving up the baby to her sister to adopt, couldn't bring herself to pursue a relationship with her one night stand: "The baby’s father, now divorced, had wanted a relationship. But he waived legal claim to his son, never wanting so much as a photo. 'That got too hard for me,' [Kortney] says. 'There was so much baggage between us.'" The rejection of their son was a rejection of Kortney as a woman which she apparently could never overcome. It simply wasn't how it was supposed to be.

I feel such sorrow for Kortney and the other women in the article because in the end, it is the baby that is cast as the villain in these stories. Prevent the baby and you will prevent the pain, is the message given to them. That is the "education" promoted by the experts in the article, when the women desperately need ministering instead.

They need a ministry that teaches them about Real Love and that they are worthy of a love so great. And most importantly, they don't even have to wait for it. God is already their lover. We do not have to wait on Him to "get ready," or grow up, or make sure the timing is right. He isn't waiting for Himself. He is waiting on us. He is waiting for us to cut off our shackles and run to Him. By identifying our addictions and asking Him to heal us from those enslaving attachments we can run, not walk or stroll, but run excitedly towards Him. All we have to do is ask.

"So I say to you, 'Ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you.' For whoever asks, receives; whoever seeks, finds; whoever knocks, is admitted."

Kim Payne blogs at Cotton Creek Sewing.