I prefer my body without birth control (but why I’m still on it!)
I’m in a love/hate relationship with birth control.
I love that it allows badass women with beautiful (life creating) bodies to have the power to decide when their amazing gifts of nature do [only one of the very important things] that they [can sometimes] do.
But let us not forget — or let anyone ignore — how much goddamn work it is to not only find a solution that you like but also to accept the negatives of that solution as part of your daily life. While also fighting a world that doesn’t seem to want women to take care of their bodies.
And while men sometimes weigh in on birth control methods (“Umm…should I wear a condom…or…?”), this is mostly left — or expected to be left — to the women of the world.
That is, if the world will let us make this choice at all.
(Different discussion, still very important and relevant)
Thanks to shows like Big Mouth (the Planned Parenthood episode) and badass women like Sophia Bush (talking about how birth control is basic health care), men are starting to confront how much time women spend thinking about their birth control:
If it’s not which kind to use, it’s where to get it. If it’s not where to get it, it’s how to pay for it. If it’s not how to pay for it, it’s how effective it will be. If it’s not effectiveness, it’s the side effects. If it’s not hormone problems, it’s maximized period discomfort. If it’s not a heavier period, it’s no period at all. If it’s not no period, it’s — WAIT is there still a chance that I could get pregnant even though I have an IUD, we used a condom, and he pulled out??
And women out there know that I could keep going.
So let’s talk about our birth control journeys! Because it can take forever to settle in — if ever. And the men in our lives might not really understand everything we go through to get there.
As we say here on the Her Me Out blog, nothing’s better than talking about it!
FULL DISCLAIMER: My birth control journey is in no way an indication of how your journey may have gone or an implication that a certain solution won’t work for someone else. This is just my personal experience!
If I’m being perfectly honest: I prefer my body without birth control.
I was blessed with a beautiful period. Without female contraception, it’s 2 to 3 days tops. Light flow, the most minimal cramps, and emotions so in tact that I actually thought PMS might be a myth (since my birth control journey I most certainly understand now). I actually loved being on my period!
But the time came for me to make a choice for my reproductive health.
I am lucky enough to be someone who only needs birth control to prevent pregnancy, unlike many women who take it for a number of health related reasons. Because people were buzzing about it at every turn, I went with the pill.
On the pill, my already super light period basically disappeared. This may sound fun — and I guess it was at first — but it started to freak me out.
I bounced between convincing myself that I was pregnant and worrying that I was sterilizing myself. Gyno after gyno would explain to me that it was fine not to have a period, but I didn’t like it.
I felt unnatural — like I wasn’t bleeding with my ladies. Or that my body wasn’t releasing something that it should. Maybe it was all in my head, but, even so, it existed somewhere.
After years of being on the pill and feeling kind of wrong about it, I finally decided to take a break. I wasn’t seeing anyone, so I relied on condoms for the time being.
(I was also annoyed that a lot of people would expect you to be on birth control so that they wouldn’t have to use condoms — they can’t even try it when you’re not!)
(And if they do try it, why are we sleeping with these people UGH so not a cool side effect of our sex culture)
After getting off the pill, I was feeling great in my bod. I felt more natural, more like me. I actually noticed that my emotions didn’t feel as generated or controlled. And my beautiful period came back, meaning I could bleed with my ladies once again!
I was super happy to have made the choice. I quickly realized hormone birth controls didn’t really float my boat. They work well for a lot of people (providing important solutions to a lot of health issues!), but I preferred without.
After about a year of free-flowing bliss, I met my boyfriend.
We did the condom thing for a while, but that gets old pretty quickly. So — after no pressure from him by the way thanks boo — I decided it was time for a change.
We were living in the UK at the time, which — if you didn’t know — is one of the best places for birth control. It’s pretty free over there and very easy to get! I literally went to a walk-in clinic on a random Tuesday and, without an ID or passport, got an IUD inserted on the spot. Unreal!
Because I didn’t want to deal with hormones anymore but was into the idea of not having to worry about my birth control, I went with the copper coil IUD. It’s an insert that they put up into your uterus, which basically confuses your body into thinking that it’s a hostile environment for making babies.
And let me tell you: the way they insert it feels like they’re actually trying to create that hostile environment. (It hurt a lot)
I was pretty sensitive directly after but very excited to try out my new birth control, as this would be the first time in my life I wouldn’t have to actively do anything to be safe.
This has continued to be a great perk about the IUD. She’s got your back, and you don’t have to set up an alarm on your phone everyday to make sure that it’s working.
There is one major caveat: All of your regular period symptoms will be heightened, meaning heavier period, worse cramps, and more emotions.
Despite this, I agreed to try it out because my period was always good to me. The worst symptom I used to experience was a little bloating, and I barely knew what a period cramp felt like.
I know now.
My IUD, as much as a I love her for being there for me, gives me insane cramping before and during my period.
You know how I always wanted to bleed with my ladies? Be careful what you wish for.
And oh the PMS.
As a young thing with a manageable period, I had no idea what it meant to have your emotions swept away from you by even the slightest of breezes, hearing yourself saying things but not knowing why. In short, it sucks.
While I’m still with my IUD, and have been for almost 2 years now, I’m still not convinced it’s the right option for me.
Because, if I’m being honest, I prefer my body without birth control. But that is something that at this point in time I choose to sacrifice for my sex positive lifestyle.
Of course, this isn’t how everybody feels. Some people love their birth control because it helps with other symptoms or brings positive effects like clearer skin.
But, when it comes down to it, it’s usually not a piece of cake to get to that point where you love your birth control solution or are happy dealing with the side effects. (If it can be cake, I’ll take the Victoria Sponge, please.)
All this to say that women bear the burden, and that can be a lot.
So let’s share our birth control stories so people can get a better perspective of everything each woman thinks about when they want to have protected sex or just be a healthy lady.
I would literally be thrilled to enter into a discussion with any (considerate) person (with good intentions) about my BC journey. Probably a lot of women feel the same way. And if you’re a man, birth control shouldn’t be a woman’s issue — though of course it becomes that. So take away some of the burden and ask your female lovers about it!
Here are some sample questions: are you happy with your birth control? What did it take to get there? What problems are you dealing with now? Will we ever come up with a good solution that only has positive side effects? Could I get you some cake since you have to deal with this and generally I do not?