My Birth Control Saga: Why Is It So Hard Trying Not To Have A Baby?
By Brittny N. Myers
Recently, there’s been a lot of talk around birth control for men and the negative side effects which mimic those seen in women. This brought back memories of the beginning of my own birth control journey which still continues to this day.
Let me start by saying my uterus and ovaries hate me. I have always had issues with my reproductive organs, whether it is my tilted uterus, polycystic ovaries, (which causes hair to grow in all kinds of unsightly places by the way), or my irregular periods. The final straw was when I missed my cycle for three months. When aunt flow finally decided to arrive, she stayed for 28 days. Yes, practically a full month! Naturally, the doctor suggested birth control. I was 15 years old.
This is where my birth control journey began, although at first it wasn’t for preventing pregnancy. My first experience with birth control was the patch. I hated it! For starters it was nude colored, which of course didn’t complement my melanin rich skin, so it was very noticeable. At the time, there were only three locations doctors suggested for placement — I chose to wear it on my hip. In retrospect, I can see why that was a bad idea. There would be days I’d get home from school and it was out of place. It would also fall off in the shower and leave nasty residue on my skin. But I stuck it out all throughout my high school years because I suppose it served its purpose.
Fast forward to college when there was a whole different reason for birth control: I didn’t want a baby. I still don’t (yet). I also didn’t want to continue the patch, so I switched to the pill. I took so. many.different. types of birth control pills. Pharmaceutical companies would discontinue certain brands and release new ones seemingly every month. It was crazy. What was even scarier was how inconsistent I was at taking them. I mean it was bad! Also around this time, birth control wasn’t free, so as a college student I would have to scramble up my little coins to pay for my birth control pills every month. But you can best believe I found a way to get them. I saw so many people around me getting pregnant and having to leave school. I refused to be one of them.
After I graduated college, I still continued the pills for about a year. The last pill I took, which ironically had a lower dose of hormones, really changed me. Talk about mood swings. I was very emotional, which wasn’t typical of me. I was short-tempered, hot all the time, and had bad headaches, but my skin was clearer than ever. I also believe this pill is responsible for killing my sex drive. I can only imagine the faces being made when people read that statement, but it’s true.
Eventually, I stopped taking birth control altogether because I wanted my body back. I felt like a slave to it and I really wanted to feel like myself again.
I stopped all forms of contraception for about five years and it wasn’t until I got engaged that I started thinking about birth control again. Once again, I knew I didn’t want a child right away so this time I opted for an IUD. I did a ton of research and got advice from various people and decided this was the route to go. When I got it inserted, I was immediately regretful. I was in so much pain after the implantation and I experienced extremely heavy bleeding. I remember walking through the store, slumped over trying to buy thick, heavy duty pads. I had to call my boss and tell her I couldn’t return to work that day. I could barely even drive myself home. If I had known the experience would be like that, I would have had someone go with me for the procedure. I was miserable for about two days, then the pain stopped and, eventually, the bleeding did too. At that point, I thought, this is perfect! During intercourse, I didn’t feel anything and neither did my husband. All was well…until my first cycle. The same pain I felt on the day I got the IUD inserted came back ten-fold. I couldn’t even go to work. The pain continued for two full days and this has been a continual issue for the past two years.
Now I find myself at the same crossroads again. I am certain I want this IUD out, but I’m uncertain about what to do next. And when I think about all this talk about men having birth control,I won’t lie, it does make me happy to think that now not getting pregnant can be just as much of the man’s responsibility as a woman’s. However, with all the side effects myself and many other ladies have had to endure, do we really want our men to have to deal with this too? It really shouldn’t be so hard to not have a baby.