May 14th-20th is National Women’s Health Week.
Birth control had not been part of my life for a long time. While many of my friends started taking the Pill in high school — for acne, for period management, and for pregnancy prevention — I avoided it. For one thing, I was not sexually active yet. And, luckily, my period was super light; I got one, maybe two zits max per month. So, for me, there was no need for birth control — at least not yet.
I had grown up believing that natural and homeopathic remedies were best. If I got sick, I’d often wait it out, relying on rest and hydration. I didn’t even like taking Tylenol for a headache, so I was in no way comfortable dabbling with my hormones.
Taking the birth control pill seemed tough.
My friends often complained about their mood swings and their weight gain. One month, they’d bleed through their jeans. The next month, their period would never show up.
And that made me uneasy. I liked my body the way it was; I was used to how it functioned. So, when I was 18, I decided I was going to stick to condoms. And I did — but not without consistently fearing that the condoms would break.
I ended up needing to take Plan B twice. When I’d reached my mid-twenties and was still solely using condoms, I often Googled things like “how many times is it okay to take Plan B?” and “condom breaking, risk of pregnancy?”
I realized I needed to stop Asking Jeeves about my reproductive system and go straight to the source.
It was time to have these questions answered by a human expert and not a questionably-informed, hypochondria-inducing search engine.
I made a much-needed appointment with my gynecologist.
I think I unloaded a lot on my gynecologist that day — she broke down a ton of the myths that I’d believed about birth control over the years.
She taught me how the Pill works, and how the Pill can help many women. She taught me that IUDs aren’t *just* for women who’ve already been pregnant, and are much different than the IUDs that were used in the ’70s and ’80s.
Point is, there are TONS and TONS of myths out there, people. And they’re worth being debunked. I left that day with a new and enlightened perspective about birth control, along with an appointment to get the ParaGard, the non-hormonal copper IUD.