When I was 15 and some of my best friends first started going to visit their GPs with their mums to discuss contraception (because they’d been with their boyfriends at least two months and they actually met up after school and it was all really official so they were definitely going to have actual real naked sex soon), there was only ever one outcome – a Microgynon prescription.
We’d had flavoured condoms floating about for some time – I actually once got in trouble at school for having a blueberry one in my purse, but whatevs, I thought people actually had intercourse with sugary flavoured contraception – but it quickly became apparent that the thing you did once you hit an age was go on Microgynon, the sweet, sweet contracetive pill.
Except it’s not a sweet, sweet contraceptive pill. It’s a beast.
Maybe I wasn’t offered anything else, maybe when I was 16 and deciding that OHMYFUCKINGGOD MAYBE I’LL HAVE SEX WITH MY BOYFRIEND SOON BECAUSE I’M A GROWN UP, I marched into the doctor’s office and simply asked for the pill, and that was that. I had my blood pressure taken and then swanned off to Boots to pick up my first three months of the drug that would stop me becoming a very unprepared teen mother. But either I didn’t want to hear about the other options, or they were never discussed and offered to me by my doctor, either way I never considered them. And I still wouldn’t.
I know right, a grown woman admitting that all contraception creeps her out, how idiotic.
The rumour that has floated about for the past few years is that Microgynon is the contraceptive pill offered out first to most young women because it is the cheapest for the NHS – and not the most agreeable for most women.
Whilst some girls gained weight, others had clearer skin and some noticed no difference at all – I sprung out a DD cup from an A, and I became crazy.
Like, extra crazy. Not just normal hormonal teenage crazy, but completely mentally not OK. I would cry all the time, lash out, be unreasonable, be plagued with anxiety and I felt out of control of my emotions, and it’s only as i’ve got older and started speaking to more of my peers that I realise I wasn’t alone. A lot of us were plagued with this low, destructive mood which we had no control over.
After two years of Microgynon I transferred onto another pill which made me embarrassingly constipated, and then another, Marvelon, which had absolutely no side-effects with me.
I’ve regularly taken breaks of up to a year when i’ve been single, and i’ve regularly looked at other types of contraception – because, I am not clever enough to remember to take a pill every single day, especially when i’m feeling stressed.
I click on every article the Mail Online throws at me about how the pill is basically destroying my every morsel, how it’ll leave me infertile, cancer-ridden and just a bit like the stumpy thing under a bench at faux King’s Cross that was the remains of Lord Voldermort’s soul.
My main fear is that there are not enough long-term studies on the effects of pills like Microgynon and Marvelon, because, well, people haven’t been taking them that long. The Pill was launched worldwide in the 1960s and has gained in popularity since then – right now a third of all women aged 16-49 in the UK are on it, isn’t that insane?
We all know it’s been linked to blood clots, causes an increased risk of breast and cervical cancer, but why are we all still so obsessed with it?
Let’s look at your other solutions – the vaginal ring, the IUD, the IUS, the injections, the patch, the implant, condoms and diaphrams.
My main concern here is putting foreign objects up my vagina, like the ring, diaphrams, IUS and IUD . It terrifies me, like putting a bit of LEGO up your nose or something. I’ve also heard horror stories about how much it hurts to get them ‘installed’ and also, they’re kinda long-term aren’t they? What if I WANT a baby in six months? Then i’ve got to drag myself back to get the whole bloody thing removed.
It’s the same with the implant – I don’t want some sort of robotic, futuristic, tracker-style thing lodged in my arm, it’s unnatural and I don’t want any additional injections brought into my life, giving blood is enough needlework in my life, thanks.
The patch is a bit like saying OH HI EVERYONE LOOK I’M USING CONTRACEPTION, except to people like me who’ll probably assume you’re trying to quit smoking, which looks just as generally lame.
And so it is that i’m left with condoms. The most basic and age-old form of contraception there ever was, aside from withdrawal, which doesn’t sound that effective.
Contraception just terrifies me. I don’t like any of them. I don’t want additional chemicals and hormones inserted into my body, because surely that’s not good for me? I’m getting enough shit put into my body thanks to my McDonald’s addiction as it is.
When my doctor prescribes me some antibiotics for a bladder infection i’ll happily take it because OH MY FUCKING GOD ALL THE PAIN, and I know i’ll only be putting it into my body for a week, and unless I want hospitalisation for a bigger problem, I don’t really have a choice.
But with contraceptives it feels different – you could be subjecting your body to alien objects for years, and it just doesn’t sit right with me.
Mostly, I want to hear what everyone else has to say on this niggly matter. So yeah, lemme know guys, I need you to soothe my mind.