That thing is happening where I’ve started this post about six times and keep deleting it. So maybe this time will be the right time, the time I don’t frown at my screen and look away in sheer horror at my own unimaginative writing skills.
Hashtag pray for Hannah.
This post was requested a little while ago and it’s been sat just twiddling its thumbs in my bullet journal like um, hun, you gonna write me up or nah?
And well, here we are. The thing is, I like – scrap that, bloody LOVE – writing personal posts. The type that help me untangle a big knot of emotions in my soul, the type that could help someone else, but when they involve details that are personal to someone else as well as me, well I feel a bit icky. Like, how much do I share?
Because if you’re talking about contraception, well, there’s always gonna be someone else involved. Unless you’re awkwardly just blowing up blueberry condoms into balloons on your own in your room. I salute you if you are.
So Chris, if you are reading this, maybe go and get yourself a glass of whiskey. And then maybe another one.
I wrote something about my personal contraceptive choices back in 2015 (over here) but I’ll give you a brief lowdown on my history and bring you up to speed in case you cba to click onto another post.
I’ve tried three different contraceptive pills in the decade (WHAT THE SWEET FLIPPIN HECK?) I’ve been sexually active. One made me cry every at least twice a day, another made me do one poo a week and the other, well the other one was actually A-OK.
But, nearly two years ago, around the time I was coming off my anti-depressants, I decided that I just, well, wanted to be free of taking medication every single darn day.
The idea of adding unnecessary things into my body stopped sitting so well with me and we made the decision to use condoms instead.
You start with good intentions. You use the condoms. You don’t mind the price or the stopping to get one out of a drawer, but eventually over time, you stop being so careful. And I know I am playing with danger.
Now, first thing I gotta add in here is that I am 26. Twenty six and two thirds if you’re being specific. And I am financially stable. And I’m in a healthy relationship that’s nearing its three years mark. And I live in a nice, spacious home with my boo and my cats and it’s been this way sine August 2014. Oh and we’ve both been checked for STIs.
If I were to fall pregnant, it would be OK.
I mean, we’re certainly not planning it, but it would be OK. We could handle it.
And I would certainly never recommend the withdrawal method or unprotected sex to anyone – especially if you weren’t in the right life situation – but, I have to be honest and say that if you make the joint decision to come off the pill, or any other type of contraception, and agree to use condoms, the chances are that over time you will slip up and become less careful. That is the reality of it.
And I know some people are going to be like YOU CAN’T SAY THAT ON THE INTERNET, but we need to make this an open discussion. A real discussion. And be honest about how we’re using contraception.
So what is life without the pill like?
Well, when I came off it I didn’t lose weight or gain weight, my boobs didn’t reduce into two saggy little tea bags and my periods didn’t throw a bitch fit and start cascading down my legs.
Things kind of, well, stayed the same.
My mood has been much better, but because so much changed at the same time – my job, my home environment, my relationship (which went from semi-long distance to HI, WE LIVE TOGETHER overnight), and the area I lived in – I can’t really link that back to the pill.
My periods are crazy regular. Although now I have to rely on an app to track them rather than my pill packet. Hurrah for using up more iPhone memory space.
Although there was that one year where I had a freakish 40 day cycle which is *why* I was like OMG IS THIS POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME?! (It was and then it wasn’t – thanks for the false diagnose, GP).
And in all honesty, I’ve never looked back.
There have been awkward moments in front of medical staff where they’ve asked about contraception and I’ve got flustered and freaked THE EFF OUT and I’ve been subjected to intense questioning.
I have been one wrong answer away from having leaflets about all my contraceptive options shoved into my lap.
I’m not really sure what I’m hoping will come from this post – I guess I just wanted to give an honest view of how I’ve found life after the pill.
Since speaking to a lot of friends (over wine and carbs, because duh), I realised that the majority of them were desperate to come off the pill because HAVE I REALLY BEEN TAKING THIS FOR 10 YEARS ALREADY? but freaking out at the options available to them.
Twenty six is a weird old age for contraception. Everything, aside from condoms and the pill, feels so final.
Everything lasts a good few years and you need to physically decide to get them removed – which, at a time when your body’s squealing at you to re-produce (pipe down ovaries, your time is not now), feels so conflicting.
Does that make sense or am I digging myself some weird hole?
It’s like you want something that won’t freak you out about breast cancer or blood clots or all the other things that are loosely related to the pill, but without the NO BABIES FOR YOU ANYTIME SOON LOL LOL LOL of things like the coil and the implant and the injection.
Anyway, I’m rambling and starting to feel awkward and hi, I’ve basically just told you about my sex life. And I’m aware that I have some much younger readers so please, please find don’t have sex before you’re ready and speak to your GP to make sure you’re as protected against both pregnancy and STIs as you can possibly be.
The NHS goes into more details about the different contraceptive methods here.
I’d love to hear your stories – about what’s worked for you and what hasn’t and where your head’s at with the whole thing. I feel like it’s something we don’t shout about enough outside our closest friendship groups.
Update: I’ve JUST read this and it’s amazing and says everything I want to say but better. Kinda. It’s from Nev Shulman’s (of Catfsh fame) pregnant girlfriend Laura and is amaze.