AntiBaby

2011/11/21

Alright, so that title is a little misleading. I want a baby, soon, but not just yet. It’s 2011, that sounds so futuristic and fantastic, we should have a whole bunch of the sweet shit like the Jetsons had, but at the very least, you would think we would have a better option for birth control…

After 10 years of pumping hormones into my body and dealing with some pretty crappy side effects I’ve decided to seek alternatives. Now here’s the always amazing part… as a female I have 11 options, males have 2 options. I’m not including  options like family planning or abstinence here because I am married and bad at planning. I’m sure that many of you are very familiar with your options and how they work. But I’ve been surprised to meet many people who don’t, myself included until not too long ago. I was put on the pill during my freshman year of college because I had an ovarian cyst burst. The doctor told me the pill would form a barrier and protect any more cysts from forming. I didn’t know how this what this “barrier” was or how it was formed, all I knew was I experienced the worst pain I had ever felt and I would do anything to stop it. I started taking birth control and didn’t look back, I talked to my doctor several times about what I thought were side effects and he played it off as standard PMS and gave me a prescription for ibuprofen.  Time for a new doctor and a new method.

Let’s get the male options out of the way…

1. Vasectomy – Snip. Snip. Again, I want kids.

2. Condoms – Pretty sure you all know what this is and how it works. Lots of Pros, a few Cons, mostly based on personal preference. (p.s. unless you are 100% sure your partner is disease free this is NOT an option for you, it is mandatory)

On to Female Options…

1. Implanon – A piece of hormone pumping plastic shoved into your arm. I’m serious. Its $400-800 upfront, but lasts three years. Side effects may include nausea, headaches, change in sex drive, spotting, heavy bleeding, a lump in your breast… shall I go on?

2. The Patch – A hormone sticker. Cute. I would decorate it and wear it like a tramp stamp. Side effects: in addition to nausea and vomiting, you have a slightly greater chance of certain rare, but serious, problems. The most serious — in very rare cases — may be fatal. These include heart attack, stroke, blood clot in the legs, lungs, heart, or brain. Um, fatal? Yeah, cool… I’m gonna pass.

3. The Pill – An annoying little pill you have to remember to take every day, at the same time. Sounds easy yet I always manage to mess it up. There are two kinds, progestin only and progestin and estrogen (combination pill). I am on a combination pill, as are most, and I couldn’t tell you why since all I seem to see is added shitty side effects. You know, the death, heart attack, blood clot ones. Plus now a link to breast cancer. Oh and your standard nausea, mood swing, change in sex drive, weight gain. And done with this one.

4. The Shot – A needle full of progestin to the arm. Most effective when received every 12 weeks. Want a baby? You’ll have to wait 9 months to well over a year after your last shot. Side effects: change in sex drive, change in appetite and weight, depression, hair loss and/or increased facial and body hair, headache, nausea, temporary bone thinning, jaundice…. alright, alright, I get it, you are a horrible option.

5. The Sponge – Literally  a sponge. The benefit being you would get to reference Seinfeld every time you use one. Which would be so romantic. Oh and NO HORMONES. Wowza. But it may be messy, or make things dry, you know, being a sponge and all.  Only one brand available in the US.

6. The Ring – It’s like a mini jelly bracelet that you wear on the inside. Same as the combination pill, packed full of estrogen and progestin, same side effects. Same feelings…. no, thanks.

7. Cervical Cap – A little plastic sailor hat for your cervix. Most effective when used with spermicide. Could pain or discomfort, or you could be allergic to spermicide which would cause irritation.

8. Diaphragm – Much like the cervical cap, but flexible silicone and more effective. Only side effect not related to a spermicide or silicone allergy is frequent UTIs, but these are greatly avoided by urinating before and after. Best sounding option so far…

9. Female Condom – I really have no idea who would want to use this. It looks gross and uncomfortable and sounds horrible. No thanks.

10. IUD – A t-shaped plastic part put in your uterus. Prevents pregnancy for 12 years. Side effects would need their on post. Next!

11. Sterilization – NO!

And that’s it folks. Our glorious options. What’s your pick? I have to admit, I’m a little nervous to get off a hormone based birth control. I’ve been on one for 10 years, I wonder what I’m like without it. Have you experienced the switch before?

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10 comments

  • Bailey Martin

    That is a toughie! I was on birth control for years and then decided to take a break (recommended) for awhile after a break up. Now I use condoms….however had a break in one at some point this year and had to do the morning after pill which has AWFUL side effects! I have heard that the ring actually works pretty well and may be a consideration instead of the pill. It is pretty pricey though. I have seen female condoms, they are kind of like a diaphragm but with a condom attached. Supposed to not be uncomfortable although I have no worked up the courage to use one, I think we kind of stick with what we know has worked over time. That being said, I think some of these new-fangled ideas like a pill/shot where you don’t get your period or get it only 4 times a year are scary. They just don’t seem like what mother nature intended or good for you body.

  • Kristy

    I’ve been on birth control since college due to an ovarian cyst as well. I started with the pill for many, many years and had similar issues – mood swings, nausea, consistency – you name it, bleh. Next, I tried the shot – absolutely horrible – my reaction was similar to that of the pill, only much more. So I tried the patch – it lasted about two days – I had shooting pains in my leg and horrible nausea. My doctor told me I just needed to “suck it up”, so along with new birth control I got a new doctor :-). I went back on the pill and took it continuously in order to skip my period (my new doctor told me it was okay, but not all doctors agree on the continuous use of bc to skip periods). I absolutely loved not having my period, but I still wasn’t digging the extra hormones. So a year ago I got an IUD. The “insertion” by the doctor was pretty painful (mostly due to the scarring from a LEEP performed a year earlier), but after the initial pain I have felt no discomfort whatsoever. Upside: no hormones, which has been wonderful; no extra pills, shots, patches, anything for the next 10 years (I’m in no hurry to have kids, so this works well for me!). Downsides: So far the only downside (since I’ve only had it for a year) are longer, more frequent periods – which is kind of annoying but, for me, much better than the extra hormones.
    Sorry for the super long comment – but your post really hit home. It can be soooo overwhelming when it comes time to choose a birth control method, especially when so many of the choices are still fairly new. Not gonna lie – I’d love to have my bf take the bc instead!! Haha ;-)
    Best of luck with your choice, I hope you find the right one for you!

  • Erin

    I used the ring in college when I could get it cheap from school. It was convenient, painless, and I didn’t feel many emotional side effects.
    I now have Mirena, the IUD that lasts 5 years and has a small amount of hormone. Insertion was uncomfortable, like bad cramps, and my first few periods after that were more painful than before. However I feel great now; my periods last a little longer, but I don’t feel any emotional side effects. And as soon as you take it out you can start trying to conceive. I felt like it was the best option for my husband and I (we want kids, but not anytime soon, and neither of us have history with STIs).
    There are going to be pros and cons with everything- the most important thing is that you understand your choice and you have a doctor you trust who listens to your needs. Good luck.

  • Haily

    I love this post! Birth control is a true pain – it’s so unfair what women have to put their bodies through. I was on the ring my last year of high school and first year of college, and aside from the usual emotional growing pains that girls go through those years, I felt like I was literally going insane. My moods were all over the place and my periods were absolute hell. After that, I finally went off of it (not without a little resistance from my doctor) and relied on condoms for a couple years. Condoms are not as trustworthy when they are the sole method though… so then I got the diaphragm! I’ve had it for over a year now, and until they create birth control for men, this is the method I’m sticking to. ;) It just takes a little planning ahead, and maybe some cranberry pills just in case you feel a UTI coming on, but luckily that hasn’t been much of a problem for me. I highly recommend it! Love your blog :)

  • lorenzo

    I’ve been using natural family planning (NFP) for over a year now. I was previously on birth control pills but didn’t like the side effects so I started to look at other options. I have to say, i was really intimidated by NFP. It does require some training and education (my husband and I took a class and had help with our charting in the beginning). It also requires taking your temperature each morning and charting other changes in your body throughout your cycle. As a person who is, well, ‘organizationally challenged,’ I was worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up with it BUT…I totally am!!! It becomes so easy after a few cycles and the temperature taking becomes as routine as taking a pill. I also love just how in touch with my body I am. I know exactly where I am in the cycle each month. I love knowing when I am completely infertile and not having to worry about using anything else. That being said, during the fertile times (ovulation) you do have to abstain or use some form of protection. I just wanted to throw this out there as it is a great option that a lot of people (including me) write off as being too hard or too much work. My husband and I are really happy and also really baby-free (until we’re ready of course) :)

  • Hillary

    My husband and I use condoms. I have never been on the pill and when we started dating, I was 30 years old and hesitant to start something new, knowing my body as well as I feel I do. I basically just never went on the pill – never got any pressure from my partner.

    I finally talked to my doctor about birth control a bit ago, since condoms have the obvious cons that they do, and he was like “you want babies? when? yeah, don’t go on it.” So…we still use condoms. Thinking of trying to get pregnant next year some time. Might try natural planning b/w baby one and two and then do a perma-fix after 2 comes.

    I actually don’t mind condoms too much, but also don’t have a real bar to measure against, so ignorance is bliss.

  • Kiana

    I was on the pill for almost ten years too starting when I turned 18. I’ve been off the pill for more than a year and my husband and I switched to condoms and the natural method. I have to say ,I LOVE being off the pill. First of all, I rarely remembered to take it on time. Second of all, (and this might be too much information), I have more of a sex drive off the pill than I did on. This is something they don’t really tell you about when you get on the pill. For some women, it saps their sex drive and makes it more uncomfortable to have sex since you’re less….ehm…moist. It’s been so great to be off the pill. I can tell you the hubby is pretty thankful :)

  • Chloe

    I was on the pill for 10 years until I went off of it in Jan. 2011. Best thing I ever did.

  • joan

    I quit talking the pill after reading; Cunt A Declaration of Independence when I was 20. I think every girl should read it, it will change your life.

  • joan

    p.s. I love the picture.

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