I didn’t realize until that day sitting in the doctors office that systems of oppression, like patriarchy, mark the options I have for contraceptives.
At age nineteen, I was in a hot and heavy long-term relationship with an older man. I knew I loved him, and I knew he loved me but, at the rate we were going at it, we were destined to have our own clan of Duggers- our own clan of Hawkins to be exact. I was a busy student, worker, and volunteer, and oftentimes forgot to take my birth control pill, and my partner had recently graduated college and was unemployed. Despite our financial shortcomings, we could afford a few dates to local restaurants. But a child and all of their accessories was nowhere in our strained budgets.
I decided to take action and seek a more effective birth control method- a method that I would not have to worry about forgetting to take daily.
I conducted extensive research before I decided on an alternative form of birth control that was right for me- an IUD. I eagerly made my appointment for my yearly well-woman-exam and anxiously awaited the day where I was no longer a slave to the birth control pill.
On the day of my appointment, I filled out the required paperwork, disrobed, and endured the forever-uncomfortable pap smear, breast examination, and pelvic examination. Upon completion of the procedures, my male OBGYN asked me which birth control method did I prefer?
“Well, I’ve conducted a lot of research and based on my lifestyle, I’ve decided to get the Mirena,” I stated proudly.
“Oh no, you cannot get the Mirena”, my OBGYN replied nonchalantly.
My eager little heart sank- I became mortified.
“Why not?” I asked, shaking.
“Because you haven’t had children and it would be too difficult to place. Also, you are too young. You can either do the pill, the Nuva Ring, or the Patch, but the IUD isn’t an option.”
When I researched the Mirena, I discovered that age and never having children had little to no impact on the effectiveness of the method- So why is he telling me otherwise?
I went back and forth with my OBGYN for five minutes. I realized that he would not budge on his stance, so I began to consider other options.
I was not comfortable with using the Nuva Ring, and the surplus of commercials discussing fatal side effects automatically took the Patch out of the running.
Flustered and confused, I reluctantly agreed to stay on the pill: Ortho Tri Cyclen Lo to be exact.
I left the physician’s office with a new perspective on life. Previously, I always felt empowered and in control of my life. This moment changed that- I realized that as a woman in a patriarchal society, I’m not in control. Not even when it pertains to my reproductive health.
Monologues are independent stories. The experiences and opinions shared are the author’s own. Do you relate this this experience? What comes into play when you navigate your personal choices and contraceptive options?
We recommend Scarleteen as a smart resource to learn more about IUDs and other contraceptions.