Especially today in the age of social media, there are a lot of conversations circling around birth control: which version is the best to have; whether or not birth control is good for our body; birth control side effects; etc. With all of this talk buzzing around in our heads, it makes it even harder to decide what’s best for our bodies. Even for me, after years of being on birth control, I find myself worrying about certain myths or questioning if I should switch types. However, there is always going to be controversy over what is right and wrong with birth control and the biggest thing I’ve had to learn is that when it comes to my body, I have all the power to choose what does or doesn’t go into it– and so do YOU.
Especially in today’s political climate, I recognize the tenderness of this topic and that sadly, not everyone has the luxury of being able to choose what they desire. For the readers that relate to that sentiment, I stand with you in fighting for equal access to healthcare.
With that being said, here are the ways I have learned to empower myself with the options I have while making decisions regarding birth control.
Research. Research. Research.
I think one of the best ways you can gain control over any situation is through researching it and understanding all of your options wholeheartedly. As the old saying goes, knowledge is power.
Start from the ground up: know your choices, what each of them entails, and reflect on which one you feel most confident about. It could be an IUD, the ring, pills, shots, or simply using the rhythm method. Read up on these options and talk with your OB-GYN about any questions you have. But in the end, whatever you choose, it’s good to know all possibilities so you can make the most informed decision.
Another thing to stress here: don’t read reviews and online forums just yet! Start with the facts.
Build Your Birth Control Community– Talk With Loved Ones
Birth control is super common in the modern day, especially in the United States. According to the CDC, about 65% of women in the U.S. between the ages of 15-49 are using some form of contraception. So while it is an intimate topic, it’s also one that many people are experiencing and discussing.
After gathering your facts, I urge you to lean on your support systems! Talk with friends, family, and loved ones about your options. Hear their experiences and listen in on why they chose certain methods. And most importantly, share your thoughts about how you’re feeling when it comes to birth control and which option feels right for you. It’s so crucial to feel supported and loved when taking a big leap healthwise!
When I first started birth control pills, my body did not react well. I was having night terrors and crying at the drop of a hat while feeling like I had no control over my emotions– it was terrible. At the time, I was blaming these changes on other stressors in my life like school, grief, etc. However, thanks to my mom and close friends, my eyes were opened to the fact that these extreme mood swings were not normal and were most likely due to hormonal changes from the birth control. By being open with my loved ones about my birth control decision, I created a community for myself that helped me when I was feeling low and confused. They encouraged me to speak with my gyno and soon after, I switched pills and adjusted to the new pack just fine.
Community and communication is key– advocate for yourself first, but it’s okay to have someone in your corner too.
Stop Gaslighting Yourself– Make The Switch!
There have been a couple of times when I have experienced a change in my body due to my birth control, as explained in the story above. Each time I have first convinced myself that the change is due to something else: stress from work; I haven’t been working out as much; my sleep cycle sucks; I stopped having sex. However, yet again, loved ones at the time encouraged me to break that thought pattern and talk with my gyno, where I then changed packs, and the problem resolved itself.
The bottom line here is to stop gaslighting yourself, honey! If there’s a change in your bodily routine and you are actively using a contraceptive or any other type of medication, it’s important to speak with your doctor. Stress, sleep, and other factors may be impacting you as well, but it’s important first to check and see if your prescription could be altering your health.
Especially with birth control, one size definitely does not fit all and I am here to remind you that change is more than okay! Take the time and make the appointments to find the best fit for your body and mind.
Don’t Buy Into Myths– Talk With Your OB-GYN
Let’s face it, we’ve all gone down the rabbit hole of having something physically wrong, talking with friends or hearing something online about it, and then spiraling over internet searches that diagnose us with something terrifying. BUT, the next time you’re going to take a walk on the wild side of the internet because your friend told you this or TikTok told you that– DON’T.
Especially when it comes to birth control, there are so many rumors and myths: you’ll never have kids; you’ll get fat; you won’t have a sex drive; you won’t be attracted to the men you’re meant to be with. We’ve all heard them and many more.
However, it’s important to recognize that while there might be slight truth in some of these rumors, most of them are entirely false or vastly exaggerated. That’s why when it comes to any question, concern, or fear that lingers on your mind surrounding emergency or non-emergency contraception options, you should first speak with your gyno. Not only will you get the facts from your OB-GYN, but it’s also reassuring to hear the truth straight from the mouth of a professional.
Your Body, Your Choice
A common thing that I have experienced/felt/heard throughout the years since myself and my friends have started birth control is the influence others can have on your decisions. Whether it’s a parent or a partner trying to persuade you a certain way, remember that you are the keeper of your own body– it is yours to protect and nurture however you choose.
Through the years I have heard many stories from loved ones about them switching birth control methods due to a partner’s opinion or influence. I have also heard stories of insecurity surrounding intimacy, sex, self-image, etc. due to a partner’s ideas about birth control. BUT, they do not get to choose this for you. One choice is not superior to the other. One choice is not the gatekeeper to more intimacy, a better body, or better sex. That being said, talk to your partner about options and hear their questions/comments/concerns, BUT in the end, choose what you feel in your heart and mind is best for your body. They aren’t the ones potentially inserting or ingesting the birth control, you are, and if they love you, they should support what you feel is best, not make you feel inferior because of it.
We are beautiful, powerful, and knowledgeable. We are smart enough to make our own decisions. We are strong enough to fight for what’s best for our bodies.
It’s not always easy and there will always be talk, but remember that you are in control and are justified in your decision to do what you feel is right, healthy, safe, sexy, for your body because it’s yours, no one else’s.