Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

I know the question is coming for me soon.

“What are your plans for birth control?”

Good question. Since medical science has completely failed women with its shitty options for not getting pregnant. My favorite analogy is that the focus is on the bulletproof vest instead of the bullets. It’s baffling really. Wouldn’t want to inconvenience men with uncomfortable side effects, now would we. It’s not like they turn to my husband and ask that question.

But I digress.

Seriously, though. Options aren’t great. I will be a breastfeeding mother, and the only option considered “safe” is the mini-pill. The active ingredient is progestin and doesn’t contain any estrogen, whereas most other pills are a combination of both. It’s considered to be slightly less effective than other methods, but still better than nothing.

Let’s not forget nature’s own special birth control, which is breastfeeding. Not a guaranteed method, so don’t be fooled, but it does work for many women. Breastfeeding suppresses the ovulation cycle because your body is getting signals that there is still a baby being supported by this person, so let’s not make another. I went 14 months without a cycle, which was so blissful.

Now, breastfeeding was a method that worked for me because I was flexible in the creation of my second child. I trusted breastfeeding as birth control with the understanding it was not foolproof and here we are, pregnant with my second. Not surprised, especially since my daughter was not breastfeeding as regularly.

Of course, what about the women who seriously do not want kids right now? The options are either hormonal garbage, non-hormonal garbage, or abstinence. I won’t break down every method (you can find a full list here) but when I look at the available birth control options, I cringe. I know they definitely work for some women, but as a woman who has struggled to handle the hormonal imbalances caused by birth control, I’m not excited.

You could have something implanted, either in your arm or your cervix. Sounds fun. These are 99% effective, but if you don’t have health insurance, you could be coughing up hundreds of dollars for these long-term options. Great if you don’t want to remember a daily pill. Not so great if you’re worried about foreign objects in your body.

There’s also shots and patches that last a few months. Seems exciting and tempting. Except I don’t want to wear a patch all day every day. I have sensitive skin, and again, the hormones. The last time I tried to go on an extended form of pregnancy prevention, I swung into depression and had spotting for at least a month. Uhm, no thanks. Mother Nature isn’t welcome every 28 days, so I definitely don’t need her around every day of the month.

Then you’ve got trusty condoms, but did you know those are only 85% effective? Those stats are lower than I thought. Sure, it’s still a B grade if you look at it like that, but I’m an A student. I don’t like Bs. That’s a 15% chance I could end up with child number 3 way before I’m ready. As you explore other options like spermicide and caps, the stats only continue to fall. It’s all great trying to prevent a pregnancy, but even permanent measures only clock at 99%. You could have surgery and still conceive a child. Mind-blowing.

Deciding on a birth control involves so many different factors. What are you aiming for? Are you ok being pregnant right now, if an accident miracle were to happen? Or are you a hard no on the pregnancy front? This is a conversation that needs to be had with your doctor or a clinic so you can make the right decision. It’s important to know that each of these methods has potential side effects (like pregnancy) and you have a right to all the information.

So what birth control will we use? I’m honestly stumped. I’ll probably try a combination of fertility awareness (tracking my cycle) and condoms, because I truly don’t want a third child too soon after my second. It would be super inconvenient. I also don’t want to sacrifice my own body any more than I already have. I’ve carried a baby for 9 freaking months, given birth, and now I’m breastfeeding. Don’t forget to add in some chemicals that will prevent pregnancy (mostly) and could make me miserable in other ways.

It’s bullshit. Women deserve better, and hopefully science comes through. As a breastfeeding mother, my options are slim. Options are even more sparse for women who medically can’t use most of the methods available. And don’t give me any nonsense about not having sex if you aren’t prepared for a baby. Go kick rocks. We are humans. Humans have sex. Birth control should be about protecting the woman, not just about preventing a pregnancy. And since it takes two people to make a baby, shouldn’t two people have a part in preventing that baby? So let’s get on that, please and thanks.