Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Women's Talk Wednesday- Birth Control

Let's admit something right now, ladies. Birth control should be up to us, shouldn't it? We're the ones that will have to carry a child for the next 9 months if the method fails to do it's job. So, I think that means we should be able to choose which one suits us the most, right? Right!

Now, most of my readers are married, like me, so the topic of birth control coming from an old married lady might be weird. Not really, when you think that even married couples want some sort of control over their family structure. I have come across a few families in my time that 'leave it to God', and end up with a bunch of kids (anyone seen 18 Kids and Counting on TV? She might be up to 19 by now, I don't know....), which is fine for them. Me, personally? No thanks. I have a boy and a girl; that's good for me.

So, when you are like me, something needs to be done to help control the procreation aspect of sex, so it can be more enjoyable without worrying if there will be another mouth to feed down the line. There are many forms of birth control, with pros and cons to both. Here's my take on the many different forms:

  1. Abstinence. The only 100% accurate form of birth control. Hahahahaha. Yeah, we aren't 15 year old girls. We're women.... most of us married.... with kids.... We can have sex. But I had to throw it in here in case a younger person happened upon my blog in looking up forms of birth control. Now that the laughter has subsided between us women, let's continue on....
  2. Natural Methods, such as Rhythm Method or Withdrawal Method, or What I Like to Call the 'Honey, We're Pregnant' Methods. I had quite a few friends in high school get pregnant from the 'pull out' method (withdrawal) of birth control. Basically, these natural methods require no use of barriers or drugs. They rely on charts, numbers, checking fluids and just praying to a higher power. Sounds more to me like something you do to your car, which, is getting your car checked all the time ever a fun experience? In my opinion, it's entirely too much work for not a trustworthy outcome. On average, natural birth control methods have a 75-85% effectiveness rate. I'm not putting my money on this one, sorry. If it's worked for you effectively in the past, please, do tell. 
  3. Hormonal Contraceptives, i.e. The Pill, The Shot, The Ring, All of the 'The' Ones. The basic principal behind these, is they jack your hormone levels up past a point where you can ovulate, and just halt the entire ovulation/conception process. There are pros and cons to hormone contraceptives:
    • Pros: You don't have to worry so much about other forms, as it's 99% effective if used correctly; regularity to your period; many of the pills clear up skin conditions or ease PMS symptoms; bigger boobs- yes ladies, I found a loophole to my boob envy problem; some of the hormonal methods do away with your period altogether
    • Cons: You have to remember a pill everyday; antibiotics can lessen the effectiveness; weight gain- grrrrr; some methods can completely screw up your regularity; smokers have to worry about blood clots; some can act as a fertility drug (what? I explain next...)
    • My Personal Experience: The Shot caused me to bleed for 6 weeks straight, and the doctor couldn't guarantee that the next shot would fix that- no thank you. The Pill clears up my skin, eases my cramps and lower back pain, causes regularity, fills out my boobs more, but also caused me to get pregnant with my son in the past. My natural hormone levels don't even fall within range for me to ovulate (it's called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). So, when I was on birth control, it heightened my hormone levels above the ovulation range, and when I went off of birth control, my hormone levels fell right in place for me to get pregnant immediately, whereas with normal women, it takes about 3 months for the birth control hormones to get out of their system and return them to normal. So my advice is, check your hormone levels before going on anything.
  4. Barrier Methods, i.e. Condoms, Diaphram. Condoms are my personal favorite. Why? Less clean up for the ladies. There's nothing worse than getting done with the act, being in complete bliss, wanting to fall asleep, but you have to get up and go to the bathroom to un-stickify yourself (yeah, I just said that). Leave it up to the guys to go do that, ladies. Make them get up and take care of things. Plus, condoms come in all varieties- ribbed for her pleasure, ribbed for his pleasure, spiraly ones, barely there ones, flavored (ewwwww), just about everything you can imagine (they have fire and ice ones now- not sure what to think of that; wouldn't that hurt at some point?). And, personal experience here- if you ever want to play a horrible, yet funny, joke on your significant other, get the ones that have the last long lubricant on them. Basically, it numbs them. Yes, it's horrible, what happens, but oh so funny (did my devil horns just pop out?). Now, I have no experience with a diaphram, and for good reason. Like The Ring (from #3), you shove that bad boy inside you in order to use it. Not a big fan of that. I worry too much; what if it gets lost? What if it moves ever so slightly and is rendered useless? Nah, not for me. These methods, however, are not only 85-95% effective, but protect against most STDs (condoms, that is). They do have their cons of breakage, leakage and a weird smell (tell me that condoms don't smell funny, please), but are totally worth it to me. It's also a con to have to buy them, as a woman. Have you ever noticed that guys can walk into a drugstore, or a gas station, buy a pack of condoms, and no matter if it's a guy or girl ringing them up, they get a mental high-5 (especially if it's a guy ringing them up), like, 'Dude, you're going to get laid. Awesome!'. Women, wedding ring or not, go to buy a pack of condoms and we get looked at like whores. Hey, it's better than me walking in here in a few weeks for a pregnancy test, right? How are you gonna look at me then?
  5. IUD. Okay, this one, personally, I'm against, but it might just be because I don't fully understand them. I almost had an IUD put in at one point, after my son was born. Long term birth control that I didn't have to worry about. Sounds amazing... until I started reading more about it. From my understanding, an IUD doesn't prevent pregnancy like the pill does (though some have hormones with them now that work much like the pill or shot does, causing you to not ovulate). What it does is alters the lining of your uterus so that implantation doesn't occur. If I understand that correctly, that means every month you could possibly get pregnant, the sperm fertilizes the egg, but the IUD keeps the egg from attaching itself to your uterus, and you end up just flushing the fertilized egg out with your monthly visitor. I'm not quite sure how I feel about that. I'd rather just not get pregnant in the first place, stop the sperm fertilizing the egg from ever occurring, and not have to worry about what happens each month with my body. They do have a 99% effectiveness rate when used correctly, and can be used for something like 5-12 years if you wanted to, but there is evidence to suggest problems getting pregnant right away after removal of an IUD. They aren't effective against STDs, and, for me personally, I would battle with my conscience every month if I chose this method. It works for a lot of women, though, so it's something to research for yourself. 
  6. Permanent Methods, such as Vasectomy or Tubal Ligation. Great for an established family who knows they no longer want children. I personally vote for a vasectomy; the guys are rendered useless for like up to 3 days of healing time, and then nothing after that. Tubal Ligation is up to a week's healing time. Both of these methods can be reversed in the future if so desired, though it is difficult. Vasectomy reversals are easier than Tubal Ligation reversals. These methods, of course, are not effective at all against STDs, but have a less that 0.5% chance of not working. Like I said, great for established families, and stable relationships.
I think I've covered the basics in this. There are methods not mentioned that fall into one of these 6 categories; female condoms, spermacide, The Patch, The Sponge, etc, but they aren't used as frequently as the ones specifically mentioned above. So, what's my current personal stance on this? Hubby would kill me for sharing this with the world, but we fall under categories 6 and 3. He's had a procedure done, which is really all we need, but I recently opted to get back on the pill to manage my PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). I was having horrible pain once a month, not regular at all, and my skin looked like pepperoni pizza. So, the pill helped fix all of that. Am I stoked about having to take a pill everyday? No. But nothing else has worked for me in the past, trying to manage my PCOS. The bonus, though? My boobs are filling out nicely. Not getting bigger, just filling out. I'll work with what I can get, right??

Now it's your turn, ladies. It's Women's Talk Wednesday, so let's chat some! Share any experiences you are comfortable with sharing, your opinions, what you have found in your research of this subject. 


Its Hump Day!

8 comments:

  1. I am your newest follower and would love a follow back!
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  2. Great discussion, you also have to consider birth control options when you breastfeed....making sure there aren't homones that would be harmful.

    Thanks for hopping and linking up! I'm following you...or have been.

    Heather From and Mommy Only Has Two Hands! and Lynhea Designs

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  3. Really good discussion. I am just starting to consider BC again, but still breastfeed so my options are limited.

    Just found your blog and I am excited to follow!

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  4. #1 Yeah, right.
    #2 Laughing. so. hard. can't. breathe.
    #3 Loved being on the pill for many reasons, but I also got pregnant with my daughter on the pill. I was very disappointed. Bad pill. BAD!
    #4 I used to use the Today sponge, but I gotta say - it was a little gross having to dig that thing out and they were expensive.
    #5 Last year, my ob-gyn tried to get me to have an IUD inserted as a form of period management. I have heard good and bad stories about them, but it's just not for me.
    #6 Oh girl! Virtual high five and YES YES YES on this one. My husband was insulted when I suggested the reintroduction of condoms "What, are we 16?" So we compromised. More uh, tomfoolery and less actual intercourse. Everybody wins!

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  5. @Daily Dose: Ahh, the birth control pregnancy monster struck you, too, huh? LOL. Struck my friend in high school, too (antibiotics knocked hers out). We had a whole plan of 3 months for the BC outta my system, a few months of trying (I have infertility issues due to the PCOS), and BAM! got pregnant a few weeks after going off BC, lol.

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  6. It did. And I'm ashamed to say that before that happened to me I would at least mentally roll my eyes if anyone said "I got pregnant on the pill and I was vigilant!" Oh, how the mighty fell that day. I took three pregnancy tests because I couldn't believe it. But looking back? I wouldn't change a thing. Well, except my panic and two days of crying in disbelief about how I wasn't ready yet. And see how wonderfully things have worked out for me? ::Snort::

    PS - my cousin by marriage? She just had her fourth baby and she has PCOS. I think she might want to consider a secondary form of birth control besides the PCOS that has gotten her to four kids in five and a half years.

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  7. Ughhhh, birth control. I lost count of how many phone calls/visits to planned parenthood I've had this year trying to get this figured out.

    I'm still breastfeeding, so regular BC pills were out. (I have a family history of breast cancer anyway, so I'm leery of messing with hormones too much anwyay.)

    I eventually got the copper IUD inserted (paragard). It hurt, but it wasn't unbearable. The first month was like -- dear God, SO MUCH BLOOD. (Totally normal, but still not fun.) The second month things seemed fine. No blood. No babies. Then I went in for the follow-up visit and they were like, "oh, your body already has it halfway expelled."

    Awe-some. Because I love paying $400 for six weeks of birth control!

    We're back at condoms now. Blerg. I can't wait to get pregnant again just so I can stop worrying about this. (How's that for circular logic?)

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  8. Such a great women talk! Love it and we'll be back for more:) I am now following you thanks to It's Hump Day blog hop and it would be so nice if you could share the love back on my blog:)
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