On Contraception and People Who Hate It

As a product of Catholic school, I can say very few pretty awesome priests exist. Father Bob, who calls himself “the punk priest,” is an exception with his spiked hair, band t-shirts, and goatee. As priests go, he’s quite young. He’s also very smart and knows how to connect with teenagers, which makes his role in my former high school perfect.

Sometimes he engages in political discussions. Catholics have a penchant for being super conservative and irrational, but Father Bob understands the complexities of the issues and the people involved in them, and he’s sympathetic.

Insanity erupted on his Facebook yesterday on the topic of abortion, and I was struck most by a man who said premarital sex is irresponsible and those who engage in it are careless and just kill the babies that result from it.

The political climate right now is one that’s hostile towards women, and I don’t mean necessarily the abortion issue. I understand and agree with on a personal level nearly all of the arguments against abortion, but things are getting to the point that it feels like this has become more about attacking and judging women that it has protecting unborn babies. I’ve been aware of that for quite some time.

As a woman, the careless things being said by men and the judgments being passed on women for even just having sex or using birth control are disrespectful, offensive, and hurtful.

Unprotected sex for those not wishing to get pregnant is irresponsible, but engaging in premarital sex at all does not make me irresponsible. I’m fully aware of what I’m doing and what could happen, and I take preventative measures. Ironically, the irresponsibility frequently comes from conservatives with the idea that presenting contraception encourages sex. I’ve known what birth control and condoms did since I was in my early teens, if not earlier. In fact, when I was probably 14 or 15, my mom flat out said, “If you ever even consider having sex, just tell me and I’ll get you on birth control.”

I didn’t request the gynie visit and birth control. I didn’t run out and start having sex. I lost my virginity at 21, which is quite late in this day and age.

I was what my mom calls a “surprise.” I do think my parents made irresponsible decisions. I don’t think my mother making sure I was aware of preventative measures was one of them. She was given the abstinence-only talks. They failed, just like they’ve failed with countless others before and after her.

I resent all of the generalizations made about sex and contraception. I resent being told that by having sex, regardless of my birth control and condoms, I’m being irresponsible. I resent that MEN who do not know me and can cut and run in the face of pregnancy are telling me what I should and should not be doing, especially when men are saying that some forms of birth control are terrible and should be banned.

I’ve only been on birth control for a few months. I didn’t get on it solely because I wanted to just bang to my heart’s content and be totally irresponsible. As freaked out as I was by the thought of going to a gynecologist, I reached a breaking point where I couldn’t take my periods anymore.

I’m kind of a small girl. I’m 5’4″. I probably weigh somewhere around 120 pounds. But my periods were these monstrosities that gave me leg cramps, lower back pain, cramps in my abdomen that could keep me bedridden with Midol and heating pads with the occasional hot bath, typical PMS, and really heavy bleeding. I was changing tampons about every three hours. I hadn’t always used tampons, so I didn’t realize just how bad it was.

This was pretty much interfering with my life. In June, I went with my cousins and a friend to see Robyn in Ohio — a three to four hour drive. My period struck. I had to pack tons of tampons. I was actually doing calculations to see how long one tampon would last me if I put it in right before we left, but that also meant I’d need to change it as soon as I found a bathroom plus another change probably around the end of the concert and another when we got back.

I said, “Fuck this” after the concert, went to the gynecologist, got blood tests done thanks to a blood clot my mom had, and was waiting to get on it by the time I started my job in August. Luckily I only had to suffer through one rough period while working eight hours a day.

Now I have minimal pain anywhere and bleeding so light that it’s practically nothing.

When I was packing to move to Pittsburgh, I came across my arsenal of pads and tampons. My mom and brother both said there was no way I needed that many, and my mom said it was like I’m a hoarder. I said just several months ago, I absolutely would’ve needed them. In fact, that’s why I have so many–I had to completely stock up. I might gift a lot of it to someone who actually needs it.

Birth control is irresponsible, you say? Then you can deal with me when I’m off of it. You can buy heating pads, fill my hot water bottle, buy both extended relief and nighttime Midol, by tampons in every size about once a month or so, and buy pads for when the tampons inevitably run out mid-period.

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One thought on “On Contraception and People Who Hate It

  1. Great post. I’ve never understood the issue with contraception. The arguments are even more futile from idiot males who, as you say, certainly wouldn’t be willing to deal with the resulting child and effects on the woman if contraception wasn’t available.

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