By Laura Collins
It’s funny how much we’re scared into believing that the best form of birth control is one that causes so many negative side effects. It’s unfair to not get pregnant, we also have to suffer through heavier mood swings, artificial hormones raging through our system, and the inevitable weight gain.
At least that’s what I experienced during my five years on the birth control pill.
I went on the pill for the obvious reason many young women do. At the time, the pill seemed like my only option. I wasn’t okay with relying solely on condoms and to be honest, I did no research into any other forms of protection. The pill seemed like the only and simple choice.
And it worked. My menstruation cramps were much easier to handle than in high school, and my previous cycles of a nine-day long shark weeks were gone. But I could never get over the fact that I was pumping artificial crap into my body on a daily basis.
Five months ago, I decided to get off of the pill. The decision came during my mom’s breast cancer journey: being on artificial hormones, like the pill, can increase any women’s chance of breast cancer and these facts hit home.
The decision wasn’t an easy one. If I go off the pill, how the hell am I supposed to be protected? And not only that, but what non-hormonal options even exist?
Thus began the research. There are, in fact, a few options out there that protect against pregnancy without hormones, but I had to find the right one for me. There was a non-hormonal IUD, which could increase my monthly flow and cramp pain. How fun. It was also a heavier weighted option, as you require a doctor’s visit to have it inserted, where it sits for three to five years.
Then, there’s the diaphragm. The female version of the condom, this little silicone cup gets inserted before the passion begins, and taken out several hours after. Couldn’t be worse than a tampon, right?
Wrong. I chose the diaphragm, as the commitment seemed less intense than an IUD. Birth control like it’s 1975 is just that, which made actually getting a diaphragm insanely difficult. I had planned the end of my pill cycle with the ordering of my diaphragm, but what I wasn’t made aware of was that very few pharmacies actually order them on request anymore. It took four trips to various stores before finding one that would order it for me from a supplier. The ordering process took six weeks. And when the diaphragm actually arrived, I learned that they don’t carry spermicide on hand or order it in either. How do you sell one without the other? I did more research to find an online pharmacy who would ship the spermicide to me. $180 later, and I was finally able to see what this thing was all about.
Well, if you thought your first time was awkward, try your first time with a diaphragm. Thankfully, I have a very supportive partner who talked me through the process as I tried for 20 minutes to insert this thing. I was very close to YouTubing how-to videos. Because that is sure to get me in the mood for sex.
It’s been three months now since I figured out how to use the thing and all in all, it’s not the worst option out there. Does it interrupt the spontaneity of sex? Yes. Do I sometimes forget to remove it until way after the suggested timeframe? Yes. Is it better than being on the pill? Yes.
Since transitioning off the pill, I feel so much more myself. It’s said that mood swings from the pill can’t be proven, however, I find myself getting irritated far less and can get out of funks a hell of a lot faster.
I’m still not sure if the diaphragm is my permanent choice of birth control, but what I took away from this whole process is how difficult it is to find alternatives to the pill. I felt very lost when it came to purchasing my diaphragm, and had very little help from any pharmacy. If it wasn’t for the support of my boyfriend, I probably would have hopped right back on the pill for convenience sake.
The birth control hunt can be a confusing one and trying to find the right option for you and your body is key. If you’re feeling lost, comment below, we Loose Lips ladies are here for you.
Laura Collins likes people watching from coffee shop windows, drinking wine when she’s forced to cook, and is sure to be caught skipping from meeting to meeting while at work.