There’s this whole big debate on birth control and sometimes, I can’t help but think two things: one, is what is the big effin’ deal? and two, a woman’s decision to go on the Pill is not anyone’s business but her own.
According to a survey done by the Social Weather Station, a little over half of Filipino adults disagree that the use of pills (52%), condoms (51%), and intra-uterine device (IUD) (51%) can be considered as abortion.
When you read the results of a survey like this, do you every wonder who those 52% are?
Maybe now would be an appropriate time to say I’m among that number. I might also add a couple of details about myself. I’m not married. I’m on the Pill.
I don’t believe that modern forms of birth control are abortion and I think that personal matters, mostly anything that has to do with my sexual reproductive health is this exactly that—personal.
My own liberation
I also know that since I’ve been on the Pill (close to 10 years now), my only regret is not going on the Pill sooner. I was over 30 when I first went on the Pill and so to say that I was a late bloomer is putting it lightly.
I wished I had not waited so long to experience the same liberation that women felt when the Pill was first introduced in the 1960s.
In my early twentys, naivete, embarassment and a misplaced sense of ignorance (and invincibility) were the marks of my indecision about the Pill. I didn’t know which OB – GYN I could go to and ask for advice (would she tell admonish me for asking about the Pill knowing that I’m single) and in truth, I couldn’t really afford it.
Back then, the average cost of the “preferred brand of birth control” was P600++ per pack and it would make a considerable dent on my monthly paycheck.
It was another kind of embarrassment that finally had me go to the doctor–a dermatologist to be exact. At the ripe old age of 30something, I was besieged by the onset of adult acne. Much worse than the red dots that were present during my teen years, these were cystic bumps that actually hurt when they were touched like when I had to wash my face. Weekly visits, experimentation with every possible treatment and a small fortune were spent on weekly visits to the derma. The bigger cost was what it did to my self-confidence.
My doctor finally suggested the only other option left: hormonal treatment. Meaning, since she had tried everything on the surface to help me with my problem (diamond peels, injections, you name it), we had to go beneath the surface and address what really causes pimples, which are hormones.
My only concern then was the Pill might make me fat. I remember wailing to my doctor, “I can’t be pimply AND fat!”
After reassuring me that it was my eating habits that would make me fat and not the Pill, I took a prescription and bought my very first pack of pills.
I patiently waited for the three months that my doctor said would take for me to see any results.
I’m still on the Pill now and my weekends have been freed up from derma appointments so go figure.
Other benefits of the Pill
While I used it primarily to regulate my skin, this incident began my discovery on the Pill and enjoying its many benefits. I began to understand why the Pill was heralded as the best thing ever known and invented for womankind.
Over the years, as a Pill user, I have found other benefits like controlling and regulating my period. Before the Pill, apart from knowing that I would get my period every month, I never knew exactly when I would get it. With the Pill, like clockwork, I could expect my period within two – three days after finishing my 21-day pack.
And the best part of it all was also being able to change the date of my cycle if I wanted or needed to. I could actually choose not to have my period if I didn’t want to. I didn’t have to deal with the hassle of having my period on a beach trip or when I’m off in some rural area covering a story. (You can imagine that bathroom conditions are not always ideal in such a scenario. On another note, I imagine that couples in long-distance relationships would appreciate this particular benefit.)
The Pill gave me so much control over my life—and not just for the birth part. (though it did also offer much more security when it came to intimate choices and I truly enjoyed the feeling of sex without fear of mistimed pregnancy.)
It gave me so much control over the big and little things that used to get in the way of life and which I thought I just had to deal and accept as part of being a girl.
Maybe that’s why, as this article says, 98% of Catholic women use the Pill.
But like I said, it’s a personal choice between a woman and her god, a woman and her partner, but mostly between a woman and herself. (Oh, and maybe the doctor she needs to consult before going on the Pill.)
[NOTE: This is a personal account of my own experience with the Pill and is not to be taken as a general endorsement. Please consult your doctor about the different birth control options before deciding on which one is right for you.]