Admittedly, I’ve never really liked kids. I started declaring this when I was about four years old. My mom would get all “you’ll see” about how she didn’t like kids either until she had me, and I’d swear that I’d only consider it I found someone who made me actually want to have kids. Enter my now-husband. When we met, I wasn’t on the pill (which may be a good thing), and suddenly every month while ovulating, I found myself thinking crazy thoughts about how it might not be so bad to totally abandon my life plans and just have a baby.
So I went on birth control.
And thus began several difficult years of trying out different brands of the pill until I found one that didn’t entirely kill my libido and mitigated my PMDD instead of worsening it. But at least I didn’t want kids anymore, and I was free to focus on things like my relationship with my husband, working toward us not being broke anymore, figuring out what I want to do with my life, and just generally being in my twenties.
But now we are ten years older, wiser, and stabler, and the window for kids is closing. Debating whether or not to have them is a pretty typical scenario for a thirty-something these days, but I haven’t even gotten that far. I’m still trying to decide HOW to decide whether or not to have them.
It’s been my experience, and I don’t seem to be alone in this, that hormonal birth control definitely affects us ladies in ways that go above and beyond simply preventing pregnancy. As well as several different theories on how if affects choosing a partner, there are hypotheses that it decreases (or even permanently damages) your libido, affects your emotions, and even changes the size and structure of your brain.
Which brings me to now: Do I go off the pill to make the decision knowing that my naturally hormonal, ovulating, husband-loving self will likely want all the babies? OR, do I make the choice while under the influence of synthetic hormones that seem to make me decidedly more cautious and career-oriented?
And, more importantly, which one is the real me? Is my real self the one with hormones unaltered by medication, whose basic human instinct is to procreate, or is it the me that’s able to choose to make a choice from outside the influence of ovulation? Is my brain on birth control lying to me about what I really want, or is it helping me to stay true to a decision I already made long ago?
While I was pill shopping, my—older, white male—GYN had a habit of saying, “It’s like Coke or Pepsi,” and it would take all I had to not to rage across the desk that CHOOSING MY HORMONES IS NOT LIKE CHOOSING A CARBONATED BEVERAGE. But then he would go on to swear that the key future discoveries to mental health issues actually lies in women’s health and hormones, which AMEN.
But while writing this, I realized that it IS like choosing Coke or Pepsi. I mean, people have OPINIONS about that shit. I will not drink Pepsi. I just won’t do it. And actually, these days I won’t drink either one; I’ll have water because I know it’s better for me. And I honestly can’t help but wonder if going off hormonal birth control might be better for me too.
How about you guys? Has hormonal birth control been worth the trade-offs for you? Have there been trade-offs? Is it REALLY making our brains smaller, and are you as excited as I am about male birth control?