Can My Hormonal Birth Control Make Me Not Want Kids?


When your hormones say yes, and basically everything else says no

by Keriann Kohler, Advertising Manager

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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?

Keriann Kohler

After spending her formative years in a monastic pursuit to become a professional ballet dancer, Keriann has since embarked on a mission to make up for lost time by doing All The Things. A reader since way back, the APW community has taught her wanderlusting, commitment-phobic self that while exploration is good for life experience, marriage isn’t so bad for a relationship, and she’s been happily married since 2011.

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  • Lisa Campbell Robbins

    Oh man, this is so me right now. Except I always used to think I wanted kids, until I got married and the idea became a reality. So I started to wonder if my birth control was affecting my decision, and now we’re getting the point where we need to probably decide in a couple years and if I go off birth control eventually and miss my window will I regret it because non-bc brain was making the decision?

    • Rebekah

      SAME. Kids seem ok or great in theory but when it comes to actually growing my own? Panic.

      • Becky

        Oh my gosh, this is me. The other day my fiance asked when I thought would be a good time to have kids and I actually felt a little bit of panic because, like you said, they seem great in theory but the idea of actually growing one is terrifying.

        • another lady

          currently prego on purpose and my fears did not fully go away! but, I am getting more used to the reality and it’s going well.

        • anonandonandon

          It really isn’t that bad. After all, the majority of women have done it, planned or not planned, forever (literally). And even if it is bad, it’s finite.

      • Meg Keene

        I think this is super normal, and not discussed enough. There is this bullshit idea that if you want kids “you just know.” HA. I always thought I wanted kids, but once we got married and it got real I totally panicked. I might not have gone through with it if my husband hadn’t been a stabilizing no pressure force.

        Spoiler: two kids, love them, best thing I’ve done. THAT SAID. I’m glad I went through all the emotions first, because kids are not the simple easy joyful walk in the park I imagined at first. It’s complicated, and that panic wasn’t wrong. Still the best thing I’ve ever done, but… HARD too.

      • Sara

        I have this bizarre thing where I would love to grow and birth a child and experience everything that comes along with it, just to see what my body is capable of… but I absolutely do not want to keep or a raise a child or commit to 18 years of nurturing and attention. Almost everyone I talk to is the exact opposite! =X

        • Bashfully

          Me too!

        • MDBethann

          Surrogacy? A relative did it after she had her own children and it was a positive experience for her, to give that gift to another family. Totally situation dependent though and obviously has emotional pitfalls.

    • KA

      Exactly exactly. What if we decide no and that my husband will get a vasectomy, and I go off it then and it is all horribly regretful?

      If you always wanted kids before, I think I would strongly consider going off the bc temporarily to see if it affects what you’re thinking now. I’m kind of in the opposite place as I said, where I wonder if the bc is helping me stay true to what I always wanted… which granted isn’t leaving much room for plans to grow and change.

      • Lisa Campbell Robbins

        Makes sense – I’ve thought about that and I have considered that. But yeah it’s hard to know if I liked the idea of kids when I was younger because I just sort assumed it would happen — but now given the choice they’re not really for me? Or is it birth control brain? Or like you said would non-birth control brain be just pure human instinct and I’d regret that? It doesn’t help that my husband is on the fence about them as well. At least I’m glad to know I’m not the only one thinking about these things. :)

        • KA

          Ohh yes. Sometimes I wish my husband would just wake up one day with a really strong opinion one way or the other. Hugs.

          • Rebekah

            1000% this feeling every day lately.

          • Cellistec

            Same- my husband says, kids, no kids, it’s all up to me. WHAAAAT. This is one of the biggest decisions of our lives, and you’re entrusting it to ME? And the window for bio kids won’t be open forever and now I find out that my hormonal BC could be screwing with my head? Great. This is great. No pressure at all.

          • another lady

            that is what persuaded me, I was on the fence and hubs was 100% “yes want kids of some kind at some point in my life one way or another”. so, I agreed with a window of time to push off the inevitable. also, a lot of people in our friends and family circle started having kids and it did push us to move up the timeline and go for it!

  • Katie

    I did not realize the effects of the pill on me until I went off it to start trying to get pregnant. OMG. THE SEX WAS SO MUCH BETTER. I am 100% not going back on it after our baby is born. I’m going to go with the non-hormonal IUD. And knowing what I’ve learned about hormones and weight loss/gain, energy level, ability to focus, etc, I’ll be SUPER interested to see if not being on the pill helps with any of the struggles I’ve had in those areas too.

    …but really, THE SEX IS SO MUCH BETTER.

    • Alanna Cartier

      This is good to know. I’m planning on switching to a non-hormonal IUD in the coming months because I heard birth control affects anxiety and libido. Also- I have celiac disease, which has also been linked to blood clots, and I really don’t want to get a million blood clots.

      • Grace

        FYI, I had a non-hormonal IUD, but switched to a hormonal. I hated getting my period with the non-hormonal IUD because I was bleeding a TON and seeing a lot of clotting. I went from a pad a day to maxi pad changes every four hours, don’t wear tight or light colored pants because you will bleed through them. With the hormonal IUD, I get super light periods, though I was hoping they would go away. I haven’t noticed any changes in libido either, but that’s just my experience.

        • another lady

          I had a copper IUD (non-hormonal) for 3-4 years after trying several versions of the pill with limited success. It worked wonders and was great to get my body back into a rhythm and off the hormones. However, be warned that my periods got progressively worse and longer the more I had the IUD. Not sure if it is typical, but I would have periods about every 3 weeks that would last 7+ days (so, I was essentially on my period every 3rd week for a full week, then off for 2 weeks, then on again. I would also bleed like crazy (think bleeding through super pads or tampons every 2-3 hours!). But, the PMS symptoms and cramps were better for me.I also got prego right away after going off of it. (According to my gyno, that is typical of the copper IUD because it does not effect your natural hormones and your body will/can ovulate again right away, where as it usually takes 3-6 months for it to happen after your are on hormonal BC, including the other IUD with hormones.) So, I’m trying to decide what to do after baby is born and birth control is needed again… will male BC be available then!?!

        • Alison O

          Yes, the copper IUD is great if it works for you, but in many women it has these negative effects. I was never much of a cramper and had a bunch of it and VERY heavy periods while on the Paraguard. Also, as is fairly common with women who haven’t had kids according to my doctor, my body expelled the first one so I had to get another put in.

        • nutbrownrose

          I have a slightly weird progression, so I’ll weigh in. I wasn’t on any form of BC until I started having sex (the theory was it would make it less of a “oh, sure, let’s go for it” thing, and more of a “holy shit this is a big deal that results in babies” thing. And for me at 18, that was a good thing. I understand that’s not how many people view sex, but I was an emotional, Catholic, 18 year old. I totally respect those for whom sex really is no big, but for me it was). So I met my guy, went on BC, was fine, nothing changed a bit, and then got it in my head that hormones were bad and switched to the copper IUD. Holy shit cramping. And blood. How does that much blood come out of a uterus? I swear mine got an unlimited supply one week a month. Learned 3 things.

          1) menstrual cups help with cramping. As in, they lessen the cramps significantly.
          2)600 mg of ibuprofen every 6 hours for the week of your period decreases the blood ditching your (my) uterus.
          3) apparently, the hormonal BC was treating my PMS symptoms I didn’t know I had since I was a teenager when I went on it.

          So, when my IUD said “see ya, don’t wanna be (in) ya” I got the Nuvaring. God I love this thing. Nothing untoward happens to my underwear or my fiance.

      • Anon

        Birth control discussions are so interesting and so contradictory, I’ve found at least. For every one person who says, “YES! Thank God! XYZ was miraculous!” another person say, “Oh heeeeell no! That shit f*$@ed me up!” It’s so hard! And so much trial and re-trial, as beautifully illustrated in Keriann’s essay. For what it’s worth, I’ve been using a copper IUD for about 5 years and my experience keeps getting better. The first year sucked so much- intense cramps, lots of bleeding, and lingering pain from insertion. But things improved, and after the first year I found that my periods lightened up considerably and the cramps went away. It’s been great for me, a person who found that pills were especially effective at making me sad and sexually disinterested. And now we’re starting to talk about pulling the goalie, so only time what that means for the next phase…

        • another lady

          be prepared to potentially get prego ASAP, or use ‘other forms of birth control’ if you pull the goalie! Good luck!

          • Jessica

            (pull the goalie! heeheehee)

        • Aubry

          Ug yes! I wish there could be more blanket statements about birth control. But what would be the fun in that??

          I had a copper IUD for about 1.5 years, and while my experience with the IUD itself was fine (Hurt like a mother to put in, but then fine after about day 3 and onwards) but my periods on the other hand… turns out my periods just suck royally, and the IUD exacerbates the problem. I was basically in some kind of pain for 3 out of 4 weeks (Ovulation pain/related, then horrific PMS crams, then horrific period crams, one week off, then repeat). Also really wild mood swings. So much that I’m scared of going off my beloved hormones when the time comes. And my libido didn’t even increase! Sex was the same. Didn’t lose weight. such a drag.

          I would consider the mirena after I have the first kid, to give it a few years and make sure we really want to be one and done, as is the current plan. Then C could go in for the snip (he is more than fine with this) but I don’t think I would want to be off birth control anyway. So maybe I’ll just Mirena it up until menopause. Which is blessedly early in my family.

          • Her Lindsayship

            I really want APW to talk about menopause at some point! It’s something I never hear really openly discussed. When I was younger and had utterly miserable periods, I was all like WHEN IS MENOPAUSE CAN I START NOW? But then… my mom’s experience with menopause has been fucking terrible. Illness, super extreme hormone instability, mood swings that make her feel completely not herself, all of this for several years. And she couldn’t find anyone to talk to about it, everyone she spoke with was pretty much like, “I guess it was weird, I got over it.” That sure didn’t help!

            I’m aware it’s not like this for everyone, but after what my mom’s gone through trying to get back to feeling like herself, I’m really interested in learning more about other women’s experiences. And admittedly dreading menopause because I completely take after my mom.

          • Aubry

            That would be a great conversation! As I am still a young-ish woman I don’t have any personal experience, but I can convey my mom’s second hand. In my family we have, apparently, early menopause. Like, 40s. Which until pretty recently I thought was normal, but apparently 50s or 60s is more normal. I’m super glad I’m in line for a decade or two less of waisted fertility than many women. Fingers crossed anyway. I hear my mom had it especially early due to her endometriosis, starting after the last kids were born around 36. She had a reasonable time, with some hot flashes etc, but afterwards her hormones completely tanked. Her body kinda gave up on her (along with some other stuff due to her life, like adrenal fatigue). She pretty recently (last 5 years, she is 55) went on bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. She has totally loved it. Brought back up to a normal post menopausal woman’s levels, her body is working for her again. Some shuffling and she is now on a steady treatment and doing great.

            Now that you mention it, I will ask her more about her experience. I was pretty young when this all went down, and 10 year olds don’t generally want the details of their moms not flashes. I think it was overshadowed by lots of other stuff going on in her life at the time, like divorce.

    • CMT

      I miss birth control-free sex. Well, not the part where I was constantly worried about getting pregnant. But it just not the same. I’m kicking myself for getting the Mirena instead of a copper IUD.

    • RMC

      The effect of hormones on libido is totally a thing but it’s much more severe with OCPs than hormonal IUD (obviously, for each person it will vary, but I’m talking on a population level). There is much less hormone in the Mirena because it’s only acting locally (whereas OCPs require you to have systemic blood levels that will prevent ovulation) and there is a consistent level of hormone through the day (as opposed to peaks and troughs with a pill). So if you’re want to switch to an IUD but the side effects of the copper one makes you scared, the Mirena will likely not have the systemic hormonal effects you would see with OCPs.

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    • Bashfully

      I’ve heard this but, I also wonder how much of this is because it was “baby making” sex? I don’t want kids but also don’t use hormonal bc (thanks copper IUD) and the sex was no better or worse when I switched… The sex might FEEL more awesome but could it be placebo? (Alternately, this could just be jealousy. Why didn’t my sex life go bonkers when we went to copper IUD?)

      The brain is the biggest sex organ etc etc etc.

  • Rebekah

    As usual, God bless APW for reading my mind and my life.
    I grew up to the typical narrative and always thought I’d want kids. I’m 28. it’s full-swing baby season in my life and I’ve been on hormonal bc for 4-5 years. I spend at least 15 minutes each day, usually non-consecutively, wildly vacillating over whether I do or don’t want kids, why or why not, when, what if I have troubles, and then trying to separate my decisions from being influenced by outside factors like my sister and best friend having babies right now. It’s not a competition.
    I actually AM concerned that my bc has changed/is changing my reasoning. I know it changed my libido (and other physical things).
    I think the answer is more yes than no overall, but the When question is the hardest right now, because I do feel the clock ticking, but my husband is in an intensive residency, and I don’t want to have a baby with an absent partner.
    I don’t have an answer, but thank you APW for opening up this conversation. It’s always nice to feel some solidarity.

    • KA

      Solidarity. Oh, the vacillating. So much mental energy. And I hear you re outside influences. Even as thoughtful people trying to make intentional choices it’s kind of impossible to do it completely separate from the world around us.
      Although, the more I’ve thought about it, the more I think that can be an okay factor, as long as it isn’t the entire decision. There is something to be said about raising a kid in a community of family and close friends with kids. Of course, there’s also something to be said for being the childfree cool aunt. Contrast can help to make decisions. And as far as timing goes, you could always do round one in a few years when your sister and/or best friend was possibly on round two. ;)

  • TheOtherLiz

    This is really interesting. But I want to raise another potential pitfall of The Pill, because this is a good forum for learning stuff: for a sizeable part of the population (some doctors think 15%), hormonal birth control pills screw up your body’s natural balance of testosterone and estrogen, leading to a range of painful conditions – vulvodynia, pelvic floor disorder… basically, for me, a few months of Loestrin led to sex being painful, and it’s taken a couple of years of physical therapy and hormonal meds to get anywhere close to normal. I encourage you to look this up – and if sex is painful for you, IT SHOULD NOT BE. I know that the Pill isn’t an option for me for this reason…. yet another reason to be pissed off about the flippant “Coke or Pepsi” remark. Birth control comes with many unintended side effects and it is an important decision!

    • KA

      YES. It kills me how seemingly few doctors and studies there are paying attention to all of these serious side effects. And so often women go on birth control at a young age where they are not totally in tune with their bodies or able to advocate for themselves to medical professionals. (That is, if you’re like me, and your inclination as a young[er] adult was to defer to authority figures.) So they just accept that certain things, like painful sex, are just the way it is, which is really sad.

    • Allie

      Any chance we could chat sometime? I don’t know if birth control made sex painful since I had never had sex before taking it. I’ve seen many doctors and physical therapists. I fear all hope is lost. If you don’t mind sharing (either here or email) what worked and didn’t work for you/your symptoms it would mean so much to me. I know no one else with this. And its’ been years of pain and a disconnect in my relationship with my husband :(

      • TheOtherLiz

        Yes!!! Absolutely, I was alone in this for so long. Um, APW, is there a way for us to privately connect? But publicly I will recommend two books: Heal Pelvic Pain and When Sex Hurts. There’s also the National Vulvodynia Association – http://www.nva.org – and I recently joined a local support group by emailing them. I’m so sorry you have been dealing with this! Mine developed throughout the course of a 3 year relationship with a partner with VERY low emotional intelligence who made it all about him, and how I wasn’t meeting his needs…. now I am in a much better relationship, and there’s hope, and I know how to cope. It’s WAY better on this side. APW ladies, is there an easy way to connect us without me posting my email address on the internetz?

        • me too

          Um, this is huge news to me as well… and I’d love to learn more about what you know. I too was on Loestrin, not anymore, and have since had years of painful sex issues… seen a variety of docs, and this is time I’ve heard about the connection with hormones!! I MUST KNOW MORE> :)

          • TheOtherLiz

            Here, read this: https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/vulvodynia-and-vulvovaginal-sexual-pain-disorders-treatment
            Also anyone can DM me on twitter so we can talk more. I’m awkdturtle.

          • Her Lindsayship

            That article read like a modern horror story. So awful to hear about so many women in excruciating pain just being told ‘it’s in your head’ by their doctors and ‘what about my needs?’ by their partners. GOD, WHY. I hope your recovery continues long and strong, and thanks so much for sharing!

      • TheOtherLiz

        Do you have Twitter? You could send me a direct message – I’m @awkdturtle

    • another lady

      I wonder if that was my problem! I also have a bladder disease that can make it more likely to get those issues, too. My PT is so proud that she had a pelvic pain patient who got prego and is continuing PT during the pregnancy! She is my savior!

  • Eenie

    If you choose to go off hormonal BC to make the decision…the decision may be made for you if you end up getting pregnant using a less effective form of BC! (depending on your personal beliefs, etc.)

    I also just wanted to add that whatever decision and however you end up making it will probably be the right one.

    • KA

      Thanks. :) And too true! That’s all part of the inner debate.

      • Meg Keene

        Though there are lots of reliable non hormonal methods, if you use them properly. For realz.

        • up_at_Dawn

          I wish someone would convince my doctor of that.
          I’ve been using *just* condoms for the last 6 years and she said I was “not trying not preventing”. WTF.

  • K

    Birth control is amazing and wonderful and has a massive (positive) impact on society. But, the big but, is that so much is not known about the woman’s body and hormones.

    I’ve had bad experiences with every type of hormonal BC I tried (pill, ring, IUD). The hormonal IUD induced panic/anxiety attacks. My docs were skeptical that it was from the IUD, but nothing else changed in my life, and they started 3 days after the IUD was in. 2 months later I had the IUD pulled out, and the panic/anxiety attacks completely stopped within 4 days. I don’t want to try the copper IUD due to other side effects. So, we use condoms. If there is a surprise baby (which would be #3), it would be unplanned but not unwanted.

    • Eenie

      Wait really? My anxiety and panic attacks started after I got the hormonal IUD. But a lot of other stuff has changed as well. It wasn’t as abrupt, but starting 3-4 months after is when I started noticing it affecting my work. Hmm.

      • SoCal Kate

        I haven’t tried the hormonal IUD, but I can say that I tried four different hormonal birth controls, and each of them to varying degrees negatively impacted my emotions. Mostly anxiety, some anger (I went from being pretty easy going to fighting with my husband nearly every day), and one of them gave me panic attacks for the first time (got off that as quickly as possible). If your gut is saying that it might be the birth control, it’s probably worth switching birth controls. In my case, apparently I’m one of the few people who can’t tolerate hormonal birth control.

  • A.

    I’ve been on the pill since I was 15 years old—not for sexual activity at that point, but due to severe, absolutely debilitating menstrual cramps and aggressive, crying-screaming-run-the-gamut personality changes in the few days prior to my period. I used to think that a maternal instinct would never kick in; partially because of my personality, partially because of having the pill in my system for 10+ years and not really knowing myself outside of the context of being on the pill.

    But sure enough, now after being married a year and entering my very late 20s, I’ve been noticing babies in the “OMG WANT” kind of way, rather than the “Huh. I supposed that young human is aesthetically pleasing in certain respects” way that I had my entire life. I genuinely want to be a mother and want to raise children (plural! what!) with my husband. On the flip side, though, I am completely terrified of going off the pill in the next couple of years because I’m not sure what my period situation is going to be like or my intense mood swings (i.e., how much was that impacted by being a TEENAGER versus how am I in my “natural” state?) So I guess I’m worried my “trade-offs” are going to come and bite me in the ass as an adult. :-/ Obviously, I’ll talk to my doctor about this when the time comes, but it’s on my mind.

    • CMT

      I do think for most people, the really wild, crazy hormonal stuff mellows out as you get older. I know my period and the accompanying PMS are way better now than when I was a teenager. I hope that’s the case for you, too!

    • Jenn

      I don’t think you will necessarily have the same issues if you go off the pill. I went on the pill when I was in college. Prior to being on it, I had regular periods and mild cramps. After about a year, I went off the pill because I was having side effects. When I went off it, I had extremely painful cramps and heavy bleeding, which had never been an issue before. They were bad enough that I started new BC options in a few months.

      This is all to just to say that our periods change over time, and yours may be much more pleasant now!

    • Her Lindsayship

      I second CMT – had really awful periods when I was a teenager, tried going on bc but stopped because after three months it didn’t seem to help and I was growing up in the deep South and felt guilty for being on the pill. (Which is bizarre, looking back, because my fam definitely didn’t plant that guilt at all. Thanks, society.) Anyway, that’s just to say I ended up suffering pretty much unaided through truly awful periods and debilitating cramps for a few more years, and they did gradually get better. Now I’m on the pill and they’re way WAY more tolerable, but even before I went on the pill they were much less torturous than the teen cycles.

  • Lauren

    So, can we talk about whether or not it’s a bad thing that BC is changing the way we choose to have children or not? And while our biological urges may be natural, should those urges be considered the most important aspect to consider when making the decision to have kids?

    (I’m talking about the bigger picture stuff, like the evolution of humanity – the fact that we no longer have to let our biological urges make decisions for us because there are other options)

    • KA

      SO MUCH THIS.

    • Kayjayoh

      I, for one, love not being at the complete mercy of my biology.

      • Kara

        Holy sh*t, YES!

    • Heather

      I wonder about the separation of “biological” urges from other parts of the self, intellect, emotion, etc. I think that Westerners are accustomed to seeing these are separate, but to me, evolution of humanity involves growing in understanding about how these are all ultimately inseparable. I might crave a cookie, but this is both emotional and physical, and if I listen to it, the craving might point me to a something I’m choosing in my life that is out of alignment with my values. My mind can’t exist without my body, so I try to let my “biological” inclinations inform me, because they are forever interconnected with all levels of thought, feeling, etc.

      • Mary Jo TC

        I like your thoughtful way of joining the body and mind.

        Also, where evolution is concerned–our biological urges evolved in an environment with a much, much higher rate of infant and maternal mortality. Our species needed a really strong drive for sex and procreation to overcome the fact that so many babies and mothers weren’t going to make it. So in our modern environment, things are thankfully much different, and we have to adapt to that much more quickly than evolution allows. That means we need mechanisms like birth control, even though they kind of divorce body and mind (potentially, for some more than others, YMMV, etc).

        • LucyPirates

          Was reading an article yesterday about Japan and the fact that their birth rate is ‘worryingly low due to the general population’s lack of interest in sex.’ It did cross my mind that due to the world’s exploding population, when does evolution start to step in?!

      • Meg Keene

        Yeah. I’m exactly with you. Mind and body are one.

      • Lauren

        But does that mean you let those inclinations lead in your decision-making? For me, that’s not a sound enough reason – or maybe well-rounded enough way to make decisions. I can’t stop thinking about the fact that I am capable of reason beyond biological inclinations, and maybe there’s a reason for that – evolution? I’m trying not to get too spacey here but it’s definitely a big question I’m pondering!

  • macrain

    It is really fucking infuriating that the medical community doesn’t know more about how hormones affect women. I TOTALLY AGREE with your doctor that there are implications for mental health that haven’t even begun to be explored. WHY does no one care about this?!
    I’ve struggled since before I even got a period, and no doctor has ever been able to validate anything at all for me or suggest anything but hormonal birth control to make it better.
    And when I came off the bc to get pregnant, I had crazy fainting spells and panic attacks. I actually feel hormonally MORE balanced now that I’m 6 months pregnant, crazily enough. There just has to be a better way.

  • Violet

    Huh. What an interesting conundrum. This reminds me of state dependent memory, in a way (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State-dependent_memory). The same way you should take a test in the same state as you studied, maybe make the decision now based on what your long-term BC plan is. So, what do you plan on doing for the rest of your adult life: being on BC, or off? If you plan on staying on, then why stop now and have a kid, if your brain on BC is going to continue to not want them? And if you plan on going off, then consider how you feel when off, ie, stop for a while, see if you want a kid, go from there.

  • Liz

    This whole thing is so interesting to me. I had been on some form of hormonal birth control from 16 until after my wedding last spring, so over 10 years. I never really experienced how my hormones affected me naturally. I never experienced hormonal acne, PMS or increased sex drive during ovulation among other things. Since getting off of the pill at 27, I’ve basically become a teenager again! Bad (for me) hormonal breakouts, crazy PMS (sorry husband!) and increased sex drive during my fertile window. I don’t know if my hormones are still normalizing or if this is my new normal. I’m still getting used to this and really have to remember where I am in my cycle when it comes to my moods. Hoping to start trying for a baby at the end of the year and it’s terrifying no matter how much we both want and are ready for it.

  • Casey

    I’ve been on the pill since I was 17, and I’ve always wondered what would be different if I weren’t taking it. Would my libido be different? Would my mood change? It’s hard to know since my whole adult life so far I’ve been on hormones, and I’m too nervous to stop taking the pill since I’m nowhere near wanting to have kids. And I’m not even sure I’ll want kids in the future, although my fiance would like to have them. I’m considering getting an IUD or an implant because my fiance and I are planning a year-long trip around the world and I don’t want to have to bring pills with me. So anyway, this topic is definitely one I think about a lot.

  • Kayjayoh

    This is an interesting topic for me, in that hormonal birth control has been one of the very best things for my life. I have been on it even in years when I was celibate, because being in charge of my periods was huge for me. (I was the kid who would go to sleep with the super plus tampon, a maxi pad, ugly underwear, and a towel.) Even if my husband gets a vasectomy, I will stay on hormonal contraceptives.

    I have always wanted kids. However, I have never wanted pregnancy. Every pregnancy I watched my friends and family members go through made me more and more NOPE.

    I was also fairly lucky in that I never had terrible reactions to any of the pills I was on since 1997, nor to the Nuva Ring. Nothing perceptible. No big mood changes. No big changes in weight or appetite. No migraines. No big change in libido. And I know that isn’t the case for others.

    As such, I always have to remind myself not to get defensive of/about hormonal birth control. It has been majorly wonderful for me, it has been wonderful for many people, but it is not the perfect thing that has been nothing but good for every woman.

    • Kayjayoh

      Also, I just turned 40. So I’m looking at…some number of years until this is a moot point. But while I am occasionally curious as to what my hormones would do on their own, I’m not curious enough to change the really good thing I have going, in terms to periods that don’t take over my life.

    • Bsquillo

      Yes- thank you for providing this point of view! I’m also one of the “lucky ones” who hasn’t experienced any noticeable negative side effects from hormonal BC. Went on the pill right around 18 primarily to curb awful, painful, drawn-out periods. The change was miraculous. I recently switched to a hormonal IUD last summer for convenience and peace of mind, and other than some random mild cramping from time to time, it’s been awesome (I basically don’t get periods anymore).

      Of course, I do wonder what my “natural” state of being would be off of hormones, since I haven’t yet experienced that in my adult life, but I feel pretty darn balanced now. And of course, I’m ALL for more male birth control options- we should have been researching those a LONG time ago!

    • EF

      yeah. backing this up. I haven’t had any really bad side effects — gained a few pounds when on the pill, not a lot, switched to IUD and haven’t had a period in almost 8 years. throw this in with my gender issues (gasp!) and the best thing for my mental health was stopping this thing that made women tell me ‘you’re a woman now!’ every month. bless the doctor who recognised that before i did.

      but i was also a person from a young age who abhorred children. never wanted one. will never have one, period. so maybe if you’re really staunchly made up one way or the other, extra hormones aren’t really gonna effect you.

    • Abe

      I agree, I think it’s always good to remember that birth control is a personal and individual-specific decision… it affects everyone differently. Impossible to say that one form is better in all cases.

      For some of my friends, hormonal birth control saves them from debilitating migraines or skin issues, or with the Mirena, spares them from periods at all! With others, it brings weight gain, terrible mood changes, etc. As much as I prefer the IUD (and will sing its praises every chance I get!), I’m actually adding back hormonal for a bit to regulate and be more in charge, as you said. No way do I want my period on my wedding day!

      • Sara

        I used to be adamant that I’d never go on the pill because of the crazy ways it messes with people’s bodies, and then my GYN suggested that it might help with the debilitating migraines I was getting every single month when my period would start. After the ACA meant I could actually get them covered by my insurance, I found my wonder drug. You mean it’s possible not to need to spend two or three days a month in a dark, quiet room? Then my pharmacy changed formularies, and the exact same generic from a different company gave me crazy mood swings, horrible cramps (which had never been a problem pre-pill), a ten-day period, and didn’t eliminate my migraines. Pharmacists are not very helpful when you call to find out which formulary they use for the generic of a particular drug: “It’s bioequivalent. It doesn’t matter.” When even the “same” pill can cause such differences in a single person, I have to roll my eyes at anyone who acts like birth control has a one-size-fits-all option.

        • Ashlah

          I’ve had mood issues when my generic birth control was switched to a different, supposedly equivalent, generic. My gynecologist basically said, “No, that shouldn’t happen, but sometimes it does.” I really appreciated that she believed me instead of talking down to me. She also wrote a letter to my insurance company stating that I required the same generic brand every month. I think she had to exaggerate the reason why, and she wasn’t sure it would work, but it has so far. Maybe it helps that I mail-order my Pill? I can’t imagine an insurance company can require a store pharmacy stock a specific generic for one customer.

          • Sara

            Fortunately I’m lucky enough to have a lot of choices for where to fill my prescription! When calling pharmacies ended up worthless, I just googled my preferred generic and found a bunch of people complaining that CVS had switched *to* the one I wanted from the one I hated. One phone call to my doctor’s office later, and CVS had a new customer.

        • Abe

          You’re not alone… This is someone I know to a T! Only a very specific solution works, but she’ll damn well do whatever it takes not to have to lie down in a dark room 2 days a month.

        • Alison O

          Pretty much the only people who know the subtleties of birth control pills are the people who’ve tried them. In my sad, long experience, doctors for the most part know nothing and in the past pretty much denied that there were any side effects other than 5 pounds weight gain. There are BIG differences, depending on the person, even between different companies’ products as you say.

    • CP2011

      I feel the “Nope” about pregnancy too. How are you reconciling that with your desire for kids? Are you planning adoption? Surrogacy?

      • Meg Keene

        If it helps, I left a comment above about hating pregnancy a lot. (And having a phobia of childbirth actually. Though now that I’ve done it twice I kind of love it, GO FIGURE.)

      • Kayjayoh

        I am planning on being (and *am*) the person in my friend and family circle who loves kids, is good with kids, and does not have any kids. I think aunties/aunts/godmothers/etc are important. I don’t have to give my time and energy to my own kids, so I have it to spare for give the other parents in my world a break.

        My sister and my nephew lived with me on and off (frequently on) from the time he was an infant until the time he was 7. I really helped raise him when he was small. Waking up with him in the morning when he started to stir, so that my sister could sleep more, taking him out places when her energy was low, making sure he got swimming lessons, introducing him to Doctor Who…

        Aside from him, I have my goddaughter and her brother, my niece and nephew on my husband’s side, the two 2-year olds (same month, even) of two friend-couples that live walking distance away, and more. At parties, I spend a good deal of time entertaining the wee ones. I babysit when available. I keep track of birthdays and holidays and buy stacks and stacks of books. :)

        And at the end of the day, I can send them all home and sleep in the next day.

        • Bashfully

          So much this! I like kids but don’t want my own, I’ve never felt that urge. I told my husband that I’d have kids if he wanted to but unless he really wanted it, “nah…” It’s been awesome to be the “spare adult” in the lives of a lot of kids. I feel fulfilled, my friends and family get a break, my husband and I get to pursue our dream jobs (that pay doodly squat) in an expensive city. Winning all around.

    • Little Raccoon

      I’m also feeling the NOPE. I’m terrified of pregnancy and childbirth. I’d probably feel more ready to have kids if it weren’t for the pregnancy and childbirth parts.

    • Meg Keene

      Pregnancy varies for different people. I always looked forward to it and then I hated it (meaning, I think, you could love it if you decide to do it, who knows?) Actually if you’ve had good reactions to hormonal birth control, you’re more likely to have a good reaction to pregnancy. Those of us who are hyper sensitive to hormonal birth control often have ROUGH pregnancies, because we’re so sensitive to hormone fluctuations.

      Anyway, for me, pregnancy was this sort of awful thing I went through to have kids, and… that’s ok! Obviously skipping it is cool too, but I just want to normalize the fact that a lot of folks hate it. The good news is it’s 9 (for me awful) months, and kids last a lifetime ;)

      And I’m kinda into childbirth (and epidurals), so go figure!

      • Kayjayoh

        Everything about the entire process is like the ultimate body horror for me. I like the idea on general terms. Creating a life, nurturing it inside me, giving birth…but the reality gives me the shudders.

        I did always figure that I’d meet a guy who would want to have kids and I’d get talked around. But I met a guy who really didn’t want to be a dad. At all. And given that I have never, not once in almost 20 years of being sexually active, ever had a pregnancy scare. I’ve never been late or worried even a bit. And given that birth control can fail even with perfect use… It seemed to me like the universe has agreed with me. :)

    • Annie

      Man, I could have written this exact comment. I was a mess of heavy bleeding for weeks at a time and major pain up and down my abdomen and legs until I got on BC. I was around 16 when I started, so I’ve been on it most of my life, and it’s been THE BEST. No more pain, consistent periods that don’t soak through super pads and tampons in like half an hour, no major emotional meltdowns.

      I’ve also always known I want kids, but I don’t feel that biological urge that other people have described. And even though I know I’ll have to go off BC if I start trying, part of me is sincerely worried to go off it.

    • I am so with you. Birth control pills hugely improved my quality of life from the time I was a teenager on. I had terrible heavy periods with week-long migraines. The one pill that did me wrong was Yasmin (my skin was amazing, but the migraines were terrible and the mood swings, WHOA). I gave up my beloved Loestrin to get pregnant which ended up taking two years. My periods didn’t go back to being nearly as heavy as they had been, but the migraines did. I had no noticeable difference in my libido or enjoyment of sex, apart from there being new don’t touch me I have a migraine days in our month. I will definitely be going back on Loestrin after this kiddo and (hopefully) the next one, even if my husband gets a vasectomy. I also feel a little bit defensive of the pill, though I do realize that different people react differently. After all the pill did for me though, it still feels like people are trash talking my best friend.

      • Kayjayoh

        “After all the pill did for me though, it still feels like people are trash talking my best friend.”

        This is a perfect description. I always have to stop and remind myself that it isn’t personal, she hasn’t been as nice to everyone.

        And I need to remember that the people she hasn’t been as kind to are *also* different from the people who just think she’s a great big slut, and they I am slutty for hanging out with her. :)

    • Her Lindsayship

      Did anyone else read this and suddenly realize they’ve been taking hormonal bc for years without really thinking about it?? I mean, I’d heard about the side effects, but I don’t think I’m victim to them for the most part. Although I did have a holy-shit-what-about-my-libido moment here – started taking bc around when I started having sex, so can’t really say? Would certainly like a stronger libido but don’t know if the pill’s to blame.

      The problem for me is that my bf and I are both squarely in the undecided camp when it comes to wanting kids. What if we stay in this camp for the next ten years before finally saying, ok, this is really not happening and we’re really ok with that? Am I going to stay on the pill for another ten years?? So I went home and talked to bf about it yesterday, and he sees my point, but neither of us could really posit a solution. I could try an IUD, but I’ve heard such horror stories, and the only way to know if your body will be ok with it is to try it, and I might be too scared to jump. It’s good to hear from at least one person that you aren’t experiencing long-term issues with the pill!

      • Kayjayoh

        I’m realizing that, next year, I will have been on birth control for 20 years.

        I’ve considered an IUD, but since what I’m on is working so well for me, I decided not to mess with a good thing. I can say that I am absolutely in love with the Nuva Ring, even more than the pill. Nothing to remember every day. I just set a reminder on my calendar every three weeks to take it out, and a week later to put a new one in. And after consulting with my doctor, I also know that I can leave it in for an extra week when I want/need to, if my period would come at an awkward time.

        • up_at_Dawn

          It’s interesting how individual the whole thing is, I was on the NuvaRing for a few months in my late teens and I found it to be The.Worst.Ever. (at least for me). Every other woman I talked to absolutely loved it.

          • Kayjayoh

            Between my life as a lady person who talks to other lady people, and my time working at Planned Parenthood, I have encountered women who got bad yeast infections with the NuvaRing and who had migraines on it. The body is a mysterious and tricky thing.

            Hormonal birth control and psychiatric medications are like the universe’s way to let us do amazing things to control our bodies and keep us humble at the same time. Well, this works amazingly well for this person (until it doesn’t) but not at all for this other, and then there was the person for whom it just made everything worse!

  • Anononon

    Seriously how have they not studied this more?! Because feelings are woman stuff therefore unimportant or illegitimate?

    I just recently went off the pill due to switching insurance and not planning ahead/getting a new script in a timely way and it is quite different! My libido is up, I generally feel lighter and happier, but now hitting my second period off it I think I have just realized I get PMDD and that is what cause my severe depression all through high school. I am not headed to kids land any time soon if ever and I had already made plans to go on Mirena, but hot damn this is a fucking mess! This is serious stuff, happy/unhappy, and for some, life/death stuff, how is this not given it’s due in the medical community???

  • I was on hormonal birth control for almost 10 years, and I’ve been off for the last 6 years. I remember from an early age, that I never wanted children, mostly because I’m the oldest of 4. I spent my college & grad school days on birth control, and I gained about 70 pounds over 6 years. It was very steady and I didn’t even notice, and it didn’t dawn on me until years later that the birth control probably aided my weight gain. How did I figure this out? By attempting to go back on it and seeing my 50 pound weight loss come to an absolute stop from the moment I swallowed the first pill.

    Random, but it annoys me how kinda frivolously some doctors prescribe birth control. I remember experiencing some adult acne, going to the dermatologist, and her answer was for me to go on hormonal birth control. Ummm…can’t we try something less drastic that hormones? Maybe something topical? I get that for some women acne is hormonal, but I’d rather deal with a random pimple once a month than be on the pill.

    • TheOtherLiz

      YES! And actually, they modified the pill, adding testosterone in so that it would have the perk of controlling acne, so that women would ask for it for that reason. That added testosterone, it turns out, can lead to things being REALLY messed up, and sex becoming painful (vulvodynia, dyspareunia, pelvic floor disorder, interstitial cystitis…).

    • Eenie

      I find it frustrating that with any BC, whether going on it or off it, is such a slow process. It takes at least a month to notice a difference most times, and sometimes six months or a year. I get frustrated with thinking it’s still the “transition” period between two kinds or if this is it, it’s not getting any better. I’ve finally (14 months later) gotten to the point where the mirena has cleared up any hormonal breakouts I used to have.

      • Lisa

        It’s the worst! I’ve been experiencing debilitating cramps with my Mirena since I got it about 18 months ago. I read that the first 6-12 months is the acclimatization process so I didn’t even bother going to the doctor to check it out despite my husband begging me to from about month 6 on. I finally found a new ob/Gyn last month, and she said, “Yeah, if you had come in much sooner, we would have just chalked up the cramping to the settling period. It appears this is actually a symptom in your case.”

        The cramps are marginally better now (I can function instead of just lying on the couch), but I’m not sure what my next step will be. My options are keep the IUD and deal, try Nexplanon (though I’m super hesitant to do fully systemic hormones again), or take everything out and try our luck with condoms, which, given the high fertility rates in our families, makes me super nervous.

        • Eenie

          I have the mirena too! And noticed bad cramping at the start. It went away at about month 14. But now I’m worried it’s contributing to my anxiety and depression. But I don’t want to get it taken out just to find out it’s not that and then get it put in again.

          • Lisa

            Yeah, the cramps have gotten moderately better starting around month 16 (only two days preceding my period instead of an entire week, severity has decreased, periods are significantly lighter). I haven’t experienced many other side effects, which is why I’m tempted to stick with this and suck up the cramps until we decide to have kids in the next couple of years. I don’t love our other options.

          • Sara

            With my first Mirena (22 and childless), the cramps were so awful at least until the 6 month mark and declining thereafter until about the 1 year mark when I felt truly normal again. I remember thinking around Month 5 “I can’t do this, I’m getting this thing OUT!” but I’m so glad I held out for 4 more years of no periods and no worrying about pregnancy. If it helps you, I just got my second IUD (27 now, still childless) and the cramps afterwards were only bad for 1 day, and on/off afterwards for 2-3 weeks. MUCH easier recovery time.

        • Maddie Eisenhart

          Mirena affected me horribly. Depression, cramping, the works. But I’d like to advocate for high fertility rates and condoms. My mom had fiiiive kids, my grandmother is one of eleven, and everyone else has at least three. We’ve been using condoms successfully for 13 years, no babies. The success rate is often skewed by people not using them properly, but when used right, they are super effective. #CondomPSA

          • Lisa

            Thanks for the testimony! I’m still sitting with the idea and trying to make my decision. Maybe we’ll switch to condoms in the next year or so once we’re closer to the window in which we want to have kids and would be ok with an accidental pregnancy.

          • Caitlin

            I’ve also had good experiences using condoms only for the past 4 years. You have to keep in mind that the stats on them are usually reported as “typical use”, which includes people who sometimes forget or don’t bother! That isn’t the methods fault!

          • VKD_Vee

            Yep, Mirena was like this for me too. Moods/depression, lack of libido, and OMG the CRAMPING! I’d never had so much as a half-cramp in my entire menstruating life before I had Mirena. A shit tonne of my friends have it and love it, but it was so awful for me.

    • Jenn

      I’m so with you on this! I just recently went to the dermatologist for adult acne. Even though my acne obviously cycles with the month, I felt the need to explicitly mention that “I have no desire to change my birth control!” I walked into the doctor’s office knowing that that option would be on the table.

  • Sara

    I personally have never been able to stay on BC. I tried it and it made me feel weird and/or make my periods very scattershot and spotty the rest of the time (i’m very fortunate that naturally I’m regular and short lived with it(TMI). But you bring up an interesting point because lately I’ve felt very broody and baby crazy which I always just attributed to my desire for children. For some reason, it never occurred to me that that was a biological answer to my cycle. That makes me feel a lot better.

  • Cellistec

    I love this question so much. Just the premise is groundbreaking on several levels. I gotta come back to read this when I have time for alllllll the comments.

  • Abe

    Shout out to copper IUDs! I struggled with hormonal birth control for years before I did some research and asked for one. It’s been amazing! Boggles my mind that it’s not offered more often to young and/or single women as a safe, effective option… free of hormones and human error (if either of those are troublesome factors!).

    And full support to whatever choice about kids you decide to make. So interesting to wonder if, and how, hormonal birth control might affect our decisions.

    • emilyg25

      The best reversible birth control, IMHO! Good for 10 years! Set it and forget it!

    • you said what now?

      Yes! I’m really interested in getting a copper IUD since I don’t plan to have kids, hate the hassle of the pill, and am just ready for a more permanent option. Last doctor I went to though? Told me he never prescribes them to anyone under 35 or anyone who hasn’t already had a child. “You’ll change your mind” strikes again!

      • Lisa

        I hate that! Mirena was the only option I had at the Catholic hospital to which I went so that’s what I ended up with.

      • Eenie

        A lot of the reasoning for that is not the change your mind (it’s fricken reversible), but because your cervix hasn’t ever had kid come through it and it makes the insertion extremely painful for some people (me included!). Go see a different doctor. I specifically asked before making the appointment if they provide IUDs to childless people.

        • emilyg25

          There was also some early evidence that not having been pregnant makes the uterus more likely to expel the IUD.

      • emilyg25

        Find a new doc. I had to go to two before I could get mine.

      • Abe

        If you want one, totally recommend finding another doctor. My understanding is that removal is easy and immediately reversible. And never having to think about BC for years is so awesome.

      • raccooncity

        Boo this doctor. BOOOO HIM. My Dr. suggested an IUD to me unsolicited when I was unable to take estrogen-based BC and she was so amped about them.

        RE: the article: the other bonus about copper IUD is that you know your hormones aren’t at play, but you REALLY have to plan the decision to have kids, rather than having it be a spur-of-the-hormones decision. You have to get an appointment to take it out, and that generally involves discussions or thoughts and planning. I guess it’s possible to just do it, but the waiting period between decision and appointment is usually a good time for thinking.

      • another lady

        switch doctors until you find one that will give it to you! I had a doctor who did that to me, then I switched to one who I told all my sound reasoning and he agreed to give it to me after a short time. according to research, IUD’s are given a lot more in European countries to people who have not had kids. Find a new doctor! also, with an IUD, if you ‘change your mind’, you can get it taken out in one short office visit and be fertile again usually right away!

      • Alison O

        Did he say it’s because “you’ll change your mind,” or did you interpret the situation that way? My doctor (who had no problem giving me a copper IUD in my late 20s, with no kids), told me when my body expelled the first one that that problem is much more common in younger women and those who have not had children (I wonder if it’s because after you’re pregnant your body is used to having some weird alien inside it). So that may be an explanation for his “policy.” I don’t think that legitimizes his position, but it might help explain it somewhat.

      • elle

        My female doctor actually gently nudged me TOWARDS an IUD (Mirena) because she had one herself and loved it. I was childless and 24 when I had my first one inserted. I loved mine and when it was done, had a second inserted. I then had to switch doctors and doc #2 was also female. She also preached the benefits of Mirena. Unfortunately, my 2nd Mirena dislodged itself and had to be removed… my doc was all for inserting another one but I decided to switch to the pill because I’m planning on trying to conceive in the next year.

        Bottom line, find a female doc. They seem to understand the benefits!

      • Sara

        NO. No no no this is not okay. I hope you have found a new doctor in the meantime. I got my first IUD at 22 and just got my second and am SO happy! Also, so what if you change your mind with an IUD – a quick tug and you’re back in business. What a terrible doctor.

  • Mrrpaderp

    I’m not a super emotional person. I’ve also been on hormonal BC since I was 15. For me, whether to have children isn’t about feeling some deep need to have them. It’s a calculation. How would my life change? What would my new budget look like? What changes do FH and I have to make to be effective co-parents? Frankly, I’ve approached relationships and marriage the same way.

    After reading this article, I admit to having a bit of an existential crisis. How much of analytical me is really truly ME? How different would I be if I felt a real need to have a baby? Ultimately, I wouldn’t trade in analytical me for anything; I want to wait to have a kid until FH and I are really settled into married life, and that’s not happening particularly soon. But it’s interesting to think about how my hormones, if I experienced them naturally, might tip the babymaking scales.

    • Violet

      Maybe it’s similar to crying when you choose your wedding dress, versus not? Some women do, that’s cool. Me, I just knew what would look best on me and went for it. Not saying I never weigh emotions into decisions, but certainly not all my decisions involve my feelings. And I haven’t been on BC in ages; it’s just how I’m wired.

    • Caitlin

      Don’t freak out! I’ve never once used hormonal bc and have gotten lots of feedback that I’m one of the most analytical, pragmatic people known among friends and family. I don’t have any baseline to compare it to, but I’ve never felt like my hormones were driving. For me, it’s more like I’m more likely to feel my emotions strongly due to hormones, but the logic behind the emotions is unchanging. For the record, I’ve also gotten feedback that I wear my emotions too close to the chest (standing awkwardly and unemotionally while my parents cried with my wedding dress, leaving for college, moving away, etc), so I think individual differences probably matter more than bc or not bc.

    • Mary Jo TC

      Meh. It could be just your personality. I’ve also approached life decisions like marriage and kids in an analytical, almost calculating way, and I’ve never been on hormonal BC. It’s interesting to wonder if your natural hormones might make you feel differently, but the answer could just as easily be that you’d want the same things either way.

  • Alexandra

    I was on hormonal BC from 19-25, didn’t like the effect on my mood, and never used it again. We use condoms combined with fertility tracking. Nice condoms aren’t that big a deal–personally, I don’t see the benefit of hormonal BC outweighing the problems in light of the fact that condoms work fine and don’t affect sex that much.

    As for the having a child question…it seems crazy to me to let a decision with such enormous implications rest on a mood/whim. Probably better to have a solid philosophical stance on the subject. I have a son and we’re now trying for #2. There are times I don’t feel like being a mom, but I have deeply held opinions on the subject that get me through periods when I’m not in the mood for parenting or feel some regret about the lifestyle possibilities I gave up in order to become a parent. Conversely, NOT having children would come with its own set of passing regretful thoughts, so it seems like one would want a deeply held opinion on that decision, as well.

    • Jess

      Deeply held opinions are really good for people that have them. Like you said, it’s reassuring and enables you to get through tough parenting moments.

      For folks like me… I mean, I’m just considering it because R wants kids, and I want to be with R. Otherwise? Meh. I think there are more people in the Meh category that are typically mentioned.

      Baby-crazy women and women who deeply want to be mothers are wonderful, and they are a very loud and common narrative. There are a quieter group of us who are just kind of like, “I just don’t know!” and society just pushes us to the side with, “Well, you’ll change your mind” or “You’ll see, your clock will start ticking.”

      The number of APW posts and comments on the topic make it pretty obvious that there’s a large group of people who could honestly go either way on the kids/no kids topic. How are we supposed to figure it out, if not from our emotions or gut?

      • Alexandra

        I think I’m going to say something very controversial, but here goes:

        Contrary to conventional wisdom on the subject, in my opinion if you don’t have a deeply held opinion on having children, you actually should have them.

        Here’s why: People say that having children is irreversible and will change your life irrevocably. But my experience has been much more nuanced. Having a son has changed my life, but only for a window of time. The example of my mother has been instructive: after we moved out, she went right back to being a crazy adventurous traveler. This window of child bearing and rearing is physically, emotionally, and monetarily taxing, but it isn’t forever. The payoff is pretty huge, too, if you’re into intangible things like relationships. No guarantees, of course. There’s a risk involved. But yeah, pretty great payoff to having kids.

        NOT having children is a decision that becomes permanent after that window is closed. I think there are some compelling reasons not to have them, but if one is on the fence, I’d go with having them.

        • Cellistec

          Possibly true about biological children, but if you decide to foster and/or adopt, the window stays open for decades.

          • Alexandra

            Speaking for myself (I was adopted), adoption/fostering isn’t a great solution for keeping the window of possibility open for people who are on the fence about having kids. In general, it’s a more difficult path that requires more commitment. It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which a person who was always “meh” on having kids suddenly decides to jump through the hoops of adoption/fostering after their fertility declines.

            Being meh on having kids and then having a biological one often results in serendipity–oh, I didn’t know that this was going to make me so happy, but now that it’s happened, I’m so glad it did.

          • Cellistec

            True, and apologies for not being clearer; I wasn’t saying “if you don’t want to commit to bio kids, you can adopt later!” What I meant was, if you know you want to be a parent, but you don’t have strong feelings about being biologically related to your children, then adopting or fostering could be a good solution and would take the fertility window anxiety out of the equation. I’m not meh on having kids, I’m meh on having kids who are genetically related to me.

        • Emily

          Worth keeping in mind that the window is short ( two decades) as long as one has relatively healthy children. It is much more difficult and complicated when one has children with disabilities. This is a possibility. I’ve watched (and helped) my parents struggle with this with my sister.

          • Kara

            Exactly. There are no guarantees that any child you have will be healthy. Full stop.

            I’ve seen it with friends and family. It is something I factored into my decision to avoid having children. (My choice, and my reasoning alone–others may not be as affected by this.)

          • anonandonandon

            Edit to my comment above: my son is generally but not completely healthy. We are able to live a mostly normal life, but when I referenced the “bad parts” above I was thinking of the very scary times spent in the hospital with him, as well as other downstream effects of his health problems. Doesn’t change my underlying feeling on the subject.

          • Amy March

            Short? Two decades? I’m baffled by all of this. I’m 32 and my mother hasn’t stopped feeling like a mom or worrying about me. You are a parent forever not for some finite time period.

          • Alexandra

            You’re a parent forever, but the labor-intensive part of parenting doesn’t last forever. Your mom loves you but you probably aren’t waking her up three times a night anymore, or costing her $1500/month for daycare so she can keep working.

            The possibility of having a child with special needs is real, so I guess my argument doesn’t hold water in 100% of cases. Personally, I am willing to accept that risk, but I understand that it would justifiably scare some people off from the whole endeavor.

        • anonandonandon

          Very very well articulated. Based on my personal experience, I agree 100%. I was happy with my child-free life and largely ambivalent about changing it. Got pregnant somewhat unexpectedly at 35. My son is 17 months now and, as cliched as it is to say, and even with the bad parts, he is the best thing that ever happened to me and has made my previously great life richer and immeasurably happier

  • Yeah…anon

    I’ve been on HBC to control shitty periods since I was 15. I love it. LOOOVE it. I skip ALL my periods. I suspect that my libido could be higher, but it’s working for us right now. I have a career that makes me the primary breadwinner and I have no plans to take a big break or drop out. Also? I want all the babies. Like, I have some nights where I am a non-functioning crying mess because I’m not currently someone’s mother, and we aren’t really in a good position to start trying right now. I already felt that way pretty strongly, but turning 30 recently didn’t help things. I made a baby quilt. I knitted a tiny sweater. I cry every time a friend announces a pregnancy. I am a little disgusted with myself about all of this but man, I really want kids. HBC seems to be a real YMMV kind of thing – I read so many accounts of other people’s experiences and go wow, it is so different for me.

    • Nameless Wonders

      Yeah I have been in that baby-craze fever while on HBC and off. I haven’t found any real correlation. Though sometimes I really want a baby when I’m depressed because I feel like the responsibility of another human life would help me keep my act together (which is really not a good reason to have a baby).

      • Yeah…anon

        My depression sends me the opposite way – the world is so terrible, people are terrible and stupid, how can I bring a kid into such a terrible place? (which is not a good reason not to have a baby [if you want one] because don’t you want to increase the number of non-terrible people [my children will be awesome, obviously…])

        • Nameless Wonders

          I get that. When I’m not depressed, I feel more like I don’t want to pass on my shitty genetics :p

  • Jessica

    The ancient Romans had a great decision rule: make every decision twice – once while sober and once while drunk. If your decision is the same in both states of mind, then it’s the right decision. I feel like that would work here too.

    Just be careful, because no-hormonal-BC sex is REALLY REALLY FUN and many people do get pregnant the first or second month they’re off the pill. I’m (thankfully? unfortunately? BOTH) one of them.

    • Jess

      I like this rule a lot!

    • Rebekah Jane

      Fun parenting tip – my parents liked to scare us with stories of how my mom got pregnant right after she stopped taking the pill BOTH times they aimed for kids. That’s right – two tries, two successes in two months or less. Nothing makes a girl into being safe more than “look at how fertile you are genetically predestined to be!”

      Also, forever using that decision making rule. Why am I getting drunk on a Tuesday, you ask? Because Sober Rebekah wants to go blond and I need to check if she’s right.

      • Lisa

        Oh, same thing with my parents! And to top it off, my mom is one of nine, and my dad is one of eleven. Husband’s parents are one of four and six. We take no chances with our birth control!

      • Cellistec

        I was helping my mom clean out her basement and in one old cardboard box was the directions from…as she explained it…the very same copper IUD she was using when she got pregnant with my sister. After I stopped laughing hysterically from the sheer weirdness of the find, I decided maybe not tinkering with my BC is a good idea.

      • another lady

        as my MIL said, “all he had to do was look at me and I was pregnant, every time!” gross! But, guess it was true for us, too! (2 tries in 1.5 months = prego!)

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      This actually makes me feel very good about drunk Maddie’s proclivity towards babies.

    • MDBethann

      Then again, I was off the pill for just under 2 years before we got pregnant, and that included 3 rounds of IUI (and associated hormone injections). While the IUI didn’t get me pregnant, my doctors suspect that the hormones I had to take for the IUI “fixed” whatever was “off” with my hormones (BC? naturally? Who knows) and helped me get pregnant naturally. After we had our daughter in 2014, I decided not to go back on the Pill until we decide conclusively that we aren’t having more kids. Since it took me so long the first time, we don’t want to risk it again, especially since I’m of “advanced maternal age” (at 37). So it is really a crap shoot and you don’t know how long it will take until you try.

  • Keeks

    I’ve been on the pill for 15 years now and it’s both lovely and a little frustrating. I’ve taken enough breaks from it in that time to know what I’m missing out on (I wasn’t on it when I met my husband HOT DIGGITY DOG). But I’m getting kind of sick of knowing I’m all jacked up on hormones like an artificially plumped tyson chicken breast and dang if I don’t want my raging libido back… but I still can’t get past the fact that I no longer ruin shorts, sheets, and entire mattresses PLUS my skin is way better PLUS no babies.

  • Caitlin

    One thought, I kind of doubt that the impact of hormonal bc is so large that it is truly the deciding factor. I think instead that it is a factor that combines with all other facts of modern society: we can choose when to have children, women are high educated members of the workforces, there is less interaction between generations. All these things combined make it a much bigger choice than ever before to say, do I want to children? What is it like to go through pregnancy? Is it worth the upheaval to my family life and professional plans? Not to diminish the impact of hormones, I just don’t think they are THE tipping point compared to all these other factors combined.

    Another observation, a lot this discussion is being had, including in the medical community, by those who are ideologically opposed to bc (impact of that position aside). The Catholic Church and related medical advocates of Natural Family Planning have all been saying for years that the impact of birth control is understudied, doctors are too quick to prescribe it for issues not relating to pregnancy, and that it’s better to treat the underlying conditions around fertility/menstruation issues, rather than treat the symptoms through hormonal birth control. I know the church’s position on this is very controversial (including for me as a practicing Catholic, I wrestle with it a lot), but the controversy has obscured the fact that they have some good points alongside some more potentially problematic ones. Just my two cents!

    • Mary Jo TC

      As a Catholic who’s never been on BC and who also wrestles with the teaching, I agree with your last paragraph. In college, I went to a dermatologist who wanted to put me on BC and I was not comfortable with it. I wasn’t good at advocating for myself, but I did say no. For months I imagined myself making speeches to the doctor that went like this: “Would you tell an orthodox Jewish girl she had to eat pork to be healthy? I came to a skin doctor for a skin solution to my skin problem. Please don’t bring my reproductive system into this.” (Though this personal choice I make for myself is somewhat influenced by the Church’s teaching, I definitely oppose the Catholic Bishops’ attempts to impose their morality on others concerning birth control, abortion, and their administration of hospitals and schools, and health insurance for their employees and patients and students of all faiths.)

      • Caitlin

        I agree completely with you! I have my own choice informed by church teaching, although I do use non hormonal birth control, so obviously, I’m not even in personal alignment with the Church (exploring NFP now though!), but I really disagree with the impact this teaching has had on policy, both in America and in the developing world. This is honestly one of the Church’s teachings I wrestle with the most, but I do think they have some good ideas that would surprise many secular people (similar to the number of people who don’t know that Catholic vows differ from the stereotypical church vows or the Church’s emphasis on consent). I sometimes wish people had more of an open mind on hearing the good points, even if they reject some of the more external teachings or the Church’s authority in general.

        • another lady

          I have heard NFP works for some people (one friend has been using it for 4+ years with no issues) and it really doesn’t work for others. to me, it sounds like a good way to get plan your family and possibly get pregnant! happened to my brother/SIL. When I announced I was prego, we had a conversation about how they were using NFP and it was so great, etc, etc. 2 months later, they also found out they were prego! #NFPoops

          • Caitlin

            I thinking of starting with it and condoms combined and if I feel comfortable over time (and am kind of ok with getting pregnant), then going full NFP, but not before! I’ve heard very similar accounts, that it works great for some, but can be, ahem, less than reliable for others lol.

        • Mary Jo TC

          I do/have occasionally also used condoms as birth control, despite the Church’s teaching, with the rationalization that IF it’s a sin, and I’m not 100% convinced it is, it’s less sinful to have sex 2-4 times in a month using a condom, than to take a pill every day to keep yourself in a constant state of temporary infertility. I know that sounds ridiculous. I hate that I feel forced to make such strange rationalizations to make my choices fit with my faith. And the way the Bishops emphasize this one issue over so many more important ones bugs me a ton.

          I have used NFP for all my sexually active life (8 years), and had no problems, issues or scares. I think the women who are best suited to it are the ones who have pretty regular cycles, and that’s me. I think it’s worth looking into for anyone who finds hormonal BC to disagree with her, or who generally doesn’t like ‘putting chemicals into her body.’ Obviously, you have to be in a stable, committed, monogamous relationship too. NFP also gives you a kind of head start for when you want to conceive–we got knocked up the first cycle we tried, and for our second pregnancy, it was only the second.

          • Caitlin

            Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, Mary Jo! I really appreciate being able to hear from another Catholic lady who is also trying to figure it all out. I have also used some of the same rationalizations, and I think this is one that many struggle with, but it’s very hard to have a frank conversation in person on it. It’s always struck me as bit strange that the Church sees no difference between any form of bc, but does allow for family planning…

        • Amy March

          I will have an open mind about Catholic Church teachings on reproduction just as soon as the Church has an open mind about condoms to protect against AIDS. Until then Hahahaha helllllll nope.

        • Anon-for-this

          Yeah, me too. The Church was definitely part of our decisions regarding birth control. Admittedly, we also use condoms all the time, pretty much, but I figure that it was close enough while also being good-at-preventing-babies-during-my-Ph.D-enough also. And also somewhere where we slightly disagree with the church.

    • Lisa

      Catholic here, too. I think that my feelings on birth control were strongly colored from an early age by my mother, a devout Catholic, who was not about to leave her family planning to chance. (She’s one of nine and, though she loves her family, wanted nothing to do with that many children of her own.) Her feelings were always that BC is fallible and, if God wanted her to be pregnant, then the BC would fail. She raised us with that belief so I didn’t even realize until I was in my teens that it was actually prohibited. It’s actually one of the only more progressive teachings we received surrounding sex as children.

      • Caitlin

        Solidarity, Lisa! My mother is actually technically still a Lutheran, despite the fact that she’s been attending Catholic Church since she married (and she taught Catholic religious ed hmm). So I have a number of non orthodox teachings from my childhood, particularly on birth control. In fact, I’m one of five, but my mother particularly emphasized her worry that people might assume she was more conservative than she is; in my family’s case BC was definitely fallible lol! It’s interesting, because it seems many Catholic women are in this same place on this issue. A part of me hopes irrationally that the Church might evolve its teachings, because I think this one particular issue can be either a major reason people leave the Church, or just live against its teachings in cognitive dissonance.

    • Sara

      Another Catholic here! Growing up I didn’t know anyone who followed the teaching on contraception, or thought you had to. Not using contraception sounded completely irrational to me when I first read about it but I gradually came round to it and I feel that it’s changed my relationship with by body and with my partner in really healthy ways. I agree there are some good ideas embedded in the teaching that could be beneficial for lots of people. For what it’s worth, I found NFP (symptothermal) fairly difficult to learn – it took me about four months of lots of poring over my signs and charts. I learned it when I was on a four month research fellowship away from my now husband but I can imagine that if I’d been trying to learn while sleeping with him, I would have been highly vulnerable to an oops. Now that I understand my own fertility patterns I find NFP so easy to use that I would still use it even if for some reason I stopped being Catholic or changed my mind about the contraception question. It takes me a few seconds a day and I don’t have to take medication or use barriers. We do have to abstain for a bit but we find it v manageable. Of course YMMV in all kinds of ways, I just wanted to share my experience!

      • Caitlin

        Thank you, Sara. It was very helpful to me to hear your experience! I think I would like to use NFP, but I want to make sure I’m doing it correctly, so I’m thinking of transitioning into it, so I’m confident I have the hang of it first. I’m really happy that you shared though, because I’m very curious about how it has worked for others, but shy about asking my deacon who is leading us through marriage prep…

    • Anon-for-this

      Thank you for starting this comment thread. I really appreciated getting to hear other people’s/Catholics thoughts on birth control and different nuances, because it isn’t a discussion I get to have very much anymore, now that I have moved away from most of my Catholic school friends. So it is nice to be able to hear/have a respectful conversation where lots of different points are addressed and with other people who have similar experiences with the same cultural background that I do.

      • Caitlin

        Thank you! I felt the same way, I really, really appreciated everyone who was willing to discuss this. It can be a hard conversation to start in person, especially when you don’t have peers in the same situation. I similarly have moved away from my Catholic school friends and I also sometimes feel like it would hard to discuss this with them because some have evidently followed the Church very closely on this or totally veered away from it all together. I’m sure, especially after this discussion, that there are many out there in the same situation as I, we are all just too shy, or maybe worried about stigma, to bring it up. It’s also evident to me that as Catholic women, we are outside of the main narrative on bc and our approach to it, so I’m glad we were able to carve out our own discussion and help each other out, I know I learned a lot and really valued it!

  • anon

    Man, this rings so true. I used other forms of BC starting in my early 20s because hormonal BC makes me a raging b-word. I can feel it happening. And now, 8 months postpartum (from a planned pregnancy, ha!) I can say that the natural hormones that come along with breastfeeding and pretty much destroyed my sex drive have had a big impact as well. (Of course, there’s an evolutionary reason for that–most people don’t want babies so close together). Everything I’ve learned about natural fluctuations of hormones– during pregnancy, immediately after birth, during breastfeeding–I’ve had to research on my own, it was never something I learned in school or my doctor mentioned to me.

  • Glitterati

    Can I just vent about the terrifying state of health care in the US? I had to switch insurance companies this year because my husband’s employer will not cover spouses who are able to receive coverage through their own employer. Well since I am benefit eligible, I enrolled in my employer’s insurance plan. It isn’t very good and I know that is nothing special given the current state of health care post-Affordable Care Act. You would think it would be better considering I work for a hospital. Ahem.

    I just used my insurance a week ago for the first time in 2016. I refilled my birth control- Amethia. It is a generic for seasonique (the BC that you take 3 months consecutively and have 4 periods/year). I have been on it for about 9 months now under my previous insurance and it has been great for me. I feel so much more in control of my body and my life. I don’t constantly feel like I am between PMS and returning to homeostasis after a period like I did on regular 1 month birth control. It is everything I want in a birth control.

    I just received a letter from my insurance telling me that it is not covered and that I should look at the list of covered birth controls and go talk to my doctor about my other options for birth control. The other option is to have my doctor contact the insurance company and complete a pre-authorization form to allow me to continue taking my current birth control. However, the insurance company’s website states that I will need to have documented proof that I have tried at least 2 other birth controls and had significant side effects.

    What is going on with women’s health? How is any of this legal? If I have found something that works with my body and my life, why is it the insurance company that gets to decide if I can take it and not a licensed medical provider? I feel like this is just another example of why we need women’s rights and how our country is broken. I am incredibly upset as this is all still very raw. I feel so trapped and like things are not going to change for the better for quite some time, especially considering this is an election year. Anyone have a similar experience? Or words of encouragement?

    • CMT

      JFC, that is insane! What is it going to take to get women’s health concerns paid attention to?!

      • Glitterati

        And this is light compared to the onslaught Planned Parenthood is enduring at the moment. It is so disheartening.

    • Yeah…anon

      I’m so sorry that is happening, that’s ridiculous. I was on Seasonale, then Seasonique/generics etc. for a while. When I last switched providers (I’m now covered by Kaiser), instead of what I had been on which I think was a Seasonale generic, my NP wrote my prescription such that I get 4 1-month packs every 3 months – which I think works out to roughly the same number of active pills as seasonique. So if you are able to find one that is the same as the seasonique pill but in a different format, that could be an option? I’m sorry I don’t know what that would be. I am on Levora 0.15/30-28 right now, and I just skip the active pills. I know that doesn’t solve the problem but might be a way to get at them sweet sweet amethia chemicals :)

      • Glitterati

        I don’t hate that idea. That is something I would consider. I feel like I would need a gyno to do some complicated birth control wizardry like that. My PCP is great, but he is not an expert on birth control. I just think it is crazy that my insurance expects me to advocate for other birth control options when I don’t want to switch because I am happy with what I am on! They can pay the co-pays I incur if they force me to talk to my doctor about other options. It is unbelievable.

        • Eenie

          Can you try doing it over the phone? If you have a standing relationship, sometimes they’ll write you a new Rx, especially if it’s cause of insurance reasons.

        • Alynae

          Just to add, I also am on Levora as an extended cycle user instead of Seasonale. Just skip the inactives.

        • Glitterati

          I just looked into Levora. It is almost exactly the same hormones as Amethia, except it doesn’t have the taper in the last week of the 3rd month. I don’t really care about that since I usually spot bleed during that whole week anyway. If I can’t get the pre-authorization, I am going to call and have my PCP prescribe that. You ladies are amazing. This is why I love APW. Just when I feel hopeless, there are other awesome women with great advice and experience out there. <3 Thank you.

          • Yeah…anon

            Yay! I really hope that does good things for you.

    • Eenie

      That doesn’t surprise me at all, and it sucks! I also have crappy health insurance and my husband’s company charges a spousal surcharge ($145 a month) if I’m covered under another group employer plan. I would try to get on the phone with someone at the insurance company. Sometimes there are exceptions?

      • Glitterati

        My insurance has a similar clause with the “spouse surcharge”. Mine is only $80/month though. How on earth could someone afford a $145 fee on top of already high premiums? Unbelievable.

        • Eenie

          I think the thought is you go with the company provided plan! If you have coverage, you can add of secondary coverage for the spouse without the spousal surcharge (but you still pay the spousal cost, which is $90/month in addition to your primary insurance costs). I just want health care to not be tied to our jobs anymore. It’s ridiculous. When we’re making career moves based off the health care situation we’ll be in – we’ve failed as a country.

          • Glitterati

            Amen to that! And unfortunately the Marketplace doesn’t have much for affordable and good coverage when you are making more than $10/hr. My poor parents are covered by a plan that was literally written to the federally mandated minimum standard and they do not have very much money. The Marketplace couldn’t even help them. It literally breaks my heart.

    • another lady

      when will America realize that insurance companies are dictating our health care!?! my insurance company technically decides what meds I can/cannot take (because they will only pay for certain ones) how long/often I can see a physical therapist or chiropractor, what hospital/doctor I can/cannot go to (because only certain ones are in network), what treatments I can/cannot get, how long my hospital stay will be… and, it goes on and on! what a load of crap!
      Advise for your situation – get the doctor to write the petition for you to stay on the pills you are currently on. That’s the only way my insurance will do what is needed/wanted is if the doctor or provider writes a letter requesting it with all the reasons it is needed!

      • Glitterati

        Preach it! Everything you said and more. My current insurance is actually crazy restrictive because it is based around the hospital system I work for. Therefore, all of their competitors or any entity they do not own are out of network. If I am on vacation out of state and have to go to the emergency room, I have to call them to see what ER they will cover out of state. This is insanity. I don’t understand why everyone wants to talk about Trump and Hilary when we are in a literal health care crisis. How much more are we willing to allow insurance companies to decide for us?

        I am currently in contact with my PCP and he is going to contact insurance to attempt to win a pre-authorization for me. However, I know this is just the beginning of the battle because insurance companies dictate how often this pre-authorization will need to be completed. It could be as often as every 6 months or a year. So either way I am in for a battle.

        • Lisa

          I work at a university, and I had the option to go with their hospital’s HMO or a PPO. I ended up going with the PPO for all of the reasons you mentioned even though it’s more expensive up front. I don’t have to worry about how much I’d end up paying out of pocket now if I had to seek care while on vacation or somewhere else outside of the very local network.

          • Glitterati

            I wish I had that option! I used to have a great PPO before I had to switch insurances. I wish we weren’t so limited by our employer and that we could buy the type of insurance we want instead of being forced into these sub-par plans.

    • Keeks

      UGH, insurance companies are the worst. I’ve been on Yasmin for 10+ years. Back in ye old days, it was still under patent and there was no generic – so it cost $30/month for a name-brand drug. Totally worth it. When the generic came out, the name-brand went to $70/month while the generic was $30/month. I switched to the generic and it’s been fine until the last 2-3 years when all the pharmacies switched to a new generic brand. Now the generic is free, but this formulation doesn’t seem to work as well for me. My doctor wants me to switch back to the name brand but she knows it’s not covered by my insurance.

      I get so ANGRY that an insurance company dictates the quality of my life, by not allowing me to choose what is best for my body. SO MAD.

      • Glitterati

        I reflect all of those feels. I am a nurse in the hospital and I take care of a lot of patients who are on seizure medications. Some patients have to fight with insurance year after year because the generic seizure medications they are on don’t keep them from having seizures. It is a rare thing for a generic not to work as well as the name-brand, but it does happen. Then the patients have to have the doctor write letters to the insurance company every 6 or 12 months stating they still need to be on the name-brand. It is an endless battle for them and it makes me feel so bad.

  • Rebekah Jane

    Reading this blew my MIND. I was on the pill from age 19 to 25 and my dating life was THE WORST. I was routinely attracted to the wrong guy, to the point of where my dating life was sordid entertainment for my coupled friends. But, when I was 24-25, I longer had access to health insurance and had to go off of it.

    Behold, I meet my partner at 25 and it was an instantaneous “HELLO THERE” kind of attraction. I didn’t get on any kind of hormonal birth control until 2 years into our relationship, when I chose to get Skyla (due to my constant pregnancy paranoia/horrible periods). The attraction has (obviously) continued, even though the localized hormones have slowed down my libido a little.

    BUT WOW. I could have ignored this amazing human just because of the type of birth control I chose? Thanks, Fate, for having my back…

  • emilyg25

    My husband gets his vasectomy in three weeks! No more BC worries for me! But the fucked up thing? Vasectomies are way, way less common than tubal ligations, even though they’re less invasive, less expensive, and (marginally) more effective. Fucking patriarchy.

    • Amie Melnychuk

      The hubs has declared that when we are ready, we will go for the snip instead of me because “If she can push two babies out, the least I can do is get a vasectomy.” His dad was shocked he would do that. My dad just nodded.

      • emilyg25

        My husband had a vasectomy in the beforetimes, a reversal (more invasive, longer recovery), and is now re-ectomying. And it’s STILL all easier than pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum recovery and breastfeeding.

        • Nancywcharlebois2

          “my .friend’s mate Is getting 98$. HOURLY. on the internet.”….

          two days ago new Mc.Laren. F1 bought after earning 18,512$,,,this was my previous month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, 17k$ Last month .,3-5 h/r of work a days ..with extra open doors & weekly. paychecks.. it’s realy the easiest work I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months ago and now making over 87$, p/h.Learn. More right Hereo!o752➤➤➤➤➤ http://GlobalSuperEmploymentVacanciesReportsMedia/GetPaid/98$hourly…. .❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:::::o!o752…..

    • Lisa

      YES! One of my FB friends commented that she was getting a tubal ligation at 27 and when her son was 3 because she decided she didn’t want anymore kids. People were freaking out at her on social media that she’d regret the decision, and what was going through my head (not my keyboard because you do you) was, “But a vasectomy is so much easier! Why would you not do that instead???”

      • Crystalsanderson4

        “my .friend’s mate Is getting 98$. HOURLY. on the internet.”….

        two days ago new Mc.Laren. F1 bought after earning 18,512$,,,this was my previous month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, 17k$ Last month ..3-5 h/r of work a days ..with extra open doors & weekly. paychecks.. it’s realy the easiest work I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months ago and now making over 87$, p/h.Learn. More right Hereoo!525➤➤➤➤➤ http://GlobalSuperEmploymentVacanciesReportsBook/GetPaid/98$hourly…. .❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:::::oo!525…..

    • Eenie

      As we discussed the different possibilities for my BC, we came to the solution that we should just handle it best as possible in the short term, pop out some kids, and snip away. Then I can experiment without the consequence being moodiness, long periods, cramping, and SURPRISE BABY!

    • up_at_Dawn

      Interesting factoid: Canadian men are more likely to get vasectomies than American men. I think it’s a more common procedure over here for sure. (I’m Canadian)

  • I’ve been on and off the pill since I was about 20 or so. At first I wasn’t 100% on the idea of (yet another) medication (I have bipolar and have to take multiple meds a day to function), but my periods were RIDICULOUS and my OB/GYN said that, given my family history and my current cycles, it was likely that I would develop endometriosis. To prevent difficulty getting pregnant when I wanted to, the need for a hysterectomy, and a lifetime of period cramps so severe that they were the equivalent of going through monthly labor pains, the pill it was. After a while of being on the pill and eventually getting sick of having to take about ten pills a day, I decided to try to wean myself off of meds that I didn’t definitely need. And I noticed a marked difference in my emotional state. As it turned out, I had been on the generic of Yaz and it had been helping greatly with my bipolar mood swings. So I went back on the pill after about a year of being off of it, right around the time I was experiencing issues dealing with childhood sexual trauma and a repressed memory. My libido dropped like a rock, which I attributed to the trauma issues. I also became much, much more gay after wondering for years if I was queer, gay, or what (I always knew from a young age I was very attracted to women; men, I wasn’t so sure about). Fast forward to three months ago. My fiancee and I have been trying for a baby for about a year, and she’s not pregnant yet. We think we may have had a few early positives/losses, but nothing other than that. So we decided I should go off the pill and prep my body for just in case she was a no-go and I would carry the child, rather than go through expensive IVF treatments. And like clockwork, whenever my ovulation window pops up I get super frisky (which is super triggering; I still haven’t adjusted to it yet) and I find myself attracted to men. Granted, it’s only hypothetical men (actual guys? um, no, ew). But if there’s a celebrity crush or Harry Potter character window, i

  • lady brett

    oh man, male birth control! this is maybe the most realistic thing i dream will have happened in our society by the time my son is a teenager (and my daughters, but less so, because *who to trust?*)

    • Lisa

      I told my husband that, as soon as male birth control is available or we’re done having kids, he’ll either get that or a vasectomy. When he complained that he doesn’t like needles that much, I reminded him that I’ll have been on HBC for 3 miserable years, had an IUD inserted with all of its subsequent side effects, AND probably have birthed at least a couple of human beings. He can suck it up and deal with a the needles at that point.

      • Ashlah

        It makes me rage that one of the hurdles to male birth control is that men won’t deal with side effects (or needles, or discomfort of seemingly any kind), so researchers have had to try to find the impossible solution, while women are just expected to deal with the side effects and risks of hormonal birth control. Because that’s just the way it is?

        • Lisa

          Right? It’s the same way that, if men birthed children, we would have had free access to all birth control options, parental leave, and childcare decades ago.

          • Eenie

            Or if men birthed children, women would have male privilege!

        • Violet

          I’d venture that another factor is women might want to be on birth control rather than trust their partner to be. I don’t mean partner in a committed relationship sense (hopefully you do trust your relationship partner!), but just sexual partner. If I were the kind of woman to have casual sex, I’d definitely want to know that *I* was the one looking out to prevent a pregnancy, and not just hoping the cute guy at the bar was telling the truth.

          • Lisa

            That’s why condoms are still important for casual sex! You don’t know who’s telling the truth about what, and even if everyone is on birth control, there are still risks for STIs.

          • Jess

            In a casual sex world, I would probably want BOTH of us to be on birth control. Just like I want to use HBC AND condoms now… in my committed relationship.

            Because I’m really not here for being pregnant right now.

          • Ashlah

            Oh, absolutely, and I think that’d be a big selling point for men too–no one should have to trust birth control to another person if they aren’t comfortable with that. But why was the Pill, and all it entails, considered good enough for women? Why aren’t we working as hard to improve female birth control in the same way we’re going after male birth control? Am I just not seeing it?

      • another lady

        this is what finally convinced my BIL to get a vasectomy – after my sister had 3 kids, it’s his turn to deal with the BC and ‘side effects’!

  • Little Raccoon

    First time commenting , but I’ve been a big fan of APW forever.

    Thanks for this article! I am 27 and lately I have been thinking a lot about whether or not I want kids. I started hormonal BC when we got married 4 years ago. We’ve never been in any hurry to have kids. I always thought I wanted kids eventually, but lately not so much. I keep saying Facebook is changing my mind about kids, what with all the parent friends oversharing pregnancy TMI and such. Seriously, the more I learn about pregnancy and childbirth the less appealing it sounds. But there are other factors at play: my husband got laid off last year and hasn’t had much luck finding anything stable, I’m working two jobs, and we live with a roommate. Kids are definitely not in our foreseeable future.

    Honestly, I always thought I’d have less of a choice in the matter. Not in any nefarious way, but more like a “babies are just something that happens to married people!” kind of way. I always assumed a baby would just sneak up on us and I wouldn’t have to agonize over whether or not to have one. I also thought BC was much less effective than it actually is (thanks, public school sex ed!). Now that I realize I have way more control in the matter, the decision is harder. I never thought my BC might be having an effect on my desire to have kids on a hormonal level too.

    • another lady

      “I also thought BC was much less effective than it actually is (thanks, public school sex ed!).” I got pregnant 1.5 months after being off of it and only doing the dead 2 times! I became the person public school teachers tell you about who got pregnant right away, like a teenager! LOLOL – the ironies of life! people kept saying at the beginning of the pregnancy – maybe you are farther along than you think – nope! not physically possible!

  • zero

    I don’t think that what you would feel if you weren’t on BC would necessarily be more authentic or real than your current feelings, and I don’t believe you’re mainly driven by hormones in your thinking. You first went on BC because you thought your baby fever was “crazy” and not really what you wanted, and it sounds like you’ve been pretty happy since. So, your hormones didn’t determine your behavior. You were able to separate your cravings from your real wishes. Now you’re questioning if you might actually want a baby. You might make a decision to go into that direction, by going off birth control and letting yourself feel the impact of your “natural cycle”. If so, it will again be a a reasoned decision to let yourself be affected in a certain way.

  • sara

    I never found a pill that worked for me. I got a hormone free copper IUD when I met my husband and it’s been amazing. I had bad cramps for the first FULL month I had it in, which was very challenging, but it was worth pushing through those weeks. I had mine removed when my husband and I decided to start trying for our first child, but I highly recommend a copper IUD for effective birth control even if you haven’t had a baby. The insertion process is more uncomfortable and your body getting used to it takes longer, but for me at least, it was well worth it.

  • Han Nah

    Yes, your pill can make you not to want kids for sure. However, would not taking the pill increase your wish to have children? Me for my part, no.
    When I was off the pill after taking it for over 10 years I had a huge increase in libido before and during ovulation. So I would say, yes, there is a connection between taking the pill and the desire for sex. However no connection between taking the pill and having the desire to get children. Since I got off the pill for over ten years now, I feel fabulous, less migrane, more libido (period is a mess, though), however, I still have no desire to have children, even though I love kids.

    • Eh

      My doctor wanted me off the pill because of the complications it can cause with women who get migraines. She didn’t explicitly think that it caused my migraines (but did mention that it could be). I went off the pill for a couple years and rarely had migraines (for some reason I didn’t realize the migraines stopped when I stopped taking the pill – probably because I was so happy not to have them). Then I got pregnant, and my migraines came back with a vengeance (I had constant migraines from 12 weeks until 23 weeks when we finally got them under control). Yep, the pill was causing my migraines and being pregnant there was very little I could take for them.

  • ART

    Thank you for those male birth control links – that Vasalgel thing looks like juuust the ticket! Fingers crossed that it becomes available soon.

  • ruth

    The unknown, potentially serious effect of synthetic hormones have been on my mind a lot lately…but for a totally different reason: we are considering IVF. We went through the whole roller coaster of decision making about whether we wanted kids, and when to have them, etc… and then discovered we’re not fertile. To think of all the time I suffered with a totally unnecessary IUD, oh well. I never was on the pill, but the IVF hormones scare me – there is nothing natural about that high a dose of hormones. The doctors say it’s safe, but I keep wondering what are the long term implications of this to my body? I can’t find any good information about it online, just a lot of fear mongering.

  • EmmieDot

    The copper IUD basically saved my life after miserable hormonal birth control experiences and a subsequent unintentional pregnancy. The first two years were fantastic, but later I felt some pretty weird effects from it. I’m not entirely convinced that they weren’t psychological, but I was able to find enough people with similar symptoms to make me think there was something to it. Just really strange seemingly unrelated symptoms. My acupuncturist (I know, I know) always thought that it was disrupting my body’s energy somehow, but I wasn’t ready to part with it.

    Cue partner with a vasectomy from marriage past. Once it was serious, I got my IUD removed (4 years after insertion) and felt myself start to even out. This of course brings with it a whole new set of complications…he will not reverse it–not because of pain or cost, but because he is done with having kids. I wasn’t sure that would work for me because I always thought I’d have kids. But I guess I didn’t always WANT kids…I just wanted a family with like, younger little people involved. I didn’t think someone else’s would satisfy that need, but it’s actually a pretty good set up for me.

  • I’ve had a similar thought about anti depressants. Is the “real me” the depressed/anxious person off of the medicine, or the one on the medicine that’s preventing the bad parts from getting really bad?

    I was only on birth control very briefly, and I think it actually made me more emotional. Now that I’ve had a baby and want to space out our next child (mostly for health reasons) we’re considering what of the many options I should try for birth control. Presumably I will use the hormonal birth control that is approved for breastfeeding mothers, but besides that I’m not really sure…

    • Amy March

      What about him trying? Condoms are nonhormomal.

    • Eh

      The issue I had on antidepressants wasn’t just the medicine preventing the “bad parts from getting really bad” but that they flatten mood. So I couldn’t be sad when I was actually sad (e.g., someone passed away and I couldn’t cry) but I also had a hard time feeling happy (and I am naturally a happy and positive person).

      I didn’t realize how hormonal BC effected me until I went off them when we were TTC. I was an emotional wreck and moody. I don’t want to go back on hormonal BC before we have our next baby. We are using condoms until then.

      • Nameless Wonders

        I had a lot of issues with flattened moods with antidepressants. For years. I would go on and off medication in a roller coaster of depression so I wouldn’t have to feel like that all of the time. Ultimately, it turns out SSRI’s do not work for me. I just want to point out that the wrong medication or dose can have a major effect on this.

        • Eh

          I agree. I was probably on the wrong dose or wrong medication (though both the SSRIs and tricyclics I took had the same mood flattening effect). Luckily I have been able to manage my depression for over 10 years without medication.

    • Nameless Wonders

      As someone with depression, I can really relate to that mindset. I think finding the right treatment method (medication, dose, whatever) is really key to finding “the real you”.

  • Shira

    I’m surprised with all the BC discussion, no one has mentioned FAM – fertility awareness method. I discovered this around a year and a half ago (at age 30) and was AMAZED that my body had been sending me so much information I didn’t know about. There are actually specific days when you’re fertile, and they’re not so hard to detect? Mindblowing. (I felt like I’d been so misinformed!) This allowed me to use my body’s cues to avoid pregnancy (+ condoms on days when deemed necessary) and then eventually to get pregnant when we were ready (yay! Now 11 weeks).

    • Mary Jo TC

      There’s a discussion of NFP (Natural Family Planning) downthread. It’s about the same thing.

  • Melissahhaire4

    “my .friend’s mate Is getting 98$. HOURLY. on the internet.”….

    two days ago new Mc.Laren. F1 bought after earning 18,512$,,,this was my previous month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, 17k$ Last month ..3-5 h/r of work a days ..with extra open doors & weekly. paychecks.. it’s realy the easiest work I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months ago and now making over 87$, p/h.Learn. More right Hereoo!991➤➤➤➤➤ http://GlobalSuperEmploymentVacanciesReportsPay/GetPaid/98$hourly…. .❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:::::oo!991……

  • Wn

    To the question of whether to make a decision about having kids while on the pill or to stop and then decide: I would stop and decide because I have a bias towards “natural” / unmedicated choices. From your question, though, I think your choice to go off BC feels like a choice to have children, even if you don’t perceive it that way. You say that you think you will want kids after going off, right? Could you be distracting yourself from the question of kids by all of these questions about who you “really” are? Best of luck sorting this out.

  • head soccer

    This article is interesting

  • LondonLady

    I’m late to the party, but to add my perspective – I was on BC for 16 years, and I absolutely loved it. It was amazing at controlling my previously horribly long and heavy periods and my somewhat irregular cycles, and I LOVED the predictability. However, having come off it over 2 years ago, I have felt much more like me – which is a strange thing to try to define, but no longer being at the mercy of these foreign hormones has had a tangible effect.

    Also, I’m now 36, and having tried for over 2 years to conceive naturally, I’m now 10 days from starting my first round of IVF. I don’t know, but I seriously suspect that either taking BC for so long has had a detrimental effect on my fertility (there are studies that also suggest this) or at the very least has been masking something that might have shown itself earlier that I could have worked with.

    So, I would say, try an alternative form of contraception for 6 months and see if you feel any different, and if you prefer it. But don’t assume blindly that BC is a miracle that has no side effects. For some people it’s absolutely fine, but all medication has side effects, some greater than others, and the longer you take it, the larger effect it will have on your body.

    • Anon

      I wanted to chime in on this- I was on the pill for 9 years (18-27), and started using condoms after a moment of clarity about being on synthetic hormones for so long without really thinking about it. After I went off the pill, it took 9 months for my period to come back, and even now I don’t think I ovulate every month. I’m just over 5 weeks pregnant at the moment, but it has been a very long journey to get here. In the 19 months that my husband and I have been “trying”, I have had 1 miscarriage and 3 biochemical pregnancies. I am hypothyroid, which causes its own set of problems, but I do attribute the (heartbreaking) difficulty of infertility to being on the pill for so long. I definitely wish my gyno in my 20s had discussed non-hormonal forms of birth control, or the risk of infertility with me before I had been on the pill for almost a decade, because I most likely would have at least thought twice to have been on the pill so long. Good luck and a major internet hug in the IVF journey. I was wrestling between that and adoption until literally about a week and a half ago, and I know how hard the entire process can be. Fingers crossed for the both of us :)

      • LondonSarah

        I also think that my doctor should have questioned why I was on the bc pill for so many years, especially as I wasn’t using it for contraception for much of that time. But then, I also wonder if I would have listened. The possibility of children, and having problems conceiving were not things I really thought about, and certainly infertility was one of those things that happens to other people, certainly not to me. And yet.

  • Nameless Wonders

    I currently have a hormonal IUD and, to touch on the topic at hand, I’ve had baby fever both on and off HBC. Right now, I’m 27 years old, committed relationship for over 6 years, and on the fence. On the one hand, I am super grateful that society and birth control give me this option to decide whenever I want (within biological reason). We are not financially or emotionally ready for a baby. I do like the idea of pregnancy (seems like most commenters who are on the fence are not interested in that part so much, but I really am, even with all the misery and grossness) and I feel like that and child-rearing are something I’d like to experience. On the other hand, there’s this idea that if I could decide now and make a permanent decision, we could focus more on our two-person-family goals of travel etc. without worrying about child related finances (like college). In general, I’d like to be off of hormonal birth control and hormone-free birth controls that we’ve used don’t work well for us for a number of reasons. A vasectomy would be great if we end up going with the no-child route. But in the meantime, I’m stuck in limbo.

    • Sara

      I am 100% sure I don’t want kids, also 27 and also want vasectomy for him and NO birth control for me to be the ultimate end game here. It’s the convincing him to do it part that we can’t seem to get past. He says he “isn’t ready” for that, and I had to remind him I wasn’t “ready” to have plastic devices shoved inside my babymaker both times I did. Hope I do not have to do it a third time. I wonder if there are age limits imposed on vasectomies for men like there are for tubal ligation and ablations for women?

      • Amy March

        How is it in any way okay to pressure your partner into surgery?

  • Bashfully

    It’s okay to not want kids. Sometimes, I think that the pressure on women to have (or want to have) kids is so strong that it can force women to question their lack of desire. We look to birth control (or something else– career, childhood experiences, finances whatever) to explain a lack of desire rather than look inside ourselves. In no other situation do we question a woman’s lack of desire (e.g. we tell women to eat less, be less ambitious, accept less pay, etc etc etc) but on this one thing deep and intense desire is normal. (I’m poorly paraphrasing an essay in the fantastic collection “Selfish, Shallow and Self Absorbed”).

    I say this as someone who does not want a child and has never wanted a kid (my mother tells me I was *very* clear on this as a kid and didn’t even play with baby dolls because “they’re boring”). BUT! Even knowing I don’t want kids, I’ve spent a huge amount of emotional energy wondering about what this means about me? Am I broken? Nope, but this lack of desire is not like all the other things we’re told not to desire. Can culture gaslight someone? Because that’s what I feel… I’ve so internalized that even “meh” means you should have a kid, that “nope” feels like a flaw. It’s not.

    So, anyway, tl;dr: it’s okay to not want kids. If you don’t like your bc, try a different brand or method but I’m hesitant to equate bc with the suppression of a desire that is BOTH biological and cultural.

    • Her Lindsayship

      “Can culture gaslight someone?”
      being a woman on this planet, I believe you know the answer to that question. :(
      At least we’ve all got each other!

  • Heather

    I have been really struggling with this birth control decision. My best friend has sworn off of the stuff. She is however pregnant with her second child as a result. She has always been certain about wanting kids. My husband and I on the other hand are undecided. We truly believe our lives could be fulfilled with or without kids. We both love kids and are good with them. We know we would be good parents. But in the current political moment there are so many other circumstances as a women of color that I need to consider when having kids. it feels like a scary time to raise kids… In terms of birth control, i am scared to get off of it until we are certain we want kids, cause i don’t want any surprises. (I need to finish my PhD and we buy a house before kids come into the picture…)I currently get a shot every 3 months and I hate it. I plan to get off of it after this cycle is over and maybe go back to the pill. I gained A LOT of weight on the shot. My doctor said it was a potential side effect but this is RIDICULOUS!. Especially since i lost 40lbs last year and was feeling the best i ever felt…. this is a hard decision for most but everyone is different so I don’t know what advice i would give. i lean towards the concept that we should trust our bodies without the birth control. instinctively we are designed to survive and know whats best for ourselves.

  • ItsyBit

    I haven’t read most of the comments yet (late to the party + supposed to be writing a paper right now, yay grad school) but damn. Thank you for this. It’s so nice to see a conversation about BC that is posed as more of a question than a “I HAVE THE ANSWER!!!” because it’s so, so complicated.

    I’m one of those people for whom hormonal BC just doesn’t work well; the first time I went on the pill I was 16 and fell into a serious depression. Thankfully, my MD at the time knew me well enough to see past whatever minimizing “I’m fine, really” lines I probably rattled off (to this day I cannot remember what I actually said) and took me off of it immediately, giving me her Very-Serious-I-Care-About-You face and reminding me to never hesitate to speak up and call her. I tried lots of different pills + the NuvaRing after that and everything made me feel different somehow. I’m currently looking into an IUD. If it hadn’t been for that doctor, I wouldn’t have had the gumption to stand up to or leave later doctors who tried to tell me that no, honey, the pill isn’t affecting your libido or no, sweetie, the pill isn’t affecting your mood (or well, dear, maybe you just need to relax re: v. pain, but hey, vulvodynia’s another story for another day).

    Anyway. Sorry for the rant. But yeah. It’s complicated! Women’s health is important! Always trust yourself and find a doctor who listens to you!

  • avh

    I waited until I was married to have sex, but I’m pro-birth control, so I went on it 3 months before the wedding. Boy, was that TERRIBLE for me. I was a hormonal mess of a monster, crying at the drop of a hat, painful boobs, low libido, the whole thing.
    After 6 months of thinking this was just par for the course, my wise doctor figured out that my dose was way too high for me, so I kept on birth control for a year after that, but in a stressful moment, right before many big changes, I told my husband I couldn’t do it anymore, which he was nervous about, but game to try.
    I’ve been off birth control for 2 years, and I don’t regret my decision. We use condoms. People say that’s less romantic… but not for me! I actually want to have sex, and I get to not be a crazy person all the time. I’ve been on the fence about using an IUD, because we aren’t jonesing for kids any time soon. But a combination of knowing the fertile times of the month (husband is a nurse! helpful!) and condoms make life so much better than it was before.

  • Nancywcharlebois2

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  • Crystalsanderson4

    “my .friend’s mate Is getting 98$. HOURLY. on the internet.”….

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  • Catherine P

    I know that the purpose of this thread is for community discussion, but, as a family medicine doctor, I have to encourage you all to PLEASE discuss this stuff with your doctor/healthcare provider!!!! It is great to hear about other’s experiences, but every body is unique and while others may have had similar experiences to yours, they are not the same. What worked (or didn’t work) for one person does not mean that it will (or won’t) for you, which is why I worry about threads like this.

    Also, there is a lot of misinformation and old-wives-tales out there regarding contraception. I could point to several examples in this thread, but it would be an exhaustive post and at the end of the day you really should be discussing this with your personal healthcare provider. If you can’t see your doctor, bedsider.org has a lot of great (and mostly accurate) information.

    Also, if you talk to your provider and don’t like what they say or how they treat you (as the author experienced), then find another provider! Contraception is a very personal decision and you should trust and feel respected by your provider.

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