Never could I wrap my head around my friends having babies without a hint of fear. I just had so many questions. What if you experience complications? What if the baby isn’t healthy? What if…what if…what if? Those who knew me well attributed my concern to anxiety. While they’re not wrong, they’re not exactly right either. In my personal experience, I’ve perceived a kind of willful ignorance in some (not all) prospective parents; a ‘hope for the best’ approach to conceiving. While I do strive for glass half-full optimism, I still fancy myself a realist. I rely on cold hard facts when making decisions. The decision about children was no different. I calculated the risk/reward ratio of pregnancy and opted not to invest and I have, what I consider, a realist’s view of pregnancy.
What do you think is more dangerous: contraception or pregnancy? According to researchers, the risk for young and healthy women who take birth control pills is 240 times lower than the risk of death from pregnancy-related complications. Based on news clips and article headlines, I could have thought oral contraceptives to be riskier.
“Pregnancy is more dangerous (meaning, more likely to kill you) than the following: general anesthesia, hang gliding, SCUBA diving, rock climbing, canoeing, and air travel. In fact, pregnancy is 14 times more dangerous than the next riskiest activity (hang gliding).”
There exists a phenomenon that happens to men and it often does not carry the social reaction I feel it deserves. Some women trick their male partners into procreation. Like so many other things people do, there are various reasons for this. Sometimes it is done as a misguided effort to save a failing relationship and sometimes it’s simply because a woman wants to have a child.
I had the opportunity to play the fly on the wall in observing this situation unfold around a friend of mine. He had been dating a girl for some months. Things were going well so he decided to buy a house and invite her move in with him. This decision made sense for him; he was living with his parents at the time but had a sizeable amount of savings and wanted to take advantage of a first time home-buyer’s tax incentive. She moved in as planned, he paid the mortgage and property taxes, and she paid the utility bills. All was well.
Then, one early Saturday morning while Brittany and I were having breakfast at a local diner, he called me with the news. His girlfriend was pregnant. In a panic, he asked me to come over. Brittany and I scarfed down our omelettes and rushed over to the home he shared with his now-pregnant girlfriend.
My friend and I sat at the picnic table in his back yard. He didn’t say much. His hands were trembling and he had that thousand yard stare that soldiers sometimes get after surviving combat. I became worried about him. He was an absolute wreck.
Meanwhile, his girlfriend was having a much different experience. If he was a soldier surviving combat, she was a woman who just won the lottery. She announced her pregnancy by bringing a stroller and some baby books into their living room. The items spoke for themselves and she was all smiles, seemingly more focused on the way in which she told him than the fact that she was pregnant with his child.
When Brittany and I left their house that morning, something seemed off to me. I could’ve attributed her attitude to time, after all she did have longer to digest the fact that she was pregnant. It still didn’t sit right with me.
There has been a lot of buzz lately about women’s reproductive rights. After reading the many stories of women speaking out about their method of choice for birth control, I was even inspired to share mine. I also felt encouraged to get in touch Crystal Money, 2016 Childfree Woman of the Year. Although Crystal was not nominated for the way in which she remains childfree, her tubal ligation has certainly sparked interest. In fact, Crystal will be giving a TedX talk next month about her recent sterilization surgery. Prepare to be emboldened as we hear from Mrs. Money herself:
In your interview with Laura Carroll, you mentioned trying a variety of birth control methods at the insistence of your doctors but were unsatisfied with the side effects. Which contraceptives did you try before ultimately choosing a tubal ligation? Can you elaborate on the side effects?
I honestly don’t remember the names of all of the pills I tried, but I can say that I tried a variety of pills over the course of several years, and the worst side effects were frequent night terrors and night sweats. The shot option made me bleed non-stop for four months. Then the last option I tried at the insistence of doctors was an IUD. With the IUD I felt a constant depression and as if I was always being jabbed from the inside. While these side effects aren’t detrimental, I just didn’t see a reason to have any of them when I knew that I never wanted children. For the past 5 years I have known for certain that I wanted a tubal ligation, and the only thing standing in my way were all of these alternatives that the doctors were actually willy to prescribe.
Before reading this post, click here to find out why I chose to get an IUD.
As of last June, I am officially a member of the IUD secret society. While I have personally told everyone from my best friend to my hair stylist about this marvelous device, many women simply don’t talk about it. And I think that’s a real shame. Here’s the whole truth about getting my IUD and what to expect when you’re expecting an IUD:
Before the Appointment
My gynecologist didn’t give me any pre-procedure instructions but I wasn’t satisfied with doing nothing to prepare.
I scoured the Internet for pain management tips and learned that taking 800 mg of ibuprofen a half hour before your appointment can reduce discomfort upon insertion of the IUD and quell cramps afterward. I figured it couldn’t hurt and I followed this advice.
I also decided to break my No Sweatpants in Public rule for this occasion…