I was having a conversation about hormonal contraception with someone last week and I used this phrase 'it made me treat myself like a small man'. The person responded: 'wait, you mean it made you feel more masculine?'
Let's back track.
Note: This is one woman's experience (me!) with hormonal contraception. In writing it, I am not implying any should/shouldn'ts AT ALL on any other woman's choice around hormonal contraception, or any other contraception.
I chose to go on contraception at age 19, with the combined pill. It did NOT suit me. At all. Emotional wreck over here.
Fast forward a bit, and I then chose the POP (progesterone only pill), followed by three implants (this now spans 9.5 years).
During those 9 years on the implant, I experienced spotting, so I was put back on the POP (on top of the implant) to control this.
After I left teaching, having got more and more and more and more in touch with myself, my body, my health etc - only then did I question 'why?'. Exactly why am I choosing this. (also, I'm a fairly tiny human - hi fellow 5'2"s!! - and I had never even questioned the 'need' for two lots of progesterone going regularly into me. Something started to sit as 'not quite right for me' in that.).
Personally, I also do not feel I was ever given full information, with relative risks/implications explained and in context. For myself, right now, I wonder whether I was actually in a position to be able to make an informed decision, which shut off my cycle for 9 years.
Anyway, back to the story. In those 9 years, I had not had a single period. (Yes, I will grant you there was a HUGE convenience to this!!).
But, when I started to question why, I realised I had been missing one of the most important pieces of biofeedback a woman has available to her.
Our bleeding, every month, tells us information about our body. It allows us to work in rhythms that suit us mentally, physically and emotionally.
Feeling back into the rhythms of my cycle once again over the last year - well, it's like been learning it from scratch. Prompts from others as I shared certain feelings ('and where are you in your cycle?') has helped me immensely in connecting to the wisdom in my body again.
So why did I say that my contraception made me treat myself like a small man?
Well, society is built largely in systems and culture built for men.
For me, personally, shutting off my cycle meant that I fell into the default: strive, do more, achieve, be productive, feel guilty for resting and wear self-neglect like a badge. Because one of the things that could have reminded me there was a different way (my period coming every month), I had chosen to suppress.
Contraception is AWESOME.
So is a CHOICE and a FULLY INFORMED DECISION.
So is being connected to your body in a way that values all the aspects of your health.
Maybe, in writing this, and remembering that you have options, I am hoping you choose what I didn't back then:
A choice that is right for you.
A connection with the wisdom of your body.
Courage to stand firm in that wisdom and choice.
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