Yesterday started Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice and I thought I'd share my story with contraception, as the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health has been asking.
When I was 15 (maybe I was 14?), I was put on birth control pills by my ob/gyn. I know, most girls that young don't have an ob/gyn. I did. I started my period when I was 11 and it was was trouble from the start. I bled heavily, my cramps were so bad I'd pass out, I'd skip a few months then bleed a few weeks straight, etc. etc. So the doctor diagnosed me with polycystic ovarian syndrome and put me on birth control pills to help regulate me and see if they helped my other symptoms.
I barely got through two-month free sample packet before I threw them out. I got moody, depressed and started having thoughts of suicide. I got better once I took myself off of the pills, refused to go back on them and dredged through my symptoms, balancing midols, hearbals teas and sleep to try to get through the worst of it.
Because of my experience, I'm still weary of hormonal birth control methods for myself (despite knowing more about contraception now- the dosages were probably all wrong and I should have talked to my ob/gyn). I've vaguely considered getting an IUD, but I have metal sensitivities so the only other option in the US is the Mirena- which I've heard positive things about concerning women who react negatively to hormones, but I haven't gotten around to that yet. Did I also mention I have a sensitivity to latex? Contraception for me is a battleground of allergies/sensitivities along with price/moral* issues, one that I'm still negotiating, depending on who I'm with and where I am in my life.
So, there's my contraception story. What's yours?
*I'm vegan, so I don't use animals products, or products tested on animals, where possible. Which is tricky when you're talking about medicine- of which most must be legally be tested on animals.