Warning: Explicit Content Ahead
In case you missed it (because there have been some other astounding events in the news right now that may be taking up all your attention) there was study being done on male birth control that was proving to be 96% effective (which is really good by the way). Unfortunately, that study was abandoned because some of the men were experiencing side effects, including change in mood and depression. I found myself rereading the results multiple times because I kept getting distracted by the voices in my head screaming in a wildly mocking tone OH, DO YOU FEEL SAD?!
At first I thought it was a joke. Of course hormonal birth control causes mood swings. Did I miss something? Now mood swings are suddenly a legitimate concern since it’s affecting men? How about they download an app that tracks their feelings and every time they start randomly weeping during a Sandra Bullock movie they can just stay inside and not make any big decisions?!
In the words of Donnie Trump, this study felt like one big pu&%y grab. Women don’t have the luxury of abandoning hormonal birth control, we just deal with it. It’s not only the complete double standard that makes my eyes bleed; it’s that besides bearing the burden of figuring out how to not get pregnant until we are ready, women then have to fight to get their birth control covered. Then, like icing on top of the inequality cake, when we discuss topics like birth control, mood swings, ovulation, it’s considered to be emotional, something not to be talked about in public, hacky, gross. Really backed us into a corner there. What a racket! It’s not something men want to handle as shown by this study, but we aren’t really allowed to handle it ourselves without roadblocks (watch any GOP committee hearing on birth control) and then we can’t talk about it without being scoffed at. I feel I’ve been swindled.
This year I got an IUD. A human being opened my cervix and inserted a piece of plastic into my uterus. I was told I would cramp. A dear friend of mine who got one right before me said that no it’s not cramping, it’s a contraction. Instead of having a baby, they’re sticking something back in. (It's my belief that talking to friends is how women most often get health related information since our experiences are so largely ignored by the medical community; we pass on personal reports to each other and society calls it chitchat, sewing circles, girl talk.)
Did I abandon getting an IUD because it was uncomfortable? No. I shouldered the responsibility as women have been doing for centuries. I bled for a month straight, apparently it was my uterine lining thinning. At one point in my iron deficient state I remember thinking, how much blood can a human lose?! But I pulled up my diaper and carried on. Months later I can still sometimes feel my IUD when I’m lifting weights at the gym. It’s as if my body is trying to expel it. I like to imagine the war against the patriarchy is being fought inside my uterine walls.
Now that Donnie has been elected President I feel even more certain that it was the right decision to get an IUD as birth control options may be as difficult to find over the next four years as a member of Trump’s cabinet who believes in evolution.