Thoughts

Our Difficult Relationship with the Contraceptive Pill

Written by Megan Headford

You’re tired, irrationally irritable and gaining weight faster than you can say the words ‘Krispy Kreme doughnuts.’ Those tiny little pills are turning you from your average teenage girl to a hormonal hurricane of fury in all of 5 seconds. You should avoid us at all costs. Unless, of course, you come bearing copious amounts of diabetes-inducing foods. So why do we do this to ourselves?

Each day we take a little pill, knowing the outcome, waiting for our rapid mood swings to quite literally knock us off our feet (this is the point where you’ll find us sobbing on our bedroom floor because our eyeliner didn’t flick quite perfectly enough). Why can’t we just use the most ‘conventional’ method of birth control? That’s safe enough, right? And why aren’t boys having to deal with any of this? Well, alas…

Scientists have just started testing out a new form of male birth control injection. Hooray! At last, some justice! Only days later, we find out that trials have been cut short due to ‘side effects such as mood swings and bad acne.’ I’m sure you’ll all join me in playing the world’s smallest violin. Harmful, mood-altering side effects are something women all over endure on a daily basis, and now we’re hearing that men just can’t handle it. Ugh!

You’ve had enough. You want to be back to your normal self again – you don’t want to take these pills any more. You’ve had a think about the other options, but you faint at the mere sight of a needle (so that’s, the implant option gone) and the thought of someone shoving a coil up your bits is enough to make you not want to participate in anything with the male species ever again. Maybe we should just let the guys sort it out, after all – condoms are 98% effective, right? Yep, it’s all fine. It’s not as if you have a steady consistent boyfriend, anyway.

So, gone are the pills and you’re starting to feel free again, albeit having to deal with your periods being back, heavier than before, but, hey, now you know this is how you’re meant to feel; those meltdowns over someone eating the last biscuit are simply down to you, not induced by unneeded hormones. Time to move onwards and upwards…

Fast forward to your first night out with the girls since the ‘old’ you has reappeared. You’ve had one too many glasses of pink prosecco and you’re feeling great. The music’s decent enough and the embarrassment of yesterdays pants-tucked-into-your-dress incident have melted away, just like your make up has in this sticky nightclub. From what you can see, a good-looking guy is walking your way (you aren’t entirely sure on the attractiveness front as your beer goggles have come out). Playing it cool has lead to going back to his place. Things are escalating at speed and you thank god he has protection with him. After a – let’s be honest – very average experience (had he done it before or was he just too drunk?!), a realisation hits you hard. The condom lies there next to you, still in its shiny packet, waiting to be used. Except it was not used and now you’re in a very sticky situation. Both literally and figuratively.

Next thing you know, you’re forking out £30 for one morning-after pill, grimacing as you bear sour looks from one overly judgemental nurse while nursing a pounding head and a deep annoyance with the guy who gets to stay at home wrapped up in blissful ignorance (as well as the duvet you’ve had to climb out of to get this sorted).

I ask again, why is it that we girls have to deal with this? The cycle goes on.​..

Megan, 18, is a student at Exeter College, currently studying a UAL Level 3 Creative Media course. 

Images via Katie Edmunds

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