Why Taking Control Of My Reproductive Health Makes Me A Happier Woman

Why Taking Control Of My Reproductive Health Makes Me A Happier Woman

As women, we are faced with many choices in regards to our health. At the center of it all is our reproductive health. It is what I believe is our right, that we are able to choose what fits us. And there are a ton of options. Whether we solely use condoms, the ring, the shot, the pill, or another method. That is all up to us. And while it can be confusing, and there are a lot of options, ultimately we as women do get to make that choice for ourselves.

As a 29-year-old, single, unmarried woman, I have chosen to use the pill for my own birth control method. I have actively been using the pill since I was 20, although there have been blocks of time where I have gone off of it for a few months at a time. My experience with the pill has been overall very positive. I believe it to be a simple method, that is quite effective when used accurately.

My experience going on birth control was pretty simple. I was in college and was able to utilize the student health services to get a prescription for the pill. I saw a doctor, she went over my health history, and just like that, I began the pill. I was put on a low dose for the pill as a first-time pill user. This meant the pill had lower estrogen levels and generally is thought to have fewer side effects.

From then on, my journey with the pill has been fairly smooth sailing. There are a lot of opinions that you gain weight on the pill. And I did, probably about ten pounds. To me, that is something I can deal with. While it isn’t proven medically, most women know their bodies. My weight gain was pretty gradual after getting on the pill. During one of my breaks from taking the pill, I did drop some weight. So while all bodies are different, and we react to medication differently, I do seem to gain a little weight on the pill. This is but a small price to pay for constant reassurance that I am not going to get pregnant.

I’m also aware that the pill is not 100 percent accurate. We all know someone or of someone who has gotten pregnant on the pill, but at the end of the day, it is rare. Some people struggle to remember to take the medication daily or take it at different times. Doing this can definitely increase your chances of pregnancy! I have forgotten a pill or two, and it can mess with your cycle a bit and give you breakthrough bleeding. If you are someone who won’t remember daily, then this probably is not the best method for you. I have other medications I take every morning, so for me, remembering one daily pill is not a huge deal. And when you think about how important it is, I’m going to remember this.

One problem I have come across is going through different manufacturers of the pill, or generic brands. I had been taking one pill for a long time when my pharmacy suddenly changed the manufacturer. My body and skin did not react well. I developed severe hormonal acne on my face and chin like I had never before. Unsure of the cause, I tried dermatologists, medications, and stopped taking that pill and brand.

With the help of facials, medication, and going back to my previous prescription, my face cleared up and life was good. That small change was extremely hard on my body and is just one example of how these hormones can mess with our bodies. It is important to know what works best for you, and your gynecologist or physician can help you with this!

Oh, the gynecologist. Now, it’s definitely not my favorite yearly visit, but it is such an important one! I can’t stress the importance of one. Go see them, get checked, and talk about your reproductive health! A few moments, awkwardly sitting in a gown are a hell of a lot better than finding out you have cervical cancer or something else that could have been found with early detection.

I have no immediate plans to stop taking the pill anytime soon. Of course, when I feel I am ready or want to have kids, that would be the first step. Coming off the pill after being on it for so long has its challenges, like tracking and regulating your cycle on its own. You will not necessarily have the same definitive cycle you are used to when taking your pill pack. There is a bit more uncertainty with your body in this case. But when that time comes, I will be ready to take this step.

As a female, we have so many responsibilities. I believe it is our right, and we must take control of our own bodies. It is important to be proud of who we are, our health, and controlling our own narrative. Just knowing that I have gives me strong peace of mind and makes me a happier, better person.

About the author

Kristin Rattigan

Chicago born and raised. Stay strong but sweet.