Come One, Come All: A Contraceptive Conundrum

Even before Little Juniper arrived, I was faced with questions about my contraceptive choices. Come to think of it, my GP asked me about my contraceptive choices when I went there to say those wonderful words, “I think I’m pregnant.”

After having Little Juniper, midwives, nurses and doctors tended to coo over him before asking me if I had contraception sorted. Well, they often said, “Congratulations” first, but still. My answer always tended to be, “Yes.” In that, yes, I’ve so far chosen nothing. It’s not that I want to be without contraception, it’s just that I’ve somewhat lost my faith in contraception.

As QoB asked, did Little Juniper’s arrival have anything to do with my five minutes in the pharmacy? Why, yes! That fateful day I asked the pharmacist for the morning-after pill, and well, I now have Little Juniper. It perhaps needs to be said: I have no guilt or regret over Little Juniper being here. He was determined to arrive and I’m glad he has. He has, however, shaken my faith in emergency contraception. And let’s be clear, I didn’t take the morning-after pill at the edges of the 72-hour limit. I took it 14 hours after the earth moved without stopping to cancel the bread and newspapers.

There is, of course, regular hormonal contraception ,but having been pressured into using the implant once before for a couple of years, I have no intention of going near it again. I can absolutely see why other people want to use regular hormonal contraception, but it’s not for me. Given that Mr. Juniper and I are no longer having regular sex, it doesn’t make sense to be having a daily dose of hormones that I don’t need, in order to protect me on perhaps three or four occasions a year. Plus, I … I kind of resent having to take on the responsibility of contraception. Or at least, taking on responsibility to a degree that means altering my body’s natural state on, essentially, a permanent basis. Of course, hormonal contraception doesn’t have to be permanent as such, but even a year feels like a considerable amount of time to me.

There are then the non-hormonal options like the IUD. This is one that I’ve had many good recommendations for (even from my Mum!) alongside one horror story. The IUD was one I considered for a while but then I kept coming back to one sticking point: I really don’t like the concept of having a foreign body inside me. Sure, I had the implant, but that was slipped under the skin in my arm. The IUD would be taking up residence in my uterus and well, I’m rather fond of my uterus. Again, it felt like I would be interfering with my body and my body has been through so much that I’m desperate to leave it alone.

Then there were the other non-hormonal options like a diaphragm. I appreciated my GP bringing up every option but whenever I read about the diaphragm, all I could think of was the episode of Friends where Monica and Ross’s mother brings up that Ross’s conception came about because their father’s dog thought her diaphragm was a chew toy. Okay, so I suspect Juniper Puss wouldn’t chew any potential contraceptive choices, but an option like the diaphragm didn’t exactly scream “spontaneity” to me.

On the non-hormonal option there were also our dear old friend: condoms. I like condoms. In fact, I sort of love them. I love that as much as they can be a little annoying, they’re also a contraceptive choice that we share, that we both have to experience. However – yes, there’s a “however” – even condoms require a little thought. It was the lack of thought for them that led my spending five minutes in the pharmacy.

Another option would be to chart my cycle, but given that I’ve just had a baby and I’m mixed feeding (breastfeeding, expressing, and formula), I’m pretty sure a graph of my cycle would spell out, “Ha ha!” rather than the lovely 28-day arrangement my reproductive system and I had figured out between us pre-pregnancy.

Of course, there’s also sterilisation, which I did ask my GP about. Two conclusions were reached during that appointment: they wouldn’t even look at me due to my age and with a failure rate worse than the IUD, it wasn’t the option for me.

Then there was another option: I asked my mother when she went through the menopause. Another 25 years to go. I’m sure I could go 25 years without sex. I … I’m really sure I could … I’d have to think about it.

And that leads on to abstinence. What can I say? I really don’t want to have another unplanned pregnancy sprung upon me. I love my boys dearly, and we had always said we wanted two children. And, maybe it does need to be said: I don’t want to have to consider a termination. I don’t want another unplanned pregnancy. I really don’t. And yet, it’s something that seems all too possible. I have another 25 years or so of fertility ahead of me, after all. Sure, the stats can be chanted until the cows come home of failure rates of 1 in a 100, or whatever other seemingly impossible small number there is. But it’s not much consolation for that one woman. It isn’t much reassurance to me.

I have settled on a contraceptive choice, though. I’ve got my GP’s blessing. And assuming Mr. Juniper and I do ever have sex again, his sperm will have to get through a condom and a to-be-taken-immediately-after morning-after pill. It’s an unusual option, but my incredible GP recognised that we had unusual circumstances. We had to think outside the box, she said. Sure thing. But I’d rather be under the duvet, though I may have to read Mr. Juniper’s testicles the riot act first.

By Juniper

Rarely to be found without herbal tea nearby. Team Unicorn. Often in pyjamas. Also: TEAM KATNISS!

15 replies on “Come One, Come All: A Contraceptive Conundrum”

I got Mirena after I had my first baby, and it made me all-caps-WEIRD. Within 12 hours, my husband could tell the difference in my personality; within 24 hours, I could tell. I was paranoid and crying and angry and the worst. I had to have it removed the same week, because I had a baby to take care of and a big cross-country move and I couldn’t wait to get normal again. The most aggravating part was that all sorts of receptionists and not-my-doctors at my ob/gyn were like “oh, I don’t think you’re having a problem, but I Guessssss we’ll tell your doctor and try to get you in.”

I wanted it to be the best ever (I’m a super big fan of the IUD concept) so I was pretty disappointed.

I also hate contraceptives. I was recently off of BC for 2 years because the hormones were making we feel icky (and sex was awful). I was planning on doing the whole copper IUD thing (I have a handful of friends who love it), but then my period decided it was going to last for 2 weeks every time I had it and I was terrified the IUD would just make it worse. Eventually, I got sick of bleeding so much and went back on the pill. It’s the lowest dose of hormone currently available to me and so far (it’s only been 3 months) I feel great. I really hate the idea of extra hormones in my body, but I liked bleeding for 6 months out of the year even less.

This is where I’m aware that for me contraception is purely about family planning as opposed general health. That seems so difficult what you’ve been through. I can relate to the hormones and ickiness – my two years with the implant were more than enough for me to realise that hormones weren’t great for me.

This is also why I never did an IUD. My body throws a fit over EVERYTHING, so I doubt that would go smoothly for me.

The mister has had le snip though, so *knocks wood* we should be fine. *knocks wood one more time just in case*

The boy came about because of the pill not working, but we wanted two kids in the long run. He just willed himself into being a lot sooner than I thought he would.

Cats who have never chewed anything in their life will bite holes in diaphragms. I have seen them do it. (Ok that was only the once but still…) But then again I also had a friend who’s cat bit holes in a whole box of condoms, earning itself the nickname of the pro-life cat.

Pro-Life Cat! hahahahaha

I had a cat who wanted to eat my lactase enzyme pills. So either she was lactose intolerant and wanted to steal some dairy… OR she just wanted me to not be able to enjoy it… OR she was a cat, and who knows what goes on in their jerk brains.

This is super timely…I have a ritual poking later this month, hopefully with some form of birth control to start soon after. Even though I am not having teh sex. It’s like…having homeowner’s insurance; IF I have sex, I’m more likely to be baby-free, and if I don’t, I will *definitely* be baby-free.

I’ve also realized that the whole “biological clock” thing…isn’t ticking for me. I don’t care whether or not I have kids. I’d rather have dogs, honestly.

Happy poking! Ah, the joys. I think that’s an excellent comparison though, with regards to insurance.

The biological clock thing is interesting, as it seems to strike people at different ages and to different degrees. Plus, dogs are pretty awesome, it has to be said (don’t tell Juniper Puss I said that, though).

I have a nose for a Pratchett reference a mile away, ten points for you:)

Your choice totally makes sense, though hating condoms it’s one I’d never make :) I love choice!:)

I’m in the process of getting a Mirena because as I get older (and closer to the time when I want kids) I’m less cool with the thought of an unplanned pregnancy (before, I would have had a termination with little agonising even though I would have had to leave the country to do it). Plus, I’m tired of the responsibility of remembering every day.

There is also Essure, though I’m not sure that’s on the NHS yet – basically it’s sterilisation without the surgery with a better failure rate, achieved by putting tiny wires inside your Fallopian tubes to provoke scarring.

I’m presuming that vasectomy isn’t an option for Mr. J with everything else he has to deal with?

Haha, thank you! It’s been a difficult journey to finding the right contraception and that was the critical point in the end: it was the right choice for us. And all too often, I think contraception is pushed in a “one size fits all” way which isn’t really helpful to anyone.

Sterilisation was something we talked about with regard to both us, many, many times and for him, it was definitely a case of “everything else” that meant sterilisation for him wasn’t an option. We ruled sterilisation out completely, in the end, because there was that element of The Future and, in all honesty, not knowing how we might feel in – for instance – ten years time. Plus, and perhaps more importantly, there was still a failure rate with sterilisation, and the fact that we wouldn’t necessarily know the sterilisation had failed until too late.

Hope all goes well the Mirena for you!

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