This is why doctors need to explain this stuff and why we need more family planning counselors. I haven’t gotten any questions this off but I get a lot of questions from people who don’t know what the side effects are or how the birth control works.
I was about 13 when my period started. My mom got out the ‘book’ and explained to me how it all worked, except for the part where the book started talking about birth control. She closed the book and told me that the only thing I needed to know a both birth control is that I wasn’t allowed to take it until I was married. That if I thought I was a if enough girl to have sex, then I was a big enough girl to have a baby and she would make sure they didn’t give me drug when it came time to birth it, too, (jokes on her because I did it without drugs willingly, lol).
I remember briefly discussing birth control pills with my doctor before my mother butted in and said I wasn’t allowed to have them. My 13 year old brain took enough information from the conversation to realize that birth control was a pill and to realize it was the pills in my mom’s make-up bag. It seemed reasonable to me that you took the pills whenever you had sex to avoid getting pregnant.
I literally though this until I was 15.
I always told myself that since my mom wouldn’t let me have any birth control, that if I ever went out with a boy and ended up having sex I would just steal one of hers when I got home, this was legit my plan, because that’s really how I thought birth control worked based on my limited knowledge.
Then, we had a 7th grader get pregnant at my school and suddenly everyone was required to take a sex ed class that was pretty much expelling myths about how you can/can’t get pregnant and teaching people about condoms and birth control pills. And I learned that you had to take the pills every night to prevent pregnancy. I had started dating a boy over the summer and we had had sex with a condom a handful of times. I tried everything I could after that class to get my hands on a prescription for birth control. I called my doctor and asked her not to tell my mother, but a nurse saw the note on my file not to call my house about the appointment and called my mom anyways (family friend). My mom forbid me to go to the appointment and even stayed home from work to make sure I didn’t go.
I fell in dance class and bruised the bone in my shoulder really badly, my mom took me to the emergency room where they asked me if I was sexually active. I said yes and my mom freaked out. The doctor asked if I was on birth control and I said no, so they ordered a blood draw to rue, out pregnancy before x-raying my shoulder. I’m sitting there in a lot of pain with a suspected broken shoulder, panicking about an unexpected blood draw and my needle phobia and all my mother can do it rant about how disappointed she is in me for having sex before I’m married.
At a follow up appointment a few weeks later, my doctor asks me if I’m sexually active and if I’m on birth control. My mother acts like this is the first she’s hearing of me having sex. She cries and tells me how disappointed she is. My doctor looks me straight in the eyes and says ‘do you WANT to be on birth control?’ To which I immediately answer yes and my doctors tells my mother to leave the room, that patients are usually more comfortable discussing this without their parents present. We decided on the Ortho Evra patch for convenience, but partly because my mother couldn’t throw them away since it stuck to your body.
Moral of my story, it isn’t even the doctors. Parents, mothers in particular, are so hell bent on their daughters not being ‘whores’ they think denying her access to birth control and lording potential pregnancy, painful childbirth, and dirty diapers over her head is going to keep her pure until the right guy comes along and puts a ring on her finger. It ridiculous that they’d rather their daughter risk getting pregnant than make her think that they’re giving her permission to have sex. They think allowing her to be in birth control or teaching her anything about it is going to give her ‘ideas’ and make her think it’s ‘alright’ to have sex. Let me tell you, birth control or not, they get those ideas and think it’s alright anyways. I’d rather my daughter be safe, happy, and healthy, than sneaking around behind my back, contemplating stealing my birth control pills, and giving me a grandbaby when I’m 37 because I denied her birth control on the off chance that she ‘might’ stay ‘pure’ for a few more years out of sheer terror or ignorance or guilt.