I'm On Birth Control
Today, I’m walking to CVS to pick up my birth control. I won’t pay a dime for it, though I’ve paid for it before. When I went a few months without health insurance a few years ago, I paid out-of-pocket for it. I paid for it because I could afford the pills but not the COBRA health insurance, and because I still had a few months of a prescription left to last me until December and Obamacare. If I did not have the prescription, I would have made an appointment to Planned Parenthood. I’ve tried to do that before. I signed up on the website and I requested a date a month in advance, and usually, that date is already booked up. I called the location and they said I could come in, but I might have to wait a very long time.
I would have waited. I would have waited because I’m lucky I can get on a subway to a Planned Parenthood, when I could not afford the COBRA insurance.
When I made an appointment for an ob-gyn with the health insurance I have now, which is not great but affordable and real, I waited at a clinic with many pregnant women in a small room in Chinatown. I waited for 4 hours to get a full check-up, which is very painful. I do not like wearing the thin hospital gown. I do not like laying on stirrups while they stick things inside me and tell me they are sorry it hurts. And I do not like the scraping. But I do like knowing I’m okay, I do like getting a check-up for that reason. I am lucky that I currently have that option.
When I went to the bathroom, I saw a dead cockroach on the bathroom floor and so I thought I should get a checkup somewhere else. I told the doctor I just wanted a prescription and not a checkup, and she wrote it out for me. I told her I was a non-smoker and she said that was good without looking at me. The visit cost me 200 dollars, which I paid for because I could afford it.
I went to the CVS and got the birth control and I felt good--I felt very safe and calm. I really wanted the birth control prescription, and I was lucky I could get it at the CVS without cost to me.
I’ve been on birth control for five years. I wish I was on birth control in college, but I wasn’t. I wasn’t on birth control because I was afraid to go to the doctor and ask for it, and for people (specifically my parents) to find out I was on it. I wish I wasn’t that way, but I was that way, and now I am not.
I’m on birth control because I am sexually active and do not want to be pregnant. I usually pad this with the other very real reasons I am on birth control, but I want to say the sex thing first because I am softening the blow. I don’t have to soften the blow, so I won’t. Women are sexually active, and many women and non-binary and transpeople are as well, and they don’t want to get pregnant, either. They don’t want to get pregnant because abortions are difficult, or because they want to wait, or because they aren’t ready, or because they want to have sex with many people, or they want to have sex with one person. I don’t know. It’s none of my business, and it’s none of yours, either.
I’m on birth control for other reasons that I wish I knew about before. I’m on birth control because I never really knew when I was going to get my period, and it made me nervous. I’m on birth control because sometimes I would bleed so much, I would get very pale and lay on the floor or shower because if I got up, I was afraid I would faint. I’m on birth control because sometimes my cramps were so bad I would curl up in a ball and try to concentrate and move the pain elsewhere, and I could not do it. It was painful, and confusing, and now my period is none of these things. It's just a thing that I have.
I’m on birth control because it’s a legal prescription, a preventative measure, and because I am sexually active. I’m on birth control even if it makes me feel like my hormones are not in my control, and even though I’ve had side effects. I had to go to another doctor and get an ultrasound because I had pain in my uterus and had to switch to a different birth control. But I still switched. I’m on birth control because I don’t want to be pregnant, and that I currently look at pregnancy as a side effect I cannot afford. I don't want an abortion, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't get one if I needed to. Abortions are rarely just a fun thing one does.
I'm talking about this because I think it's important to talk about sexual health right now. The last week has been about uncertainty so here's my certainty: I believe birth control should be easily attainable and free of cost because it protects against pregnancy and it helps people and it's important.
I’m on birth control. I believe in the necessity of it, and when women and people ask for the rights to protect and preserve their own bodies, I believe they should get them.