Friday, June 02, 2006

Knock Me Up, Knock Me Down

Some people just can't exist without worrying about something. Unfortunately, it seems that I am one of those people. When I was single, I worried that I might be alone for the rest of my life. When I met someone I liked, I worried that it would all somehow fall apart--and hey! It usually did! When I started dating BF David, at first I worried that he wouldn't stick around, or that I wouldn't want him to. Once I realized just how much we were falling for each other and we started batting the L-word around, I felt more secure in the relationship. Today, I can see us lasting and lasting.

You'd think now that I don't have to worry about where my next kiss is coming from, I'd calm the hell down and stop worrying entirely. You'd be wrong.

My latest paranoia? The big P: Pregnancy.

Holy crap, I am so scared of getting pregnant. Not that I have much reason to be. BF David and I use condoms, every single time; we don't mess around when it comes to safe sex. And while they aren't 100% effective, the condoms have done their job in all the years I've been sexually active. I have been never been pregnant and have been fortunate enough not to endure even the slightest pregnancy scare.

So why am I so worried about getting knocked up?

Because, if I got pregnant five or more years ago, the solution would probably be more clear-cut. I always told myself I wouldn't even think about kids before my late 20's. Now that I'm here, I can't imagine being the slightest bit ready for a family before my early or mid-30's, or ever, for that matter. I'm still working on getting my career off the ground and even though I don't make a lot of money, I love having the freedom to be frivolous from time to time. I mean, at one point I firmly stated that I'd never have kids, solely because I'd have to give up sushi and alcohol for so many months. Not quite the maturity that a potential mom needs to exude.

The thing is, now I'm at an age where getting pregnant wouldn't lead to an easy solution. I am finally in a healthy and exciting romantic relationship and I want us to enjoy it as long as damn possible. Though as much time as we spend together, we have busy lives of our own and busy social calendars without adding any ginormous responsibilites to the mix like a tiny little living creature who poops and cries a lot. In other words, I am in no way prepared to have a kid and the very idea terrifies me to no end, but the inevitable trauma of having an abortion scares me, too. I honestly don't know what I would do in such a situation.

All this paranoia has be considering something I never thought I would again: The Pill.

My first experience with birth control pills was a miserable one. The wretched thing made me bloated, moody, unbelievably sleepy (I felt like a borderline narcoleptic) and generally far removed from myself. I felt like an alien in my own body and couldn't control the cloudy, unreasonable thoughts my brain generated. Not fun.

I did try a different Pill, one with less estrogen, but by that point I was freaked out about putting hormones into my body and potentially disrupting a healthy balance I had going. I don't lead the healthiest lifestyle on the planet, but I am lucky enough to be of solid stock, so it's extremely rare that I need to see a doctor for anything more than a check-up. My mental health, with the exception of certain times of the month, is also pretty sound. Seems like it would be foolish to possibly mess that up. I don't want to gain weight again. I don't want to subject BF David to my rollercoaster moods while my body rights its hormonal levels. I don't want to not feel like myself. As much as I support how much The Pill has done for women in terms of taking control of their sexuality, a bit part of me simply does not agree with putting foreign chemicals into your body for an extended amount of time. I say this as someone who has experience with the foreign chemicals, and prefers life without them (whether they are deisgner drugs, hormones, or even large doses of alcohol-- though I still like that last one, in moderation).

It's a tough call and I am still undecided. I have a doctor's appointment next month and will revisit the issue then. For all its drawbacks, taking birth control pills would probably give me a bit more peace of mind than using condoms. But then again, they might also give me an extra five pounds I vehemently don't want and a month's worth of The Crazies. After all the crap I have put into my body over the years, after getting to a point where I actually like my body and respect how well it works, maybe I should leave it alone.

Lots to ponder...


CoatMan said...

Poor muffin: anxiety is never fun. I'm sure that I'd be worried about getting pregnant, too, if I were a woman. Actually, I daresay that, if I was in a relationship with a woman, I'd be anxious about her getting pregnant.

There are, of course, more than two methods of contraception, and no doubt combining more than one would cause the liklihood of accidental pregnancy to fall exponentially: the chances of a single failure would be appreciable in each case, but the chances of multiple failure very remote indeed.

Nicky said...

Hi there.

Have you thought about the IUD? I have one, after years on the Pill. I switched because I wanted to get off hormones, and not worry about forgetting to take the Pill. (I almost always remembered, but occasionally I would forget until the next day, and the anxiety of that was always tricky.)

My good friend is a women's health nurse practitioner, and she's a big advocate of the copper IUD. It's as effective as sterilization, but it's reversible. No hormones, and as soon as you take it out you can get pregnant. Nothing to remember or to worry about breaking or slipping.

The insertion was unpleasant (have a friend come with you) but relatively quick. (Think a more painful pap smear.) The next day I ran 10 miles, so I was ok, but after my run I just wanted to sit on the sofa with a heating pad on my tummy, and so I that's how I spent the day. But no major cramps or side effects. My periods have been heavier than they were on the pill, but otherwise my body is the same.

The IUDs of the 70s got such a bad rap that a lot of people don't consider them now, when it's a pretty smart alternative for a lot of women. I'm pretty happy with the switch (3 months later).

a.nort said...

Amen. ;)

pookalu said...

hate these dilemmas.

and that's one reason why i like not having a sex life. well. ok. the only perk. i really really really need to start looking. this is getting bad.

(and i'm totally digressing).

and i'm glad that you're even considering this -- at this rate, at least you can get the prescription without filling it, and think about it some more.

Sunshine Baby said...

I stopped taking the pill when I had an abnormal pap, because some reading I did thought that the pill may have been partially resposible for it. I had to get a procedure done, and then after a while I went back on the pill because my lover can't orgasm with condoms. And I felt miserable. I really couldn't hack the thought that I was 'poisoning' myself...melodramatic much? :) So now I'm going onto the diaphragm.
Maybe you should read the forums at
Just a suggestion!!! :P

Betty on the Beach said...

My dear...if you are not comfortable with syntheric hormones controlling your cycle, then you shouldn't go back on the pill. I feel exactly the same way about the pill and haven't used anything BUT condoms for the past nine years and I am very happy about that and have never had any problems or scares. Just be careful and you will be fine. Don't stress.

Ghettobob said...

Lol, I see an ever growing momentum here. It scares me.

Next will be a post pondering the M-word.

*Waves to HusbandDavid

...just fuckin with ya.

Scratch the itch said...

I've tried many different birth control, with crazy results. I'm now on a great little pill called Orthocept. I've been on it for about 3 years. No real side effects. No weight gain. It's low estrogen.

But I wouldn't forego the condom. Use the pill and condoms. I made my last bf wait six months, before we stopped using condoms.

NotCarrie said...

I hate that damned Friends episode when Rachel gets pregnant and Ross reads the condom box. For some reason THAT scene has stuck with me and has me freaked out.

It's good you have another month to think about it.

Dolly said...

I bet you'd be even more anxious about getting a woman pregnant, seeing as you never want to have kids. I dated a man who had had a vasectomy once, and it was a relief to have one less thing to worry about.

I have indeed thought about an IUD, and it's going to be something I discuss with the gyno next month. I agree that it has gotten a bad rap, and have been hearing more positive stories of women who have selected this form of contraception. I'm glad to hear it's been a good choice for you!

You're right, I can go as far as getting the actual pills before deciding whether or not I want to take them. Plus, it's not like if I have to continue taking them if I have another bad experience.

Thanks for the link! For some reason, I hadn't even considered the diaphragm. Always good to have more options...

That is very reassuring. I haven't had any problems with condoms, either, so I don't know why I'm making myself so crazy. Thanks for being a voice of reason.

Yeah, if I tried the pill again, I think I'd have to go low estrogen, too. Glad to hear you've found a good one.

Hahaha, I think about that scene ALL THE TIME, too!

"It should say so on the box!"

"IT DOES!!!!!!"

K said...

I have the same worry. How the hell is it that people ever manage to get to a point where they believe they are grown up enough to handle everything? I'm regressing daily--constantly looking at my age as some sort of litmus test and miserably failing. I am so not mature enough to handle myself, let alone a baby.

one girl said...

The first time I was on the pill (about five years ago) it made me incredibly crazy. I would cry at the drop of a hat, pick fights, and even tried to make myself throw up once- really, really scary. Of course I immediately got off it.

I got back on the pill a few years later after discovering I had ovarian cysts (the pill keeps them in check). The new one I'm on is AMAZING. No mood swings, no craziness, no weight gain, I could go on. Basically the new pill doesn't effect me in any negative ways. It's called Aviane and is the generic form of something else.

Sorry to go on and on... just thought you should know they're not all horrible!

Good luck with your decision!

Dolly said...

I don't know, maybe it's a generational thing. At the same time, having a kid seems like the most overwhelming thing in the world and I can't imagine being ready for it even in a couple of years.

one girl,
Your bad experience with the pill sounds much worse than mine. I'm glad you found one that doesn't make you crazy. Thanks for sharing the name of the one you're on, I'll add it to my list!

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