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Breaking birth control stigma

Emily Monaco / THE GATEPOST

Emily Monaco

Staff Writer

There’s been a lot of stigma around birth control. But it is more important than ever right now to be informed about our options. A lot of girls start thinking about taking birth control around age 15. I started at 16.

Everybody’s experiences are so different and it shouldn’t be discounted that there can be good and bad. But everything comes with good and bad, and I wish the stigma around birth control would just die down.

As someone who has been on almost every single type of birth control, I can tell you right now it can be a long process of trying to find what’s going to work best for you.

Some people believe birth control is poison (yes and no) and that’s entirely their opinion but that shouldn’t keep it from other people who want to use it.

When I was on hormonal birth control I got very sick - some people react that way from hormones and it turned out I was one of them. And that’s part of the stigma around it - hormones are bad and evil.

Not for everyone! Some people really benefit from them as they can help regulate painful periods or acne.

You don’t have to use hormones either. There are non-hormonal options too (yes, besides condoms) like the copper intrauterine device (IUD). A major stigma around this form of birth control is the pain of insertion. And it is a fair concern because, yes, it does hurt! Depending on your doctor you either can get numbed or you have an uncomfortable time.

I was very lucky to have a doctor who numbed me, and the pain after was the worst part, but it can be manageable.

It took me a while to consider getting an IUD and that was after I had tried four other kinds of birth control. Paragard, which is the IUD I have, is a T-shaped intrauterine device made of plastic and wrapped in copper to prevent pregnancy.

I had thought about it for a few years before getting it. I even ended up on a subreddit of people who had an IUD so I could get some real experiences before I made my decision.

I was scared.

It is unrealistic for anyone to expect someone to know exactly what they want to do with their body, when there are so many factors involved, without being scared. And it is OK to be scared.

Birth control can be scary because it can be something you don’t understand. Not knowing is scary. The politicians who demonize it and are actively trying to ban it want you to be scared of it.

But being informed about your options is more important now than ever. Birth control is health care whether you use it for preventing pregnancy or regulating your cycle.

The stigma around it is based on fear, and it’s OK to feel a little scared about it if you’re unfamiliar with your options.

At the end of the day, it is a private decision that only you can make.

It’s your body and your choice.

For more information on reproductive health visit


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