Yesterday, I spoke with an old friend about the significance to me of getting off of birth control. I told her how it reminded me of the first time I was introduced to birth control, and all the sexual encounters I had prior to and after I started it. I told her I thought it was weird that I made so much meaning out of it – since no one seems to have made a big deal – but to me it really is a monumental moment.
I was utterly relieved to hear that she too had memories of how and when she started taking birth control, when she herself decided to go off the pill so she and her husband could have children.
She said, that it makes sense why this moment is so significant to me. Women take birth control pills (at the same time!) every day – and beyond that – it is so much more than just a daily routine – it is emotional. Birth control represents femininity, womanhood, motherhood, sexuality, etc.
I was so happy that my old buddy was on my wavelength about this, and I went on to tell her that it was for this very reason that I invited my girlfriends over for an event this coming Saturday night – the last day I would be taking an active pill before going off birth control and letting my body do its thing – i.e. allowing myself to get pregnant (with my husband’s help, of course). They say that it is harder for the father to feel bonded to the child as compared to the mother in whom the child grows and is nourished and nurtured for 9 months. But really this is not when the unevenness begins.
Even without bearing a child – a woman has the internal infrastructure in her body to bear life.
Let me say that again –
A woman can grow another human being inside of her.
Therefore, even without yet getting pregnant, a woman has a relationship with her POTENTIAL to bear children.
That is what birth control represents. That is why I cannot simply go off the pill as if I was stopping an antacid. That is why every day at 12 noon, I will be pausing and reflecting on my having taken the pill each and every day for the past 4 years.
But it goes further. Getting off birth control I am reminded of what I did while I was on birth control. While I think about these experiences often enough already, now the images and memories are sharpening in my mind. Memories of what was going through my mind and heart pulsing through my veins.
While I will not share these exact memories with you, what I will share are the thoughts and feelings that they bring up in me this morning – a culmination of thoughts that I have been having over the past decade.
Why Disney Princesses Suck!
The glorification of one’s first kiss and finding one’s prince charming has got to stop. While I am not the first one to note this, here I offer my own synthesis of personal experiences and books I have read.
The number one thing celebrated in a girl’s life needs to be her interests, passions, hobbies and talents, as well as what unique things she can contribute to the world – self-actualization, self-fulfillment, a part of something greater, a mission, a sense of connection to a greater purpose, a sense of being connected with the universe and the people around her. It can take a damn long time to find one’s other half – and during this process, we can’t simply be pining away. I mean we could – but think of all the good things we could create, the good feelings we could engender in ourselves and others. Think of all the things we could do with the energy and time we spend fantasizing about our “future husband.”
And sometimes it’s way more than just a distraction – this fantasy actually becomes self-destructive when it blinds us and we spend time with guys who don’t respect us, or we make our dating relationships all about getting, pleasing, and keeping a guy. We leave these relationships feeling much worse about ourselves emotionally. We did it for a high, a feeling of love and connection, a feeling of hope, and when that disappears we end up lower than where we started. And it takes a while for us to climb out of it – and a helluva lot of self-work. We may never fully heal. Sometimes these emotional scars are accompanied by physical ones in the form of STDs, or perhaps abortions. In that case, the emotional healing is further blocked by the constant physical reminder that we treated ourselves with less-than care and put ourselves at risk. The road to self-forgiveness and self-acceptance can be a very long one indeed. And I know for myself, I am still on that road. I honestly think I always will be.