At 15, I didn’t have periods. I had exclamation points. Exclamation points that lasted for a month and had cramps that hit you like Lawrence Taylor.
My gynecologist put me on birth control to regulate it and to this day I’m surprised at my mother’s calm response. Sure, I wasn’t sexually active, but she didn’t know that. And did she even tell my father? But my mother was the same mother who taught me where babies came from when I was in the third grade – before I was even thinking about. She wanted to get the right information to me before the world misinformed me on it all, even if she was terrified by the thought of her daughters having sex. There was no point in bringing hysteria to my unruly period. So the pills were doled out without incident.
Today Bedsider.org is rolling out a social media push called #ThxBirthControl that’s all about turning up on the truth about birth control – how it’s awesome and keeps me from murdering people while I’m menstruating – and turning down the nonsense.
Birth control has been such a rote, ordinary part of my life since age 15, I often am shocked when there’s any controversy over it, such as our politics of the last few years where birth control suddenly became a dirty word. How could something nearly 99 percent of sexually active women use be controversial? Especially when it’s been around since the 1960s! And yet, it is.
Opponents erroneously conflate it with abortion, barely hiding the desire to control women’s’ bodies by wrapping the controversy up in religious conviction. I suppose this is why my mother was determined to teach reproduction to me at age 9 before the world got to me and tried to convince me there was something shameful or wrong with my body just because it ovulates.
There is a lot of misinformation out there about birth control, how it’s used, why it’s used and what it’s done for us as a society. That’s why campaigns like #ThxBirthControl are so vital. It takes the shame out of something that should never be shameful in the first place.
Taking control of your life, practicing family planning is within our rights. It’s allowed for millions of women to go to college and pursue their careers, then have children when they’re ready. If I had gotten pregnant by my first ever college boyfriend that would have put a big detour in my pursuit of an education. But like a lot of women who used different forms of birth control, that didn’t happen to me. And it won’t happen to countless young women today because of birth control.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. All opinions and stories are my own.