Let's talk about sex and the illusive male contraception
Let's talk about sex.
Ok now that I have your attention it's more the contraception side of things I want to discuss, obviously not as exciting but a topic I feel needs to be talked about openly.
I debated whether I should post this as I didn’t want to upset Instagram any further and have them block my account completely but then I thought f#ck it!
Why is it that with all the advancements in technology and medicine male contraception still isn't really a thing? This question has increasingly been playing on my mind recently. After carrying, birthing and breastfeeding two children, I’m done, we are done should I say. There will be no more biological children added to our family. Don’t get me wrong when we found out we were having another girl, I contemplated wanting a third because I really wanted a boy and probably more for Alan than myself, I felt like he would be missing out by not having a son that he could do the “boy” things with. But, I soon realised I could not/did not want to go through another pregnancy, I was not one of those glowing pregnant women who loved being pregnant or had a smooth journey for the 9 months and regardless of what anyone says I still remember the pain of Evie’s birth and my subsequent recovery, so with that in mind effective contraception is now key for us. I also feel like I have done my part so why does it seem the responsibility solely rests with me unless we use condoms, Alan has the snip (“vasectomy” - of all contraception this is the most effective but it is considered by many to remove a man's masculinity and I get it because I wouldn't want to choose to be sterilised myself) or we practice the withdrawal method (and everyone knows how reliable this is!) .
Yet as a female contraception options are endless.
During both labours and whilst in recovery, I remember being asked if I had thought about what method of contraception I would like to use going forward. I had not given this any consideration as I was too concerned about birthing what felt like a watermelon out of my lady garden! I did question (to myself and then thought it's because I'm hormonal that this is bothering me) why this was just directed at me...surely contraception is not just the females responsibility.
This feeling lead me to investigating all options of birth control available to both men and women.
While the options for female contraception are extensive, if you are happy to be consuming artificial hormones, if not your options are a little more limited. What's the big deal of hormonal contraception I hear you say...well the "common" symptoms for women’s hormonal contraception for one. These are; intermenstrual spotting, nausea, breast tenderness, headaches and migraine, weight gain, mood changes, missed periods, decreased libido, vaginal discharge, changes to eyesight for those using contact lenses. Not to forget the possible "mental fuzz" and "depression" that can be experienced. As females I feel like we get the raw end of the stick, our hormones are always fighting to find balance, they change during pregnancy, birth and postpartum and that’s without adding any medications in the mix which alter them. Is this the reason its acceptable, considered normal for women to take hormonal contraception even with all the “common” side effects which can be experienced??.
The option that seems most acceptable to me is the Copper Coil which is hormone free (personally I dont like the mental fuzz and dips in depression that I experienced taking hormonal contraception) which doesn't come risk free, and the risks most common are a perforated uterus, infection and heavier than normal periods. While I can live with the later, the first two do scare me and while these are not high risk of occurring, there is still a risk nonetheless.
My research into Male contraception did leave me amused,( please keep in mind the common symptoms experienced in women’s hormonal contraception above), studies around the male pill or contraceptive injection all had statements about being highly effective however they carry "strong" side effects. Digging further into this, the "strong" (the studies terminology not mine) side effects listed are mood swings and acne!! These are just a few of the "common" symptoms, not "strong" symptoms that women can experience on hormonal birth control, yet it is widely available and considered acceptable for a female to experience should it be the chosen option of preventing pregnancy!
Why am I bothering to make a comment about this? Because as a female, a mother of daughters, it seems society believes it the females duty to not only birth children but also prevent unwanted births, it just goes to show how far off we are with equality between the sexes. Throw in the fact that some countries/US states have illegalised abortion, then it really does show that women’s voices, maybe even our bodies aren't really valued as highly as men’s and even more so that we seem to be going backwards in terms of equality.
Maybe if men had to endure pregnancy, birth and recovery then things would be very different! Or maybe I think too much and no one else has a problem with this!!