Thursday, April 29, 2010

That’s a Tough Pill to Swallow

Let’s go over a quick time line of my last four minutes of life:
Minute 1: read article in Time about the history of “The Pill.”  Get inspired.  Think “Ooh, blog!”
Minute 2: open Word document, write title.  (And a clever title at that!)
Minute 3: scroll through TV channels to find a background show to keep me in the groove, come across 19 And Counting.
Minute 4: Just shoot me. 

Are you kidding me; that show started at 12!  (I just looked it up, season one was 17.)  Regardless, the fact that we still have families today that are having almost 20 children is beyond mind-boggling.  Maybe it’s because I come from a family tree of two’s, or maybe it’s because of a myriad of things that I’m going to rant and rave about in point-two seconds, but 19 and counting in 2010 seems a bit prehistoric, and in some ways, criminal.  And what are we counting?  Counting down to when her vagina becomes Stephen Hawking’s greatest discovery as the universe’s largest black hole?  (I needed to throw that in there.  Neeeeded to.)

Now that I’ve calmed down a bit, how perfect for me to see that?  The Time article, written by Nancy Gibbs-find the full version at, celebrates and educates the pill and it’s 50th anniversary, the day after my birthday, since the FDA approved it on May 9th, 1960, and Mitch, get me a Kindle for my birthday.  Love you.  The article pointed out so many wonderful things about the history of birth control pills, how far family planning has come, and filled my mind with so many questions I was itching to finish reading and start writing like the frantic mad-woman I am.  *Disclaimers: 1.  If you are anti-birth control or family planning, stop reading here.  2.  If you are pro-abstinence education, stop reading my blog, ever.  3.  If you are my parents, you were/are amazing parents, and just remember that I’m married now and everything is OK.

I am currently on the ring, we’re trying it out, seeing how it goes.  I had been on the pill, a pill, all the pills since I was about 17.  The Brenda-B.C. relationship started when I came back from Europe my senior year of high school and all of a sudden none of my female cycles were functioning as they should and had been.  I will keep this brief for my male readers.  I have been on some kind of pill ever since then in attempt to live a functional life with female cycles, and to not get pregnant.  I remember my mother saying after I got the elixir-of-life-pills, “Now I don’t want you to go off and.......trail, murmur, trail.”  Yes, Mom, I remember that.

And I didn’t.  My possession of the pill did not suddenly make me want to ravage every male creature out there; I still had my morals, thank you very much.  As if STDs, my dignity, and qualified candidates went right out the window with the pill!  Many women I talk to these days take the pill as a combination of birth control and cycle control.  Let’s face it, for some reason we’re just not as regular as women used to be and PMS has become a welcomed thing of the past.  Studies have even shown that women who take birth control pills are less likely to have cancer and heart conditions.  In Mum’s defense that information wasn’t fully explored when she made that trail, murmur, trail comment.  And now thanks to the pill, we’re able to safely skip cycles that we don’t need in these multiple years before twentieth century childbearing age.  The pill has gone above and beyond just a method of birth control.  The pill is the new black.  The Superpill is the new pill.

Back to the Duggar family of Tontitown, Arkansas.  (Actually, why am I trying to figure out why they have too many kids and don’t believe in birth control?  The three proper nouns in the previous sentence explain it all!)  With the world population climbing to almost 7 billion humans, a majority of experts are predicting that the Earth’s sustainable capacity is around 10 billion, and some are even concluding that we have already surpassed capacity.  In my lifetime the world has grown by 2 billion people; I may very well see this 10 billion max. capacity mark!  And I really don’t want to.  My husband and I are believers in the Zero Population Growth movement, and don’t foresee ourselves living comfortably/vacationing/sending our kids to college with more than two extra Purvs in the household.  I also value the relationship I have with both of my parents more than I value most things; something I may not have if they had decided to extend the family further.  The institution of family is just as important to me as it is to those Duggars, but doing my minuscule part to ensure that my great-great-grandchildren may have food and oxygen is more important to me than naming each of my children Brad, Betty, Bertha, Billy, Barnaby, Beatrice, etc.  By the way, Mr. Duggar’s name is Jim Bob.

To each their own, according to our God-given reproductive human rights.  They have sucked more than their 15 minutes bone dry, and I’m not about to give them minute 19.  This topic of political banter may be too sensitive for the jive I’m trying to give my blog, but just roll this thought around in your mouth: 10 billion reached, Earth at max capacity, America learning a thing or two from China?  Did it taste bitter?  Yeah, to me too.  I don’t ever want anyone taking away my reproductive freedoms; the same freedoms that every woman has, even the ones who want children #1, #2, and #3 to raise children #7, #8, and #9.  And noxiously large families aren’t the only curse we face these days.  The number of children being raised on welfare is increasing, and I’m a fool to hope that it’s because the government is extending a hand to every child in need. 

Take an old friend of mine, we’ll call her Erin.  When I had finally lost track of her life around DUII 2, truck #3, rehab stint 4 or 5, I turn around and baby number one is on it’s way!  Here I am, mid-twenties, married, Bachelor’s holder and I am doing everything in the pill’s power to not get pregnant!  It would ruin all our plans, and I wouldn’t be able to provide this child the life it deserves.  But qualified mother Erin is cooking “unplanned”/I say planned/we’re-keeping-it in the oven.  I thought to myself, this person needs a license to have a child, let alone a license to drive a vehicle.  (Remember DUII 2?)  It will be up to her mother to care for this child, and I now realize why my mom said trail, murmur, trail.  Kids having kids is a scary reality.  And yes, 24 year old kids with that kind of track record are still kids.  How can we teach our children family planning sex education when we still have well educated adults giving birth without really becoming parents?  And the next time I hear a chick “on the pill” say “whoops,” I am racing to my OB/GYN to inform her that myself and 500 of my closest friends are infertile!  We are all also on the pill and not getting pregnant! 

And what about school districts and households who are teaching abstinence when forty years ago more than 50% of women were having pre-marital sex?  The pill revolutionized history, but some of us are still stuck in the past.  Yes, I know how Catholics and Christians have interpreted the sex references in the Bible.  Well my interpretation from inside my gold, bedazzled handbasket is that sex is intended to conceive children and provide pleasure.  The Higher Power I have internal monologue with is the creator of all things, including the orgasm and the g-spot.  It would be blasphemous for sinners and hypocrites, I mean Catholics and Christians, to think that God was almighty enough to create every molecule in this world and have zero knowledge of the orgasm.  As if God would say of the g-spot, “how the hell did that get there?  Well, since it’s Sunday, I’ll just rest and leave it.”  And even if sex is intended solely for the purpose of conceiving children, couldn’t sex at other times be a reminder of the occasions when you were conceiving those children?  Wouldn’t God prefer that we, as adults, have children that we can provide for as he has provided for us, and enjoy the fruits of our marriage when our family is complete?

I apologize for getting so religulous on you!  When people pretend that the Bible says “thou shalt not consumest the controler of birth” I can’t help but get carried away.  As I said earlier, the pill is doing so much more for women than giving them control of unwanted pregnancies.  And hell, let’s just do as the Catholics do and take birth control, then repent.  Over and over again.  And then on Fat Tuesday I’ll take a whole pack of B.C., five morning after pills, like twelve NuvaRings, and an entire tube of spermicide, and starting Ash Wednesday I’ll give it all up until Easter at which point I’ll go back to one pill a day.  (Piss off the Protestants, check.  Piss off the Catholics, check.  Now on to the Atheists and Agnostics!)  And honestly, did God really want me to get married at 13 like people did over 2000 years ago?  If so, I guess I let poor J.D. Lancaster slip through my fingers!  He had a beard back then, hot, and a bald spot now, not hot.  Is now an appropriate time to point out that B.C. has been around even before Christ?!

Anyway...hopefully most of my Atheist/Agnostic readers are fairly hip on the pill, so I will try not to convert them.  Obviously there are so many reasons why I get irritated at those who scoff at birth control.  But there are some other issues I must acknowledge, perhaps in favor of abstinence enthusiasts and anti-feminists.  Recently studies have been showing that women are having a harder time getting pregnant after being on some form of oral contraceptive for several years.  Whether it may take one year, three years, or there’s infertility, it is unknown how much of a role the pill is playing in later conception.  Many experts have agreed that it is now common for women who have been on birth control for multiple years to experience a lull in the time between stopping the pill and getting pregnant.  The amount of time, however, seems to still be a mystery.  A scary risk I’m willing to take.  Especially when so many chicks “on the pill” say “whoops” and make an educated decision to give the child up for adoption.  More infertility could be a blessing in disguise for those orphans.

I heart the pill, don’t know where I’d be without it.  Maybe in a van, down by the river.  The Superpill (that’s my nickname for it, like a crime-fighting, high-flying hero) helped to revolutionize the feminist movement.  (Speaking of the feminist movement I should point out that it would really be named Superpillwoman, since apparently hero names are gender specific.  Congrats comic nerds, for joining us in the 18th Century.)  With women having control over how many children they were having and when they were getting pregnant, they became more attractive in the eyes of employers, thus opening a whole new world for women in the workplace.  But if women now have almost complete control over the population of our planet, why are men still making higher salaries?  And if women are responsible for the birth, or unbirth, of our next world leaders, why are men still seen as the head of the household? 

Many feminists would say “of course the pill is only for women, men would never remember to take it.”  I remind my husband all the time, if I forget to take the pill, we forgot to take the pill.  Since women are the baby-making-ovens, it has also become our responsibility to go to the gyno to get a prescription, go to the pharmacy to pick up the pill, remember to take the pill every single day at the exact same if being the carrier of a child isn’t enough!  Now we have all these other errands to worry about!  Why not make a male birth control pill?  I think they’ve been in the works for that for years.  In my house, that would be phenomenal!  My husband is a responsible and respectful man, and would jump on the opportunity to take on more of the contraception responsibilities.  But most guys I wouldn’t feel the same about.  Imagine picking up a guy at a bar and trusting the he took his pill today, let alone yesterday.  No thank you.  It’s ironic to say that the pill has liberated women when in reality it has kept our title as sole responsible party for pregnancies, especially when they’re unwanted. 

Liberated or not, I for one am extremely thankful for the pill.  It may be criticized by some, misunderstood by others, and abused by dumb beeyotches, but I will always be an advocate and will continue to have faith in it until I’m ready to make the pompous declaration that I am fit to be a parent.  Years down the road I plan on educating my children the real facts about sex and methods of birth control they can utilize, and explain to them that their parent’s fears about teen sex isn’t just teen pregnancy, but teen heartbreak and learning too much while they’re still just our little boys and girls.  Maybe they’ll have sex too young, maybe they wont, but I can only hope that knowledge will keep them from becoming teen moms and dads, while simultaneously eradicating my dreams as becoming a 45 year old G.I.L.F.