The Pill + Me

By CAITLIN SHETTERLY  |  May 9, 2006

So, my sense of sex and myself changed. Sex became a responsibility because topical birth control methods could fail. Sex became either a negotiation with men to get them to wear condoms or a moment where I threw caution to the wind and abandoned what I knew best. I began focusing on the one thing I felt I could control: my career. In my work I began finding the love I needed most: my own.

Now I’m in a committed relationship. I’ve been tumor-, polyp-, and Pill-free for six years. I feel a little like I’m playing Russian roulette. My boyfriend has no problem wearing condoms, though I know condoms break, things happen.

But I’m willing to put myself in a place where I might have to make a choice. I can’t say where I’d land if I got pregnant tomorrow. My boyfriend loves me and supports me and I know we’d make do together. Neither of us wants me to take the Pill to alleviate the risk of pregnancy at the cost of me being sick.

What I know is this: Some big pharmaceutical companies and their advertisers with unendingly deep pockets control the information we, in America, learn about the Pill and how we get it. As women, we are particularly susceptible to advertising that targets body image, acne, our emotions, and our fear of being held back by getting pregnant.

I want to be able to control my body and what I put into it. I also want to control what I keep in it, when and why, and what I take out. This body is mine, and I’ve fought for it this long, so why would I stop now?

As I get older I feel more and more able to make a choice from a place of strength. I want the choice to be mine if the time comes. And I want to be well enough physically and mentally to make it.

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Related: Letters to the Portland Editor, May 12, 2006:, Like blood for chocolate, A bitter pill, More more >
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More on this story:

Shifting Sands By Jeff Inglis.

What Are They? What's in Them? What Do They Do? By Jeff Inglis.

Seeking Help?

Herbal Options By Amy Martin.

Two other women share their stories:

Controlling Birth by Amy Martin.

Don't Mistake It for Easy by Sonya Tomlinson.



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