I have a PSA for you.
I am 30 years old. I am a virgin (primarily by choice). I have never had sex with anyone. I have never been on birth control.
I’ve never been on birth control because I was brought up to believe that birth control was for “slutty girls” who want to avoid getting pregnant. Because I wasn’t having sex, and therefore didn’t need to worry about getting pregnant, I also never went to the gynecologist. Ever. Not until I was 29 years old and in so much physical pain that I literally could.not.function.
1 year, 2 gynecologists, 1 D&C and many, many pain pills later, I was diagnosed last week with Endomterial Cancer, and am now facing a complete and total hysterectomy. Not the kind where they leave some bits just in case, but the kind where they take a robot and completely and totally scrape out everything that was once intended to make babies.
And that is the best-case-scenario. If it turns out the cancer has spread, then I’m in for the hysto, AND chemo/radiation/etc.
If your daughter comes to you and wants birth control because she is having irregular periods, because she is having pain, because she is uncomfortable, or just because she FUCKING WANTS IT- it is your goddamn duty as a loving and nurting parent— TO LISTEN AND RESPECT HER REQUEST.
Things you may do:
1. Open a dialogue with your daughter about WHY she wants B.C.
2. Educate yourself about the benefits of B.C.
3. Discuss your (and her) feelings about sex and sexuality as it relates to B.C. (if applicable)
4. Volunteer to take her to a gyno, offer to make an appointment for her, or accompany her to the appointment if she wants you too. But respect her privacy if she doesn’t
5. Be open and understanding about the fact that she may tell you things you don’t want to hear or know.
6. Realize that her asking for B.C. does not automatically mean she plans to/is/wants to have sex.
7. Be uncomfortable about it, and about your discussions. It’s ok, she probably is too.
Things you MAY NOT DO:
1. Shut her down.
2. Condescend or pass judgement over her request
3. ASSUME she plans to open her legs to anyone that walks by.
4. Tell her she doesn’t need it.
5. Be verbally or emotionally abusive about her request.
6. Cast upon her your ignorance about what B.C can do.
7. Flip out without listening to what she has to say.
8. Refuse to take her to a gynecologist if she wants/needs to go
Here’s the deal parents, whether you want to believe it or not, birth control and reproductive health are not SEXUAL issues, they are HEALTH issues. And as someone who is 2 weeks away from the SOONEST oncology appointment to deal with a very terrifying issue- I will tell you that if you refuse to support your daughter dealing with her reproductive health- I consider you tantamount to a child abuser. Because you are denying your child access to life-saving screenings and medications.
No one ever took me. I didn’t even think about it. It was never an option. I never had that kind of dialogue and now I have Cancer. And maybe being on birth control wouldn’t have changed that- but considering I have never in my life had a normal period, I have to think it would.
If your daughter trusts you enough to tell you that she wants to look into birth control- that is a fucking GIFT and you should be grateful.
If your daughter trusts you enough to tell you she wants to look into birth control and your reaction is to respond with fear and judgement and cowardice, then I invite you to read my other blog. The one where I talk about my pain and discomfort and regret. The one where I talk about being 30 FUCKING YEARS OLD and having Cancer because nobody every bothered to take me to a gynecologist until it was too fucking late in the first place. Feel free to check in daily, I have 2 weeks to my initial oncology consult and my physical condition isn’t improving in the meantime.
And I won’t apologize for my anger. I won’t apologize for my language. I won’t apologize for this lecture. Because the person who should have taken me— is dead. And I am having to indoctrinate myself into this, I am having to do this at least 15 years later than I should have. Because she never bothered to tell me anything except that birth control was for “sluts.”
If you love your daughters, TALK TO THEM. They need you.
In honor of World Contraception Day, here, have some contraception!
Protecting oneself from pregnancy is AWESOME. Let’s celebrate medical science for allowing us to choose if/when to have children!
Find out what you can do to support access to contraception worldwide at the World Contraception Day website.