This Morning I Took The Last Birth Control Pill Of My Life

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In 10 days I’m getting an IUD. It will last five years. And after that my next IUD will last five more. And after that my body won’t be able to make babies anymore. I’ve been on the pill since I was 18 years old. Half my life. That’s 6,750 days that I’ve been repeating an action, not counting the days I forgot and shoveled three in my mouth in pure panic.

Birth control pills are a very big deal. They’ve been this ever-present “thing” in my life since the Venn diagram of getting my period and being sexually active started to gel. And they’ve really been the only method of birth control available to me. Now I have the option of birth control that can give me peace of mind for longer than 24 hours. Birth control that doesn’t depend on outside sources, or availability. Holy shit.

I’m getting an IUD rather than continuing to take birth control pills for one reason, and one reason only: I’m afraid. There’s a vacant Supreme Court seat and I’m afraid that no matter what, this abominable President and shameful administration who can seemingly do whatever evil they want will fill that seat with someone whose first priority will be to re-write the history of women’s health.

My birth control pills are free right now. I think that’s going to end. Abortion is legal right now. I think that’s going to end, too. I’m getting an IUD because The Handmaid’s Tale is fiction, for now. It might sound pessimistic, but when you have a working uterus and no desire to have children and no say in Supreme Court decisions, you tend to worry.

Taking my last pill shouldn’t matter much, I’m still going to have a method of birth control, but it did get me thinking of how much women’s lives are marked by periods (no pun intended) of time.

Pre-menstrual, menstrual, post-menstrual, monthly periods, daily pills, nine-month pregnancies, years of menopause. Age and time have an effect on us that they don’t have on men. Our very bodies keep time, like human metronomes. What spectacular thing to be trusted with. It’s as if evolution looked at both genders and said, “we’ve got a schedule to keep—you know what…she should do it.”

I love that, the tide-like flow of having a body with chapters. And I hate that our world has turned into a place that makes that wonderful capability, that specialness, a tool for domination and control. There is a fear of the uncontrollability of women, and a sick notion that laws and rulings might “fix” that.

I am not to be controlled. My body is a timepiece of the Earth. It should be revered, relied upon, and cared for. Instead it’s a political bargaining chip, a line item. I’m getting an IUD so that bad men with power never have a goddamn thing to do with my body.

It’s my decision, it doesn’t have to work for everyone. There is very little peace of mind I can give myself in a time when the news cycle seems more plucked from fever dream by the second. (Asbestos? Seriously?) This will set my mind at ease. And whatever legal changes may come, I know that the women of this country, myself included, will never stop fighting for what is right for women, especially when wrongs are being handed down by men. These are our bodies, our sisters’ bodies, our daughters’ bodies, and when it comes to them, we are reliable, resolved, and relentless. Like clockwork.

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NPR once called me a humor essayist, let’s go with that. Host of A Single Serving Podcast. shanisilver[at]gmail

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