Breaking the Silence

I am a slut and a prostitute.

Or that’s what Rush Limbaugh would have you believe.  Because when he labels one female Georgetown Law student that way for using birth control, he’s not just using those words towards her.  He is using those words towards all of us.

I am terrified of living in a country where using that sort of language directed at women who choose to family plan is labeled as “inappropriate” and “absurd.”

What it really is: abhorrent, obscene, repugnant, dangerous.

So it’s time.  For us as women to take control of this dialogue and tell our stories.

Because as a dear friend told me, Silence Hurts All Women.

Because I have nothing to hide and I think that we need to very publicly start discussing what the ability to use birth control (or not use birth control if that’s what strikes our fancy) means for us as women.

Because at the end of the day, this discussion is about us and what we choose to put or not put in our bodies.  It is not about one man telling us to put aspirin between our knees.

It’s about us.

It’s about the ordinary women who go to work.  Who stay home with their families.  Who are married.  Who are divorced.  Who are young.  Who are old.  It’s about our mothers, sisters, friends and yes, even that girl that you hated throughout the entirety of high school.

It’s about all of us.

So I’ll go first.

I have been taking birth control pills since the age of 16.  Which means that in the past eight years, I have taken approximately 2,922 pills.

That’s actually a pretty big number when you think about it.  It’s hard for me to think of putting 2,922 of anything into my body.  So there’s some context for you, I guess.

I have only had sex with one person.  I was going to say “slept” with.  But it’s really not about sleeping with anyone.  I’ve physically slept in the same room and/or bed as a number of people in a non-sexual way.  So for the sake of this, we’re not going to call it that.

We choose to family plan because right now, we are in the truest sense of the word Not Ready.  Do I think that I could be a wonderful, doting mother?  Absolutely.  Do I think that my husband will be a caring, adoring father?  I always have.

But that’s not even on our radar.

I have taken the Morning After Pill.  Because the condom broke and I had missed a few pills that month.

In terms of Life Events, it ranks amongst the most boring and anticlimactic.  This might appall some of you, but really.  It was.

As a society, we have determined that it is easier for a woman to bear the majority of the responsibility for preventing unplanned pregnancies.  It’s less work, less hassle, and less permanent than giving every man a vasectomy.  Or more simply, expecting people to have the self-control to Keep It In Their Pants.

I am fine with that.

I am happy to set an alarm on my phone that reminds me to take a pill that not only benefits me but my husband as well.  I’m fine with some women deciding that they would rather not use birth control.

Because that’s what’s so exciting about all of this.

What I choose to do with my body, has nothing to do with what someone else chooses to do with theirs.  There is no direct relationship.  I’m just as excited for the sister that has an IUD as I am for Michelle Duggar.  Because we get to choose.

What I’m not fine with is forcing women to bear the burden of responsibility for a couple’s choice to use (or not use) contraception and then demonizing us for it.

This situation and dialogue are absolutely ridiculous and as much as I’ve been hoping that it would just disappear, it absolutely is not.

And so that’s why I write today.

Because birth control is something that I choose to use.  It has been a routine part of my daily activity for the past eight years.

Because I am one ordinary woman who lives in the suburbs who is not ready to start a family.

If you want to respond to this in the comments, go wild.  But what I’d really like you to do is consider this an open invitation.  To break the silence on your blog and show your face as an ordinary woman who uses birth control.  Pay it forward and invite your readers and blog friends to write as well.  And if you do (decide to write, that is), please leave me a comment with the link to your post. 

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31 responses to “Breaking the Silence

  1. Amen. My name is Emily Cornell Mishkin. I am a responsible adult who has not always been so responsible but who has been grown-up enough to not bring a child into this world before I’m ready to.

  2. I agree! I’ve been on birth control in one way or another since I was 16 and I’m really glad I had the option. I’ve had a few variations of the pill, the ring and most recently an IUD. Yeah, The Husband and I are capable of raising a child but at the moment its not on our agenda. This does not make me a slut or prostitute!

    That being said…taking birth control away from legit sluts and prostitutes in this world probably isn’t a great plan, they probably need it more than I do!

  3. I have had sex with one person. I took the pill for 3.5 years. I now have an IUD. I volunteer for and donate money to Planned Parenthood to ensure all women continue to have access to birth control on a sliding scale. The choice to use birth control is between a woman, her partner, and her doctor. Politicians can’t tell me what medical procedures I need or can’t have.

  4. Thank you for this post.

    I’m an adult who can make adult choices about my life and I am responsible enough to know I shouldn’t be responsible for someone else’s life right now.

  5. I am a mother of 2, who uses birth control and have since I was a teenager. I choose to use the IUD because we have 2 healthy and happy girls and right not that makes us fulfilled. We, my husband and I, decided this was the best for our family. I surely don’t need a Politician to decide this for me as the last time I looked, he wasn’t putting $$ in my checking account to pay for any children we may have without the IUD!!

  6. This is such a great, timely post!

    My biggest issue with the whole debate is that not ALL women take birth control for preventative purposes. In the beginning I took the pill for cystic ovary pain, irregularity and heavy cycles. Obviously, now I do take it as birth control as we are not ready for our second child just yet.

    No one should feel inferior or “bad” for choosing contraceptives.

  7. I’m so confused why birth control is such an issue for certain political figures…I mean how can having an unplanned child be a better alternative to taking a pill each day? This is so utterly bizarre to me.

    2,922 is a big number. Huge. But it’s not so big when you consider the alternative – a screaming baby. Who never stops. Ever.

    Love this post Kat. You are the best at getting your point across so eloquently!

  8. You are amazing. Thank you for posting this. Awesome post girl. I was on the pill from age 18 (when I first became ‘active’ – I hate that word) and until Ben and I were Engaged. Then I went off. Still doing the Family planning thing though. We’re not ready either. I will never be okay having a man in government or anyone for that matter – say what I can and can’t do with my body.

    Rush Limbaugh makes me want to puke and I wish I could smack him.

  9. love this. trying to figure out how to write about it in my blog. thanks for starting what i hope will be a widespread trend!

  10. Girlfriend, I applaud you. I admire your honesty and bravery. As a mother, I more than understand the desire to wait until you’re ready. In fact, I think it’s not only reasonable but responsible. Babies aren’t like pants you can return if they don’t fit. And right now, I’m not ready for another one.

    • I love your imagery. I always say having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face. It’s permanent, it’s prominent, and it’s painful.

      • I love your image, too, and I’ve used that same one with my girlfriends. I’ve told them, be sure you’re sure because it’s forever. :)

  11. Kat, thanks so much for being the brave one and telling us like it is. It comes down to personal responsibility and how we choose to dictate our own lives. I found Rush’s tirade to be repugnant and his apology not worth the air it was streamed on.
    Ben and I choose family planning as well – because as you said, “we’re not ready”. That’s for us to decide, not the politicians or the bumbling asshats on the airwaves. I am fearful for the direction we could be led.
    The decisions remain between me, my future husband and my doctor. End of story.
    Thanks for taking a stand. And one day when we CHOOSE to have families of our own – it will be one our terms, and we will welcome those little bundles with open arms and equally open hearts ready for whatever (adorable, exciting, screaming, and pooping) challenges they bring us. AMEN!

  12. Ah yes. Another person in the media has to be an idiot and say that women taking birth control are sluts. Good on ya sir. (Sarcasm if you couldn’t tell)
    The whole idea of that argument is ridiculous! I take birth control, but I started for a whole other reason. My periods used to make me so nauseous, I could hardly function. I would think I had stomach flu, but instead it was just mother nature being a bitch. Then I started taking BC, and now I don’t feel like I’m going to vomit. ‘Scuse me for needing BC.
    Women taking BC to prevent pregancy are being SMART. They know that they don’t want child at the moment, and are handling the situation responsibly. Just… bah, I don’t even want to give the idiot acknowledgment.

  13. Pingback: Family planning « accidentallyyours

  14. Love this post! Plus, I took you up on your invitation: http://accidentallyyours.com/2012/03/06/family-planning/

  15. After days away from the blog world, I loved catching up on yours today! I loved reading all about your snow day, good reads, and movie watching (Contagion is on my want to see list too!). And then I read this post and I nodded my head in agreement the whole time. THANK YOU for posting this, standing up for women and what is RIGHT! But the sad part is, WHY? Why in 2012 do we still have to protest and fight for this basic right?! It is such a shame, after all we have been through. That is what angers me the most. Great read friend, and I vow to keep this discussion going until it becomes a ‘why did we even question this right?’ topic. Bravo, lady!

  16. Pingback: We Are Not Alone | Tenaciously Yours,

  17. AMEN! I work in a clinic that focuses on sexual health, especially birth control. The idea that one man thinks he can decide what is best for all those women is insane. If birth control is bad, why are things like Viagra okay?

  18. Men stand with you – at least this one does. Wrote this during the Susan K Komen / Planned parenthood uproar. http://thinkingviking.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/i-love-women-my-mom-was-one-not-that-theres-anything-wrong-with-that/

    And this after Rush Limbaugh’s rant http://thinkingviking.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/rush-delivery/

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  20. Wow, Kat, you’ve inspired me. I’m actually considering writing a post. Guess I’d have to make peace with a lot of parts of my past first though. Kudos for a fantastic post! Right on girl!

    Matt, I’m going to read your words next…

  21. I read this yesterday while at the doctors office, so I wasn’t able to comment. Ironically, being in the OB/GYN office at the time.

    I started the pill in college, then moved on to the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) about 3 years ago. I have been very deliberate and cautious so that an unexpected pregnancy did not happen for us. When we were ready to start our family, I was prepared and educated (by my own doing – my rant about sex education is for another time). God willing, becoming pregnant happened quickly and easily. Knowing now that my body produced the means to create fraternal twins (two eggs), I am thankful that I took the precautions I did up until this point. I am thankful that I had the means to access those precautions and I hope more women speak up about their decisions so that continues for all.

  22. Loved reading this:) I’ve been on BC since I was 16 as well. While I’m having some issues with it now (hormones are bugging me), it sure was liberating as a teenager to go have sex!!! I cannot imagine not having that choice.

  23. Pingback: A Pleasant Surprise | Tenaciously Yours,

  24. Great post! “Because at the end of the day, this discussion is about us and what we choose to put or not put in our bodies.”—So true.

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  26. Kat, this was a lovely, thoughtful, honest post. I loved it, and I truly agree with it. For someone to tell my husband and me how to behave in the confines of our own home, especially in ways that will affect only us, is truly execrable.
    That being said, I have thought a good deal about this entire issue, and I have made the decision that I cannot offer that man any time or energy of mine, regardless of how angry he makes a person. I will fight for the right to choose how and when I have more children (or, to tell the truth, not to have more than HRH).
    Because I can’t give him any energy, I am struggling to work my feelings into words, so I’m not sure when/if I can post, but it’s something I appreciate from you. I’m honestly saddened that women – and their husbands – are considered too inept to be able to determine the parameters of family formation. I can’t imagine anyone better to make that decision than the people who would be rearing those children.

  27. Pingback: Friday Features | get going and write | sunnysideup

  28. Pingback: My 2000th post. OR Cilantro Lime Tilapia: A Confession | Tenaciously Yours,

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