You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health. And reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortion.
As a female, I’ve seen it all. I’ve been catcalled, poked and prodded, grabbed at in dingy bars and told to smile when I was having a severe allergic reaction. As a black female, I’ve been stereotyped, objectified and pulled around the ringer more than a few times for something as simple as the colour of my skin.
As these things define me, as they are the mountain I’ve chosen to die on.
I’ve never experienced more collective hate and questioning than when I asked my doctor about an IUD.
An IUD is a tiny device that’s inserted in your uterus to prevent pregnancy. It’s long-term, reversible, and one of the most effective birth control methods out there. So, started the process of talking about it.
The chain of contact went something like this
Family Doctor–>Mother–>Pharmacist–>Second opinion doctor
I started off with research, as I always do, I find myself to be an inquisitive and mostly tactical person. I never do anything outright, I look up the risks, the rewards and how it will affect me in the long run.
I’m not stupid; I just never want to have kids.
For my purposes, the IUD was the most responsible and reasonably affordable forms of birth control out there. Even if I wasn’t having sex, it would be in there for about five years and would prevent anything that may or may not happen.
I don’t want kids, I’ve never wanted kids, and no, in the next five years before they can take out the thing, I’ll most likely not want kids!
I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with kids per say, I just don’t know how to communicate with them and I think that their overall sticky appearance is just not my style. I have my cat and she’s even too much for me.
It’s not that I hate them, kids that is. I just don’t want them.
That’s not a bad thing to think because
1) The world is already severely overpopulated.
2) We barely have enough resources to feed the people already living here.
3) I can’t handle someone overshadowing me.
4) And I just really want to watch Stranger Things!
But thinking those things as a woman who grew up seeing ads for baby dolls for girls and cool flipping toys for guys, you notice the world is ultra conservative.
Like conservative enough that an old white guy elected by more old white guys thinks that he can tell me what to do with my body, just because he’s the man of the house. Especially here in Alberta, in what they call the “Bible Belt” of Canada.
My doctor who has known me since we moved to Canada, who knows I’ve never been interested in raising a mini-me said when I asked about long term contraceptives, “Ok, sure,” with a weird look on her face illuminated by the glow of her old PC monitor. “But of course, if you ever want to take it out in a few years time, you can get pregnant almost immediately.”
I don’t want to get pregnant. Not now, not ever.
After my doctor, I approached my mother about the topic. My super cool mother who loves NDP and sings the praises of many non-conservative values. Who raised me to be open and honest with myself and her, this woman is a nurse, mind you. She told me “I just don’t think that it’s a good idea,” as she paused her favourite TV show, Empire. “You’ll probably get an infection, and then what?”
This woman has two degrees, both in some form of healthcare. She runs her own nursing unit every day, and though I love her to death, she obviously has been brainwashed by us living here a majority of both of our lives now.
She seemed to be on the straight and narrow path of “babies, babies, babies.”
It hurt, because this woman knows me. She raised me and knows all my quirks and idiosyncrasies. But yet her first response to the statement “I want to get an IUD,” was “It’s very dangerous, it can kill your uterine lining.” Then she whispered, which she rarely does “where the ‘baby maker’ is.”
After seeing this new side of my mother, I persevered, to the pharmacy. We’ve been going there since it opened years ago. All the pharmacists and assistants know my family by name.
My pharmacist who has given me my flu shots and suckers after my flu shots down to the day I picked up that stupid intrauterine device told me straight up
“Ya, this is a great, long-term form of birth control, you know the risks?” he asked me.
“Yes, I do.”
“It doesn’t work right away do you use other forms of birth— “
“Hey, and Dom if a couple of years down the line you meet mister right and you want to have a few miracles, you can always just get it taken out.”
OH, MY GOD!!!!
Ok, last person in the chain of communication, the lady that, for lack of a better term, was supposed to stick that stupid $500 thing where the sun doesn’t shine. She walked in late, like doctors often do. There were little things in her exam room that threw me off almost instantly.
The pictures of her many daughters. OK, no big deal, the weird fuzzy socks on each of her stirrups on the exam table and the kids’ artwork all over her walls. It made me… itchy.
We chatted for a bit and then I noticed a pattern taking place.
“Do you know the risks?”
“Yes,” I’d gotten this far already, of course I knew the risks I knew everything about this stupid tiny thing in the giant package down to the material it was made of.
“You know how it happens?”
“Yes,” the aliens would find me and abduct me and that’s how the cookie crumbles.
“Of course, if you want to have a few kids before the five years, we can always take it out.” Then she said “you can start conceiving” with a megawatt smile on her face “as soon as possible.”
I’m frankly over it.
Here we go
Me, a self-respecting, confident woman who don’t need no babies – 0.
Them, the society that shuns me for trying to protect myself against my worst possible outcome – like 10,000.