On November 9th, 2016, I spent most of the day in anguish. Like many of my friends (and much of the United States), I wasn’t just disappointed. I was devastated. I was afraid for my friends of various backgrounds, afraid for my LGBTQ friends, and afraid for myself. I knew that it was probably that reproductive rights would be rolled back in the new administration. I had been receiving free birth control thanks to the Affordable Care Act and able to make my own choices about what was right for my body.
Unfortunately, that was going to come to an end. I knew I needed to do whatever I could to protect myself before it was too late and birth control became something too expensive to maintain on a monthly basis.
I made an appointment with Planned Parenthood for December of 2016 to get an IUD, without knowing much other than I could be protected for up to twelve years with a one time procedure. For the time being, it was covered, meaning that my IUD would be completely free. It seemed almost stupid not to do it. But when it was coming up, I decided to put it off. I was afraid of that decision, afraid of the consequences of either getting twelve years of protection and having a possibly debilitating heavy period or getting hormonal and seeing the return of the heavy acne of my youth. I had been on the pill since 2012. I hardly knew what my body was like before it.
Then in the middle of the night on January 11th, 2017, the Senate voted against keeping contraception covered by health care. I no longer could put it off. That day, I re-scheduled my IUD appointment for the first Friday in February.
I chose to go to Planned Parenthood because, at the time, I didn’t have an OBGYN. My last one essentially said, “You can’t be pretty because you’re overweight.” Since then, I had been going to a CNP for my women’s health exams, but she didn’t perform IUD insertions.
As it came closer, I decided that I wanted to live tweet the entire experience. I had several friends who had an IUD who hadn’t known anyone else when they went in for their procedure who also had one. I had several friends who, like me, were afraid of the pain of the procedure and the consequences of that decision.
— Alexandra White (@heyawhite) February 3, 2017
Using the hashtag #teamIUD, I wanted to join a conversation that was already happening. It seems more and more women have been tweeting about their IUDs in the days since my procedure.
In addition to tweeting, I shared this decision on Facebook. My post had so many responses and so much conversation between women in different areas of my life. There were so many responses, and I felt so empowered and proud of my friends.
If you had asked me a year ago if I would share something so personal, there’s just no way I would have said yes. But these are strange times we are living in… we cannot afford to remain silent.
Getting an IUD was the right decision for me. It’s a longer term solution that is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy. While it’s not right for every woman, you need to know what your options are to make an informed decision.
I hope that by sharing, I helped more women make the right decision for their body.