I figured it was time for a check-in. I know women keep coming through this blog every day. Some of you send me emails. Some of you leave comments. If you ever have questions, please don’t hesitate to send them to me. If today is your first day here and you’re totally freaking out, that’s OK. I was totally freaking out when I was in your shoes too. And everything turned out OK. It really did. I promise.
It’s been about a year and a half since my abortion. My health is fine. My weight went back to normal (well, normal for me. I think I’m destined to perpetually flip flop between a 10 and a 12.)
My boyfriend and I are still together. Actually, we just got engaged in a few months ago so we’re planning our wedding now. I’m 27; I’ll be 28 by the time we get married. I’d like to wait a year before we have our first child together. I’ll be about 29. We’ll be ready for him or her in a way we weren’t a year and a half ago.
My health is fine. I still use Nuvaring though I don’t love it. It’s easier for me to remember though and that gives me a peace of mind that is invaluable.
In New York City, they started running these ads on the subways that I really don’t like. They’re ads that depict abortion as something damaging that will RUIN YOUR LIFE. They say things like “I wish we hadn’t done it. Everything is different now.” or “I didn’t think I’d feel so bad. I regret it more than anything” or something along those lines. I’m sure those are true for some people, but I think it’s for the women (and men) who weren’t really secure in the decision before they did it. The ones who maybe were coerced or who didn’t really research and read all about it. Perhaps the ones who did it even though they didn’t really want to. Those are the ones that I think regret it. Those are the people I think shouldn’t do it.
That is NOT my experience. I don’t regret it. I am glad I did it. I don’t think about it every day. It doesn’t haunt me. I don’t even remember exactly what day it was. I felt back to myself almost instantly after it and I went on with my life. With work and with friends and with pursuing all of my many, many dreams and goals. My fiance and I have a great relationship. This didn’t tear us apart; if anything, it brought us even closer together. It showed us that we could get through things together.
This did not define me and it won’t define you. It will be a moment. A day. A few weeks if you include the crampiness while you’re recovering. And then you’ll go on with your life and you’ll keep doing the things you love; maybe a little bit smarter about choices like birth control, but otherwise you’ll be OK. As long as you know for sure that this is what YOU want (not your boyfriend or mom or friends or doctor, but YOU), and as long as you go about it in a safe way), you’ll be OK.
I recently got a comment on my post about whether or not women should ask their partners to contribute to the cost of prescription birth control (and how many do or don’t). I really found what the commenter had to say as interesting as I’d never really heard the conversation about birth control discussed within this context:
"I really believe that most women feel uncomfortable talking to their partners about paying for the cost of birth control because 1) girls are taught that conversations about money and sex equals prostitution and 2) girls are never taught how to demand for equal pay or money in general. Too often we have been conditioned to persuade, not ask (or demand) and to barter (share) our things. If there’s ever a good person to practice on for asking, sharing concerns and talking about equality, it’s your partner who already likes you and respects you."
The part that struck me most was the idea that many women subconsciously equate conversations about sex and money with prostitution. The idea of a “golddigger” or “kept woman” is a clear example of this. As are many of the criticisms of the women on the shows like “The Real Housewives.”
I admit that while I secretly like the idea of having a husband who could take care of me while I stay at home, in reality, I sometimes even take a bit of offense when my boyfriend offers to pay for things or implies that I got something that I wouldn’t have if he hadn’t bought it for me. Recently I splurged on a pair of $400 heels that I’d been wanting for months. He had offered to buy them for me, but for some reason I was insistent on buying them for myself. There was a sense of pride about it.
Afterwards I was wondering why it was that I was so insistent on buying them for myself. His gift was not going to be an exchange for anything. It was a gift he wanted to buy out of love for me. In fact, he offered to get it for our anniversary, but I still bristled a bit at the thought. Almost as if they would not have been worth as much if he paid for them than if I had.
We found out a coworker is pregnant today. A few of us had privately been suspecting it for a couple weeks as we saw the outward signs—tiredness where she had previously been peppy, turning down drinks at happy hours, and a few extra pounds around the middle and chest. Finally the ballsiest of the girls went over and gently asked (using the alcohol, not the weight as the reason) and she confessed, admitting that she’d been wanting to tell but couldn’t find an appropriate time to bring it up.
Naturally we all got excited and that warm feeling spread about the office. She started talking about the past few months and her symptoms and morning sickness, and I kept getting the urge to say “Oh…I know!” Of course I couldn’t, because none of them know that I was pregnant for a few weeks, and it definitely wasn’t the right time to say “just before my abortion…”
It was a bit of an odd feeling though. It brought me back to the moments when I was pregnant and wished that I could talk about all the insane symptoms and hormones with my corworkers and friends. Because even though my situation is totally different, I DO know what it’s like and would love to be able to share my crazy and funny hormone and morning sickness stories. I’d love to be able to tell her about the time I had to discreetly puke into an Express shopping bag in the back of a taxi cab, or the way my boobs got so huge that I could barely zip my Christmas cocktail party dress up even though I bought it just two days earlier. I want to talk about the crankiness and the mood swings and the frantic bathroom runs I made 50 times a day. These are the kinds of stories that women bond over, and I’d really like to be able to share these with her.
My last post about the cost of prescription birth control (especially ones like NuvaRing that don’t have generic alternatives) reminded me of another important issue: Does your partner help pay the cost of your birth control medication?
My boyfriend recently started offering to cover half the costs, and we’ve added it to the other bills we split each month (like rent and cable). This has helped a lot since I switched from a $10 a month generic pill to the $50 a month NuvaRing.
I don’t know if this is actually all that common—perhaps just because women don’t think to ask—but it really seems logical, doesn’t it? It’s kind of ironic that men are required to provide for the children the make and that they are often called upon to help cover the costs of an abortion, but that there doesn’t seem to be any financial onus to help cover the (often very high!) costs of reliable prescription birth control. This also includes the medical appointments necessary to obtain such prescriptions.
Honestly, I think it makes sense. You might be taking the one taking the medication, but it’s BOTH of you who are benefiting. I would love to know how other couples handle this!
I guess it’s not just me that struggles with the libido while on the NuvaRing. It’s incredibly frustrating for someone like me who is in a relationship, because it makes me feel a little bit useless in bed. I’ve found that it really takes a lot of effort on his part to get me interested and keep me focused…almost like he has to talk me through it in order to get me “in the mood.”
We talked about possibly stopping the ring and switching to condoms or back on the pill, but I honestly don’t trust them. Especially after having gotten pregnant while on the pill, and I also don’t trust the human error element of condom use. The Ring is the only thing that has kept me feeling secure since I started using it. I’m going to try and wait it out a bit longer; perhaps things will even up after a few more months once my body has had time to regulate.
One commenter mentioned the expense of the NuvaRing, and I have to say that’s something that I’ve also been concerned with. It’s pretty nuts that even WITH insurance, my birth control costs more each month than the copay for my abortion. I mean seriously! How ironic is that? If the former were more affordable and accessible, then the abortions would become less and less necessary. One girl noted how she had to skip her NuvaRing this month because she couldn’t afford it. Last month, I came close to putting my ring in three days late because I was waiting for payday. Fortunately, my boyfriend gave me the money to buy it so that I could put it in on time, but it’s a really silly thing to have to worry about. I’m 26 and I’ve already turned into one of those cranky little old ladies you see in political ads around election time, all worried about how to pay for their prescription drug coverage.
I’ve been having misgivings about the NuvaRing lately. I can’t be exactly sure, but I suspect it’s affected my sex drive. Ever since I started using it, it’s like a switch has been turned down. Not off, exactly, but definitely very low. I don’t think about sex as much as I used to. I don’t really think about it much at all.
On the occasions that we do start to get into it, I find that I’m easily distracted. I’m ticklish, i have a thousand things on my mind, my body doesn’t seem to respond. Otherwise, my boyfriend and I are fantastic. I find him incredibly attractive and we get along really well. We cuddle a lot and kiss, but taking it farther seems to not flow as smoothly as it used to.
The interesting part is that when I remove the ring (for a week each month while I get my period) I find things start to change. After a couple days without it, usually around the same time my period starts, I’m suddenly feeling normal again. I wake him up in the middle of the night and I have dreams about it.
This all leads me to suspect that perhaps it’s the birth control. Has anyone else on the Ring experienced this? I haven’t found anything conclusive during my online searches, but would love to hear from other girls who’ve noticed the same thing.
I found myself wryly wondering the other day if perhaps this numbed libido is the reason WHY the NuvaRing is so effective at preventing pregnancy…
The appointment came and went. I spent more time in the waiting room than in the actual office. During my history I mentioned the abortion and the doctor just nodded and asked for the date and moved on to the next question. She did the exam and told me to be careful with the NuvaRing—never to leave it in too long or to forget to remove it since “we know your body likes to be pregnant.” And that was that.
She called a week later to say my test results came back and all is normal. So that was that—really rather uneventful.
Things are otherwise great. I sometimes wonder if the experience brought my boyfriend closer together because it put us in a position to discuss things that we perhaps otherwise would not have. We’re at the point where we can both laugh when I make “when I was pregnant” jokes. I also like the way that I laugh at a whole new set of jokes on television now. I’ve recently become a fan of the show Private Practice, where they are always dealing with pregnancy storylines and I find that I understand them now in a way I never could have before. It’s like I’ve been let into a secret little club where I can kind of giggle under my breath when the characters on TV puke into their purses or get up to run and go pee. “I’ve been there!” I think. “I’ve done that!”
I don’t really think about it that much. It doesn’t pop up in my head every day or even every week. I actually had to stop just now to think how long ago it had been (nearly two months). I’ve been feeling great for about a month—no cramps, no bleeding, no pain, hormones under control, no soreness during sex. I don’t think about it anymore than I would had it been any other event. It feels—most significantly I think—normal. It feels normal. Not spectacular, just normal.
Next week I have a Gyno appointment with a new doctor. Just a routine exam, but I’ll of course have to mention the abortion, just like I’ll have to mention it at every other doctor’s appointment for the rest of my life. But I don’t really find that any less awkward than mentioning how many sex partners I’ve had or dropping my skirt and opening my legs for a woman I’ve never met (or a woman period, for that matter).
The point of this is really just what I’ve been saying all along, it seems. This whole thing (she says with a wave of her hand) is just a normal medical thing that happened and wasn’t ideal and not always easy, but which has since slipped by along with all the other things that happen and slip on by while time and life continue to pass.
If you’re waiting for your turn right now, don’t fret. Soon enough it will all be normal again.