Hinatea is 21 years old and is a graduate of the University of Montreal in International Studies. She is passionate about diplomatic and safety issues, as well as international law. She is currently taking a gap year so she can complete an internship. As one of my best friends, we talked a few weeks ago about the possibility of her contributing to Women of the World. She then decided to share her experience and raise awareness about female hygiene.
Female contraception is a current affair and yet, men and women seem to know very little about it.
In science and biology classes, they teach us about what a condom is, but not much about the rest: the pill, implant, intrauterine device (IUD), etc. And due to this education, we do not necessarily take the time to really understand and listen to our body, try it, talk with our partners, our doctor… And this is where we are wrong.
Personally, I felt obliged to use contraception in a relationship. For birth control, but also for more accommodative reasons. Because when you are in a relationship, condoms become a burden in the long term. This pressure does not come from an external social pressure, it comes from myself. I convinced myself that this is how it should be, because that is how it works in our society and talking about contraception with our partner remains embarrassing.
I did not take the time to truly listen to my body telling me that the pill did not suit me. After a few months, I read about the side effects and noticed I had many and that it could be harmful in the long term. In fact, when hormones are added, we change something natural into something controlled, which is all because of a single little pill we must take every day, at the same hour. So, I talked to people around me, and I decided to stop taking it. It was the best decision I have ever made: I feel good, my menstrual cycles are natural, I am lucky not to have period pain or a heavy flow. I feel better. I want to start using contraception again, but I will really think this through, and I won’t hesitate to stop if it does not suit me.
There is way too much pressure on women. It is considered their job to deal with contraception, or worrying about a condom breaking, or even simply forgetting to take their daily pill. A woman is the sole responsible for how she wants to control her fertility ever since contraception was legalized in 1967 in France.
So, I think we should share about the emotional and physical toll that comes with the contraception dilemma. We need to remove the taboo and talk about it with our partner, our loved ones, and other women. We should bring this issue up to learn, to reassure, and to give each other advice.
– Hinatea, on October 7th, 2020
Content translated by Emilie Marcotte, with the help of Chanelle Lavoie.