Updated: Nov 15
There is much to be said about our relationships with our own bodies. From how it supports our movement, nourishes our lives, to how it receives pain and pleasure and everything in between. This relationship is ever changing, ever evolving and growing. That’s beautiful.
For a while, I was at odds with my body (sometimes I still am. I love cheese, but it makes me bloated). We were not seeing eye to eye and I was frustrated with it; I hated that it wasn't operating how I wanted it to, and it made me feel all sorts of ways as a result. I’m referring to its compatibility with birth control.
I have had many experiences with various birth control options and their side effects, but I want to focus on one story in particular. I had a hormonal IUD for about 5 months. At which point, I had a special agreement with my university professors and doctor to be excused from class given my severe pain from the chronic ovarian cysts that my IUD was causing (although no medical professional officially validated this - ahem! Your experience is always valid). I was dealing with perpetual UTIs that I never had before and which were causing urinary bleeding (this was also dismissed by medical professionals). I was also constantly spotting and staining sheets. Not to mention the fact that sex wasn’t even enjoyable anymore. I was miserable and angry with my body. It was the fifth birth control method I had tried, and I wanted it to work so badly. I was told that my body was still getting used to it (it’s true that there is an adjustment period, but I think we can all agree that my symptoms surpassed “adjusting”). The kicker for me was being admitted to the hospital due to one of the cysts, and thinking to myself, “This is insane. Here I am trying to be proactive about my health and yet I’m getting screwed over.” I booked the appointment to have the IUD removed and when I did, my body took a breath of fresh air.
My point is not that IUDs are bad. Actually, when they work for you, they are one of the best methods out there! The point is that birth control and healthcare should never make you feel uncomfortable. It’s up to you to take care of your body and celebrate it, and that the ability to do so is a wonderful opportunity!
This is why Reya is launching a new campaign called My Body, My Boundaries, and I’m so excited to share it with you!
Through the weeks to come, we hope to emphasize how individuals get to set boundaries for their own bodies. The entire Reya team hopes to provide a safe space for people to reflect, analyze and share in the conversation surrounding body boundary building - whatever that means to you. For us, it’s that birth control is a powerful means to take control of your health and well-being. It’s that access to birth control and sexual health information and care is not equal across Canada and within our communities. The health of people with periods is underlooked, undervalued and underfunded, and it’s time we change that.
My Body, My Boundaries will be a community movement to drive innovation, change policy and have trying conversations that matter.
Join us! What do you want us to cover? What does My Body, My Boundaries mean to you? Please get in touch, we can’t (and don’t want) to do this alone.