Oh birth control! The bane of my existence for the majority of my adult life thus far. I first went on birth control when I was about 17 and began seeing someone a little more seriously. I was given a pack of pills to try by my family doctor, it was thrown at me so casually I don’t even remember the brand. And so it began… the exhausting process of trial and error. Over the next few years I tried three different types of the pill and experienced side effects like weight gain, acne and dramatic mood swings. All things I never had a problem with prior to taking or when off of these contraceptive methods.
Most years during university I went without, using only condoms and one other failed attempt at the pill. Once starting a serious relationship, I felt like I had to take better precaution but naturally I was hesitant to go on anything hormonal. I decided to try and track my ovulation. At the time I found the learning curve to be quite intense and this caused accuracy anxiety and pregnancy paranoia. In the end I wasn’t confident enough in this method and decided to get a hormonal IUD instead. I was excited about the IUD! Many of my close friends had one and loved it. The IUD is also very effective and that’s really important to me in a contraceptive option. For the 5 months that I endured having it, I was in debilitating pain and bled constantly. I began developing ovarian cysts that were so painful, I was admitted to the hospital. I was given a doctors note that excused me from school when I couldn’t make it out of bed. The pain began to interfere with my social and sex life. I refused to remove it because I was scared of trying something else and of the risk of pregnancy. What was the most frustrating for me, was that all this time I had been trying to be proactive about my reproductive health and yet I felt like healthcare itself was not on my side because no contraceptive option seemed to work for me. It was as if I was choosing between the lesser of two evils: live in pain everyday or risk unwanted pregnancy. Fun stuff.
Eventually the pain wasn’t worth it and I decided to have the IUD removed. As soon as it was out, my pain subsided and I gave a huge sigh of relief. I took matters into my own hands and spent hours online researching options. I wanted something effective, non-invasive and little to no hormones. I found it, went to my doctor and asked for it and I have now been happily on the same method for 2 years!
Turns out, I am not alone in this struggle to find a suitable birth control method. So I have finally decided to challenge this ridiculous process of trial and error and get serious about a solution. Everyone knows that we are unique and no one’s body is the same, so how could we possibly metabolize and respond the same to contraceptives? With Reya, I hope to acknowledge the differences of each individual and use their unique biological characteristics to help them find the best option for them! Unfortunately, no contraceptive is perfect, but I believe that if we just listen to our bodies we can get pretty damn close.