Friday, June 10, 2011

The Scarlet Letter Takes On A New Meaning

“Uh Oh.” 

For the record, these are my two LEAST favorite words to hear after sex. 

I closed my eyes and waited for the bad news. Sure enough, the condom had broken. 

I’ve had slip ups before... mostly along the lines of the condom coming off on the way out and having a bit of spillage as a result. I’ve never actually had the entire tip ripped in a way that all the boys were able to get out and were now in the process of insanely racing their way through my nether regions. 

Sigh just doesn’t quite cut it this time... 

I went on birth control pills when I was fourteen. Like many girls just starting out with their periods, I had a very irregular menstrual cycle that was easily corrected with a low does birth control pill. I, however, was also planning on becoming sexually active with my high school sweetheart and informed my doctor that if it was all the same, I would like to be put on the higher dosage pill. No problem, of course. 

I stayed on the pill for almost ten years. I became very obsessive about my ritual and can probably count on one hand the amount of times I missed a night of pill popping. 

For some reason, I can’t remember exactly when I stopped taking it... I think it was when I moved to Las Vegas and I believe the original reason was because I didn’t have health insurance yet with my new job and the $30 per month for a refill instead of the $5 or $10 I was used to was not appealing to my wallet. Plus, I had moved back in with my parents and didn’t think I would be jumping back into sexy time in the near future. If so, there were always condoms. 

A couple of years ago, I worked for a few months as a Chiropractic Assistant. It was during this time that I learned the most about my health and the things I could do to ensure that I was allowing my body to do all the things it was designed to do. Specifically, stay off medications that cover symptoms and, instead, keep my body in alignment and give it the chance to heal itself. 

Living in a society that can’t wait to prescribe the next financially backed pain pill or cut into you to repair something that could probably be fixed with physical therapy, diet and exercise, the idea of living a clean life and seeking holistic remedies for any ailments seemed like a much better option for me. Plus, just like my feelings on Universal Law vs. organized religion, this approach to health simply made logical sense to me. 

I tend to take a bit of an extremist approach to things that I am passionate about and, therefore, a few years ago, I gave up on pills completely. I can’t remember the last time I took an aspirin. I keep ibuprofen in the house for emergencies (I had a bad fall off a horse a few years ago and with a pain level of a five out of ten, the doctor prescribed Vicodin. Really?? A few ibus will be just fine, thanks). I don’t take any cold medicine (in fact, I think NyQuil is pretty much the devil... how many symptoms can we mask before your body is so confused, that your immune system just shuts down completely?) and I figured while I was at it, I would go ahead and stay off birth control pills as well. 

I have had pretty significant allergies since moving to Vegas - every four months or so, like clockwork, when the temperature makes any kind of drastic change. Over the last year, my symptoms have lessened and lessened and now, I am almost completely acclimated. For someone who doesn’t take allergy medicine, this is huge for me - no more runny nose, red eyes and sore throat to deal with while trying to happily serve people food and drink. I attribute this to allowing my body to adjust naturally to its environment. Although it may have taken longer, I believe very strongly that the effects will be more permanent and, overall, I just feel better for being clean. 

Okay, that’s enough of my soapbox... this is a lifestyle that works for ME, not something I normally preach about. Except pain pills and NyQuil - everyone who knows me well knows how I feel about that... 

So, back to the Uh Oh... 

I always thought about the irony of life and how all of these women who want children more than anything try and try to get pregnant and can’t. They see specialists and take pills all in the hopes of fertilization. For someone who has never wanted kids, the condom breaks one time in fifteen years and nine months later, she’s standing in line for diapers. Where was that line in Alanis’s song? 

We didn’t talk about it much that night and he was off to work early the next morning. I woke up with a head full of thoughts that I couldn’t quite sort out. The “what ifs” were driving me mad. 

I wanted to blog about it that morning but had my concerns. After all, there would be a decision to be made if I were pregnant and the A word is quite controversial. Even I, who doesn’t fear expressing my thoughts on controversial subjects, thought it might be extreme to document the process. I emailed Tim back and forth and he convinced me to wait until at least he and I had a chance to sit down and really talk about it before I made a decision to write anything. 

Oh yeah, there’s someone else involved here... duh, Tina... 

By the time we met up that night, I had chilled out a bit. I decided that writing on the subject would only make me think about it ALL THE TIME and, as Tim said, it was more likely that there was nothing to worry about. 

However, over the next few days, so many thoughts went through my mind... 

Would I make a good mother? 

Could I afford a child? 

How would this affect our relationship? 

Where do I even get an abortion? 

Am I too old for an abortion? 

Ugh, I don’t want to be “that girl” that uses abortion as a form of birth control... 

I don’t even have health insurance. 

If I’m pregnant, will my mind automatically change to wanting kids? 

If I did choose abortion, would I be haunted for the rest of my life by my decision? 

Would he leave if I kept it? 

I tried not to be consumed with these thoughts all week. I had this weird “worried without being worried” kind of feeling which I can’t really explain. I feel like I’m really in touch with my body and, especially after talking things out with Tim, I was pretty confident that he was right: I had nothing to worry about. 

I’m surprised by how many people I know who have had abortions. I know some that have had multiple, in fact. I’ve always been pro-choice and don’t place judgment on those who choose to have abortions. I think the only thing that sits wrong with me are the girls that do nothing to prevent pregnancy, live promiscuous and irresponsible lifestyles and put their bodies through hell because they know that, in the end, they can fork over some money and “get it taken care of”. This idea disturbs me... 

Obviously, that’s not me - with the exception of not being on the pill, I did take all necessary precautions. I’ve been irresponsible in the past but a few bad test results from the doctor and a couple lessons in learning to love myself has changed that behavior. In all of my years using condoms, I’ve never actually had one break before. So, I certainly wasn’t beating myself up... just doing the typical “what does this mean” thing that drives me crazy. 

A little over a week later, I got my period as scheduled and the voices stopped. 

At lunch with my mom a few days ago, I told her about all of this. She asked me if I had been able to come up with a decision on what I would’ve done had I actually been pregnant. The truth is, no. I don’t think I can make any kind of choice like that based merely on speculation. I would definitely need to be facing the decision head on. 

And honestly, I'm kinda hoping I don’t ever have to. 

So, since realistically, abstinence just isn’t an option for me, I guess I’ll have to ask him to just double up from now on. 

Because THAT’s realistic, right?


  1. it doesn't get much more personal than that ;)

  2. No one can afford a child anymore. There was a stat posted on the news that said kids born in 2010 are going to cost on average $226,000 to raise to the age of 18 and that number DIDNT include college tuition. But then again in retrospect, I'm probably just being a crotchety old man at age 32.