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The Pill: Friend or Foe?

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momlogic's Vivian:

birth control pills

A few weeks back, when it was announced that the Pill may soon be free, I wrote a piece about why that would be SUCH a good thing, and how ironic it was that our generation spent many more years trying to repress our fertility than we did trying to conceive.

Taking this thought ten steps further, writer Vanessa Grigoriadis wrote a compelling piece for New York Magazine called "Waking Up from the Pill," about how the sexual liberation of women of "a certain age" may have come at a considerable cost: their fertility.

"It's not at all out of the ordinary for a woman to be on the Pill from ages 18 to 35, her prime childbearing years," she writes. "While it is remarkably safe, almost like taking a vitamin, that's a long time to turn one's body into an efficient little non-procreative machine. The Pill basically tricks your body into thinking it's pregnant. The medicine takes control of your reproductive processes, pulsing progesterone and estrogen to suppress ovulation. The fact is that the Pill, while giving women control of their bodies for the first time in history, allowed them to forget about the biological realities of being female until it was, in some cases, too late."

She mentions how the Pill has made it easy for us to forget that "fertility is a gift of youth." Even while on the Pill, a woman's body still ages, depleting heathy eggs and developing a host of other potentially complicated conditions, even if the Pill has tricked us into thinking it hasn't.

What do you guys think? Have you spent years on the Pill, only to have trouble conceiving when you got off it?

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10 comments so far | Post a comment now
ss December 6, 2010, 12:38 PM

I think it’s a definite possibility. I always worried about this happening so every few years I’d take a year off from the pill but I still had trouble ovulating once I started trying to conceive and had to take fertility meds. I know a lot of women who went through the same thing.

KS December 6, 2010, 1:53 PM

I used Depo Prevera for birth control for a bit. Then I found myself pregnant after following the advice of a doctor who didn’t know what he was talking about.

After that experience I decided hormonal birth control came at a great cost to me and my body and wasn’t full proof anyway so why put myself through that. I used other methods of birth control and did not have another unexpected pregnancy.

Katie December 6, 2010, 2:40 PM

The Pill is a friend for sure but women tend to forget that by choosing to not have children until later in life they risk not being able to have them at all. It’s a sacrifice, you don’t always get to have it all. You have to make a choice sometimes. It sucks that guys can still have kids no prob much later on but it’s biology and while modern medicine has done wonders to help with infertility and later in life pregnancy it can’t always reverse it

Anonymous December 6, 2010, 3:42 PM

I don’t see how birth control fools you into forgetting your biology. You keep menstruating. Your body ages. It seems to me that forgetting your biology is more about American optimism and the belief that we can do anything.

Kathe Demay December 7, 2010, 4:07 AM

There is noticeably a bunch to know about this. I suppose you made various good points in features also.

Arlena Shattles December 7, 2010, 4:09 AM

Hello.This article was really interesting, particularly since I was browsing for thoughts on this subject last Sunday.

Steph December 7, 2010, 7:10 AM

I agree with Anonymous. The pill is contraception - it’s doesn’t obliterate my brain and cause me to forget basic biology.

Aprilcot26 December 7, 2010, 9:51 AM

At 27, when my husband and I decided to start trying for a baby, I’d been on the Pill for four years. Once I went off of it, I was pregnant within two weeks. I know this isn’t the norm, but I don’t think we know enough to say that the Pill is messing with women’s biology.

Anonymous December 7, 2010, 10:46 AM

I don’t really think the pill is messing with womens biology so much as women are messing with their biology. A woman can not be on the pill from age 16 to age 36, decide to have a baby, and expect it to magically happen. Yes, some will be lucky enough to get pregnant in their late 30’s and early 40’s but most womens fertility is greatly reduced by then so the “suprise” when they aren’t “wham, bam, thank you mam” knocked up is just the belief that you can do anything you want when unless you have a lot of money to do the fertility treatments, biology is going to tell you otherwise

Jenny March 17, 2011, 11:21 PM

@april, that’s amazing for you. congrats

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