What's this? What's this? A reflection on my experience of learning about and trying different contraceptives until I found the one that worked for me.
Fresh out of high school and coming from a conservative family with strict parenting guidelines, my knowledge of contraception was limited to vague textbook descriptions and impressions of general uncomfortableness. The topic wasn't one I enjoyed as you can ironically learn about in my previous post Talking Sex.
Soon after moving out of home and asserting some independence over my choices and body, I realised that things like contraception and sexual health were just as important as yearly trips to the dentist. I talked with my friends when I was too shy to talk to anyone else and I had chats with my partner. At that point, condoms were the best option for me.
According to resources available on the Wellbeing Hub, condoms are the only form of contraception capable of protecting wearers from pregnancy AND sexually transmitted infections. These were a good option for myself and my partner however, over time I found myself concerned about the amount of waste they produced and the cost of constantly buying them.
If condoms are the best thing for you, the Student Wellbeing is currently running a condom collection service for free if you check out their sexual health page.
After some discussion with my doctor, my partner and I tested for STIs and decided to try the combined oral contraceptive pill.
Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill
There were many things I disliked about this pill, the stress of remembering to take it at the same time every damn day, monitoring periods and the side effects that I experienced were pretty bad. I also found it frustrating having to go back to the doctor for prescriptions which I completely understand given it is a medication but to put it bluntly, I am lazy.
This is when my doctor first suggested an implant.
I will admit the idea of getting my arm cut open and something jammed inside weirded me out but it was nothing like that. I had a pre-'surgery' appointment with my doctor to talk about medical history and get the regular check over. Then I had to pick up the implant from the pharmacy with a prescription.
On the day, they gave me some anaesthetic and used a device kind of like the guiding things on a tampon and it was over! Mild bruise for a week and three years of contraceptive I could literally just set and forget. At this point, I am pretty happy with where it is at. It's something I don't have to stress about too often.
If you need some advice on what works best for you, talk to a medical professional, they are there to help you. As you can see, my experience had some ups and downs and that is perfectly normal. You are not alone in your sexual health journey.