CONTRACEPTION: THE LOW DOWN

26 March 2019


I asked on Instagram and Twitter for people's experiences with different types of contraception and I got more responses than expected. The amount of responses I got shows me that it is something a lot of people, mainly women do want to talk about as it affects people so differently and these affects can often be quite negative.

Here are some examples of the responses I received from women currently using contraception, I won't be using names:

"The implant gave me a month long period."
"Mood swings on the first pill now I have changed I feel fine."
"Rigevidon made me feel really down and angry."
"The pill made me put on sooo much weight and became so spotty until I came off it."
"The pill made me feel depressed."
"The pill made me feel like I was so down and alone, I also gained weight, skin was horrible."
"The injection f*cked me up, I got super depressed. I stopped doing things and stopped going into college. Never again"
"I've had a bad experience on so many pills including Yasmin, Microgynon, Cerelle. Problems included weight gain, nausea, the worst skin and pain. I hate the pill."
"The pill is amazing for me but I had the worst mental health and doctors wouldn't take me off it because it was 'too soon', they told me to give it a chance."

The main purpose of this post is to make people think about how important it is to find the right contraception for you or your partner because there are so many horrible side affects as you can see from the responses above.

Firstly, I need to emphasise that everyone is affected differently by different forms of contraception and by no means should anyone be scared off it by this post. I am just trying to educate people on possible side affects so that people make sure they get what is right for them. There are so many different types of contraception that I didn't even know about. Researching this has been a learning curve for me too.

I didn't really have sex education at my school after the age of 12, and then it was about periods and stuff rather than being safe with sex. When we did learn about it at school we just learnt about condoms which are obviously a good form of contraception as they also protect against STI's but they are not the only form of contraception out there.

If you are like me and the thought of an injection, implant or coil really cringes you out then there are lots of different types of pills that do different things to your hormones and have different amounts of hormones in them.

Due to the amount of negative responses about contraception side affects, it seems to me like women have to go through a trial and error process before they find a good contraceptive that suits them. In my opinion, doctors should be doing more to make sure pills and other contraceptives aren't harming people.

In my experience, they gave me 3 months worth of pills to start with before checking my blood pressure again and prescribing me another 3 months worth of pills at the end. Now, they give me 6 months worth at a time and will only give me a pill check every 12 months where they will check my blood pressure again. They have never once asked me about my mental health and the pill and other contraceptives have seemed to have affected the mental health of a number of women.

One of the responses above, refers to the implant and mental health. She said she had told the doctors she didn't want the implant anymore as she knew it affected her mental health in a negative way. The doctors thought it was too soon, seemingly ignoring her request and disregarding the severity of the effect it was having on her mental health.

People using words such as "depression" when it comes to contraception just goes to show the severity of the effect it can have on mental health. In extreme cases, it could possibly make girls and women feel suicidal. If there is a chance that this could happen, isn't asking how your mental health is in on a pill check the least doctors could do? I am not saying no doctors ask, I am just basing this on my own experience and those of my followers.

It is also important that men understand the possible side affects women could be facing just to sleep with them. It's important to spot differences in women's mental health and attitudes in case they are being affected by contraception. It's also important to support them through the decisions they make about contraception as these decisions often concern men too.

My advice would be make sure you research contraception before you decide what would be best for you. If you do hear bad things about certain types, remember that it might not be the same for you as all types of contraception affects people differently. It is all about what suits you. Finally, don't put sex before your mental health.



INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

8 March 2019

This month is Women's History Month and Friday is International Women's Day. To celebrate this day I will be sharing with you some of the most iconic, influential women to me. As a woman who studies gender inequality, this day holds significance for me. These women are in no particular order.

1. Jo Kenny (my mum). The most iconic woman by far, who always enjoys life while drinking a glass of prosecco or G&T. She cooks the best lasagne and roast dinners. She also managed to still be an amazing mum by herself when my dad had to go away with work (My dad is also iconic and fab).

2. Frida Kahlo. A Mexican artist, well-known for her self-portraits and exploring questions of gender, postcolonialism, class and race in her art.

3. Emmeline Pankhurst. She led the suffragette movement for the women's right to vote and she played a big role of winning the vote for women in the UK.

4. Emily Davison. A suffragette who fought for women's right to vote in the UK. She went on hunger strike seven times and was force fed on forty-nine occasions. She was also arrested over ten times for her dedication to winning the vote for women.

5. Dolly Parton. Her song 9 to 5 for the movie 9 to 5 (1980) exposes the inequality women have faced in the workplace being secretaries, while only men have had power.

6. Jameela Jamil. A British actress and activist. She promotes body positivity for women on social media. She has started the I Weigh movement on Instagram for body positivity.


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7. Michelle Obama. As first lady of America, she was, and still is a role model for women. She has also worked as an advocate for poverty awareness, education and nutrition.

8. Cher. She has been an icon for females during her six decade career.

9. Reese Witherspoon. Not only did she play the iconic Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, a game changer for teenage girl movies, but she also won Glamour's woman of the year award in 2015. Her "What do we do now?" speech also changed the game for women in acting.

10. Beyoncé. One of the most influential female music artists for women to date.

11. Ariana Grande. God is a woman, and it is Ariana Grande. After everything that has happened to her in the last few years with the Manchester Attack and Mac Miller, she is still putting out chart-topping music and still continues to be one of the most influential women.

12. Malala Yousafzai. An activist from Pakistan. The Taliban stopped girls from going to school and after fighting against this she was shot in the side of the head. After a miraculous recovery, and telling her story, she is now studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the university of Oxford, UK.

13. Rosa Parks. In the 1950s in America, it was a rule that seats on buses would be given up for white people if the bus was full. Rosa Parks, a black woman, refused to give up her seat. Well-behaved women are not the ones who make history.


14. Audrey Hepburn. An actress who used her platform to become a humanitarian.

15. Katherine G Johnson. Her mathematical calculations of orbital mechanics allowed the first subsequent US manned spaceflights. You have probably heard of Neil Armstrong instead, the first man on the moon.

16. Sandra Bullock. American actress and philanthropist.

17. Jane Fonda. An American actress, also an activist for feminism and she campaigned against the Vietnamese War.

18. Kehlani. Despite attempting suicide, she continues to make music and promotes being a strong woman.

19. Adwoa Aboah. Activist and model who founded GURLS TALK, a website, Instagram page, and podcast for women. At the moment, she is campaigning against period poverty which is a huge problem in the world today. Some women across the world cannot afford their necessary sanitary products.

20. Marie Curie. She changed the world by founding radioactive science and launched effective cures for cancer. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and first female professor at the University of Paris.