Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The morning after the night before

*** Disclaimer - this is one of the ones that people that know the real me should proddly steer away from reading***

On the drive back from Sydney, gf1 and I got talking about my veganism. I was explaining that it's difficult for me to know where to draw the line, as I had just started my Gardasil vaccination and I'm on The Pill and hadn't thought about it until it was brought up on a forum the other day, and she was talking about eating plants and other living things, and would vegans take the morning after pill (her younger sister has recently started work at a chemist).

"You wouldn't believe the number of people that come in and ask for it... she says there's quite often five or six people in a day... Maybe because she is girl and she is young they ask her... there is a special form for them to fill out with a special name... at least she is seeing the consequences of what could happen... though I guess they justify that they might not have been pregnant anyway so it's not like they're really killing a living thing...(gf1sExBestFriend) had one..."

And I couldn't not say something.

"I've had it."

"...Oh... When you were with Stoopid ex?"


"...Well... you weren't ready back then anyway."


Again, another thing I'd never really thought about until it slaps me right in the face.

When I first became 'active' I only used condoms - I have NEVER had unprotected sex -until the time that I was housesitting and experienced a tense 50-something days between periods and decided that enough was enough, and I'd build up the guts to go see the lady doctor (proddly three years after the first time). After I'd already started The Pill, I remember going in to see the doctor on a Thursday or a Friday for a different script and being told that I was to be careful as it would reduce the effectiveness of The Pill. And I remember going to the doctor on the Saturday morning after that to get the morning after pill and being chided for not doing as she had said. It wasn't that I 'couldn't help myself' (as much as I'm sure he'd love to think) but that because I only had one 'level' of protection and that made me very uncomfortable.

I'd never thought of it as an abortion.

I don't know what I'd thought of it as - it had slipped right back in my mind.

It's disheartening to look back and remember the time that I was quite adamant that I would have no issue with abortion. And not quite so far back that I was foolish enough to put myself in a position that there was even a small tiny minute chance of falling pregnant. And not quite so far back before before that that I made a decision so flippantly without even realising until NOW what may actually have been going on.

Not that I wish I had had a baby back then. Not that I regret the decision as such. But that whilst there have been times I've regretted my 'history' (things would be SO much easier now had I waited for The Hun), I've never REALLY realised that I was playing with fire. Until now.

Have you had it?

What did you think at the time?

What do you think now?


Lulu said...

I haven't had it. It is now available in Japan now though I think...

I am on the pill, and do not trust it 100% so despite having a long-term partner I use condoms 50% of the time anyway as well. (Is that too personal? :p)

I probably would take it though if I felt I needed to although I guess now if I got pregnant (while with Shun) then we would have the baby anyway. I doubt I would have thought twice about it at 16 or 17.

I don't think I could have an abortion however but I guess I do not see it as the same thing but I realize for some people it might be. I am pro-choice and figure if I am pro-choice for Abortion then I am pro-choice for morning after pill.

I worry that people would be using this as their only form of contraception though.

I have actually gone with a male friend before to get the morning after pill and we used my name and details because the boys gf refused to go to the chemist with him to get it even though she wanted it (She was afraid somebody would see her???). He went to one place but they wouldn't let him get it, so he called me and I had to go in with him and get it. I regret doing that because the reason they ask for your name ( I think?) is to stop people getting it over and over again which is apparently not so healthy. Also I suppose in case there are side effects or they need to contact you. I was 17 at the time and so was the girl and boy I helped out but It was still kind of stupid for me to go get it in her place.

Halliwell said...

Thats a massive can of worms u have opened with no right or wrong answer only opinions and im sure that believes on both sides wont be converted.

How can it be abortion if it prevents ovulation and attacks the sperm?
The medical consensus is that pregnancy begins with implantation, not fertilization. But some define pregnancy as beginning with fertilization. it becomes a person's individual definition of pregnancy.

Im just glad u had the sence to use some form of contraception and it's even better that u used 2.

Do u support the male pill?
Im not convinced on any pill as who know's what long term effect it has on ur body and ur re-productive system.

Enny said...

lulu - I don't trust it 100% either, but if there was some amazing way that I did manage to fall pregnant now, there wouldn't be a question of whether or not I would keep it (even though we're unmarried and renting!). I do think that with the large number of people getting it they may be using it as their contraception, though how they could do it I don't know - surely it'd be bad for you! I also can't believe that the boys gf wouldn't go herself!!! It's not your fault that you had to go - what would they have done if you hadn't?!

halliwell - No no, no can of worms - it's more a case of me thinking it through, not a case of trying to convert ppl (this isn't intended as a sly vegan thing). Had the egg and sperm met, wouldn't that be the start of life? And so destroying it would make it an abortion? I don't believe it's something that can be defined at a set point - when does it become a life? Personally, if I were pregnant, I would imagine it would begin (for me) as the moment it all happened - not 24 or 48 hours later. Similarly - I understand that it's not necessarily aborting - if you're stopping the sperm before it physically gets anywhere, it's not really any different to catching it and chucking it in the bin! I don't know enough about the male pill to be sure, but I don't think it would stop me taking my pill, nor condom use - so it seems like a bit of a waste!

(In terms of reproductive system - I know someone who's been on the pill since lik 16 - almost 10 years later and they were off it for only two months now - they're 6 weeks pregant!)

Melly` said...

I have four beautiful children. Three of them are of reproductive age. I have also had terminations (abortions)and used the "morning after pill".

It is not an easy decision - I dont think any woman takes it lightly. Sometimes it is simply self preservation. In that - I would of been 28 years old with 8 children had I not been lucky enough to have modern "intervention".

The REAL questions is of the CHOICE. I am grateful I live in a place I had that choice. Raising four kids has been .... damn hard work .... eight?

My oldest daughter CHOSE to become a young single mother. My other daughters I REALLY HOPE wont make that choice. But that is it - it is THEIR choice.

Jennifer said...

Good post Enny, I love to think about tricky stuff!!

I have almost no natural cycle so I've been on the pill since I was 12 so that I can be "normal". I have a sneaking suspicion I couldn't fall pregnant very easily even if I was trying because of all my internal girl part/hormone weirdness.

Having said that, The Ex is the only person I have ever "been involved" with, and after we'd been together for quite a few months (having known each other 8+ years and having been together previously) we started relying on on the pill.

In hindsight it was a stupid thing to do, we had very different but clear views about abortion and all of that. He mentioned that if I was to fall pregnant than "it would just be assumed I'd 'get rid of it' quickly and quietly". I am absolutley pro choice and would never question anyone's decision but I don't know if I could just run off and do it so...easily?

A baby right now (aside from being an absoulte miracle now that it would be immacuate conception) would ruin everything. I have no degree, I'm single, young, almost umemployed and live with my parents but I still don't know what I'd do?

I suppose it's not really something I could form a true and real opinion about without having been in the situation myself, but I'd never judge any one's decision about this stuff, it's way too personal a decision.

Amanda said...

Thanks Enny,
I toyed with the idea of not replying, but I decided that would be silly.

I too took the morning after pill once. It was after one very silly night several years ago, and while we had used a condom, we later discovered there was a very small chance it broke. As with Jennifer, there was very little chance that I could fall pregnant, due to screwed up hormones. However, I took it to be on the safe side.

I'm not sure if I ever really thought of it as abortion. However, I don't know how much of this was because of the pretty big certainty that I wasn't pregnant. If there was more of a chance I was, I don't know what I would have thought. Like you, I don't think I've ever really thought about it like that.

I am pro-choice, but think that, should I fall pregnant tomorrow (also by immaculate conception), I would keep the baby. I don't think I could have said the same thing a couple of years ago.

I can't believe Lulu had to go get it for the guy's gf. I totally understand why she now feels guilty, but it's not a situation she should have ever been put in (please, in no way think that I'm thinking badly of Lulu, I'm not. I think it's wonderful that she had the guts to do it, as you say, imagine what may have happened if she hadn't). However, if you feel your're old enough to have sex, you should also be prepared to face up to the consequences. No two ways about it. Its appalling to put someone else in that situation.

Adam said...

Lulu, that was a totally nice thing you did.

Cara tried the normal pill but it messed her up quite a bit. She slept like hardcore and was groggy every morning so we rely on condoms 100% and haven't had any scares.

My opinion is that the Morning After pill isn't abortion because 'life' doesn't start until much later. The sperm meeting the egg is the start of the chemical process where life comes from, but life hasn't started at that point.

If you worry about that, then where does it end? Would a vegan never ejaculate because it would cause the death of millions of sperm?

My personal opinion is that people should only have children if they are in the perfect situation to raise them. I honestly think that a lot of people don't even deserve to be parents. I do completely understand the weight of a decision of termination, I understand it completely but in a world where overpopulation is a serious world-affecting problem people need to be practical and only have children if they simply can't live without them.

Jey said...

oh bugger me!
my comment didn't post
might try again later

Chesty LaRue said...

Very interesting post, this one. Nice work, Enny.

I've used the morning after pill once, years ago. I didn't think of it as abortion then, and I don't really now, altough I'm not sure why not and its not a position I could back up if challenged.

I'm pro-choice and I don't think anyone should feel obligated to bring a child into the world if for whatever reason they don't think it's the right thing to do, and I think the morning-after pill is a better alternative to waiting and seeing. Back then, had I got preggers I'm fairly certain how I would have handled it. Now, I'm in a completely different situation, and my decision would reflect that.

Having said that, relying on the MAP for contraception can't be good for you, and it doesn't protect you from all the other nasties out there, so if you're having 'casual sex' it's also risky in that way.

Lulu - I think you're a good friend but I agree with Amanda (I think) - if you're old enough to be having sex you should be old enough to get over the embarrassment of dealing with the consequences, and this girl doesn't seem to be.

Mars said...

yeah, this is an interesting post. i've had the morning after pill, and i'd have it again... i'd much rather do that than wait and hope for the best. but it did screw my body up... i'd never had any sort of cramps before and my flow was always pretty light (this is too much information, isn't it?) until i had that morning after pill... i attribute all my problems hence-forth to it, to be honest. not that i have any serious problems, thigs just aren't as easy as they used to be i suppose... and i made the fella pay. he knew the situation and that i wasn't on the pill so i was actually pretty pissed off at the way all those events unfolded at the time. (are you sure this isn't too much information?)

i thought about going back on the pill, but it all seems rather pointless to me... sex is (ermmm...) infrequent, so why should i put my body through artificial hormones for the sake of convenience... maybe if i thought it was necessary i'd go back on it, but can't see that happening any time soon.

as for abortion, i think i'm past the time in my life where i would have done that. i think it's totally acceptable for anyone who chooses to go down that path, but for me, knowing that i definitely want atleast one child, i don't think it's something i'd do now regardless of whether i was in a committed relationship or not. i sort of think, there's people in far worse situations than me and they can do it, so there's no reason i can't.

and that's my 2c. did you even want it?

Enny said...

Sorry for taking so long to get back here (this is gonna be hard)!!!

melly - I think that I took it too lightly at the time - that I didn't really think it through? I can appreciate that choice is a good thing, but it's a sh!t choice.

d'jen - 12? You poor thing! I didn't start until the end of year 8 or yr 9 (I can't remember which now!) but I remember being soooo jealous of everyone else who had 'grown up' - I shoulda realised how lucky I was! I also had almost no natural cycle so I was ALWAYS on edge - but I do believe that decision to abort would be much heavier than the 'just in case' type abortion of the MAP... I mean, once you KNOW, I can't imagine how hard that would be (if that was the way a decsion was headed).

amanda - thanks for deciding to comment! I completely understand your decision - the Just In Case seems to be the main reason for take it (surely there can't be too many that DO rely on it for their only contraceptions?) And I don't think anyone is thinking you're thinking poorly of Lulu - she did something for a friend that not many would do!

adam - sounds like it really messed Cara up - that's insane! I can understand an opinion based on scientific reason, but there is life there... kinda like animals and souls - I believe all animals have a soul, and I'm unsure how many others would agree (and your vegan sperm thing made me laugh out loud - though you do make a point!). And even I know people who deserve children who can't have them, and I'm sure it won't be long before I meet some who shouldn't have them.

jey - don't you HATE that!!

c'larue - finding a way to back it up is the tricky part... I'm quite quick to jump so quickly into a frame of my mind that I don't yet have either feet on the ground (and no legs to stand on!)... I wonder how many people also pick up some wart cream with their pill!

mars - sue Sue SUE!!! No not too much info - as much as I tried to dislaim it, I have the feeling some of my brothers, brothers girlfriend, friends and even brothers girlfriends friends could read this!!! I think that even if I weren't 'involved' I'd keen on with The Pill, only because it allows me to plan ahead for my week off, and I don't BELIEVE it's doing any long term damage... And that's my main argument for having a kid if it was an accident - I know a few ppl that make it look so easy, surely I can do it too! (and yes I did!)

Teej Mahal said...

I have, once.

I lost my virginity on my 16th birthday to my then boyfriend (not my idea, but I won't go into that here), and decided to get the morning after pill to ensure that I was covered.

I was an emotional wreck because of the circumstances, I was still bleeding heavily (turns out I actually had some serious internal damage = eww), and the morning after pill made me really really sick.

Do I regret taking it? Hell no. Absolutely no hesitation. The potential alternative would have been much more harmful to me.

[You can file this under the 'waaaay too much information' category if you'd like, but you DID ask...]

Anonymous said...

I think it is a huge pity that people never talk about abortion and the morning after pill. It turns out that masses of women have done one or the other, but many feel alone cos noone talks about it.

Also, abortion is stigmatised as something ordinary people don't do, which is not true. I am pro choice. But I think these sort of events when we are young can come back to haunt us later on. If more people talked about it, people may make different choices.

It is a very big topic. Thanks for bringing it up. And I appreciate that other commenters have remained civilised and been so open.

Enny said...

teej - that sounds more than a lil traumatic (internal bleeding? lordy!) and the extra affect of the MAP wouldn'a helped atn! And I can see in this case that it was definately a good idea... so I guess that does make me pro choice? And no, no judgement here!

seepi - why hullo! Funnilly enough, it was the first time that stuff came up with my friends... we were friends all through high school and college, but just aren't the type to talk about that sorta stuff (hence why I put it on my blog!) and I do kinda wish we did. I think something that also plays on my mind is that my mum told me that one of my aunts had an abortion and it 'came back to haunt her' years and years later, leading to a pretty messed up divorce (particularly for their two kids)... I remember thinking how lucky I was that that wouldn't happen to me, so it was a bit of a shock to have it pointed out that perhaps I had.

And I too would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone for being so honest here too (as uncomfortable as it might have made you!) - I really do value your input.

Anonymous said...

Hey there! I am back!

How did you go with WW? I had a big break cus I developed a bit of an ED (stress, veganism, worried etc), but I am back on track with a clear mind-frame now and stuck to my guns with my decision to be a Vegan.

My new blog is:

M said...

I've never had a cause to take it, but if I was younger and not in a relationship etc then I would. I don't really see it as terminating a life because quite frankly when you take the MAP you don't know whether you're pregnant or not, your hazarding a guess just in case.

As for abortion - I haven't had one of those either but, I am definitely pro-choice. If I found out I was pregnant tomorrow I would have an extremely difficult time making that decision of whether to have it or not though. I don't take the decision of having a baby lightly. Some people think that women use abortion as birth control or take the decision lightly but I disagree. I think it would be the world's hardest decision - especially after a certain age.

I've been on the pill for a few years now. I don't like it and only went on it to regulate the hormones/period. I think it's a pain in the arse and I have no idea what it's doing to my body ..it sort of scares me actually...

Another Outspoken Female said...

I went off on a totally different tangent when I read the first few lines of your post - I was thinking about being vegan and taking medication that had lactose (sugar derived from cows milk) in them. That's a whole different vegan conundrum.

The MAP is a mixed blessing. A massive dose of hormones, something that "DES daughters" (that's a 60's/70's drug fuck up story) should be screened from and never given. Like the pill, a wonderful step for feminism, but maybe not the best thing for our health.

The contraception that is maybe more of an issue for a vegan is the IUD. This doesn't stop conception, rather stops the embryo from implanting in the uterus. Mini miscarriage each month.

Good luck with your wonderings :)

m. said...

as a guy, i've never slept with anyone without using a condom, which thusfar has worked well. the only time i plan on going without is if i ever do the kids thing. seeing as i hate children, this is unlikely. but, if e-bay changed it's policy and allowed me to auction off any of my demon-spawn, i might consider it.

Enny said...

Jessika - welcome back!

m - I think that's the root (no pun intended!) of the issue - it's a 'just in case', but it could also be the other side of the coin. I do also think that abortion would be a bigger case of the same thing - something that you may or may not always entirely comprehend, but that has the potential to come back and bite you in the ass. And I think there's a whole crew of us on the 'regulating' Pill train!

AOFemale - That would be another post entirely - one I'm kinda playing out on other forums and working me way through. I hadn't heard of DES daughters - THAT'S some scary stuff. There seem to be a lot of IUD and rod vegans around too, though I haven't researched those that much (ie, I didn't know about the mini miscarriage!).

m. - good boy! I do agree - non gloved love should only be for baby maker wannabes (tho I can't say i TOTALLY agree with the ebay thang)!

Ampersand Duck said...

Sorry, I'm a bit late getting into this thread, but I still would like to add that I'm one of those people who has a really bad reaction to the morning-after pill.

Also, I love the (contraceptive) pill because it allowed me to regulate my periods -- I read many years ago that one of the reasons modern women have so many problems with their ladybits (and with osteoparosis) is because they have many more periods in a lifetime than they used to; less pregnancies (if at all) and longer lives and all that.

So I would take my Pill back to back and give myself only a few periods a year, which worked beautifully. I haven't been on the Pill for ages (thanks to baby-making attempts), but I'm about to go back on it and I'll do the same again. It makes your life ever so much easier, and probably gives your poor female body a bit of a break too.

Enny said...

&Duck - no worries! I had no idea about the ladybits-pill-related issues... I've started skipping every second one (lazy etc) but I think I've read that there's no reason you couldn't skip a few at a time (tho I don't know that I would do more than two... it would jus get odd and I'd feel I was 'carrying some extra weight...'!