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Dear Flora: Unwilling Mommy & Teen Birth Control

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Dear Flora,

My husband and I have been married for 7 years. We both have great jobs, and lots of time off saved up. We talked about starting a family before we got married, and decided to wait until we got more settled. Now is as ready as we'll ever be, but I'm still not sure I ever want to be pregnant. We're technically 'trying,' but I'm still secretly on birth control. Now he's talking about fertility help, and I know I'll be caught. How do I tell him I don't want to have a baby?

- Don't Call Me Mommy

Dear DCMM,

This is a tough conversation, and it may very well change your relationship permanently. That said, I never support anybody being pressured into pregnancy that they don't want, especially by someone they love. It's important that you recognize that the outcome of this conversation may go very, very badly, and possibly lead to irreparable damage.

First, map out your concerns to share with your husband. Is pregnancy scary for you? Is the idea of a changing body unappealing? Do you have medical concerns? These are important to share so he knows you're not just spiting him.

If you're open to the idea, could you consider adoption or surrogacy? Becoming foster parents? There are a number of ways to grow your family without you becoming pregnant. With adoption and fostering, you may even be able to adopt an older child, if the baby phase is what worries you the most. The best bet here is to be very, very honest. You should not have to get pregnant just to appease someone else, but your husband loves you, and may be open to other options.

Regarding your birth control, fess up. You definitely don't want to go through unnecessary medical treatment, and lying about birth control is extremely dishonest. Ne as straightforward as you can about it moving forward-- no more lies!

Dear Flora,

My daughter is 15, and recently asked if she can go on birth control. We've had "the talk" and spoke about condoms and several other options, but I feel like she's too young to be considering the pill. But I don't want her to have sex without protection, either. What do I do?

- Baby Pill Police

Dear BPP,

I think you have a worried instinct leading you in the right direction, but to an unhelpful conclusion. What I'm hearing is that you talked with your daughter about birth control and pregnancy prevention, but don't want to provide it on the assumption that she will be having sex. In reality, I think there's at least a chance that she already is.

If your daughter is asking for the pill, she may very well engage in risky behavior with or without it. From a safe sex standpoint, it would be a better decision to let her get on the pill, with the understanding of how it works, who will buy it, and who will pick it up when the prescription refills. You should also reiterate the important point that the pill is not 100% effective, and is only effective when used correctly.

We also need to consider the possibility that your daughter wants the pill for purposes outside sex. Hormonal birth control has been known to regulate menstrual cycles, decrease menstrual pain, and improve skin conditions such as acne. Sitting down and talking about why she wants the pill is going to be very helpful to you, and as important as discussing birth control in relation to sex.

That's all this time, Folks! Tune in in two weeks for a new installment!

*submissions may have been edited for clarity

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