I’m a Gen Xer and back in the late 1970s when I would have first sought contraception, options were fewer and information was scarce. The stigma of being an unmarried woman using birth control was still in full swing, despite the progress of the 1960s.
Today’s information is at our fingertips, a topic that led to a conversation with Cooper, a 29-year-old married woman not using contraceptives at present, and Haley, a 22-year-old single woman currently on the pill. We discussed whether they rely on peers for birth control reviews, how social media might direct their choices, and the benefits of services like Nurx.
Here’s how it went.
Me: When you first started using contraceptives, how did you decide which method you were going to use?
Haley, 22: I went to the health department and went on the pill. I think they told me about it treating acne and cramps.
Cooper, 29: That’s basically what I did, too. I was dating somebody seriously and I was 17. We had the conversation that it was time to do something, so I went to the health department and had a checkup. I also remember them mentioning something about acne prevention and stuff. But there weren’t a lot of options.
Haley: Yeah there weren’t shots or anything.
Cooper: And I really don’t know much about the shot, it was really just the pill when I was that age. Now it seems like there are so many options. Like the IUD, there is a lot I don’t know and I’d like to find out more. I really should do some research because there’s so much more than the pill.
Me: What about friends or other people’s experiences? Do you think they would influence your decision?
Cooper: Yeah, I would definitely ask friends what they use and if they like it.
Haley: But every woman’s body is different and how she might react to it (birth control). One friend was on the shot and missed her period, then got it for almost a month. But I’ve also heard stories about birth control pills and I’ve never had a problem.
Me: So if you wanted to change your birth control method, where would you find out more? Would you see a doctor, go back to the health department, online …
Cooper: I wouldn’t be opposed to seeking out information on social media. I saw a page on Facebook that talked about a service that mails your prescription to you — that’s cool. Like you go to your doctor to get the prescription and then have the pills mailed to you.
Me: Are you familiar with telehealth and services like Nurx where you can consult with a doctor online and have your prescription mailed to you?
Cooper: Really? Wow, that’s great, because making an appointment isn’t always easy! You don’t have to stop at a store and I wouldn’t have to worry when I’m running low.
Haley: Yeah, because I’ve run out of pills before and was like, oh crap! And the health department isn’t exactly the quickest way to get anything. You just go there and hope for the best.
Cooper: I think it’s exciting that things have changed in such a way that birth control is not taboo. That it is a necessity and women have options. One single method is not going to work for everyone.
Haley: Yeah, birth control is treated as reality.
Cooper: And you don’t want to jump through a bunch of hoops.