But before I get into why I think it's so crucial that we discuss hormonal birth control, I want to take a little detour and tell you about my journey learning about unmedicated ("natural") birth.
(It's gonna be relevant, I promise.)
However, as I researched more about the topic, I realized that unmedicated childbirth may not be ideal for many women--not because of any clinical evidence, but because it should be more about what makes the mother feel the most comfortable, the most secure, and the most confident in her birth experience. If that means giving birth at home, delivering via c-section, or getting an epidural, you go girl. More power to you.
In addition, I realized it wasn't about what women chose, it was about what they knew about their choices and options. I slowly realized that, even though unmedicated childbirth was 100% the right choice for me, it wasn't about making every other woman choose the "right" option according to Danielle. The part that made my blood boil was when women wanted choices, wanted options, whatever they may have been, but didn't feel like they had them, or felt steamrollered into choosing the easiest option for the hospital. My philosophy on childbirth changed from "My way is the best way" to "everyone should know their options so they can choose their own best way."
I feel 100% the same about hormonal birth control. Do I think it's dangerous? Yes. Do I think women should know more about how the Pill affects their hormones and bodies? 100 percent. Do I believe we should be talking about the risks, side effects, and long-term effects on women's health? Abso-freaking-lutely. Do I secretly judge women who take hormonal birth control? NO.
It should never be about shaming women for being on the pill or for choosing hormonal birth control; the fact of the matter is, with the way the US medical system is set up, most women don't really "choose" hormonal birth control from one out of many options--it's presented as the only reasonable option. And that needs to change. I mean, I had no idea fertility awareness even existed until my mid-20's, and I had been seeing several different OB-GYNs for years before that!
The Business of Being Born had an incredible influence on the amount, type, and breadth of information given to women about natural childbirth, and it is my deepest hope that their new documentary will do the same thing for women's options when it comes to birth control--the entire spectrum of it, including fertility awareness. This topic is highly controversial and multi-faceted, but I believe 100% that it needs to be addressed, debated, discussed, and re-thought.
I'll wrap up this blog post by sharing one of my favorite "aha!" moments from a homebirth workshop I recently attended in NYC. One of the panelists was a doula who was addressing an audience question about the risks of homebirth. She said (and I'm paraphrasing here), "Its not about which has less risk, the hospital or the home birth, because truthfully, they are both risky. Birth itself is an inherently risky proposition, no matter if you give birth in a state-of-the-art hospital or on a dirt road. The question is, which set of risks are you more comfortable with?" In other words, if getting a c-section seems like the ultimate scare, then choose a birth setting that would give you the least likely rate of cesarean. If, on the other hand, your biggest fears are the "what if's" that might happen if you need advanced medical care in the hospital, then you might feel safer giving birth in a medical environment. One thing is certain, though: in order to make a choice, you have to have options. And in order to have options, you have to know about multiple different possibilities. That's true whether you're talking about childbirth or career paths or educational opportunities or birth control.
That is why i believe this documentary is such a crucial avenue for getting women the information they badly need about hormonal birth control. It will address so many topics about hormonal birth control that are long overdue for public discussion and awareness. If you think this topic is as important as I do, please donate here. Share the link on Facebook, on Twitter, with your family and friends. Together we can make this happen!