We Use Birth Control Pills But Not For Birth Control: A Mother and Her Teenage Daughter Speak

Amie Newman
Jul 26, 2016 · 5 min read

It’s often worse for young women. Teens who use the pill are more likely to use it for reasons other than birth control. In fact one out of every three young women use the pill for non-contraceptive purposes.

Mother: Over the years to help flush out ovarian cysts and to manage the onset of peri-menopause.

Mother: I’m not currently using it; so on and off.

Mother: My experience is in getting her [my daughter’s] prescription filled. They ask her age and what you are picking up, it’s not discreet, they look twice when you say birth control. It always feels aggressive and with a big dose of judgement. So much so that I no longer bring [my daughter] with me to the pharmacy.

Daughter: Yes, because by having it only associated with one use it doesn’t take into account all the other ways it’s used.

Mother: Yes, but not only the name. It needs to be changed in practice. How it is prescribed, in what format, etc. For example, pills are still given in the format of the little monthly packet with placebo pills. This is wasteful and unnecessary when using for a three month on/one week off plan and insurance companies will often count all the pills in the packet, including the placebo, so at some point you think you want to refill sooner than you need.

Daughter: For the people who use it for other uses — when you get prescriptions or go to the doctor — uneducated people will make assumptions about you that aren’t true.

Mother: It can feel demoralizing. Our limited reference point as something to control birth keeps the conversation about sex and does not allow for the celebration of women through the many stages of life we experience.

Both: More education for health care professionals who in turn can more effectively care for us in a progressive and relevant way.

Daughter: Both.

Mother: I think if you look at the history of the pill, how it’s used, how we deny this right to women and still debate it, what you see is a conversation that is not focused on the rights and welfare of girls and women. It does not feel as progressive as it should. It’s wrapped up in shame.

Daughter: I would want to tell them to educate themselves and get the support they need.

Are you a young woman needing more information about the birth control pill (or any form of contraception)? Check out Planned Parenthood.

You can find more information on state laws and policies surrounding teens and contraception, here.

Ask Me About My Uterus

Essays, interviews, and research about reproduction health, menstruation, endometriosis, PCOS, PMDD, menopause, miscarriage, identity, infertility and more.

Amie Newman

Written by

Communication + Writing for Social Change: amienewman.com. Writer, Our Bodies Ourselves. Feminist Warrior.

Ask Me About My Uterus

Essays, interviews, and research about reproduction health, menstruation, endometriosis, PCOS, PMDD, menopause, miscarriage, identity, infertility and more.