Susan Dennis (susandennis) wrote,
Susan Dennis

Birth Control Nightmare - Another adventure in The Good Old Days Were Not.

One of the people on my LJ list talked about her birth control today - and it nearly gave me PTSD.

For so many years, my life revolved around birth control. It's been many more since it hasn't but still the scars seem fresh. It's an ugly ugly tail.

The pill was made generally available when I was a teenager BUT, it was not made generally available to me or any of my friends. Most doctors would never give a prescription to someone who was not married and who had never had any children. My Mom had had 3 and her doctor gave her a rough time about it.

So off I went to college with viable plumbing and full ovaries, little info, no resources and rarin' to go! I was vaguely aware of condoms but no one in their right mind would actually use them. AIDS was years away yet. I did not have sex until January before I turned 21. (There's a fun little story for ya. Another time...) I did not get pregnant. But it did ratchet up the birth control situation.

I found a back alley doctor (I was at college about 600 miles from home) through a friend of a friend and made an appointment and got the coveted prescription by telling the doctor I was married and we wanted to wait. I signed one paper saying that I understood that using the pill could prevent me from having children even after I stopped using it. I forged another paper with my 'husband's' name saying that he gave permission. (He was out of town and unable to come in with me.)

And those motherfuckers were expensive so, of course, I ran out of money and pills. And then I got pregnant. Abortion was not legal in the United States. I went to England (another fun little story. Another time...)

More pills, more money issues, and I got pregnant again. This time Roe v. Wade had done their blessed work so it was easier. And Planned Parenthood was growing. Bless them. I went to work for IBM. IBM had superlative benefits. BUT the only kind of birth control they covered was abortion. I kid you not.

IUD's were new and cheaper and not recommended for women who had not had a baby but what the heck, I'd try it. FAIL. And I used that aforementioned benefit.

Getting your tubes tied was a thing that mothers with enough babies did. Women who had had no babies did not. In fact, in North Carolina, where I lived, it was illegal for women under 30 with no babies to get it done. So for my wedding present, at my request, my husband got a vasectomy. He just went one day and came home snipped.

Then we separated and I was in need again... This time I was over 30. The law made allowances for spinsters. BUT I had to have the signed agreement from two psychiatrists before I could legally have the procedure done. And it got worse. The day I went in, the admitting person asked me if I was married or divorced. And while I was still legally married, I told her I was divorced.

This turned out to be a very excellent lie because she then crossed out the section that required my husband's consent! Yep, he could get his penis rendered baby free without so much as even telling me if that's what he wanted to do and I - the one who would actually be fucking pregnant - had to have his permission.

But, tubes were tied and the nightmare of birth control was in my rear view mirror.
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