Milestones mark passages of time in a woman's life as she transitions from one phase to the next. From adolescence to young adulthood; from single adulthood to marriage; from lover and wife to mother; from new mother to middle age; and then through menopause.
One ghost haunting a woman through all these life stages is birth control. From her first visit to the gynecologist to the time she gets her first mammogram, she must either be pregnant or no longer able to conceive in order to stop thinking about it.
Nowadays it seems there are so many different types of birth control pills that technically a woman doesn't even need to menstruate anymore if she chooses not to. From IUDs to pills; tubal ligation to hysterectomies; shots, patches, rhythm method, withdrawal, abstinence, the sheer number of birth control options can be interesting at best, and quite traumatizing at worst.
It may be exciting, novel and somewhat fascinating in the beginning. Becoming a woman really can be exciting; a time of crossing the threshold into a new world, new beginnings, adventure, freedom.
After years of trying various types of birth control however, it can be boring, frustrating and downright infuriating. IUDs inserted, which cause weeks of bleeding, pain and/or don't work and result in pregnancy! Pills that cause weight gain, skin problems, mood swings, headaches.
I can't even add up the number of hours I've spent online on various chat boards looking up the symptoms I was experiencing during the usage of this or that birth control; hours worrying that something went wrong, that I was sick or damaged due to an unusual side effect or bizarre onslaught of a never ending period.
What's a girl to do? At fifteen we swallow our pills dutifully though we probably forget to take more than we actually take and since we're not really having sex very often anyway, it usually doesn't matter.
At 25 we are "trying the diaphragm" in hopes of weaning ourselves off of those hormones and taking control of "the moment." Then the pregnancies are a blessed break in the cycle. Okay, we're mothers now, nursing. Does nursing prevent pregnancy?