Let's talk contraception!
But first, in no way am I an expert and if you want to know more you should see your doctor or do some independent research. Let's be honest though, I have been somewhat unsuccessful in using birth control 🙈 (two babies later) but I have trialed a few different options (six to be exact) and finally found one that suits me.
When I fell pregnant at fifteen I was not using any birth control, partly because I was uneducated but partly because I thought I was invincible. My catholic high school preached abstinence and whilst that is technically a birth control that some people use, for me and for a lot of other people it just isn't practical.
An obvious option for birth control is condoms and when used and stored correctly they have a 98% success rate, but they generally are 85% successful due to incorrect methods and storage. My first pregnancy was due to incorrect and inconsistent use of condoms so to be safe there are other ways of protecting yourself if it's not the right time to have a baby.
As well as condoms I have used a number of different contraception pills and when used effectively they have a 99% success rate. However, you do have to take them at the exact same time every day for this to happen and for me just remembering to brush my teeth is hard enough as a mother of two. Pills can have many side effects dependent on the person and for me there were many. I suffered from cluster headaches which my doctor warned could lead to strokes and given our family history my likelihood was increased. My mother suffered from breast cancer and so has my great aunt and grandmother who is currently fighting. The pill is hormonal also which is not what I needed with the family history of breast cancer. So, off the pill I came.
After being scared off the pill I tried the implanon, a little metal bar which goes into the arm and gradually releases hormones. This implant had a different hormone to the pill I was taking so it seemed appealing to me at the time. It is more than 99% effective however, has more side effects than the pill. I think I got them all! I had continuous menstrual bleeding so the doctor recommended I take another pill and attempt to gain routine of my cycle. Which stopped the bleeding whilst I was on it but seemed pointless that I was taking not one but two contraception methods. So, I stopped both as neither were working out for me.
Around this time, I met my husband and I really wanted another baby. I was 18 and terrified what people would think (this is a whole different discussion) and we had only just met so obviously I did not want to plan to get pregnant. We chose to use condoms as nothing seemed to work for me and apparently neither did condoms (whoops - insert baby number two). I actually had a total freak out and took the morning after pill a day later which at that point had about 75-89% chance of working. Obviously, it didn't and I would not change that for the world! What is meant to be, will be 👶🏼 👶🏼
I had a gap year between year 12 before starting university and it was amazing to spend a whole year with my three year old daughter and new baby. During the first four months of motherhood I was breast feeding (a natural birth control, with a 98% success rate) and using condoms as back up. But turns out we weren't being safe enough or consistent enough and we conceived again. But this baby was gone before we had a chance to come to terms with how we were feeling. I discovered I was pregnant and only a few days later discovered I was miscarrying. After this experience, I did not want to fall pregnant again, with my sights set on law school another baby wasn't an option for us.
Not long after miscarrying I got the okay to have the IUD (Intrauterine Device) inserted. The IUD lives in your uterus and can be inserted by a GP familiar with the practice. It is a little easier if you've experienced a vaginal birth as the cervix will have to be slightly opened. I had mine inserted in a family planning clinic and it only took 30 minutes from entry to leaving. It is a little painful however, I am a complete cry baby and have a huge phobia of needles, if I can do it anyone can. It's over 99% effective and has even more minimal side effects. Which I have none! I don't even get a monthly cycle (winning)! The IUD I have lasts for 5 years and I've had it in for two so far and love it.
Success rates and side effects will vary depending on the person however, these are just my personal experiences and opinions on what I have tried. I am definitely sticking to the IUD and would highly recommend it to any women contemplating birth control.
All statistics are from: https://www.plannedparenthood.org