Around the world, sexually active women breathed a collective sigh of “now it’s his turn” as the medical community revealed it’s getting one step closer (in a long uphill battle) to releasing birth control for men. While a recent study of the efficacy of a series of birth control injections for men was cut short (among other reasons, 20 men dropped out after complaining of mood swings, changes in their libido, and a whole host of symptoms we ladies have been dealing with for years) it’s just a matter of time before birth control will no longer be solely the female’s responsibility if she and her partner choose not to use condoms. Male birth control is coming whether men want it, or not.
As a person who was on the pill for the better part of 20 years, who dealt with bloating, weight gain and an overall annoyance at having to remember to take the pill every day, I’ve long since lamented the fact that birth control wasn’t something my husband ever had to worry about. The responsibility of our family planning was all on me. Likewise, the side effects were all on me as well. All the symptoms that come with being on the pill were simply something my husband didn’t, and didn’t have to, understand. So I figured I’d be thrilled when I heard different forms of male contraception are growing more and more promising.
Surprisingly, I wasn’t. In fact, I realized I would never ever ask my husband to take birth control. In fact, I wouldn’t want him to.
Being on birth control gave me control over my body and what happened to it.
See, the burden of our family planning being solely on me pales in comparison to the burden of me getting pregnant because my husband forgot to take his pill (or go to the doc for a shot), decided he didn’t want to take his pill, or couldn’t quite remember if he took it so he just didn’t, and I got pregnant. I had spent so many years resentful of the fact that I was the one who had to deal with the birth control, but I missed the fact that being on birth control gave me control over my body and what happened to it.
My husband is a super bright guy, but at home he’s a bit domestically challenged. A simple errand can go uncompleted by him for days on end. When I follow up the hubs might say, “What errand?” to which I’ll show him the text, email, voice message, Post-It note and billboard I used to ask him to do it. Likewise, my super smart husband can go to the grocery store with a list of specific things we need, simple things like food for our children, and he might come home with a big pack of paper towels, a squeegee and nothing else! Ask him what happened to the list and he’ll scratch his head and say, “What list?”
I’m not husband bashing. My husband’s a bright guy. He just doesn’t do the household stuff all day like I do. Whether I like it or not, I’m the CEO of the household. I’m the person who remembers stuff. And so as much as I love my husband, I can’t imagine what would happen if I got pregnant because he treated birth control like another errand he forgot to do.
So while I don’t like taking the pill, condoms are a buzzkill and the IUD can be painful, I like being the decider of what happens to my body and when. So I’ll gladly keep taking the pill—mood swings, acne and all. That’s a whole lot better than a surprise pregnancy because my husband couldn’t remember if he took his pill or not.
But hey, if your husband is a better rememberer than mine, go for it!