The year is 1961: the contraceptive pill has just been made legal and, as such, is now regulated and available for married women exclusively. Now, in 2018, the oral contraceptive pill is used by millions of women across the UK, for free on the NHS. What a time to be alive, right? Free contraception, an elective option to control your periods, discreet methods of access, and more varieties of pill than you thought possible.
Naturally, when you give people that many options, you’re bound to cause confusion. I could say it until it comes out of my ears: all! women! are! different! So, of course, we need many different types of oral pill in order to have contraceptives suitable to millions of different women, and we are so lucky that this is being catered to. However, what many people refuse to understand is that a pill that might be disastrous for you, could be perfect for someone else. Your bad experience does not give you the right to condemn it altogether. It gave you acne? Go on a different pill. It didn’t reduce your cramps? Try a different pill. It made you gain weight? You guessed it, give another one a try. Unfortunately, it could take multiple different pills before you find the right one for you, but it’s worth it.
I tried four different brands: one didn’t reduce my cramps, one made me break out like nothing on earth, one promoted an eight-week-long period, and the fourth, worked a dream. After three years on that pill, I finally had regulated periods, regulated hormones, and my skin had almost settled into that of a grown woman. Which pill was it that was best for me? Rigevidon: the supposed horror pill, the pill that has been inundated with angry Tab articles, aggressive Facebook PSAs, and even petitions for its removal.
Torrents of people cry out that this pill is the devil, calling for it to be taken away, insisting that it gives you horrendous mood swings and that doctors only give it to you because it’s cheap to produce. Perhaps it’s the cheapest option, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the right one for some people. With the gradual – and somewhat disturbing – popularity of ‘fertility apps’, people are allowing themselves to be scared away from the oral contraceptive. I’m not saying everyone should use it (that’s the point of such a wide range of choice of contraceptives) but people shouldn’t feel that it isn’t a safe and viable option to the point that they are resorting to an app – an APP – to stop them from getting pregnant. Just as periods vary, reactions to hormonal contraceptives vary. This should not be a surprise.
The type of contraception people decide to use is entirely their choice. The last thing any young, impressionable girl needs to see when scrolling through their newsfeed is an article promoting use of a completely unscientific method of contraception, which rests on convincing people that even this is safer than the disastrous consequences of using a certain pill. The pill may not be perfect yet, but when you find the one that’s right one for you, it is revolutionary. We cannot give up on it.