At 44 years of age, I have birthed two children, who are now 11 and 13. I have also experienced two miscarriages and complications that resulted in the need for surgery. The older I get, the riskier a pregnancy becomes. My kids are older and my body ill-equipped to carry a child. Frankly, starting over with an infant seems too overwhelming to consider, especially given my age and the pregnancy-induced conditions I seem prone to.
Recently, I made an error in my oral birth control schedule.
As luck would have it, my husband and I had some lovely evenings of bedtime sex. All was wonderful until I looked at my birth control packet more closely, counted back days and realized I hadn’t started on the right day. I had actually started an entire week late. Our evenings of unbridled passion collided head on with my ovulation.
Now granted, I don’t have a lot of time on the whole ability to get pregnant scale, but I’m okay with this. My days are numbered as menopause looms ever closer. While I am intensely grateful for my two children and miss their days of innocence and PBS Kids, I feel relief that they are growing up into amazing people. In other words, I’m embracing the concept of moving forward, not back.
As I pondered my grievous error in simple math, my health weighed heavily on me. I considered the potential consequences that could unfold. I know the risks, and my gynecologist has been very blunt in describing the serious health issues I could encounter, not only for me but for my unborn child.
So it was with good reason I feared the possibility of conceiving. However, the judgmental voices of those who would disagree reverberated in my head, giving me pause.
“Who made you God?”
“If you only realized what it’s like to NOT be able to have a child.”
“You’re acting out of God’s perfect plan.”
“A child is never a mistake.”
“Life begins at conception.”
I realize there is heated debate over the issue of emergency contraception. It has the potential for abuse if mishandled. While I respect differences, I also feel strongly that it truly is an individual choice based on the best interest of the woman involved.
That being said, I don’t believe in Plan B as routine birth control, and it isn’t designed for that. That’s why it’s called emergency contraception—because it’s used for an emergency only. It has a very specific timeline in which it can be taken. My husband and I both agreed it was the right choice to make, but my husband also told me he completely supported me in whatever decision I felt was right for me.
I hesitated before I swallowed the single pill containing enough hormones to make an elephant grumpy. The last thing I wanted was to feel regret over my decision or have remorse for the possible what ifs that could swoop in and haunt me later.
I knew once I took that medicine, there was no turning back. Suffice to say I gave serious consideration to the choice I was making. Would this bring about latent effects of disappointment in myself as a woman? I braced myself for feelings of guilt that could possibly follow, yet I noticed there was a calmness that took precedent.
It was with thankfulness that I noticed the absence of negative emotions. Instead, I felt immense relief and peace. I knew most certainly I had made the right choice. I was compassionate toward myself. Gone were feelings of self-disgust and failure. Rather, I felt clarity knowing I had acted responsibly. I had the absolute unwavering support of a loving partner and knew I had not made this decision in haste or without educating myself.
I know many might view my choice as selfish. In this situation, I have no choice but to be selfish. My health is more important. The family I have now is more important.
Yes, I chose Plan B, and I don’t regret it. I’m grateful I was allowed to be in charge of my own body without laws dictating otherwise. I know what is right for one woman isn’t necessarily the right choice for another. But in my case, I’m thankful resources were available to me at a time when I needed them the most.