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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Safer Sex & Birth Control » How Do You Talk To Parents About Contraception?

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Author Topic: How Do You Talk To Parents About Contraception?
Member # 46900

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I became sexually active this year after moving away from home for school. When it became apparent that I needed a back up method of birth control (besides condoms), I did some research and saw a Doctor at my campus health clinic. I didn't tell him that from my research I had settled on an IUD of some sort, but when the doctor suggested that indeed an IUD would be a good method to try, I was pleased that we had both come to the same conclusion. He referred me to a gynecologist to do a consultation on an IUD's suitability for me, as well as discuss my hormonal vs non-hormonal options. (I already have heavy periods, but wanted a Copper-T, and he wanted to investigate it further before ruling it out).
The 2 local gynecologists in town weren't booking for the next 3 months, so I decided to go to my GP at home and get one then...

So here I am at home, and I'd like to share my experience with entering into the seemingly vast world of contraception and gynecology as well as get some feedback/discussion on my situation. My head, quite frankly, is reeling from all of this right now [Eek!]

My GP ruled out the Copper-T because of my heavy periods, and although she urged me to consider the NuvaRing, wrote me a prescription for Mirena without objection... or discussing it's side affects, complications, or anything(which I have already researched on my own). The referral letter she wrote is basically apologizing to the gynecologist for sending her a 19 year old nulliparous woman. I quote: "Wishes to have Mirena inserted, however I DID counsel her on other methods."

After the GP appointment, I called my Dad in a fluster, Mirena was going to be $350.00. My plan was to ask him for the Insurance toll-free number, find out if it was covered, and if it was I'd tell him. If not, I'd keep my mouth shut to my parents. Sexuality is something that is NEVER discussed in my house. (I'm an only child, think that makes the difference?) Several times since September I tried to inch my mom towards that sort of conversation via phone from school. She never took the hints, or else shut me down (Eg. "Mom, I'm 19, I should see a gynecologist to make sure everything is fine" "No you don't. You only need to see a GYN in certain circumstances.")

So, on the phone with my I told my Dad how expensive this IUD was after trying, and failing, to pry our plan number from him. His first question was "Why would you need an IUD?" When I said that this was conversation we didn't need to have, he said "Have you discussed this with your mother?"

So I told my mom after making her promise that she would not flip her lid at me. "I hope you know what STDs are!" she growled at me. I told her that I knew what they were and I also was aware that I would be at higher risk with an IUD in place. "Well THAT depends on how much you're sleeping around doesn't it?"... ugh. I lied, and said I had been sleeping exclusively with a close friend she knew that I had romantic intentions toward. She then drilled me on whether we had finally started a relationship. I said no. "Well if you're not in a relationship, you don't need to be on birth control."

So currently, my Dad has asked simply why I chose the IUD over the pill, which I explained willingly to him (Thanks Dad, you rock).
Any time a sexual reference is made on the radio or on TV, my mother looks at me like I'm a whore of Babylon. She's told me it's more trouble than necessary to get Mirena placed, and that she can't believe I would disrupt my body's natural hormone balance by going on birth control. She forcefully suggested either abstinence or the rhythm method. *eye roll*!

I almost wasn't able to get in to see a gynecologist. I'm only home for 2 months, and it seems like every GYN in town has their own rule book for what battery of tests (if any) must be performed before they will place it. I was finally able to make an appointment for this Tuesday afternoon only by pleading my case with a secretary and explaining where, precisely, I am in my menstrual cycle. This GYN in particular usually only places IUDS if you're menstruating.

OK so I apologize if this seems like one big rant about a bunch of different issues. It feels really good to get it all off my chest! I've been fairly inarticulate, so allow me to conclude with my specific questions:

1. Is it normal for every gynecologist to have their own rule book on placement of IUDs? Do you think this is fair to patients?

2. How could I have handled the situation better with my parents? Should I just not have told them, period? Should I have let my mom have her temper tantrum and not volunteered any information on my sex life?

3. Is there any way I can get my mother to understand that I'm an adult and I am not under her wing anymore? We don't get along at all and haven't since I was 11. Because I'm 19, I'm reluctant to call her unreasonable, but holy cow, me hitting puberty and her menopause simultaneously.... Let's just say I feel guilty for my Dad for having to put up with us for all those years.
Not even my moving away for school has relaxed my mom into accepting that I am an adult. She thinks she's paying for me to have a social life instead of an education. (I think she's paying for my education AND my independence.)

4. I would love to hear from some people about their experiences' going to their parents about birth control; preferably people who have older parents who are "living in the dark ages" as I say [Big Grin]

Anyhow, I will gladly share my experience with you folks on my placement of Mirena after I get home from the GYN on Tuesday afternoon. [Smile]

Thanks so much gang. Perhaps a few outside views will make my head a bit less murky... the irony in all this is that I am totally sexually free and communicative, and game for anything. I had some frankly, insane experiences this past academic year. Perhaps I'm letting my mom get the better of me, or perhaps she's totally justified? I understand that my parents are not sexually progressive people and I won't receive any guidance or support from them on that matter, but was it selfish of me to assume my mom would have reacted better?

Ah. Whatever. Share your perspectives if you will.

"Every relationship you are ever going to be in will fail until one doesn't!" Dan Savage, Savage Love Podcast

Posts: 9 | From: Nova Scotia, Canada | Registered: May 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 45771

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I'll talk about #4, as it's really the only one I have any input for.

I got on birth control when I was 16 because of debilitating cramps (missing at least one day of school per month, throwing up from the pain, and had already tried a variety of pain meds). My mother is not against birth control, but she didn't want me to go on so young (I would have gone on it younger if I had a chance! I'd had cramps since I was about 12 and they were only getting worse with time!) because of hormones. One thing she said to me that really bothers me, though, was that I shouldn't tell anyone at school that I was on birth control (as if I would have at that point, anyway!) because guys would try to have sex with me.

After she found out that I've been having sex (long story, not pretty), she is convinced that I will become pregnant at some point. I've told her that my plan is not to have kids for at least ten years, if ever, but she is convinced that because she got pregnant while on the pill, I will also get pregnant. I'm not even on the pill anymore, I'm on Nuva Ring to reduce the kind of user error that likely led to her pregnancy! Still, she says it is inevitable.

And please do share your Mirena experience! I am really considering getting one but am concerned because I haven't had a child and I know that that is recommended, but I also don't plan on having one anytime soon and would love that extra bit of protection that my ring doesn't provide.

Posts: 14 | From: US | Registered: Feb 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 43325

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#1- I've tried to have a copper IUD inserted twice now (once it went in and then the applicator pulled it back out again and the second time the doctor couldn't get the sound in, thankfully she didn't waste the IUD. I've posted about my experience on this board, if you wanna read it), and I'm off for my third try in a couple weeks! Good luck with your insertion! (To add, I'm also 19 years old and nulliparous) I have gathered that it really just depends on the GYN and their preferences for inserting it. None of the doctors/nurses who tried to insert one for me have said I need to be menstruating, they just require a pregnancy test. I think it's kind of a moot point as to whether it's fair to patients or not. It's a nuisance waiting for your period, but some GYNs maybe have more experience inserting IUDs in menstruating women and are therefore more comfortable with it. It's also a good way to know you're not pregnant! [Razz]

#3- I would suggest sitting down with your mom and talking calmly about your feelings on the issue. Use lots of "I..." statements. I would also tell/show her how much research you've done and prove to her that you're being responsible and you care about your health. Maybe tell her that you appreciate her concern. I do think your mom is being unreasonable, one doesn't have to be in a relationship to need birth control.

#4- My father is like your mother. Therefore, I don't tell him anything. My mother is more understanding and easy going, so she's easier to talk to about sex and contraception. I prefer to keep that stuff to myself, but when it came up I mentioned that I wanted and IUD and my mom surprisingly told me about her experience with one! That made it a lot easier to make my decision after she told me how it went for her.
My mom has always trusted me as well, she figures that if I need help or guidance, I'll come to her.
Also, I think I'm lucky since the IUD for me (Flexi-T 300) only cost $60, so I didn't need to negotiate insurance matters like you had to with your parents, it has all been completely private.

[ 05-02-2010, 08:47 PM: Message edited by: Parapluie ]

"The truth of all predictions is always in your hands."

Posts: 38 | From: Canada | Registered: Jul 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 45255

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After I began dating my current boyfriend, it occurred to me that I may want to be sexually active sometime in the near future. I knew I wanted to use a hormonal for of birth control, and I knew that meant seeing the gynecologist. I couldn't very well just tell my mother I could very well be having regularly scheduled sex soon, as she would have a cow. So I told her I wanted to be put on birth control because I have gut wrenching cramps, which is also true.

Got an appointment with the doctor, told him my predicament and he was more than willing to help. He wrote me my prescription and we agreed to put off my exam for a little while as long as I was extra vigilant about condom use and I had no outstanding problems in the mean time.

My mom still occasionally questions me about my activities, but I told her I wouldn't even have this conversation until she recognizes me as the young adult that I am. I tentatively tested those waters by mentioning I didn't believe in waiting until marriage to have sex. She had a fit, the conversation is still being put off.

That aside, I also would love getting the Mirena, but alas, I have no medical insurance. That I was able to bring up with my mother, because I intend to get married in the next 5-10 years. As soon as I get a job I will begin saving money for the IUD. And moving out. -.-

Posts: 43 | From: Raleigh, NC | Registered: Jan 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Member # 25425

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Unfortunately, it has also been my experience that different gynecologists will have different approaches as to whether they will insert IUDs. I have had gyns basically try to push them on me, and gyns tell me that there was no way, no how they were inserting an IUD on a nulliparous woman.

My best advice as far as that goes is to simply take the time to shop around until you find a gynecologist that you trust. Ask friends or your insurance for referrals, don't be afraid to ask questions, and don't be afraid to walk out if you feel the person is not a good fit for you.

As far as telling your parents, I think you did a pretty good job. As long as you are still living with your parents, and/or are financially dependent on them or using their insurance, it's generally a good idea to just be honest, as these things will come out, and it's always better to be up-front about it. There also isn't much you can do beyond simply being honest an showing your parents that you are a responsible adult who is taking care of their reproductive health.

Sadly, my own experiences have been very similar to your own. I decided to go on the pill shortly after moving out for college, and I initially tried to be honest with my mother and mentioned my plans to her on the phone. She was surprised and appalled, and told me that there was no reason anyone should need to take the pill (or any form of birth control, including condoms), as one should only ever sleep with the person one was prepared to be married to and have children with. That compelled me to not tell my mother who I was sleeping with (it was a friends-with-benefits arrangement), or anything else about my sex-life.

Since then, my mother has largely tried to pretend I'm an asexual being, and since I live in a different country and have never introduced her to a partner of mine, that is working out nicely. More recently, I've gotten tired of biting my tongue around her and I have stopped hiding my pills when I am home, and I have also mentioned my sex partners, when appropriate. I'm 25 years old, I'm responsible about the choices I make, and my mother is going to have to learn to respect that.

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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

Posts: 9192 | From: Cologne, Germany | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 43206

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Well, I can't really answer your other questions, but I shall share my own experiences.

For me, it was pretty direct. When my girlfriend and I decided to have sex, we walked over to wallgreens and bought condoms(on our way back from a movie), then when we were picked up by my mom for the ride home I informed her we'd bought condoms, and that they were ridiculously expensive. Being rather awesome, by mom offered to drive us back for a secondary birth control method. ^_^

Of course I too wasn't quite lucky enough to have two totally awesome parents. My dad still has no idea about my sexual activity, but he did give me the pregnancy talk(He just skipped past the sex talk) the moment he found out I had a girlfriend.

Ah parents, can't live with em, couldn't have lived without them. ^_~

This all happened last month, and I am currently an 18 year old male. [Razz]

Finally I'd like to say, I really like the direct approach in all things related to sex. Especially talking to parents about it. So far, it's worked out excellently with my parents and my partner. ^_^

I wish you luck in your birth control endeavors.

Chin up and face the future, wonders beyond your wildest dreams await us!

Posts: 47 | From: Crescent city, CA. | Registered: Jul 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 46900

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Yakri, I think it's fantastic that you and your girlfriend purchsed condoms for the first time together [Smile] Not only does that facilitate open communication about sex, but it's a good bonding experience too! I took my friend to Shoppers to get condoms last month, and she was so overwhelmed (I think perhaps a little ashamed too) and she was comforted by having someone there with her. Go bonding experiences!!!

I'm so happy for you that you can talk openly with your parents. I only wish I was able to gain a little wisdom from what stories/insights my parents might share with me; if my Mom wasn't so up tight with me, and my Dad not so shy. Therefore in my case (and perhaps the case with the majority of young adults becoming sexually active), it is best to follow the policy "Parents have a right NOT to know some things". I tried to give my mom the cut and dry approach, but when she pried for information she ended up regretting having asked it...

So, there you have it. Way to go!

PS. Because the OBGYN was on call 2 nights in a row, my insertion appointment for today was rescheduled for tomorrow. Fear not, I will gladly share all the gory details with y'all tomorrow!

Last night, I did take my prescription for 400 micrograms misoprostol(which I was to take orally, which I thought was weird- as oppossed to in the vagina directly). For about 1 hour, I was balled up on the couch having bad cramps (Or perhaps, what I would consider bad cramps. Very rarely would I ever experience them on a normal period, so what I consider "bad" might be skewed). I went to bed with a heating pad, but after that one hour mark I was peachy. My pelvis has felt very relaxed since I woke up this morning, and although I expressed concern over my cervix not being ripe still for tomorrow, the GYN did not prescribe another dose of misoprostol.

Updates to come guys! [Smile]

"Every relationship you are ever going to be in will fail until one doesn't!" Dan Savage, Savage Love Podcast

Posts: 9 | From: Nova Scotia, Canada | Registered: May 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Hi [Smile] I don't know anything about IUD's but I can share how my parents relate to the whole birth control thing.

Before I even start so it doesn't get confusing I've lived with my grandma all my life, my mom lives in Georgia, my dad's not in the picture.

My boyfriend and I started talking about sex for a long time before we actually did it though. I wanted to be protected and I was starting to research birth control but I wanted actual input...not a bunch of statistics so on Facebook IM one night I just told my mother to talk to me about the pill. She told me that if I was just going on it for period reasons (what I said) not to do it because it messes you up and that she was on the pill right now and hating it but if you were having sex it was a different story. I didn't say anything and then she asked if I was having sex. I told her no but I might be planning on it in the next few months. She wasn't angry she was just very upset that I wasn't waiting. (She got pregnant with me when she was 15 so she thought I'd be 'smart' and wait until I was much older...btw I'm 17)

Well 2 months later I was at my boyfriends house and his parents left for a little while and we pretty much had unexpected sex. We had no birth control whatsoever and ended up using a rubber glove for a condom. The sex didn't last long and he didn't come (and still hasn't) and we were both virgins although I had done manual and oral things with him...and 3 other guys before. I wasn't too proud of our first birth control method obviously but the next chance we got we went and bought spermicidal condoms together.

For the next two months we relied on condoms (sometimes spermicide and some not) and things were fine until one night a condom slipped. Even though he didn't come I was still scared and ended up getting Plan B a few days later. Then I knew I wasn't going to risk it anymore and I needed to get on birth control.

Now mind you my grandma didn't know and still doesn't know that I'm sexually active. I knew she would flip out and there would be no good coming from telling her. So my mom and I talked again and I basically told her that I had been having sex and wanted to get on better birth control. She was upset and mad that I was 'irresponsible' for relying on condoms and that it wasn't enough and I had to come to terms that I made a mistake and that my boyfriend and I should have respected each other enough to wait until I was on birth control. Disregarding that when she eventually calmed down a little we discussed different options and she told me she thought I should get on the shot.

A few weeks later I did get on the shot and my grandma still knows nothing. I've been kind of feeling sickly though lately and she asked if I had started my period yet and I said not yet. Now she's like "Are you pregnant? You better not be pregnant." And I've had to SWEAR there's no possibility I could be. I would like to be able to talk to my grandma about these kinds of things and not hide them from her but it's just not worth it if she's not going to recognize that it's my choice and that I'm being mature and responsible about it. I just hope she doesn't find out haha.

As for my question...does anyone know how to fake your period? [Razz]

Posts: 62 | From: North Carolina | Registered: Jun 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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