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Sunday, September 6, 2015

Birth Control Pills, Health, Jokes, and Pregnancy In The Community

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In this blog, I want to explore the birth control pill and its role in women's lives referencing my experience when I was growing up.

The women in our community visited the municipal health office when they have a problem with health care issues. When they get sick or any of their family members get sick, they get free medicine from the health office.  Sometimes, the supply was limited so the women were unable to be treated. They do not have any health care coverage insurance or anything like that since they were not employed. It's worth mentioning here that even those employed did not have it.

Most of them also visited the health care center to get some birth control pills. My mom was a municipal health employee and I came with her sometimes to visit her office. She gave these women some birth control pills to keep them from getting pregnant. Most of the pills being distributed at that time came from the government. Most of them contained estrogen, the female hormone. Sometimes she gave them IUD (Intra Uterine Device) and with the help of her uncle who was the municipal health doctor, they tried to advice the women to plan the number of children they want to have.

When I got married, I also found myself searching for birth control pills after 3 kids. I accepted the 'pill culture ' without questioning the role of the pill or the chemicals in it like estrogen being introduced in my body which can affect my overall health.  I only became aware of my irresponsibility while talking to someone recently who wanted to take estrogen to soften ones skin. I pointed out that the body will be affected by this and as I was saying these words, I remembered myself using the birth control pill that has estrogen in it when I was having unplanned pregnancies. Like him, I too did not look at how it will affect my body's overall functioning. I was humbled by the realization and forgave myself.

The role of birth control pills in our community was only to prevent pregnancy so that men and women can partake in sexual pleasure - that could potentially stop boredom and anguish in an uncertain world. They hoped this will stop them (rich or poor) from being lonely or 'feeling alone' in a relationship. The pill will also release the 'burden' of taking responsibility for financially supporting kids after birth. This was accepted as if this was the 'solution'. It was as if sex had no other purpose other than to satisfy a desire for pleasure.

Sex as physical interaction of 2 bodies without desire for pleasure but is being used to support the physical body - was unheard of.

In the absence of money, tv, movies, etc., what do you do at night when there's no electricity, to entertain yourself?
Have sex and make babies.

Is that logic or fuzzy logic?

That is fuzzy logic, yet it was accepted and allowed in the form of jokes. In this small town where I grew up, no one dared to ask. It just became a part of our community jokes. I heard many people including my mom and grandmother say this joke over and over again. I ended up saying it and everyone in my family started saying it. So, I interpreted this as if it was okay to make jokes out of problems and just laugh it off rather than provide an effective solution that will benefit everyone in the community. There were no factual answers given nor was there a resolution to end the problem. The easiest way for them to solve the problem is for them to give birth control pills to the women in the community.

But if we look at the common sense behind it, we can pinpoint the problem and educate the women about the role of sex, how many children one can plan to have in a family that will be mutually beneficial for the family and community. Developing businesses which can assist women and men in the community to get income so they can support the family can also help. But what can really help is a basic income guarantee that will provide monthly income - as unconditional guaranteed support for everyone including children who will be born in this world from birth to death that is currently being looked at in other European countries like Sweden and Norway.

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