Feminism 101 teaches us “the personal is political,” and nothing rang more true than the day I deed to live tweet my IUD insertion.
I’d tried hormonal contraceptive methods in the past. The pill never worked for me; between the weight gain, headaches and constantly forgetting to take it, I stopped using it less than 6 months after I started. Next I tried the NuvaRing which I loved, but was advised to stop using it by my neurologist due to my chronic migraine headaches. So I was left with barrier methods and abstinence as my primary birth control options.
Kat Stoeffel wrote in NY Magazine that IUDs are “the birth control that converts,” and it’s that conversion process that brought IUDs to my life.
Choosing Mirena: The first time I ever heard of an IUD was while watching TV as a teenager. I distinctly remember a Mirena commercial stating, “candidates for Mirena have had a child, are in a stable relationship…,” and being angry that I couldn’t check any of those boxes, and potentially never would.
Fast forward to the late 2000’s: My cousin told me about her IUD. She raved about how incredible her Mirena was, while she simultaneously explained how horrible her insertion was.
It seemed like everyone had a birth control story to share, and I was ready to listen.
Not only do my family members rave about their IUDs, but so do my friends; my closest friends have texted me the minute before they had theirs inserted and immediately following their IUD removal. Even acquaintances have shared their IUD love with me. Almost every happy hour I attend includes discussions about IUDs, with everyone affirming their decision and confidence in acquiring one. And it’s not just my social circle that’s pro-IUD. There’s an entire community on Twitter, #TeamIUD, of folks who talk openly about theirs.
At the beginning of 2015, I decided contraceptive care needed to be moved to the top of my priority list, and that included getting an IUD.
I weighed my options between the Skyla, Mirena and ParaGard. Skyla is only effective for three years and I wanted something more long-term. ParaGard warns of heavier periods (both in regards to bleeding and cramping) and that wasn’t something I wanted to sign up for. It seemed like the Mirena was meant for me.
Going social: I’ve worked in the sexual and reproductive health field for five years. I serve as Co-Chair of the New York Abortion Access Fund, have worked at large national organizations and small clinics. Anyone can tell you both how deeply dedicated I am to my work, and how much I love to talk about it. It made sense to utilize two of my favorite things, social media and storytelling, when I made the decision to get an IUD.
On Tuesday January 6th, 2015 I live tweeted my IUD insertion.
I took a few deep breaths and less than two minutes later was a proud member of #TeamIUD.
We live in a world where people are live tweeting their trip to the DMV and Medication abortion experiences. It wasn’t something I ever questioned; it seemed very natural to me. I wanted to proudly share my story, so that’s exactly what I did. I was open and honest, and consistently reminded those who were following along that all bodies are different, and no two insertion process will be the same.
This is my story, my experience and no one could take that away from me.
This experience has made me even more grateful for my family, feminist and reproductive justice communities. I felt incredibly supported and confident in my decision. My sister, cousins and friends were so kind and caring, checking in on me, sending me notes of how proud they were. They made the experience even better.
I’ve had my IUD for just over a month and already I’m the person who raves about their IUD at any chance I can. I’m proudly the newest convert.
About the author: When Alison Turkos isn’t breaking down barriers to abortion access with NYAAF, you can find her talking about how much she loves Vermont, appreciating a solid lipstick game, or dancing on her own to Robyn.