A Postinor A Day Keeps the Abortionist Away

Or at least that’s the main takeaway if like me you’ve ever tried to be sexually responsible while dating in Nigeria by attempting to maintain some reliable form of semi-permanent birth control.

I had the rudest introduction to Postinor at 17 thanks to Mustapha’s fondness for ignoring my pleas to at least favour condoms over consent since he was incessantly incapable of utilizing either.

The first time I found myself in need of birth control, it quickly became clear that Nigerian women were playing Russian Roulette with condoms, and their failsafe – Postinor, was like putting blanks in all the chambers; blanks are designed to be harmless, but at that kind of close range, they’ll kill you anyway.

Pregnancy crises are every woman’s rite of passage, but after getting through four years of college, moving back home, and successfully inserting myself into the Abuja workforce, dramatically waiting for my period to arrive or no show with baited breath was just one drama I decided I was too much of an adult to need.

I thought it would be as simple as asking for some next time I was at the doctor.

Ho, ho, ho.

Silly Sugabelly.

Birth control is for married women, only with written permission from their husband a.k.a. never.

Getting Birth Control As A Single Young Woman is Ridiculously Hard

I spent thirty minutes arguing with first a nurse, then a doctor, about why I needed birth control, and ended up being called an ashawo, a future barren woman, and a runs babe.

All I walked out of the clinic with that day was a sore throat from arguing, and a prescription for deliverance.

A year ago, I got an IUD. January 20 to be exact.

I was going to see my lover in San Francisco for Valentine’s, and he didn’t want to use condoms. For the first time, I felt I was so deeply in love, and emotionally in a place where I wanted to trust him, and I wanted us to be closer and intimate on an emotional and almost spiritual level. I’ve always been a strict user of condoms, but with him, there was a closeness I craved, and a condom was too much of a barrier between us. For that trip, for that very special trip to see the man who held my heart so completely, at the time, I didn’t want anything to come in the way of our love, and the fact that he wasn’t keen on it either, made it feel even more right.

So we agreed to get tested, and I started looking into reliable forms of birth control. Perhaps, I could have explored online for reliable services as well as information on STD and sti testing in Bloomsburg, PA (or for other nearby locations). Along with that, I wanted to talk to an expert about emergency contraception.

I already knew from the jump that I wanted to get an IUD. I wasn’t getting birth control specifically because I was going to see Obele, I’d been trying to get birth control since I graduated from college and moved back to Nigeria with no luck, but everything was finally convenient, and I was back in the US, so I made the appointment to see my gynecologist about getting an IUD.

Getting my IUD put in in America was such a huge contrast with my numerous frustrating attempts to get some sort of semi-permanent birth control in Nigeria. Here my gynecologist asked if I was sexually active and if I was seeing someone (I told her about Obele and my impending trip to see him for Valentine’s week ). Then she explained the different IUD options she had. She gave me a choice between getting the copper IUD that could prevent pregnancy for ten years but would make my periods heavier; and the plastic hormonal IUD from Mirena, which could prevent pregnancy for five years and make my periods lighter or possibly stop them entirely.

I was 25 at the time, and I knew I generally don’t want to have a child until I’m about thirty. Also, the thought of having lighter periods really appealed to me since I’ve always had very heavy periods. I was actually looking forward to lighter periods; at least I would be able to use a ladies pad for longer than two hours before having to change it. I’d done my research on Mirena and heard quite a number of horror stories, so I was a bit apprehensive about my final choice of the hormonal Mirena IUD, but I’d also made up my mind to have it removed right away if I experienced any negative effects or complications.

So the last time I’d asked about an IUD in Nigeria, besides the nurse telling me to avoid birth control because it would prevent me from being able to “take in” in the future, I was told I couldn’t get an IUD unless I had already had a child. My gyn in DC said this was rubbish, and that she’d need to dilate my cervix a little, but I could absolutely get an IUD put in, child or no child.

Armed with this information, I hopped on the table, dropped trou, and pulled out my phone to keep Obele apprised of how things were progressing blow by blow.

The gyn said if she put in the IUD there and then, there’d be a chance I’d still be bleeding by Valentine’s with Obele, so I asked him and he said “Bleed all you want, babe.” So I told her it was okay to go ahead.

The IUD Insertion

Everything I’d read about getting an IUD inserted suggested I’d have some light cramping as it went in, but nothing, and I mean nothing prepared me for the indescribable pain from deep inside me I felt when my doctor began to dilate my cervix.

I thought I was going to die, plain and simple.

I tried to breathe, I tried to scream, I tried to vanish from the face of the earth. I tried anything that would make the pain stop, but it kept coming and my legs were quaking so hard, my gyn had to pause and tell me to hold still.

Afterwards, I went home, got into bed, and clutched my hot water bottle like it was my best friend. I cramped so hard that first day. All I could do was lie still and try to breathe without actually sucking in air.

One Year Later

After the initial insertion, and the first month bleeding with my IUD, so far, I’ve loved having my IUD. I finally stopped bleeding after about two months, and then my periods got lighter and lighter, and as of this moment, I haven’t had a period in over a year, which if I wasn’t celibate, would be fabulous for my sex life.

It really bothers me that more Nigerian women aren’t using any real form of birth control and basically just YOLOing every time they have sex.

If you’re on birth control, what are you on?

If you’re not, why? How do you prevent pregnancy?

There are 20 comments

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  1. Anonymous

    There’s a connection between seeing your period monthly and a renewal of your youthfulness. Not seeing your period for that long will age you rather quickly. There’s a reason women begin to age drastically once the hit menopause. Why are you allowing yourself to suffer the challenges that come with being regularly sexually active, meanwhile you are not even having sex?

    Is there a reason why your twitter survey did not include natural BC methods? Just wondering.

      • Anonymous

        Are you implying that sexual partners cannot control their sexual desires by jointly agreeing not to have sex at certain times of the month to avoid the risk of pregnancy?

        In a loving relationship where there is loving consideration, particularly for the woman, mutual respect and understanding why would this not be possible? Should these qualities not in fact precede a sexual relationship? Otherwise, what’s the point of being sexually intimate?

        • sugabelly

          Yes I am. The vast and unending number of unplanned pregnancies among married adults who are not on any other form of birth control worldwide is ample proof “natural birth control” does not work and is nothing but folly.

    • sugabelly

      How did you avoid pregnancy before you got married? Condoms? I know you’re currently trying for a child, so I’m not at all trying to be insensitive. I just mean, obviously when you were single, you would have wanted to avoid pregnancy rather than be open to the possibility of getting pregnant.

  2. Mojisola

    Before marriage, I used the pill (Microgynon or something) or we used condoms when I wasn’t on the pill. I am actually surprised at the Nigerian Doctors refusing to insert IUDs though. When I wanted to insert one, I was told to comeback on the first or second day of my next period, since my cervix would be a bit dilated, and that there was a high chance it could be expelled since I had never been preggers. I never saw that next period so I didn’t go back. Eventually did get my IUD (paragard) after baby #2 and exchanged it for a Mirena five years later. Will be getting an essure very soon cos the Mirena is almost due for removal.

  3. B

    This has weighed on my mind for a few months. I am SO ready to get birth control now. I have had kids, though not vaginally. IUD (i.e. coil) is out of it for me, the horror tales are unending. Was gunning for the implant type.
    Naija hospitals are daft though! Why would an adult be denied the (easy) right to birth control?

  4. Baeness

    I have a Mirena IUS and have had it for 3+ years. Unfortunately I didnt do enough homework about it because I didnt want to be talked out of getting it and I drove myself to the doctor’s. El-oh-el.
    Like you I’ve not had any periods for the past 2 years. Every now and then I’d have some spotting and I do have cramps a bit more regularly than the spotting. part from the initial pain (yep I remember thinking I was going to die too) and not being able to walk for the whole day it has definitely been the best thing ever. I’d consider getting another one when I have to take this one out in a year and half. As I’m not trying to have any more kids, at least it doesn’t look like I will.

  5. Lara

    I have used the postinor for unplanned sex, at some time I used the daily pill when I had a steady boyfriend. ..

    A friend used the coil, and still got pregnant.

  6. neuyogi

    I am currently not on birth control, but when I was I had a pill first initially for hormonal acne and then sex, then tried the nuvaring, and finally was on the pill again for a few years until marriage.

  7. Anony

    You simply went to the wrong hospital. Getting a birth control at the general hospitals in Abuja is incredibly easy. Especially Wuse and Maitama hospitals. Thanks to the HIV, ARV clinics, they’re more than willing to counsel single ladies.

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