Anti-natalism: A philosophical position and social movement whereby people choose to not procreate, to not have children.
(This is a mild, superficial definition, more suitable to the topic of contraception. For a more mind-blowing definition and more in-depth look at the ethos of anti-natalism, read this wiki article and watch your mind spiral)
There are many reasons why people of all ethnicities, classes, nationalities, etc. wish to not have children. And, thanks to hormones and copper and surgery, many can happily have their backs bent and guts rearranged without worrying about conception – creating new sentient life.
Family planning, or prevention of pregnancy, has come a long way through history. From our predecessors placing honey and plants in their vaginas to prevent sperm from swimming up, to us having a buffet to choose from, women are truly and autonomously able to decide when (if at all) we want children.
Watch this video about the history of birth control and marvel.
We have options
Modern options of prevention of pregnancy range from regular tablets and injections, to long-acting reversible devices, to irreversible surgery.
For men, two options have stood the test of time: condoms, and vasectomy.
Condoms, freely available in public lavatories and health care facilities, remain the most commonly used method. They prevent pregnancy AND STIs – what a marvelous creation.
A vasectomy (snip) is a reversible surgical procedure that, if mainstream education advocated for male contraception as vigorously as it does for female contraception, would be the best prevention method in the world. It is a simple, relatively painless surgical procedure that can be reversed (albeit an expensive and lengthy procedure). Plus, since it is not a hormonal method, it has very few side effects.
So, women have options:
Want clear skin, regular menses and have a fear of injections? Go on the pill. Just be a reliable pill-taker, expect weight gain and avoid if you have severe migraines or blood clotting issues.
You cannot be trusted to take a daily pill? Hate periods? A 2- or 3-monthly injection will sort you out. Just expect abnormal bleeding until your body adapts.
Want more long-term options that can be reversed later along the line? The implant can be inserted through your skin in your arm (painless, trust me) and you’re sorted for three years. Or an intra-uterine device (IUD) inserted through your vagina into your womb, and you’re sorted for five years. Just expect lots of bleeding and overspending on pads and tampons.
Done with children or absolutely positively sure you never want children? Tie your tubes. Just know it is surgery.
Had a wild night and woke up to an unused condom? The morning after pill works if taken within 3 days after unprotected sex. Just be sure to get another if you vomit the first one out.
More than 3 days have passed? Go to the clinic for an IUD. It works for up to 5 days after the wild night. What’s more, you’re sorted for the next five years.
Found out you’re pregnant despite using the morning after (or any of the above methods really – none are 100% pregnancy-proof) – CONGRATULATIONS! You’re going to be a mama!
Dizzy at the idea of being responsible for a whole sentient being? Abortion (or termination of pregnancy) is a thing (a LEGAL thing in South Africa, thank goodness)
Dizzy at the idea of an abortion? There is also adoption.
Other, more natural (but often less reliable) options also exist. The rhythm method (abstaining from sex when you are most fertile), the pull out and pray method (or withdrawal – removing the penis just before ejaculation) and breastfeeding are other such methods. Since they are not hormones or surgery, they don’t have the many side effects often associated with hormonal contraceptives. These options have only one side effect – pregnancy.
The options, dear friend, are many. And thank goodness for that. Because the world (and life) is heavy enough as is. No woman should have to bear a child if she does not wish to. No child should be born to a parent who does not want children. And the world does not need any bitter parents or unwanted/unloved children.
From honey and plants, to pills and implants, great strides have been taken to give women options when it comes to protecting the vagina.
What’s missing, and should be more mainstream than it currently is, is more male options!
However, would women trust their male partners who tell them they are protected? One can but wonder.