Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Sometimes, Ignorance really is Bliss.

For anyone who is visiting for the first time, you may want to skip over this entry. It's not my usual approach for a post - I prefer to keep my blog on the lighter side of things if I can, or at the very least optimistic. But this has been on my mind today, so I'm going to talk about it. I also want to mention that opinions and beliefs herein are just mine, that's all. I'm not going after anyone who feels differently. I'm not trying to spark a political or moral debate. How you feel and conduct your life is totally up to you ... I'm just thinking my own thoughts out loud via keyboard diarrhea. But fear not - I'll return to my typical nonsense before you know it.

I was reading a blog article discussing birth control earlier today. The blogger was saying that she was against the Pill because of its "abortifacient" properties. I thought this was an odd statement, as I thought the Pill prevented ovulation, that that was the whole point. No ovulation, no embryo, no abortifacient action. So being the big nosey know-it-all that I like to be, I looked up some articles to see what I could find out about this. It turns out the Pill affects several aspects of the cycle. I already knew this, but figured they were all just part of a package deal shebang reaction and not really congruent backup plans for one another.

Here is what I didn't know. It seems that while ovulation prevention is one of the factors the Pill can and does produce, an egg is in fact still released on average with between 2% and 10% of cycles on the Pill. When this does happen and the egg is fertilized, the uterus - also hormonally compromised - has produced a significantly depleted lining. The embryo does not have enough tissue in which to embed, so the embryo dies and is expelled with the monthly flow.

The Pill is claimed to be 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. I'm sure that I'm not the only person who either was taught or perhaps just flatly assumed that "99% effective" meant that 99% of the time no egg would be released, and that's why it was 99% effective.

As a young woman, honestly, it probably wouldn't have mattered to me even if I did know that 2-10% fact. My main concern was to be and remain un-pregnant, and my opinions on where simple chemistry ended and "real" life began were undefined. I still don't know for sure exactly when that is. Fertilization? Implantation? Upon finite formation of cells which become a heart and brain? What I *do* know is that it is a living thing from the beginning - so in order to be fair, I now approach it as such. That's how I roll.

I was on the Pill for about 15 years of my life total. It bothers me that statistically speaking, I most certainly experienced that 2-10% curve, and had embryos die. I didn't know ... it wasn't intentional ... but it made me kind of sad to learn of that probability.


Coffeypot said...

Being the true Libra that I am, I can see and understand both sides of this issue (when life starts, etc) but in this instance, I don’t think you should be sad or worried. Fifteen or twenty years ago there wasn’t the easy access to information as there is today, so you didn’t know. You were acting on faith that you were preventing pregnancies. And you don’t know if you ever aborted or not. Even if you did, you are still innocent of guilt. What you do from today forward should be your concern and the direction of your decisions. Had you known of the 2% to 10% thing, you could worry about your decisions. But you didn’t know, and you still don’t know for sure if it did happen to you. I always have my doubts on statistics anyway. Just because there is an arbitrary figure that someone can stick in to cover their argument doesn’t mean it is true. So you are more likely than not never had a fertilized egg flow through. Don’t over think this and make yourself sick or a maybe or what if. LYLT!

clew said...

Thanks, Coffeypot. I'm not worried or beating myself up over it - precisely for all those reasons. It was just a sad thought, ya know?

Ann said...

i was on the pill the first two years i was married the first time (at age 21) ... and, like you, i had NO idea.

like you, when i was young, i knew abortion was wrong, and i was against it, but i didn't have near the convictions i do today. i was never taught the truth at home, but i make sure to teach my girls the truth as a mom in ways that make them think for themselves.

Ann said...

btw - the pill made me horribly sick, very sick, but i didn't want to get pregnant so young (like my mother did - thinking having children young = being a bad parent).

the pill finally made me so sick i couldn't take it anymore, then i stopped.

Stacy said...

Hmmm...learn something new every day. I had no idea about that either, but I was in the same boat as you when I was young. I honestly don't think it would have mattered to me then. I probably would have gone through ANYTHING before having to tell my parents I was pregnant.

I did always worry about the long term effects of the hormones, though, so had my tubes tied after my second kiddo.

stacief said...

Interesting....I would assume that in the 2-10% of the eggs that are released, only a very small percentage of those are actually fertilized, right? (or am I rationalizing?)

You know what impresses me, Clewy, is the fact that you took the initiative to learn something and share with us. You're smart like that, you know? Lots of food for thought here.

ThirstyGirl said...

wow. deep.
I'm as pro-life as they come, but don't know how I feel about this info.
I need to soak in it a while.