10 Stories of Women and Their Birth Control, Because Talking About It Is Helpful

The subject of birth control is a convoluted one—the complexities made even more apparent after reaching out to different women for this piece. As someone who's never interacted with hormonal birth control before, I found myself without an understanding of what it's really like to go get it for the first time, to feel those telltale, awful symptoms, and to hang your head in shame during a lecture from a doctor unsympathetic to your needs.

For a medication so ubiquitous with growing up, why, I ask you, is the information still so mysterious? And while we're asking questions, how is it possible that almost every single one of the women featured below has had a negative experience either with the drug itself or the adults manipulating their decisions about it? It's time we discuss women's sexual health in a real, raw, and constructive way, starting with our first experiences with birth control and the subsequent embarrassment, shame, and mixed messaging that ensues.

Below, find eight women who have chosen to share their own stories. They span the gamut in age, location, and birth control method, but one thing is constant in all of their narratives: not enough information.