One of the most gratifying things that I get to do as a physician is share safe and effective family planning options with patients who sometimes they didn’t even know were possible. I remember a particular example of this, when I was taking care of a rambunctious three-year-old and his nine-month-old sister, who were both being seen for regular physical exams.
As I talked with their young 20-year-old mother, I learned more about her life—her other five-year-old son who was in school that day, the two jobs she worked, the lack of support she had from her previous abusive partner. I asked her about her plans for future children, and she described how she was struggling to make ends meet already with her three young children. She told me how she had always been offered birth control pills but struggled to remember to take them because of her erratic work schedule. I asked her if she had ever considered a long acting method—like an IUD or implant—and I was surprised to hear that she had never heard of or been offered either.
I carefully reviewed both of these options with her. I saw this wave of relief come over her as she realized that she could decide if and when she was financially and emotionally able to have another child without the fear of a “missed pill.”