How Birth Control is Self Care – Author Zoe Njemanze

Blog Entry # min read

Self-care has become so commonplace these days—everyone is talking about self-care even your favorite fashion brands! Self-care is not a rigid idea at all, in fact self-care should be any healthy habit or activity that supports your mental health and well-being. The “healthy” part is important as we don’t want to engage in self-destructive behavior.

My research as a public health professional has led me to become increasingly interested in self-care, as a concept, but also in practice. Self-care has a variety of benefits; it can improve our physical health and reduce stress and anxiety, better our relationships with ourselves and our support system. The beginnings of self-care are a bit indefinite. While self-care has been a medical concept for sometimes it wasn’t until the women’s movement and civil rights era that self-care started to take shape as to what we know it to be today. As both groups strive for a more equitable environment, political activism in its own right is a form of self-care and reinforces self-worth, love and confidence. As I mentioned, self-care is quite flexible.

Despite being overrun with “treat yo self” email advertisements in this day and age, I started thinking earnestly about what self-care meant to me, and which my activities are self-care. Well, to be fair, I do enjoy the occasional (FREQUENT) shopping trip. Looking at the color combinations, feeling different textures of clothing and–let’s face it–swiping my card for something shiny and new is a good feeling. But by doing this mental check-in, by digging deeper, I realized that having birth control is a form of self-care for me. When I first started having sex, nothing—and I mean nothing—made me feel safe. I was fearful to the point that sex wasn’t enjoyable. I knew, as a young woman forging my own path, that I needed to decide for myself (either stop having sex forever or seek out contraceptive options with higher efficacy). As I’ve mentioned in my previous article, Breaking Taboo, deciding on birth control was a choice that I made for myself, for my peace of mind. And what is more self-care than that? In the five years I have been on birth control I think I have miscounted the security that I’ve received from my birth control. If you’re like me, do it for yourself, you owe it to yourself to make decisions that will benefit you!

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