This tea is blazing hot but before I spill, let’s quickly run through WHO’s definition of emergency contraception.
Emergency contraception refers to methods of contraception that can be used to prevent pregnancy after sexual intercourse. These are recommended for use within 5 days but are more effective the sooner they are used after the act of intercourse. Methods of emergency contraception are the copper-bearing intrauterine devices (IUDs) and the emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs).
The emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) basically prevents pregnancies by delaying ovulation (you are most likely to conceive during ovulation).
I don’t have apps like Flo on my phone but I always make sure to count ahead and note my next period on my phone’s calendar. My calculations are usually accurate because my period is regular. At the beginning of August, I had (unprotected) sex and used POSTPILL almost immediately after. The trouble in my paradise started on the 24th, when I was supposed to get my period but didn’t.
There are a number of reasons why a person’s period might be late after using an emergency contraceptive so I didn’t give it much thought, I was only late by a day after all. But when I still didn’t get it on the fourth day, my worry escalated into a full blown panic attack. The implication of a missing period is pregnancy. I immediately started imagining my African mother throwing me out of her house.
See, having a pregnancy scare is one of the top two (and it isn’t two) efficient ways your life can be disrupted, especially as a young African woman. I ran to Doctor Google and it said the maximum number of days a person’s period can be late is 7 days. “Alright, countdown to 30th then”, I remember telling myself.
I didn’t inform the person I had sex with until the 6th day, because I thought telling him earlier would mean that it was a big deal and not just a simple case of a late period. The anxiety was killing me so I told him and we both decided to wait till the next (7th) day like Google recommended.
Up until September 7th, I didn’t get my period. Now here’s the funny thing I experienced between August 30th and September 7th – I had menstrual symptoms but still didn’t get my period. The symptoms started mildly, with headaches and fatigue till it progressed to cramps and lower abdominal pains. I was so confused. I hate getting my period (as does every other woman on the planet), but this time I wished, cried and begged my period to come. “Please just this once, I won’t ever have sex again”, I pleaded.
P.S: I’ve had safe sex many times since then but that’s not the topic for today please.
Throughout this incident, I wasn’t myself. I was stuck in my own head terrified about my imaginary child, and would stand in front of the mirror at least five times a day, accessing my bloated stomach. I kid you not, the point between having a missed period and waiting for some days to see if it will finally come before taking the inevitable pregnancy test is HELL. I was tired and worried but was more tired of being tired and worried so I made up my mind to take a pregnancy test. I had already thought of the worst; that I was pregnant. But of course I wanted to confirm still. I desperately wished I was wrong though, that I wasn’t pregnant. It was a rollercoaster of emotions, I informed the person I had sex with and we agreed to go to a laboratory for the test.
My blood sample was taken for the test and we were asked to wait 30 minutes for the results. It came out negative.
I was relieved, happy, excited .. but confused. I wasn’t pregnant, nice. But where the hell was my period?
I spoke to a doctor and he asked about the last time I had sex, when I got my last period, when I was supposed to have gotten my new period, and other important questions. I answered in detail and added that I used POSTPILL after the last time I had sex. He confirmed that my late period was a side effect of the pill I used and said I shouldn’t be too bothered because stress is one of the causes of a late or missed period. He also advised I waited an extra week and if I did not get my period still, I should take another test and an ultra-scan.
Ladies and gentlemen, I got my period two days later.
Pregnancy scares are not fun and the best way to prevent it is by engaging in safe and protected sex. Condoms and birth control methods can be used to achieve this and they also help you live longer because you are not giving yourself sleepless nights and hypertension simply because you had sex. There are multiple birth control methods, you can speak to your doctor about any one that might be perfect for you. Birth controls however do not protect you against STIs so please use condoms and get tested regularly.