What do the Game of Thrones premiere, Rihanna’s song ‘We Found Love (In a Hopeless Place)’ and the ten-year anniversary of Wikipedia have in common? They all began ten years ago in 2011!
A lot can change in a decade. Your life can transform, the world around you might have changed dramatically, and you’re mortified by Facebook’s ‘on this day’ reminder of the outfit you wanted to forget.
Some things, however, stay the same. Our recent survey on people’s relationships with the contraceptive pill showed us that many people have long-term relationships with their pill. Sixty-eight per cent of our respondents said they started taking the contraceptive pill before the age of 20, whilst more than 40% have taken their pill for more than five years.
Why did they choose to take the pill over other types of contraception? Eighteen per cent like feeling in control of their contraception every day, and eighteen per cent wanted to be able to stop their contraception at any time.
There is no one ‘type’ of person who takes the pill. People from all walks of life, of all reproductive ages and all relationship statuses, may choose to take it. We spoke to four people who have taken the pill for a decade to find out more about them and their relationship with their pill.
What does a ‘day in your life’ look like?
“I wake up naturally (I hate having to set an alarm!), have a shower, have a cup of warm apple cider vinegar and ginger and go to my work kitchen in the basement to start work,” says Gemma, a 29-year-old vegan chef. Gemma has been on the contraceptive pill for 11 years and started taking it during her first serious relationship.
“I’ll usually make 5 or 6 cakes or food for a function I’m catering for or prep for a retreat,” Gemma adds. “I usually get hungry around one and make myself some lunch, watch a bit of telly and continue with work if there’s any left to do. Then I’ll go for a walk, do some yoga, see a friend or my mum and get back to make dinner. Sometimes my boyfriend works till the early hours so I usually eat alone, read, watch more telly and go to bed at about midnight.”.
“If it’s a weekday, I wake up at 7am, shower and make a smoothie, before getting on the tube to work. After checking emails on my commute, I get to the office for 9am and will spend my day liaising with artists, creating social media content and having meetings with collectors.” Iso is 24 and has been taking the pill for over ten years.
“I get home at 7 and go for a run along the Thames, before cooking dinner – carbonara is my go-to,” says Iso. “I’ll spend the rest of the evening with my housemates watching tv or chatting, and then get into bed at 10 pm. I’ll read (but mostly scroll through TikTok) and try to wind down to sleep by 11 pm.”
Don’t do something because someone wants you to, do it because you want to. Most people aren’t bothered about what you’re doing, so don’t worry too much
What life lessons have you learned over the last 10 years?
“Don’t do something because someone wants you to, do it because you want to. Most people aren’t bothered about what you’re doing, so don’t worry too much,” says Alice, a 32-year-old manager at a software company. She has been taking the pill for 11 years.
“Don’t let others take you off course. When I was 17 I swam and sailed for the UK teams. However, I let being a teenager and peer pressure lead me away from that – something I’ve regretted ever since,” says Becky, a 39-year-old lifestyle blogger. Becky has been taking the pill for over 20 years.
When do you take your pill?
It’s really important to take your contraceptive pill at the same time every day, because if you miss your pill you may not be protected against unplanned pregnancy. Hana®, a progestogen-only pill available to buy over the pharmacy counter without prescription, should be taken at the same time every day without a break between packs.
If you do miss your pill, you have a 12-hour window in which you can take it and still be covered. If it’s been longer than 12 hours, it counts as a missed pill and you should use another contraceptive method (like condoms) for the next 7 days to help prevent unplanned pregnancy. Find out more about what you should do if you miss your Hana® pill here.
So how do you remember to take your pill? “I take my pill at 10pm – I have a reminder on my phone that keeps me accountable,” says Iso, “I keep it by my bed or in my purse if I’m away from home.”
Many people choose to keep their pill by their bed and take it before bed, so it becomes part of their natural nighttime routine. It’s also important to remember to take it with you if you’re going away, as it can be easy to get swept up in the moment and forget. “I have a pack in my makeup bag so I can’t forget to take them with me if I’m going away,” says Gemma.
Remember to follow your pills storage instructions (found on the leaflet) to make sure it’s being stored correctly. Find out more about when you should take your pill here.