Shakira Scott: A Letter To My Younger Self

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Dear Shakira,

When you are 18 years old, you will enter your first sexual relationship. It will be exciting, romantic, awkward at times, intimate, HOT (and as you get older it will get WEIRD…but you’ll be into that). For the first few months you’ll be at it constantly, and that free bag of condoms you acquired during that Sex Ed class at school, will quickly run out.

You’ll know that you should, but you don’t restock them often enough. Because of this, during the first few months there will be several occasions that you engage in unprotected sex.

If I’m being totally honest, sometimes even when there are condoms, you guys will skip them because you’re having that heat of the moment, ‘I can’t wait, I must have you this instant or I shall perish’ kind of sex.

It’s all fun and games until the day your period doesn’t come. At first, when it doesn’t show up, you figure that its normal for periods to be late and that you’ll give it another week before you panic. We always think that the thing we’re scared of will, in fact, never happen to us, because we are the magical chosen one, protected by some imaginary superpower that makes us immune to the realities of life.

Newsflash: You don’t have superpowers. You do have a functioning reproductive system. Go figure. That week swiftly passes. You are still period free. INITIATE FULL BLOWN PANIC MODE! That’s when it dawns on you that maybe having all that unprotected sex wasn’t the best idea, because now you have to deal with the very real possibility that you could be pregnant.

Sometimes our bad decisions are the wake up calls we so desperately need.

Your first responsibility will be telling your 19-year-old boyfriend, “…I think I might be pregnant.” Don’t worry, he’s supportive. He goes to the clinic with you to get a pregnancy test.

Whilst you’re sitting in the waiting room, all sweaty palms and racing hearts as you anticipate hearing the nurse call out your name.

‘“Shakira Scott!”’

You scurry off to meet your fate. Don’t worry, you’re not pregnant. Your period is just late. The nurse will give you an impartial scolding and talk to you about different types of contraception, from condoms, the pill, the implant, the IUD – and if any of those fail, the morning after pill. You get another large bag of free condoms – I advise that you take full advantage of this service because it’s free up until you are 25 and easy to get. Condoms ain’t cheap, sis.

After that ordeal you promise yourself that you’re going to have safe sex ALL THE TIME…and you do….until a few weeks later when you get caught up in another heat of the moment, ‘I can’t wait, I must have you this instant or I shall perish’ kind of sex. Things will be different this time, you won’t panic so much. Now you’re informed about contraception, so you know that you have options. And we stan options. Options are a whole mood.

The following day you return to the clinic and request the morning after pill. You get a bit antsy waiting for it, but once it’s in your hands, you automatically pop it in your mouth and swallow it with water. The relief will be instantaneous. It completely removes the stress of having a slip up because you know that you have a back-up option.

Now, just because the morning after pill is available, doesn’t mean you should rely on it. The morning after pill is an ‘in case of an emergency’ option. Practicing safe sex goes beyond not getting pregnant. STI’s/STD’s are also a risk that only condoms and diaphragms can protect you from. Safe sex is self-care.

Sex is fantastic but safe sex is even better because it comes with peace of mind, so please take care of your body, babe, because you only get one.

Love Always,
Your Future Self

ellaOne® 30mg film-coated tablet contains ulipristal acetate and is indicated for emergency contraception within 120 hours (5 days) of unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. Always read the label.