by Bridget Callahan
Remember last December? Trump had just won the election despite every single decent belief about people and the world we had previously held true. We were all still shock-eating, and freaking out about hating everyone, and spending way more money on alcohol than we probably should have. There was all this talk about marches, and being engaged, and “never again” and here’s how we process hope and fear and identity politics and scared poor white men (who turned out to actually be the scared rich white men. Which you’d think we’d know by now).
In the midst of this chaos, half the population was freaking out about something else specifically – an admitted sexual predator with a history of rape and underage sex trafficking who literally ran the objectification gloryhole called Miss Universe, where rich old men decided which females were the best at being appealing to them mentally and physically, a guy who would obviously, clearly, without compunction, love it if women were bought and sold again like chattel, was about to be elected President.
Last summer, I went to the RNC in Cleveland, and I swear to LeBron, my period started two weeks early the moment Trump flew into town. The next month, he flew into the town I was living to do a rally on campus, and as my friend was driving me towards the school, where an ACTUAL FUCKING RAINCLOUD was just hovering over the auditorium, my period came again, even though I’d already had it for the month.
My womb sheds itself at a physical proximity to Trump of less than a mile. Like, that’s the kind of predator he is.
So it was December 2016, America was about to crumble and slide into the seas, there was no future, and every bit of optimism we had about the rise of feminism took a nuclear blast to the heart. This long slow cry then started to go up around Twitter. It started as a moan, then a weep, then a scream, then a steady shout – go get an IUD.
Reasons to get an IUD in 2016
- Your healthcare was gonna be taken away
- They were going to ninja attack abortion rights.
- You weren’t sure to have a job, so you wouldn’t be able to afford birth control.
- You needed to have all the sex in the world to wash that taste of threat and depression out of your mouth.
- You could take absolutely no risks getting pregnant in the new shit-pile world.
And slowly, but surely, everyone got one. Mirena made so much money off Trump Fear. It was like we were a rabbit warren under attack. Absorb all the babies.
At first, a bunch of people thought the Pro-IUD voices were being hysterical. (Get it, hysterical?) It won’t be that bad, they said. You’re overreacting the same way you overreacted at your supposed “Bernie Bros” innocently using the word cunt everywhere for the last six months.
But now, a year later, getting an IUD was obviously the right move, and all those above reasons are still pressingly true. Congratulations to you for being brave and doing it. Not a day goes by that I am not grateful for this little T-shaped thing that guarantees me at least five years of not sinking even deeper into the cultural and financial nightmare that is oozing all over the backyards and sidewalks of America. Everything we were scared of is coming true and it hasn’t even been a full year. Nobody was overreacting.
Getting an IUD is a very weird, painful experience. From December 2016 through April 2017, I learned so much about the periods and pain tolerances of the women I see daily. So many women have a story about getting their IUD. They bled for six months straight after. They passed out during the dilation. They bled after sex for a year. They had to go back and have it taken out.Our conversations got intimate. Last spring felt like one big sleepover if sleepovers included hiding out in a shed in the woods from gun-toting good ol’ boys swinging Bibles and op-eds about why she lost.
My story is I got through the actual process by Lamaze breathing through all of it, which makes sense ’cause you’re trying to breathe through the pain of your cervix being stretched like a water balloon. Five minutes of pretend labor in exchange for five years of not pregnant. But right after it was over, after I had memorized every detail of each framed print in that room while trying to remember to breathe but not push, I tried to get up from the table too quickly, got light-headed, and fainted. I can’t remember the last time I fainted, I think it was the time my mom tried to take a splinter out of my foot as a child. Fainting is scary. I had to sit in the doctors’ office for a while, just drinking orange juice, trying not to move. Apparently, there’s this thing where when you experience vaginal trauma, all this blood rushes down there, and so when you stand up, you know, the blood rushes back. I think it’s very cool the motion and speed of liquid in our bodies can cause us to tumble, like a lava lamp or a two-liter in the water. The blood in my body had to come back to equilibrium.
There’s been cramps. I’ve never had cramps before. It is sickening. It makes me feel bad for judging that one girl in high school I always thought was faking it to get out of class. And one time a guy said he could feel the IUD during sex if I was on top. I was mortified, so I just didn’t go on top for like, three months. There was one time where I felt certain something was terribly wrong with it, and it had punctured the wall of my womb or planted a baby in my Fallopian tube or something. But it was fine. I think everyone has that moment and that’s the only reason follow-up appointments happen at all.
Unfortunately, despite my now very safe vagina, I’ve been turned off by almost every man I met this year as soon as he has a conversation with me about anything real. I don’t think I’ve even gone through a whole box of condoms. But I’m glad I got it while I had health insurance, and who knows how long that will last, so shoving rigid hormone-soaked plastic in my soft squishy parts was still the right call. Maybe, someday, I’ll find myself capable of being attracted to American men again. Maybe they’ll stop talking as much.
In the meantime, this IUD will be here, planted in my pomegranate through whatever may come – civil uprising, bread line, full-on collapse of the banking markets, the Grid getting blown, nuclear war, extreme food and gas shortages, the rise and fall of the wild man-dog hybrid gangs.
I’ll see you all in another year. Hopefully, none of those terrifying urban legends we’ve all heard about old IUDs gets fulfilled by some horrible unknown complication they discover. Hopefully, we don’t freefall into the Handmaid’s Tale world, because we’re all gonna get sent to the Wastelands then. But hey, maybe we’ll all be feeling good because of November 2018. Hey, you know what you are now, a year later? You are strong, you are brilliant, you are emotionally aware, you are a fast, capable learner. You are standing at the edge of our next mountain, and the woman we can all become is at the top, and we’re just going to keep climbing right up until we get there or they kill us or the rising ocean waters take out civilization. I look forward to seeing you in five years, when we’re all getting these little chemical divining rods and their tiny sharp teeth removed, and hey, Hey, HEY maybe a black woman will be president. Happy upcoming one year anniversary of your Trump IUD. Four more years to go.
I’m including the next election year, ’cause Jesus Christ, I don’t know if I can even. I’ll need to get a dog beforehand for sure.