A conversation with three women and what happened to their bodies (and minds) when they took Plan B
By Gillian Stucki
How old were you when you first took Plan B?
Woman 1: I was 17. In Louisiana, that meant I had to get [my partner’s] friend to buy it for us, because neither of us were 18 yet.
Woman 2: I was 18 years old when I first took Plan B.
Woman 3: I was 18 years old. Pretty sure it was it was fall semester of my freshman year.
Why did you decide to take "the morning after" pill?
Woman 1: Because I woke up the next day and realized we hadn’t used protection, and I didn’t want a baby. I was about to start college.
Woman 2: I’ve taken Plan B three times. The first time, I was stupid and used Plan B as my Plan A, so my partner didn’t have to wear a condom. I regret that. The next two times were more typical. I was taking birth control irregularly, since I wasn’t sexually active for a good stretch of time. When I first became sexually active again, a condom broke. I was afraid my birth control wouldn’t be enough, so I decided to take the pill.
Woman 3: I’ll be honest, I took it twice in one week, which is terrible for you. The first time was because we genuinely didn’t remember if we used a condom or not ... The second time later that week was because we got so drunk, we couldn’t even remember if we had sex or not. Both of those were driven by uncertainty, I guess. Wanting to be safer and not have to stress over it for the next month until I got my period.
I woke up the next day and realized we hadn’t used protection, and I didn’t want a baby.
Where did you get your Plan B? How much did it cost?
Woman 1: I got it at Walgreens, and it was $60.
Woman 2: I’ve gotten it at CVS and Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is definitely cheaper. I think at CVC it was $50, and at Planned Parenthood it was $35.
Woman 3: CVS both times. It cost $50.
Did you experience any side effects? If taken multiple times, did the effects vary?
Woman 1: My period lasted 2 and a half weeks. It was really thick and terrible. One of the worst periods I’ve ever had. I’ve taken it three times, and the side effects we’re pretty much the same every time. The last time I was more emotional though.
My period lasted 2 and a half weeks ... One of the worst periods I’ve ever had.
Woman 2: The first time I took Plan B, I got pretty nauseous. It almost felt like a hangover. However, that did not last long. I also was pretty emotional, but I’m generally pretty sensitive to hormones. I also had some slight bleeding. The most irritating thing was that it threw off my normal cycle. However, other times I have taken Plan B, I had no side effects at all.
Woman 3: No. I’ve heard a lot of people spot afterwards, but I didn’t even have that. Yeah, I didn’t experience any side effects.
I didn’t experience any side effects.
Did your partner or person you were with physically know you had taken Plan B?
Woman 1: Yes, except for the third time. I didn’t know them very well that third time, and it wasn’t that important for me to tell them.
Woman 2: Sometimes I tell them and sometimes I don’t. Usually I am on birth control or a condom was used, so my partners aren’t often thinking about it. However, if I’m paranoid due to a missed birth control pill or just simply feel nervous, I’d rather just take the pill. Can’t be too careful.
If I’m paranoid due to a missed birth control pill or just simply feel nervous, I’d rather just take the pill. Can’t be too careful.
Woman 3: Yes, they were with me when I got it.
If they were aware, was this person supportive?
Woman 1: The first time it was his idea to go get one, and he paid for it. They’ve all been supportive.
Woman 2: Every person I have told has been very supportive. However, I usually will tell them after the fact.
Woman 3: Yes, he was super supportive. I’ll admit, when we went [to buy Plan B] the first time I don’t know what came over me, but I literally started sobbing in the middle of CVS. I don’t know, I guess I just hadn’t thought about it that severely, and at that point I was. It just overcame me, and he was really supportive then. He kind of calmed me down Then we sat on some steps for awhile. He was with me when I took it.
I literally started sobbing in the middle of CVS.
How were you emotionally after taking the pill?
Woman 1: The first time I was pretty upset, because I didn't feel like I should have to be taking it. By the second time, it just felt like I was taking Ibuprofen.
Woman 2: The first time, I got pretty upset. I regretted letting my partner not use a condom. I don’t think Plan B is a good Plan A for emotional reasons, but also because pumping your body full of hormones when it’s not necessary isn’t great. The other two times I took the pill, I was much more relaxed. I actually once joked about it in a Snapchat to my friend group chat. I think being cautious is always a good idea.
Woman 3: The first time, I was overwhelmed. After I took it, I guess I was relieved. But the overall experience was just overwhelming anyway. I felt very adult in that moment, and I hadn’t wanted to. The second time, I kind of felt stupid for doing it again. I have natural preventatives that I usually do, so taking a plan B for the second time in a week just felt dumb. I regretted the second one a little bit.
I felt very adult in that moment, and I hadn’t wanted to.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing about Plan B, what would you say?
Woman 1: I wish I would have known what it was going to do to my period. It wouldn’t have changed my decision, but there should be more information on the inside of the packaging.
Woman 2: I would tell myself that it is okay to take Plan B. It’s normal. It’s not shameful. It’s okay.
Woman 3: I would tell myself not to take it a second time, especially not back to back. Also just the fact that that was probably $100 I didn’t need to spend on Plan B.
I would tell myself that it is okay to take Plan B. It’s normal. It’s not shameful. It’s okay.
WANT THE 101 ON EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTIVE?
Read more about what exactly is in Plan B, what it does and when you should take it.
Gillian Stucki interned at Ovee this summer while completing her undergraduate degree in Health, Society and Policy. Growing up, she had NO sexual education from her Louisiana high school. Today, she won't stop talking about her vagina.