Author | Photos Catherine McMahon

Why I’m Choosing To Set #3YearGoals

I believe that the key to leading a fun, fulfilled and exciting life has to do with goal setting, so naturally, it’s something that I think about A LOT.

As a borderline millennial, I live with constant FOMO, though I’m beginning to realize that it’s not such a bad thing. Because my greatest fears are rooted in missing out on potentially life-changing opportunities and experiences, I check in with myself often and honestly.

I never want to feel stuck, and keeping an open mind is hugely important to me. I give myself room to grow, and if I find that my goals are no longer aligned with who I am, I’m okay with changing them, and not equating that with failure.

In a personal quest to balance spontaneity and structure, I’ve begun to think of my life, and my goals, in three-year increments, instead of the typical “five-year plan.”

Since family planning is something that I’m finally starting to wrap my head around, I was excited to speak with Dr. Christine Palmay (who just happened to win the Reproductive Health Award from the Federation of Medical Women of Canada) about women’s health and fertility.

What’s the most common misconception about contraception among young women and millennials? 

We live in a world of unprecedented access. It’s shocking how many women don’t understand the options that are available to them. Having access to information is completely different than being informed.

Did you know that 30% of unintended pregnancies are people who are on birth control? Unintended pregnancy is a huge burden physically, emotionally, economically – why not protect yourself and put yourself in a situation where you’re in control?

When it comes to planning for the future and figuring out contraception, why is three years the magic number?

Forty years ago people would keep jobs for twenty years, it was a completely different time. Now, with life changes, tech changes, etc., the decade of your twenties is HUGE, a lot can happen even between twenty and twenty-three. Five years seems way too long. Planning in two/three-year increments makes more sense; you might be changing schools or travelling. By looking at life in this way, it takes on a different pace that’s long enough that changes can be made, but not so long that there’s no room for flexibility.

What’s the best piece of advice you have for young women who are confused by all the birth control options out there?

Find a doctor that you trust and ask the right questions – what are the right options for YOU? For me, the pill doesn’t make sense. I have speaking engagements and a crazy schedule, so there’s no way I can take a pill at the same time every day.

Just because it ain’t broke doesn’t mean that you can fix it, and that includes updating your birth control. Women have to be bold and re-evaluate their needs and seek out credible information to make the best possible choice.

I’ve never been a fan of the pill either but have heard that IUDs are incredibly painful to insert. Can anything be done to make the process less scary?

An IUD is like a painful pap. Luckily it’s quick (it takes five minutes to insert, fifteen in total for the full procedure); you don’t even have to take time off work. I suggest taking a strong anti-inflammatory thirty minutes before your appointment. Also, if you’re on you’re period, your cervix is naturally dilated, and the IUD is easier to get up.

Something that I personally worry about is fertility, as I would like to start a family in the next few years. Is that something worth checking out now, and what’s the process like?

The test of fertility is trying. We can maximize your chances, and check out a few things like the thyroid and mineral status, but ultimately it’s all about trying. Funnily enough, I do everything to help my sixteen year old stay not pregnant, and everything to help my thirty-six year old get pregnant. I’d say that if things don’t start moving in three to six months, then it’s time to do a fertility assessment.

For more info, take a look at birthcontrolforme.ca.

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