Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3: STD's and Pregnancy
“OMG Jana! You’re pregnant!? And you think you have Chlamydia!?”
So I have pregnancy tests around my house? And yes, they definitely have scared a few men I’ve had to stay, and my mother actually, but honestly, taking them, for me anyway, is a pretty routine thing I do. As somebody living with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and not on any contraception I've had to get used to the idea of taking regular pregnancy tests. For those of you who may not know, one of the symptoms of PCOS is not having regular periods. So not being able to keep track of my cycles in the same way a lot of you would, means I could literally enter a second trimester and be almost none the wiser [my longest cycle to date has been over 100 days].
Yet why, when I take them so regularly, am I still so embarrassed to buy them? (making sure I can buy them in the store with self-service checkouts and not over the counter).
And from a lot of your responses to the polls on the Matriarch Instagram stories the other day, I am not alone in this feeling. Be that from being judged because we're "too young" to have children or “irresponsible” that we think we might be having children, or dear Lord that we are even having sex in the first place.
Like why does anybody else need to know about this, what for some people can be a very intimate and personal thing; because it does feel that no matter who it is on that till or in the store with a view of your basket, whether you're buying condoms, pregnancy tests or bloody Canesten, is judging you or at least for me, this is how I often feel (mind you when I've gone with a friend it has always been a highly entertaining experience, 11/10 would recommend).
But really, if you think about it, if anybody does give you that judging look or says something to you that is judgemental, that says more about them than it does about you because
"pregnancy isn't shameful"; and there *nothing* shameful about it. For sure it can be a little scary but aren't you better knowing, and taking a test than waiting to find out, particularly if you're worried about it? And the likelihood is "you probably won't see that checkout person again" especially if you go to a different store.
It did however make me very happy to see that so many of you from our Matriarch Community (54%) have clearly grabbed that pregnancy-test-embarrassment bitch by the horns, and reading your responses as to why has made me feel even a lil bit more confident/empowered about buying them bc at the end of the day, like one of you said, so clearly and so eloquently, I love you: "fuck you, it's my body, my choice" and this is quite frankly the energy I think we all need.
And the same goes for taking STD tests. Yes, they may be a little scary if you think you have one, and intrusive, or embarrassing if you know anybody in that waiting room BUT they are so SO important. And I just want to take a moment, and very much *not* tell any of you off but the amount of you that may or may not have responded to one of the polls saying that you only get tested if you think you have symptoms - please stop waiting until you think you have one to get tested.
“Chlamydia is 1 of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the UK. Most people with chlamydia do not notice any symptoms and do not know they have it.”
- this has been taken from the NHS website, link attached below for more info :)
I realise there is still sadly so much stigma around STD/STI’s but I want to look out for you by recommending that if you are sleeping with multiple partners, you go girl, but also please go be a responsible bean and get tested regularly too. Because at the end of the day "practising safe sex as a positive thing" and "it's just your health innit."
As always, thank you so much to all of you beautiful people who responded to the polls on the Instagram stories on Monday. We are so grateful for all of your responses and it was comforting and empowering to see how you guys felt about this topic; Everything in bold quotation marks are your words, not mine and I thoroughly enjoyed not only reading them but weaving them into my own thoughts and experiences on this too.
Shoutout to all you sexy people having safe sex. I'm proud of you x