We often encounter people who say they are not having children or are done having children and do not see the need to complete a reproductive life plan; they have no intentions of having any or more children. So what is the benefit of completing a RepLI and mapping out their reproductive life goals?
For me, I have used RepLI as a roadmap on my reproductive life journey. When I was younger, I did not think too much about having children. Sure, I liked the idea and figured it would most likely happen in “the future”, but it was not something I had planned out. Thinking about that statement now, that isn't necessarily true, as I felt like I have spent most of my reproductive years trying to not get pregnant. While I may not have known it then, I did have somewhat of an idea of a reproductive life plan. I knew I had other goals in mind before I wanted to have children and in order to achieve those goals, I needed a reliable method of contraception.
Throughout college and in to my early 20s, I used oral contraceptive pills, which I rather enjoyed. I was a decent pill taker and did not have issues remembering to take it daily. But when I was 25, my pill-taking days came to an end when I was diagnosed with pulmonary embolisms and a deep vein thrombosis in my pelvis. On top of dealing with these new and serious health issues, I was also left completely vulnerable and at risk for an unintended pregnancy. I was in my last year of graduate school and knew I wasn't ready to have kids so I scheduled an appointment with my gynecologist to determine a new and acceptable contraceptive method. We decided on a IUD, a progestin-only levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device, that would protect me against unintended pregnancy for up to 5 years.
As I started to achieve my life goals, my reproductive goals changed along the way. Once I made the decision that I wanted to have a baby, I set a pretty short window for which I wanted to achieve that goal. I had my IUD removed exactly 5 years after I had it inserted. My fertility returned quickly after removal and I was pregnant within a few months. When it came time to discuss postpartum contraception, it was a no brainer for me that I would want to get another IUD placed after delivery. By childbearing status, I fall within the "I'm Done" category. I wanted one child and I have one child, with no intentions of wanting/having more. However, reproductively speaking, I fall within the "I'm In It" category. At 34, I still have some time before I will reach menopause, putting me a risk for an unintended pregnancy. I opted for another hormonal IUD and had it placed at my postpartum visit. With recent updates to the indication, my current IUD is now good for up to 8 years of protection against unintended pregnancy.
RepLI empowered me to design my reproductive life journey. I was able to navigate my life goals while finding the best form of contraception for me. I was able to determine my ideal childbearing window and when I wanted to have a baby. I was able to visualize my journey and achieve my goal. And now RepLI helps me connect with others to share my story and support others on their own journeys.