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Interview 38

Age at interview: 21
Brief Outline: She used oral contraception as a precaution when coming off the Depo provera injection. (Played by an actor)
Background: Bangladeshi woman, mother of a two-year-old child. She and her partner had a religious ceremony and she works part-time for a children's organisation. (Played by an actor)

More about me...

 

Explains why she didn't use contraception the first time she had sex. (Actor)

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OK, and did you use any form of contraception?

First time we didn't and also because I didn't really know. I knew about condoms but where do you get them?  You're just, you're 16 and when I did, I'd turned 16 just before I took, because I'd turned 16 in March, and I sort of did it during May and also at that age where my doctor's is, it's in my mum's estate, and well my doctor's the same doctor as my mum's. I know they won't breach confidentiality I just didn't feel comfortable knowing that you know, I'm going there to get condoms.  

Did you know that you could go to other clinics outside your area?

No, not at the time because obviously I wasn't very sexually active, the fact that I'd only just done it that one time, I wasn't very aware that I, you know there's other places we can go. Because boys can actually walk into a shop and buy condoms its, its much easier for a bloke to do it than it is for a female, especially a female whose from an Asian community and you have to go' everywhere you go you bump into an Asian person you know.  

And then it's all about being discrete. You know you don't wanna walk out with a packet of condoms and you've got a huge amount of people standing outside going oh my gosh,  even with married people it happens.
 

Talks about the difficulties she encountered when trying to go to the Family Planning clinic that...

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Yeah, Family Planning Clinic, I mean your normal doctor's will give it to you when you go and see your doctor, when your time comes, or they give you a date when you next need your pills or need your next Depo done. 

But when I went to the same doctor but it's across the hall and then I went to ask them if I could' 'I'm running late for my Depo so I need you to get it done so I don't end up getting pregnant.'

And then they asked me if I was registered. I went 'Yeah, across there.'  They go 'Have you got anything wrong with you?' and I was like 'No, I've just come from the doctor's which is, you know you're linked to it.'  'Have you been to the family clinics before?'  'No I haven't because I didn't need to use it before,' you know. 

They went in to check with the doctor's to ask if I was who I was saying I was. You know 'I'm just sitting there because I'm part of the doctors, I'm part of your doctors, I've just come to the Family Planning Clinic because the doctor's was shut.' 

I think that was one of the reasons why it was off-putting for young people to go in to Family Planning Clinics, they ask too many things, they need to make the questionnaires not as long' or personal.

What kind of things did they ask you?

A little bit of family history, your sexual history so I think that's also kind of, to know what kind of things you describe your' Well, sometimes I think they don't need to know that, you know, they've come to you for a reason.  

I think also 'cos they're over run and they've got so many people they don't really have time to sit down and say 'Oh you know you've got this;' 'we've got that, this will get you in'.  Sometimes when I first started going to use clinics I got the feeling they couldn't be bothered with young people you know. Because either they don't have the time or it's the things like you know 'look it's another one who needs condoms'.
 

Talks about having a religious wedding and why she prefers to live in her own home and not with...

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Islamically we are married because we've got the new card done but we're not registered as married, we are individual people. But if we told people we weren't married, my child would grow up with the name hanging over her head as a 'bastard'. 

You know gossip is the worst form of any physical or mental abuse. You know it can leave a person damaged for life you could say.

Traditional Asian girls are meant to get married, move in with their in-laws and that's what usually happens. But its not very, some in-laws are all right, I can't say my mother-in-law was a bad person, I do get on with her which is a good thing because sometimes you don't.

Nowadays, more than not, daughters-in law are living in their own places and they go to visit their mother-in-law which is what I do. I have got no objection to do that but I am not going to move in with my mother-in-law, I want my own privacy, when I get up in the morning I want to be able to walk around in my nightie or whatever.  

You just wanna be able to get up and have a few minutes in bed or I don't know' just be myself.

Whereas if you're living with somebody else you're gonna automatically get up, get dressed straight away, you've got to' You know you don't have your own privacy, you've got someone looking over your shoulder, whether they're doing it intentionally or not.
 

Indicates that she had oral contraception as a precaution when coming off the Depo Provera...

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When I first came off my Depo' recently I took it because I wasn't sure whether I was still in the time, you know they give you a time that they're, that the injection wears off by so just to be sure I wasn't going to be pregnant I went to the clinic, to my doctor and I said 'Could I have the pill please because I've just come off my Depo and I don't want it again so I'd rather take the pill and just you know stop it progressing to that stage.'
 

Explains that her biggest worry when going to see her GP for contraception was to 'bump' into her...

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I wanted to ask you how easy it is for a teenage Bangladeshi girl to have access to these services?

It's not very. You would be literally looking over your shoulder every minute, to this day sometimes I get paranoid going into places to get contraception because you know, everyone thinks I'm married.

Yeah and apart from that you're in your 20s now, so'

Exactly so it doesn't really matter but for someone who isn't they'll be looking over their shoulder every minute literally to see if there's someone in the doctor's or, it might just be me, but I know I felt like that. But I know its very hard and that's why a lot of people don't go to get contraception because they'd rather buy it and it is very expensive, but you're gonna buy a packet of condoms every other day or every other week.

Men don't usually use the services like females do. I know females use it a lot more.  They usually go to places where they know they're not gonna bump into someone from the same community or they're gonna go somewhere where they know young girls are using the same service. But there's not very many places that you can go where it's not situated in a place that you're likely to bump in to'  

Every Family Planning Clinic I know, you're gonna bump into some Asian family there, that's why I wouldn't use it, I don't use it, I don't use the clinic. I went there once and I came back straight away, I didn't go in to use it properly. You know I just felt so uncomfortable.

When I was on my own separate GP's I would 'cos I knew, I didn't really care then who's looking 'cos my mum's not there. My mum was my biggest barrier to cross and people my mum knew. But I'm in a different area and people don't come to this doctor's to use the same services as I do. So I felt comfortable to use them.
 

Feels that it was wrong to start the Depo Provera injection too soon after childbirth. (Actor)

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How many weeks or months after the childbirth did you start Depo ?

It took a couple of weeks after I had my daughter so I wasn't quite told that you've got to wait for your hormones to calm down, it took almost, straight after I had my daughter because I wasn't taking another chance of getting pregnant.  

I almost took it straight, I'm sure I took it a good couple of weeks after I had the baby.  My periods stopped so that I was, you know when you've your baby you can bleed?

Yes. 

And then that stopped. And then two weeks after I had another period and then after that I took it.

I don't know if its just the myth over having the Depo but I feel a lot, I feel a lot better in myself, I'm finally doing something, I don't feel, feel crappy all the time 'cos there's a big chance that Depo does make you feel like very' it sometimes makes you feel moody.  It gives you mood swings and I did used to snap a lot, for whatever reason. I did sit there feeling miserable or just feeling low all the time and glum.  

But I feel a lot better in myself now that I'm not on it. I'm not always moody, I'm actually quite happy, I'm quite the opposite so I don't know if its just my head or in general but I do feel the difference you know.  

I don't plan to go back on it again.
 

Explains that she stoped 'mucking about' with boys once her period started. (Actor)

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And how did you feel about starting your periods?

I knew that kind of seeing you as a woman in those terms and even mentally I felt a change in myself. I've noticed this with my younger sister, that before she started her periods she was all jokey, mucking around with people, my brothers you know, she doesn't do that now. She's got much older, much older than my younger brother, she's not as childish as he used to be. And like I've noticed the same changes in myself. I wouldn't go and muck around with my brothers and my brothers friends. I just felt really...

Why? Were you told that you have to behave in a certain way?

No, no, not 'cos I felt like I had to, I just felt different in myself, I was like oh gosh, you know. Especially when I'm on my period I wouldn't go near people in case I leaked or, the usual fears of being like on your period, like do they know or can they tell that you are, you know.
 

Indicates that initially she didn't know that she could get pregnant even without having a period...

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Because I was told it should happen every month I started getting worried, gosh why, what's wrong with me, then I started my period and I've not had one for another couple of months and you know, you think there's something wrong inside.  

I went to the doctor and they said its fine you know, some people have regular periods but some people have irregular periods, maybe they have more periods in a month than the average person does.

Did they tell, tell you also that you could get pregnant even if you don't have periods every month?  

They, not when I first started my period, afterwards they did once I was sexually active but not before I started, I don't even think I actually went, I just wanted to ask if you have periods you know, is it normal for your periods to be delayed, they said 'yeah' and they didn't really expand on it much. But saying that my mum was sitting right next to me so you know I don't think they would have sat there and also because my doctor, my mum's doctor she speaks Bengali but she's English. 

She went to Dhaka to learn the language because most of her clients are Bengali and sometimes they need translators. So she thought it would be a good idea to learn the language herself.

So she was kind of doing, translating like the whole, I'm like oh my gosh don't say anything with my mum sitting right next to me. So I think that might have been why she didn't expand on it. You know.

And you were aware when you started your periods?

Yeah after I started I was aware that you could get pregnant, but before then I wasn't aware that you could get pregnant if you didn't have you know, because of the process, you know the egg coming out of the ovaries that any number of times you could get pregnant, that I wasn't very clear of, even though we had, in the biology class at school they show you the sperms and how they swim up to the egg, it still wasn't clear till someone actually sat down and said look at this, what can happen even if you're not on your period.I think that was a kind of age and maturity, 'cos even at 15 I don't think I was very mature.
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