Anything with buttons just wants to break.
—My sister Tammy
I don’t know whether you’ve heard of resistentialism, but I was quite taken with the philosophy as a teenager. Put briefly, resistentialism explains that things are against us; to quote Paul Hellwig, it provides an explanation for “seemingly spiteful behavior manifested by inanimate objects.” I read a resistentialist play back in the day: a man tries to write and the pen is dry; he sets it down and it rolls off the desk; he sits, and the chair collapses beneath him. It’s an enormously satisfying way of interpreting the small, horrible events that seem to gum up lousy days, and I retain a fondness for the idea, if not the lived experience.
At the end of December, I had an IUD inserted. I was thrilled. Mr. Book and I talk about maybe, possibly one more baby—but not until Kit is five, and we’re neither of us really decided for or against him. So a Mirena seemed like the perfect solution: low hormone level, so it won’t interfere with breastfeeding; totally hassle free. Okay, sure, I started bleeding and cramping after a few days, and that hasn’t let up yet, but I can live with up to six months of that. And then I started losing my hair. At first, I wasn’t sure what the cause was—my father has an auto-immune disorder that has led to patchy baldness, and he and I were both concerned that it might have revealed itself to be heritable—but finally I looked up the Mirena side effects. I read the packet I was given at insertion, but what the official brochure lists as “changes in hair growth” didn’t register with me the same way that the WebMD “hair loss” did. So I called Planned Parenthood, I am having the device removed on Monday, and I will go on the mini pill. The mini pill is less reliable, but since we’re not ready for the extraordinary security of a vasectomy, it seems to be our best option for now. In the mean time, I have a bald spot the size of a quarter, and have taken to wearing unflattering hats even while I sleep.