Things We Have Learned From This Sh*tshow Of A Year

Presented by Plan B One Step

So how about 2020? It goes without saying that this year did not go as planned for any of us, from our travel plans, to our careers, to our personal lives. Nothing but mess, all around. I think I can speak for everyone when I say I’m very ready for 2020 to be over, and hopeful that the new year will be just a little less depressing.

Obviously, the calendar flipping from December to January isn’t going to magically change anything, and I realized long ago that New Years Resolutions are kind of a scam (sorry, but it’s true). But that doesn’t mean we can’t take a look back at this disaster of a year and take some positive lessons forward into 2021. I’m trying to be positive here — I’m manifesting “I’ve Got This” energy — so let’s just do our best to figure out what we’ve learned from this sh*tshow of a year.

Don’t Book Vacations Too Far In Advance

With the way this year has gone, I’ll be wary of booking anything too far in advance for the next few years. When it comes to planning trips, there are obviously financial and logistical benefits to making arrangements earlier rather than later, but it’s a good idea to balance your Type A tendencies with the reality that anything could happen. If you were one of those people who had to cancel six different trips this year, you should probably slow your roll. You don’t need to wait until the last minute to score a flight or hotel, but you also don’t need to plan your trip down to the minute six months before you depart. If something goes wrong, you don’t want to be on the phone all day with various companies begging for your deposits back. 

Always Keep Extra Toilet Paper In Your Closet

Growing up, my parents always kept a closet fully stocked with household items — extra toilet paper, boxes of tissues, cleaning supplies, paper towels — whatever you could think of, there was almost always an extra month’s worth on hand. Somehow, that way of thinking wasn’t passed down to me, which led to some genuine moments of panic this spring when I had to pray that my toilet paper order would arrive before I completely ran out. It wasn’t a fun feeling, and I have finally learned my lesson. Now, I buy the big packs of toilet paper, and I actually pay attention to when I’m on the last roll. 

Have 3 Meals You Actually Know How To Cook

If you’re one of those people who can just throw a bunch of random ingredients together and make a delicious dinner with no plan, this has really been your year to shine. For the rest of us, being forced to figure out every meal for several months with little to no useful cooking knowledge has been a struggle. It can be fun to try new things or get creative in the kitchen sometimes, but going forward, it’s important to have some meals that you can throw together, even if you’re not really in the mood to cook. Learn how to make a perfect omelette (for breakfast or dinner), or finally use the family sauce recipe that your mom sent you back in March. Your bank account will thank you, because those endless delivery charges definitely aren’t helping you stick to your budget.

It’s Really Okay To Cancel Plans

Obviously, it sucks when big plans like trips and weddings don’t happen, and it’s not fun when  you don’t get to see your friends for months. But this bizarre year has also made us appreciate quiet nights at home and relaxing weekends alone, and I’m excited to take that energy into next year. Hopefully we can go back to enjoying fun things like parties, concerts, and — if you can even imagine — normal dating, but there’s nothing wrong with balancing your introverted and extroverted sides. Obviously, you should still be considerate and give as much notice as possible if you need to cancel, but you don’t need to feel lame because you want to get eight hours of sleep on a Saturday night.

Always Be Prepared With Plan B One-Step ® Emergency Contraception

If this year has taught us anything, it’s that we need to be as flexible as possible. Some things are impossible to see coming, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to be prepared for whatever life throws at us. That’s why it’s important to know about Plan B emergency contraception. If you have unprotected sex and need to take emergency contraception, for whatever reason — like the condom broke, or maybe you missed a pill — you can rest assured knowing that Plan B is the #1 ob/gyn recommended emergency contraception brand. It helps prevent pregnancy before it starts when taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex or birth control failure. And, the sooner you take it, the better it works. It works by helping to prevent pregnancy before it starts by temporarily delaying ovulation (no egg + no fertilization = no pregnancy). Taking Plan B won’t affect your future fertility. You can get it at all major retail stores (like Target, Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Walmart) — just look in the family planning aisle. No prescription, ID, or age requirement. With Plan B’s “I’ve Got This” attitude, a few recipes, and a lot of extra toilet paper, we can make 2021 a great year (or at least better than 2020, right?).

5 Things That Are More Stressful Than Taking Plan B

Presented by Plan B One Step

Is there anything millennials fear more than emotional intimacy? *Does an audit of my entire life thus far* Definitely not. There’s nothing more grave than the pit you get in your stomach the moment you send someone a “we need to talk” text. Except, I guess, the pit you get in your stomach when you have a birth control slip-up, like a condom breaking. As someone who used to agonize for days over what to wear for a casual night at the bar I knew I would only spend two hours at, making the decision to take Plan B after a night of failed birth control was…nerve-wracking, to say the least, when I did it the first time. I’d heard all the misconceptions, like that it has a bunch of side effects, and that it would f*ck up my ability to get pregnant later on—which is not something I want to do (even if I don’t want to get pregnant right now). But we live in the age of the internet, which means that instead of anxiety-texting an itemized list of those worries,​ ​I just went online to learn more​ and realized how misguided I was. Plan B’s main ingredient has been used in birth control pills for decades, and taking it won’t mess with your fertility​.​ I also learned ​that Plan B won’t hurt my chances of becoming pregnant later on; it  temporarily delays the release of an egg from the ovary after taking the pill so I don’t get pregnant ​right now. 

So, the process of taking Plan B was not intimidating for me at all, since I knew the facts. I took it right away (by the way, you have 72 hours to take it, but the sooner you take it the better it works) and then I went about my normal life—without getting pregnant. Thank goodness. Which got me thinking: of all the things to be nervous about, taking Plan B after the condom breaks or accidentally skipping a pill or another kind of birth control slip-up shouldn’t be one of them. Not when there are plenty of other more anxiety-inducing issues that pop up in life, like…

1. Having A “What Are We?” Talk

I would so much rather walk up to a checkout counter, hand them a credit card, and take one pill than actually have to do the whole “what are we doing?” song and dance with whoever I’ve been seeing (in a fantasy world in which I am actually dating). What’s the worst that can happen, you ask? Uhm, crushing rejection? An ambiguous answer that will keep you on the same cycle of non-commitment that you’ve been in for the last six months? No, thanks. 

2. Meeting The Parents

You could be a doctor who won the Nobel Prize and moonlights as a supermodel, and meeting the parents would still be stressful af. There are the obvious what-ifs: they don’t like you, you accidentally offend them somehow and because of that, they don’t like you, you have something stuck in your teeth so they think you have poor dental hygiene and don’t like you…Sensing a theme here?

3. Actually Cooking For Myself

“It’s easy!” they say. “Just follow the recipe!”As someone who regularly f*cks up hard boiled eggs because I get absorbed in another task while waiting for the water to boil, cooking for myself is easier said than done. There’s a lot that can go wrong when attempting to cook, and that’s not even counting the very real probability that the food can come out bad. Like, I could burn myself. Burn down my apartment. Chop off a finger. Chop off a limb—you get the idea. Better to leave it to the professionals (I say as I hit “check out” on Seamless for the third time today).

4. Doing An Exercise Video…

…and I mean actually doing it, not just laying on the floor. I know, the horror! Workout classes are supposed to reduce stress (and sure, I feel better afterwards), but the actual process of doing the class is often anything but stress-free. I never know what’s going on, and I feel like everyone else in the class had a meeting beforehand to nail down all the movements and flow and I missed it. What comes after burpees again? Plus, while everyone else looks like they’re going on a leisurely stroll through the park, I am huffing and puffing and pouring sweat from the face. I don’t think I’ve ever completed a workout class not wondering WTF was wrong with me… and that’s why I’d rather just lay on my mat, pretending to do the work.

5. Trying On Your Jeans For The First Time In Six Months

If you’ve been wearing pants with an actual button or fly during this period where nobody has anywhere to go, I’m not sure if I should be scared or impressed. Actually, I’m going to go with terrified, because nobody with that much discipline can be trusted, as far as I’m concerned. For the rest of us who have spent the past five or so months sitting on the couch in leggings, convincing ourselves that chips are a balanced meal, the time when we’ll have to put on jeans again is definitely not something any of us are looking forward to. Better to just throw the jeans away than deal with that stress, IMO.

As you can see, there are plenty of other potential issues you can encounter that are way more stressful than taking Plan B when you don’t have the facts. If you have birth control failure or unprotected sex and need to take emergency contraception, you can rest assured knowing that Plan B is the #1 ob/gyn recommended emergency contraception brand, and that it helps prevent pregnancy when taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex or birth control failure. It’s not an abortion pill, but it does help prevent pregnancy before it starts by delaying ovulation (no egg + no fertilization = no pregnancy). You can get Plan B at all major retail stores (like Target, Walgreens, CVS, or Rite Aid), without a prescription—just look in the family planning aisle. No prescription, ID, or age requirement. You got this!

Image: / Unsplash

I’m 26, And My 5 Year Plan Includes Having Kids Solo

At 26, I’m the youngest of seven grandchildren on my dad’s side and the oldest of five on my mom’s. I’m also an only child. Besides a 22-year-old cousin, I am the only grandchild on either side to not be married or have kids. Even my cousin’s kid is engaged. Every trip home, my grandma asks when I’m going to bring home a nice man, when am I going to make my parents grandparents. And I finally have an answer. 

I’ve decided that if I’m still single in roughly five years, I will proceed with steps to create a family on my own. I’ll be 31 and most likely on the cusp of decreased fertility. It’ll be like Jennifer Aniston in The Switch, minus all the theatrics. The concept of purposely having a child on my own is not a revolutionary one—according to Dr. David Harari, an OB-GYN and president and chief medical officer at the Reproductive Science Medical Center in California, parents on the Donor Sibling Registry are 50% single women—but it’s still one that catches raised eyebrows and dismissive comments. Or, I should say, cliches. 

“Please, you’re so young.” 

“You’ll meet someone when you least expect it.” 

What if I don’t? Or, what if I don’t care to?

Ultimately, I’d rather have a child than a partner. The pros outweigh the cons.

If someone comes along, great! If not, it won’t deter me from having the life I want. I’ve created opportunity in every other area of my life, so why stop here? I can date until I die. But by design, having a child, especially without complications, comes with a time frame. Women are born with 1-2 million eggs, and by the time they hit 37, that number has plummeted to 25,000 eggs. That’s not to say it’s impossible, but it is way less opportunities to get pregnant. And, according to Dr. Harari, the loss of fecundity, or the ability to get pregnant, begins as early as 32 and decreases more quickly after age 37. When many guys, especially in big cities, don’t even think about becoming exclusive with one person until their mid-30s, that doesn’t leave me with a lot of time.

My mom: I want grandchildren
Me: well do you want to give me $20,000 to freeze my eggs?
My mom: well-
Me: and then would it be OK if I spent it on something other than egg freezing?

— Ginny Hogan (@ginnyhogan_) June 1, 2019

When my boyfriend of over six years ended our relationship out of nowhere, I woke up. I was 23. I had invested the majority of my energy into “us”, and in one night, all that vanished. I couldn’t help but think he had wasted my “best” years. Just that thought alone proves the pressure society places on young women. I realized that, if I waited until I found a husband or partner, my romantic life and the hopes of having a family would always be completely out of my control, dependent on someone else deciding I was worthy and not changing their mind. 

F*ck that. 

And it’s not just me who feels that way. Dr. Harari remarks, “More women in their 30’s are recognizing that they want to control and drive their family creation goals proactively.” I wonder why.

Soon after my revelation, I told a pair of girlfriends over four-dollar sangria one night. Though my future is of course my prerogative, it was important to gauge their reaction. I was prepared for backlash or an eye roll, but they loved it. Ironically, my friend had a similar yet reverse dilemma. Should she break up with her boyfriend who she loved very much because he didn’t want kids? She’s 27. We ordered another round.


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A few years ago, I went through the process of donating my eggs (if only they let me freeze some while I was already under, but that’s another article). I was pressed for cash after my living situation suddenly changed because of my breakup, and I loved the idea of helping someone in such an intimate, personal way. The process was an education in fertility and family planning. I was exposed to the lengths people were going in order to become a parent or parents. And it brought my own fate even further into focus. I’m far from alone in this: In one study looking at Assessing Reproductive Choices of Women, the authors found that those women who knew optimal age for successful egg freezing was 20-29 were more likely to freeze their eggs.

At this point, I’m still a few years away from 30. This is a protection plan. A mindset, really. By establishing a timeline and telling friends, I am not only setting up expectations (and getting people off my back), but also affirming the plan to myself. An ironic Plan B. And the longer I sit with it, the more comfortable I am. Empowered. When the time comes, I can either freeze my eggs, or move forward with a sperm donor. And if unexpected difficulties arise, I’ll adopt. I don’t want to make this decision as the last beads of sand fall from the hourglass. For now, I can focus on my career and the present without frantically searching for a baby daddy. I don’t feel the pressure to date like it’s an Olympic sport. With this plan tucked in my purse, alongside my birth control, I’m one step closer to the future I want.

Images: ginnyhogan / Twitter; uuppod / Instagram

A Ranking Of The Mothers On ‘This Is Us’ From Best To Worst

Photo courtesy of

This week’s episode of This Is Us confirmed a couple of things for me: 1) This Is Us functions very effectively as a long-form PSA for appropriate use of birth control and 2) I’m a psychic genius, because I pitched this story before even WATCHING Tuesday’s episode in which, yep, we get a pregnant Chrissy Metz.

For anyone who read the transcript of my rage blackout my article on Jack Pearson, you’re already familiar with some of my theories on the show, mainly that Rebecca (Mandy Moore) would’ve been way better off if her whimsical alcoholic husband had chilled with the baby fever (not to mention the off-the-cuff adoption schemes, though obviously thank God, because Randall is the backbone of this whole show). It’s made abundantly clear that Rebecca did not want kids, which just begs the question, if you’re as compulsive and tortured as I am a rational human being: What makes her any different from me, a woman who similarly both does not want to have children and occasionally engages in heated bathroom floor sex anyway? (I’m being colorful to make a point; I do not actually practice in/recommend any kind of bathroom-located sex, and not even just because I cried that one time. It’s just good sense.) Anyway, in honor of all the times This Is Us makes you wonder if maybe you should run out for some Plan B, because apparently pregnancy just STRIKES when you least want it, here’s a rundown of all the mothers on this show who probably would have been better off and happier if they just used more reliable birth control.


Okay, sorry I forgot Beth, but it’s easy to forget someone on a ranking of the worst mothers when you are literally perfect. Please accept my 1,000 sincerest apologies. Beth is the best. Obviously. She has the best marriage, best husband, best life, and least fucked-up kids. She just adopted a foster child, and she’s better dressed for a Wednesday at the office than you will be at your wedding. Beth will always call you (Randall) out on your (Randall’s) bullshit, and while the rest of you clowns are fawning over Rebecca and Jack’s “perfect” marriage, Beth is over here being LITERAL marriage and parent goals with Randall. I know Beth is a fictional character, but can she adopt me?



I already basically explained this, and I don’t think there should need to be any reason beyond the fact that she word-for-word states, “I never want children,” on this show, and then continues to say nothing that would suggest she has changed her mind prior to pregnancy. But it does merit a mention that she also directly calls out the fact that having children essentially crushed her professional hopes and made her literal worst nightmares about being an ignored, overburdened wife and mother all come true (even if there were good parts too, the things she was afraid of ALL HAPPEN). I would’ve loved to have seen Rebecca launch her singing career and continue her habit of drinking in the morning, as Jack mournfully tended to a growing collection of dolls in the attic loved and supported his badass wife. Instead, he works a job he hates and develops a drinking problem, while she carries the weight of five people’s well-being on her shoulders. Worst case all around.

Rebecca Pearson


This is not a political statement; I am fully aware that we haven’t actually seen Kate be a mom yet, but I just feel like the amount of baggage she’ll bring to the table is not healthy for an impressionable human baby. The biggest reason that Kate shouldn’t have a baby right now, IMO, is Toby, whose controlling man-babiness has been driving me up the fucking wall. Kate has displayed more dedication to her fitness journey in this 45-minute episode than I’ve shown in the last five years, and he dares to try and throw her off her game? Also, don’t simultaneously egg someone on to eat a snack instead of working out while ruining the snack itself with a description of the weird hippie ingredients you used for it, because apparently your unemployment has yielded some super specific and nauseating baking habits. (He has to be unemployed, right? What is he doing all day, ironing Kate’s dresses and tracking her location with the GPS chip he implanted? I hate Toby.) 

Moving on. It’s also slightly sad timing that Kate’s finally decided on a career she wants to pursue, and she’ll immediately need to put that on hold. I’m also not crazy about the compulsion we’re seeing about her body just a few weeks into pregnancy. I’m all for the working out and eating organic, but Kate’s so anxious about what her body can and can’t do already. Pregnancy is like mandatory anxiety about exactly that and with much higher stakes, and Kate’s definitely already reacting.

Kate This is Us

Rebecca’s Mom

As we learned this episode, somehow the literal bundle of joy that is Rebecca Pearson was hatched from a racist Disney villain who really, really should not have inflicted her version of “mothering” on anyone. Her nasty-comment-per-minute ratio would be impressive if it weren’t so wantonly directed at her kind and sickly grandchildren, and the brand of racism she brings to the table is basically exactly what you can look forward to at your next Thanksgiving. (To be clear, this is not me saying I wish all your grandmothers had been barren and you’d never been born; I’m just pointing out the many times This Is Us has depicted mothers in ways that make you think, “If she could just be a woman and not a mother right now, I think that would be a better alternative.”)

Celia Hodes

Anyway, short of showing Planned Parenthood ads at every commercial break, I think This Is Us has been about as effective as it can be in demonstrating the need for education surrounding and access to effective birth control. If being pregnant is your thing, then good for you, I guess. Just don’t be Rebecca Pearson, crying in a sparkly dress about how her singing career was lost in the parenting shuffle of diaper changing and built-up resentment.

NY State Assembly Passes Free Birth Control Legislation, Is The Real MVP

As you’ve probably heard, Donald Trump is like, fully the president now. In these dark times, it is important to focus on whatever shreds of good we have left, and what could be better than free birth control?

If the fashion, nightlife, and prevalence of dollar pizza hasn’t already convinced you to move to New York, maybe this will! The NY State Assembly passed the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act last Tuesday night, which insures that New Yorkers will have access to copay-free coverage for all FDA approved contraceptives…and that’s not all! Emergency contraception will also be covered, meaning no more awkward Venmo requests for half the price of Plan B. The plan will also cover male contraception if that ever becomes a thing, for those of you lucky enough to have a woke bae.

Hell Yeah

The legislature also passed the Reproductive Health Act, protecting the right to abortion in New York, which is truly great because honestly NYC does not need any more new people, tbh.

The only downside? Both bills still have to pass in the Republican-led Senate, whose typical M.O. is to just refuse to vote on topics like this (yes they can do that; yes it’s bullshit), because they aren’t down with abortion/birth control/the idea of women having sex in general (probably).


But in times like these we’ll take what we can get. For now, take this small victory and let the subtle shade of this all going down in Trump’s own hometown help fuel you for the next year.