The Pill was written by a team of songwriters, Lorene Allen, Don McHan, and T. D. Bayless in 1972, produced by Owen Bradley, and released in 1975.
It is Loretta Lynn’s ode to the freedom and choices that the birth control pill gave to women.
The song narrates the story of a woman who has spent much of her married life pregnant – and understandably she’s a little bitter about it. However, now she’s got the pill, which saves her from being pregnant again and making her free without risking yet another baby.
The Story of Loretta Lynn
Although not necessarily autobiographical, the song hints at Loretta’s life. By the time she was 19, Lynn was already a mother of three children and would give birth to three more, including a set of twins, just as the pill was gaining popularity by 1964.
Loretta opens the song with her husband promising her a married life full of fun and adventure. It turns out it was not the case after all. Loretta ended up getting pregnant year after year while her no-account husband is still out playing around. All that she’s done is stay at home, which she eventually called ‘Nursery Hill’, and take care of their children.
Now that she’s found a way of preventing pregnancy which is of course with the help of the pill, Loretta is ready to change what she’s used to wearing. She’s a bit more fashionable and on-trend, making up for the years she spent in maternity wear.
She ends the song stating the incubator has been overused since it’s been kept filled all these years. And now she feels good and better because she’s got the pill.
The Effect of ‘The Pill’ to the Society
In addition to making it possible to have sex without the risk of pregnancy, the birth control pill gave women greater economic freedom. Loretta notes, having children is quite expensive. Whereas, with the availability of the pill, women were able to decide to stay in school longer, and continue their careers without the worry of pregnancy.
In an interview, Loretta recounted how she was praised by rural physicians after the song’s success, telling her how The Pill had done more to highlight the availability of birth control in isolated, rural areas.
However, the song became controversial, especially for country music. Many radio stations banned the popular song, keeping it from reaching the top of the charts despite hitting no. 5 and no. 70 in the U.S. Billboard Country Singles and the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, respectively.
Loretta Lynn, the pill