This might be over sharing so please skip if this topic makes you uncomfortable but I think it’s important to be raw and honest with my experiences, in hopes that anyone can benefit from it. So as of Sunday, October 1, 2017 – I have FINALLY broken up with my long-term pesky friend, the birth control pill. We were in a long term relationship that just wasn’t working for me anymore. Happy to report though, sorry it’s not me, it’s you!
I hear from SO many women that they to want to do this but are scared to get pregnant, talk about it with their partners, the return of acne (if that was the major reason they went on it in the first place), weight gain etc. and I was one of them… I wanted to be off of it for months and months. The thought crossed my mind numerous times. It was a scary time, I was super anxious when I seriously started debating it. It may not seem significant to some but mindlessly taking a pill everyday and then not having to worry about anything and knowing when I would get my period was amazing! It was easy and I didn’t want to give it up…until one day I thought…I have been on these packs for almost 10 years (with maybe 1 or 2 short breaks in between) and I wouldn’t ever think to take Advil every day for that long without fixing the problem, yet when I was approximately 16 years old, the pill seemed like the best idea and I never gave it a 2nd thought after that. I kept refilling my prescriptions and carrying on my merry way. It was after I had this thought that I had made up my mind after months of pondering it! I was determined! I knew I was going to get my schedules back to normal, I was going to be in tune with my body and figure it out! … or so I hoped 😉 .
So as an FYI – I’m 26 years old, I definitely am not looking to start a family tomorrow but I’d be lying to say that fertility didn’t ever cross my mind. You just don’t know until you try right – ha ha. My mom wouldn’t find this very funny… I want to get in touch with my body. To know why it does what it does. To know what it likes and doesn’t like and how my diet and lifestyle affect me. I wanted to share my experience with you all on here to provide information and perhaps that push you need to have the discussion with your partner and doctor.
Update (2 weeks -ish): It’s now October 18, 2017 and I feel SO tired. Like my body hurts, I feel super weak and tired. I have barely went to the gym in the past two weeks. People who know me, know I go about 5 times per week but right now even 2-3 times is too much. My muscles feel like dead weight and I just want to sleep. This isn’t me being lazy but I physically feel so weak. Hopefully things will level out a bit after my first period (if I end up getting it like normal – who knows right now!). Kinda scared, kinda excited to figure this journey out.
Update (3 weeks): So now it’s October 24, 2017 and I just began spotting yesterday- YAY! I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for that – ever but I’ve heard of girls not getting their period for over a year after going off the pill so I’m excited to say the least. Today it’s more of a normal period but quite painful in my lower abdomen (compared to my normal) like major throbbing pains and my pants feel SO tight right now. The good news is that I didn’t have any other symptoms like sore breasts or moodiness right before it came. My boyfriend actually said I seemed happier this month so there’s that positive ;).
Update – 3 months: It’s now January, 2018 – I wanted to wait a few months before providing anymore updates and well, life got busy too with the holidays etc.! I’m SO happy that my period has been regular and seems to be doing okay. I have been getting some hormonal acne around my neck and close to my ears. My weight has also gone up a couple pounds, which is odd for me because I don’t gain weight that fast but my pants are definitely feeling tighter. It might be the holidays or stress and hormones. I’m going to continue trying to keep my hormones balanced and honestly I feel like this was the best decision I ever made. I partly made this decision after learning about all the minerals and imbalances birth control pills cause in the body through my Holistic Nutritionist training. It has been shown that BCP causes depletions in folic acid, vitamins B2, B6, B12, vitamin C and E and the minerals magnesium, selenium and zinc. PLUS like most prescription medications, it has numerous side effects, one of which is blood clots (which can cause death, depression, etc.).
I do take a couple supplements I that I think have helped keep my hormones be mostly balanced & those are Gelatinized Maca powder (I currently use the Organika brand) and Ashwagandha powder (I currently use the Now brand). They are both adaptogens that are supposed to help bring the body’s hormones back to balance and are easy to take. I just add Maca to my smoothie and this brand of Ashwagandha is a pill or if you get a powder, you can add that to your morning matcha, coffee or smoothie. It’s a bit bitter, so best to mask the taste or get pill form like me!
I’ve also recently started taking a drink supplement by Dao Labs that uses traditional Chinese medicine herbs to support women’s cycles. You take the Emotional Balance prior to menstruation (to reduce stress, mood swings, irritability, and fatigue) and the Women’s Formula post menstruation (to stabilize hormones, replenish blood, and regulate your next cycle). If you’re reading this the week that this blog post comes out, I will be doing a giveaway on my Instagram on Monday February 12, 2018, for 1 women’s monthly kit, so head on over by clicking here! Not going to lie, these powders take some getting used to as they don’t taste the greatest but that is typical of traditional Chinese herbs. Dao labs is also doing a promotion right now in support of women and #ownyourcycle. If you buy a two months supply and see no improvements in your cycle, they will give you a refund! For full details, please click here.
Having said this, please do your own research with any supplement and try out some things I’ve listed if you want to go down this route like I did! During this journey and documenting it for all of you made me feel like I wasn’t alone. I know so many women (my own friends) who were/are scared to get off the pill for one reason or another and frankly, I never really gave my period much thought but it regulates the female body and our hormones so much. Periods to me were always this gross thing that happened each month but now it feels almost like a celebration and a way I can honour my body and everything it does for me. We shouldn’t feel bad or weird talking about our periods! There are SO many women who struggle to have them regularly or can’t conceive naturally. We are stronger together, sharing our experiences and supporting other fellow women.
Want to share your journey? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by commenting below. I’d love to hear from you!!
[Disclosure: NONE of this information is meant to be medical advice. If you are thinking to get off the pill or explore other contraceptives, please go see your doctor. This is my opinion and experience only!]