The One About Birth Control

Let’s talk about birth control for a post. I first started taking ortho tri-cyclen when I was a junior in high school. I was one of those girls who ran track and cross country and was told by a doctor that I needed to be on it to regulate my cycle because I was too thin to cycle on my own. I wish right then and there that I would have said no. I mean my body had just started to figure this whole cycle thing out. I believe now that my system deserved a few tries to practice and get it right. My poor pituitary gland had just started its new job and after a rough start I thought I should just take over and control my hormones myself. The doctor said I should, and you can trust doctors right? So I had ONE natural period as an adolescent and then, birth control. My body was not happy about this. I had severe cramps that lasted a week, severe bleeding that lasted another week, and mood swings that made the members of the bi-polar club feel normal in comparison. This was my introduction to womanhood so I held on tight and tried to live it. After six months of “give it a few months, your body will get used to it and everything will be fine” I decided the pill was no good for me. Again I should have just walked away and gone off to meet my ovaries then. But I didn’t. Now, the doctor had a great little shot she thought I should try, Depo. Here is why I tied Depo, I was 17, I was going to college soon, and this shot promised me that I did not have to take a pill at the same time every single day. I just had to get one shot every three months and have a period at the same interval. I ended up not having a period at all on the shot so that was a bonus in my eyes at that time. One shot, no mess, no tampons, no pills, no baby scares, and it was cheap with insurance. Sign me up! Actually, on the shot, I did not have the cramps or the mood swings so I was happy and stayed on it for 7 years. I suffered from anxiety, really bad acne, and leg cramps during this 7 years but I did not connect that these might be from the Depo. At the age of 24 I took a big girl job in a new town and started a new life. At the time, I was not dating anyone and decided I needed to figure myself out before bringing a prince charming into the mix. So I came off of the shot, just to see if the years of artificial cycling had taught my body anything and if it was ready to work on its own. I was also considering counseling, my anxiety had gotten so bad and I hated meeting new people in my town because I was so self-conscious of my skin. I had done some yoga back in my old city and liked it and it didn’t require that I talk to others, yet I could still be around people, so I poured my anxious pimple covered soul into yoga. I went to class 4 or 5 times a week on top of working 40-50 hours a week. I loved it and I started to really feel better. After about 6 months of this my anxiety went away completely and my skin showed gradual improvement. I loved the practice of yoga so much that I wanted to share it and started teaching a weekly class. I did not however, have a period. I was ok with that. I figured I would need to do something eventually when I wanted to have kids but in the meantime maybe it would sort itself out. My doctor wasn’t too thrilled about this plan as she said I “needed to bleed” so after 3 more months of nothing I went on yasmin to bring my cycle on. It did of course, and it managed to clear up my skin completely and make my boobs bigger without any other weight gain. So once again I was happy. But I always had a nagging in the back of my head that maybe my body needed a break from the hormones again. So after a year of being happy on yasmin I came off. From there I was hormone free and period free for two years! I didn’t have a serious boyfriend nor did I have a bunch of wild one night stands but when the situation called for it I protected myself and “controlled birth” with condoms. Upon meeting Cloudy and getting to a point of more seriousness I went back on a low dose pill because it eased his mind a little, and I secretly hoped that this would be the magic time that birth control would actually help regulate my cycles. (By the way, has that actually worked for anyone, birth control leading to healthy unassisted natural regular cycles?) I stayed on the low dose pill with minor cramping and increased moodiness until I married Cloudy and we pulled the goalie as the saying goes.
I am curious as to others thoughts on birth control. I used to be all about it thinking it was a convenience for the modern woman. I thought the feminist thing to do was to try to protect our right to this means of family not-planning. But now I think it is dangerous. I think the hormones are hard on our bodies. I still think we should have the right to effective family not-planning measures but I wish women and girls and especially OBGYNs and any doctors treating women were educated on the long-term effects of artificial hormone “control”. In getting to know my ovaries I have done extensive research on the delicate workings of the endocrine system and I think women worldwide are suffering from this lack of knowledge. It’s hard enough on us that we have chemicals in our environment whacking out our hormone balance, and throwing in birth control from the minute we start menstruating to the time that we want to bear children is asinine in my new opinion. What do you experienced ladies think? What do you women raising daughters with vulnerable endocrine systems think? In my 20/20 hindsight I wish I had never taken what I now call period control. I wish I had known about herbs and acupuncture and ovaries in high school.

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5 thoughts on “The One About Birth Control

  1. I TOTALLY think that b.c. is overused and not well understood. I have never heard of b.c. pills actually making a woman’s cycle regular (though I was told the same thing by a doc when I was younger). I mean – that’s such a western way of looking at things – treating the symptoms instead of figuring out the cause.

    At any rate, I will definitely be educating my daughter about her body and that there are more ways to practice safe sex than to be pumping your body full of hormones.

  2. Here, here! The pill was so easy and cheap, why not try it? I didn’t have periods for 3 or 4 months at a time, and I was in heaven. I’m still on the fence about whether or not it’s dangerous, but I do believe it either brings out or masks reproductive issues that need to be address for when people really want to make a baby. And oh MAN do I wish I knew about Eastern medicine back then…I think I would have beena happier, way more balanced girl. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  3. This is what I have been thinking about for a long time…has being on birth control for 10 years straight screwed up my fertility?? I wonder about it all the time even though my RE says there is no correlation. I went on the pill when I was 19 because I hadn’t gotten my period for several months. I was under a ton of stress and working 4 jobs at the same time. They didn’t even try to figure out what might be wrong with me, they just wrote me a prescription for Alesse and that was it. Seriously if I only knew then what I know now! Doctors need to look into a more holistic approach when it comes to treating patients!

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