FAM Journey, Weeks 2-3

Hi all!

I’m not sure how many folks are following along here, but thanks if you are! I wanted to steadily post weekly, but obviously life sometimes gets in the way. Regardless, I’m checking in with my journey to get off hormonal birth control.

I stopped taking my BC pills on the last day before my “placebo” week started. Following that day, I had 2-3 days of extremely light spotting. I wouldn’t even call it a period – seeing as it was just a false bleed anyhow.

Around the same time, I began charting my temperature every morning. Immediately, I saw how general stressors of life could affect my temps. I went to a friends for girls’ night, drank quite a bit of wine and my temp the next morning shot up over 98 degrees, when I’m usually between 96.5 – 97. I’m thankful the app I am using allows me to select an option for a questionable temp and can exclude it from my chart lines.

Of course I knew I hadn’t yet ovulated because my cervical fluid was dry and my cervix was very low and closed – no eggs here.

By far the most amazing change I have seen is in my mood and demeanor. It’s much easier to function through the day – I don’t want to sleep on all my down time. I’m less abrasive toward family and friends, and I can feel my sex drive creeping back up. I’m sure my hormones wont go totally back to normal for a few months, but I am thrilled at what I am feeling and seeing in my body and mind right now.

I’m also several hundred pages into Taking Charge of Your Fertility, and the hype is right. It is the greatest source that you could pick up for this process. It will help you really understand what happens during your cycle. It will make you re-think any “issues” you may have thought you had and you’ll say “oh, that’s what that was.”. I was someone who thought that every time after my period I would have a yeast infection. In reality, I tend to just have a more crumbly-type fluid on my dry and sticky days – go figure!

I’m currently on day “17” of my cycle, however I am considering it an iffy one because I didn’t have a true “period” starting on day 1. I just based day 1 off of the first day I would have taken my placebo pills. Currently I am waiting for ovulation, and am definitely getting close. So from here until my next “safe” zone I’ll be using barrier methods during sex. I found the first large amount of creamy fluid yesterday so I expect to find my thermal jump in the next 4 or 5 days. I’ll keep you posted!

 

xx

 

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Start: Week 1 – Bye Bye, Birth Control

The reactions that I have received in telling a few close friends about stopping my birth control are ones that I expected. Most hovered in the area of “well you need to go to the doctor you can’t just stop” and “aw you’ll be the next one pregnant!”. While neither of those are necessarily true, they do have some resonance.

Can I just stop taking my pills? I took my last “real” pill yesterday and I’m on my final placebo week. Of course I have been doing research and watching videos of others’ experiences coming off hormonal birth control. Truthfully, I don’t really want to go back to my doctor (I actually use Planned Parenthood at the moment), because I don’t want them to say “oh lets try another pill we can find one that’s right for you.” So yes, I can stop taking my pill. Will I have side effects from the lack of those particular hormones? Quite possibly. My body has been altered so much by these fake hormones that I don’t know what could happen. But I still believe that our bodies have the ability to heal themselves as long as we treat them right.

I shouldn’t have to go through horrible symptoms and trials and errors to find birth control that works for me. Men, grab a condom and you’re good for pregnancy AND STD’s. We have it a little bit harder. I should be able to find a reliable, safe, natural method of birth control that I can use that doesn’t make me crazy! I already have depression and anxiety – and I truly believe since starting hormonal birth control both have become exponentially worse.

I feel like I have lost a big lust for life. Yes, my sex drive is also down so that “lusty” part is also a struggle. But in general, I have become duller. I lack motivation in the morning when I have plenty to do – even today, with this blog post on my to-do list, I rolled around in bed for almost 3 hours before starting it. Sure, I was up and down. I had some toast, popped my vitamins, and called my mom. Still, there’s something missing. I feel almost numb, the way I was before I got on my anti-depressant (yes I am for natural methods of medication but my anti-depressant literally saved my life. I’m working on getting off of it slowly but right now it is something that keeps me functioning – balance!).

I’ve received my copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility and I’m absorbing it all. I just wish I could shove it in my friends faces sometimes. I want to say “this is different, but not. It is new, but it’s old. And I can do it and make it work”. But that might take a while.

This week is almost a prep week – I’ll have my “period” probably Tuesday thru Thursday and then hopefully my body will begin to try and balance itself out.

Questions, comments, concerns? I’d love your feedback and/or advice on transitioning into FAM. Do you think I’m moving too fast? Why? Still skeptical? – Tell me your concerns. Knowledge is power – who says we can’t learn together!?

xx

Reviews coming!! Questions? Ask me here!

Hey all, 

Within in the next week or so I’m going to be putting up 2 reviews, probably via YouTube. One will be on my menstrual cup, and the other on a variety of cloth pantyliners that I’m trying out this time around on during my cycle. They’re coming from a few different Etsy sellers, as well as Party In My Pants and Lunapads. My cup is a DivaCup. Nobody is paying me to do this, I’m just interested in educating more people about these products and how easy it is to go green on your period and do good things for your own health at the same time! 

That being said…if you have ANY questions at all about the above topics, or about periods in general, please feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll answer them in my reviews! I know there are a lot of concerns around cups and reusable pads from anyone who hasn’t used them yet so no question is too simple or complicated. Hit me with ’em! 

 

Have a Beautiful Day!

PERIOD POSITIVITY – the basics!

Okay, so there is this HUGE thing in my life right now and it’s being PERIOD POSITIVE. This is going to cover the basics of why it’s great to be period positive and why it’s amazing to really get in touch with ourselves as women. It’s kind of the bare bones so you may know a lot of this information if you consider yourself period positive in any way! 

And since I’m supposed to start my period in the next 4 days (I’m a bit irregular), I figured, what better time than now to put this to the public?

It’s no secret that the female menstruation cycle is filled with jokes and pain and frustration and, unfortunately, embarrassment. But you know what I’ve discovered – along with many other women? It doesn’t have to be that way. Your period can become another part of your life that you’re completely accustomed to, and fairly comfortable with. There are ways to lessen the strain on your wallet and your conscience. Now all of this isn’t foolproof and I am by no means licensed to give our health information. Take suggestions from what I say and talk to your doctor to figure out what might work for you. 

As you can imagine, I’m very anti-medicine, synthetic, etc. I don’t like chemicals on, in, or around my body when it can be helped. And that especially goes for sensitive, self-caring areas such as my genitals. 

Here’s the scenario: you’re on your period and you just got your period before you left for work/class/what have you. Well guess what? You underestimated your flow this month and you’re probably going to leak through your tampon or pad if you don’t get to the restroom RIGHT NOW. You dig around in your bag discreetly to make sure you have supplies, and you take your (probably) giant purse or backpack, etc toward the restroom. Well, make sure you have that tampon or pad hidden because, ew, nobody wants to know or think about you on your period, right? That’s gross. 

I’m not sure if you know this, but your vagina actually works really hard. You don’t need to do much to keep it happy outside of healthy eating, activity, and cleanliness (and in ‘cleanliness’ I’m including using condoms and getting tested when sexually active). Your body naturally cleans itself from the inside in the form of discharge, and that pubic hair you like to shave off to make things more “aesthetically pleasing” for your partner? It keeps out bacteria and other nasties that will try to worm their way inside of you and cause trouble for your lady parts. 

So where am I getting to with all this boring stuff? That your vagina isn’t really as…gross as people make it out to be. It’s actually very clean. And that blood that comes out every month? Well, it’s been sitting inside of you for weeks and you still haven’t died yet, right? 

Here’s where we begin to talk about POSITIVITY! It’s about being a-okay with your period. It’s about knowing what you have to do to take care of yourself and to STOP being ashamed every time you have to take care of something totally natural. YOU HAVE THE CAPACITY TO CREATE LIFE INSIDE YOUR BELLY. You should be being worshipped for that. Did you know that there are still some cultures that send women away, not to hide them or shame them, but to let them REST and be comfortable during their cycle?

So step one of my period positive checklist? Self-Care. Practice self care during your period (and other days as well). Take an extra long shower or bath if it comforts you. Eat really, really well and keep hydrated. Sleep if you’re exhausted and need an extra nap. Tap into yourself and listen to your body. It knows what’s up and if you pay attention, it will tell you what you need. That greasy fast food you’re craving? Probably not going to make you feel like a superstar – try to figure out what about it you’re craving and substitute it for something similar. Is it the salty potato of fries? Do sweet potato fries at home with coarse sea salt for extra vitamins and way less fat that won’t make you feel MORE bloated than you already are. 

Step 2: care for the world. One of the greatest things I like to do with my period is being environmentally conscious. This isn’t for everyone, but there IS an option for everyone if you’d like to look into it. I recently switched completely off disposable menstrual products and am I loyal user of the Diva Cup. I no longer spend $15-$20 each month for tampons and pads. I paid $40 for a product that will last me 5 years AND lessen my footprint on the earth. No more wrappers, no more waste. And NO MORE DRY PULLING (tampons not only absorb menstrual fluid, but they also absorb ALL the other fluid in your vagina that keep it clean and moist. Pulling those suckers out dry is no fun). If you’re used to pads, research reusable pads. They’re soft, comfortable and easy to use as disposables. For me, knowing that I’m helping the planet (and my wallet) makes my period easier. 

Step 3: Get in touch with your cycle. Both literally and figuratively. Figuratively, chart your cycle. There are amazing phone apps and calendars for you to keep track these days. You can include your moods, flow level, food cravings, and other symptoms. It is also great for family planning. If you’re of the age where you’re thinking about children, charting your cycle can help you to recognize when your most fertile days are so you can get pregnant on YOUR terms. As far as the literal part goes – STOP BEING AFRAID OF MENSTRUAL BLOOD. I know it’s hard because I used to be grossed out by it too. But it’s really not going to kill you. It doesn’t kill crops or make men blind. It’s just the leftovers since you decided you didn’t want a baby. As someone who uses a menstrual cup, I have quite a bit of contact with myself in that way. It ain’t no thang. I wash my hands well before and after removing and inserting the cup (ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS) and then I get on my merry way. Nobody knows any different. And it’s none of their business but they shouldn’t care. I washed my hands. I’m clean, okay?

Step 4: manage pain. This is a big one. The pain. The headaches, backaches, cramps, bloating, OH MY! For several years I’ve been very irregular, sometimes going 6 months without getting my period. Even now my cycle ranges from 32-45 days – though healthy eating and regular walking/yoga have helped level me out. But no matter what I’ve always had really brutal physical symptoms. Not to mention the depression, fatigue, ugh. And I used to just pop Midol all the time. And there is probably a time and a place for that. But I don’t like painkillers. Instead of fixing the cause, they dull the receptors in your brain so you don’t think you’re in pain. As much as it’s tempting, try heating pads or hot water bottles – this method actually relaxes your pelvic and uterine muscles which are in the middle of SPASMS to release the blood and helps to relieve pain that way. One of my favorite mood lifters? Dark chocolate. At least 75% (preferably 85). The chocolate will help your endorphin levels rise and keep you from falling too deep into the doom-and-gloom of your cycle. And don’t forget about tea! Even in the summer I drink a TON of hot tea for my period. Chamomile is really soothing before bed. I drink green tea regularly to keep myself from getting lethargic. And I love trying out different teas created specifically for a woman’s cycle. Usually these have a base of raspberry leaf so if you’re able to find or make your own – start there. 

 

This is how I started to become period positive. I’m not 100% there yet, but with each cycle I get a little closer. I know what’s coming and how I’m going to take care of myself. Just remember, ignore the negativity! It’s NOT a curse and it DOESN’T have to be hidden. It’s empowering and it’s natural and it keeps humans on earth. 

 

Have a BEAUTIFUL day. xx