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

 

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

Bye Bye Birth Control

I got my period when I was 13. I wasn’t sexually active until college, so I did not bother with birth control. People suggested it to me for my horrible cramps and long, bloody days during my period (I was sent home on my 16th birthday because my period was so bad. My teacher looked at me, pale and drawn out – hunched over my sewing machine about to die and told me to go to the nurse – Happy Birthday to me…).

The times I did have sex I used condoms. But by the time I was in a serious relationship, something had to give. Neither of us enjoyed condoms, I had gotten a diaphragm but never mastered its techniques so I didn’t really use it (might have to bring it back into rotation though!). So I started on a fairly low-dose pill and had a great first month. Then I had my “period” every 2 weeks for 2 months. So back to the doc I went and got a different script. This one seemed much, much better. I thought maybe I had mood swings, but I also wasn’t remembering to take  my anti-depressant every day. I thought maybe my libido was acting strange since I was losing some of my sex drive. I thought maybe it was just stress or exhaustion. But then my joints started to hurt a little bit more when I tried to get on my yoga mat. And I was crying for no reason at NO single thing. I knew this wasn’t just stress or being tired.

For so many years I rejected hormonal birth control. I knew it wasn’t for me. I knew it could mess with my body’s natural currents. I was an advocate for never, ever going on it. And because of my financial state, life state, (CAN NOT have a kid right now), I gave in. I let myself believe it was the only way I could control my body.

Not so, folks. I’ve had brilliant health coaches along the way remind me of the dangers and I do wish I had listened. I kind of just don’t feel myself while on this stuff. I’m finishing out this week and then getting my “period” next week. But after that I will be going off the pill.

Yes, the plan is to transition to FAM. I’ve ordered my thermometer and books and literature and I’m researching all I can. I advise everyone to do this.

I think I’ll try to do a week-by-week update for this blog and track how my moods are and how things go once I stop taking the pill.

Meanwhile: comment your literature, book recs, youtube videos to watch, etc. If you’ve done this link me to your experiences or comment your story. I want to get in a lot of research and absorb knowledge before I really embark.

xx

Period Shame

I went out for drinks and a late night snack a few nights ago with a couple girls from work. 

After ordering, we fell into conversation, as usual. At whatever point, the conversation turned toward birth control. I communicated my personal dislike for hormonal birth control and we discussed how soon one of us should go off of hers (she’s 25 and wants to have kids sometime in the fairly near future). 

Inevitably, this led to PERIOD TALK! One of my favorite subjects. I could tell these girls were not used to awesome talks about their periods because, although they were fine discussing the finer details, they would tone down their voices a little bit when certain words came up. I don’t remember how it started, but I mentioned that I don’t use pads or tampons any longer.

I was met with four deer-in-headlights eyes, and some uncomfortable laughter.

“What do you use then?”

“I didn’t know there was any other option. . . “

And so, I delved into my DivaCup! I explained the basics of what it is and how it works. And I was flooded with questions.

“How do you like. . . get it up there?”

“Aren’t you worried about leaking?”

“No, but really, how does it go up there?”

I answered as best I could, but it’s hard to explain without an image or physical object. 

When the subject of price came up, I gave them the info. 

“Wait what?! That much!?”

Yes, but it lasts up to 10 years if it’s taken care of.

More blank stares.

It’s reusable. . . You take it out and dump it and rinse– 

“Oh, hell no. I’m done.”

And there, ladies (and gents if you’re still here), is where I lost my dear friend. The other girl was fine to keep listening (she’s a nurse so she was more intrigued than anything). But I knew I had lost the other one. And I began thinking to myself, how is it that we still feel this way about our bodies? How is it that something so natural that happens every single month is so horrifying to us?

As biological females, we have the capacity to create life inside of us. We hold the key to continuing the human race (or maybe we’re the lock, if you’re into dirty metaphors). Yet we continue to treat our bodies like TRASH when we should be treating them like TEMPLES. We stuff our vaginas with chemical laden rayon and hide from the world when we’re menstruating. We dose ourselves with enough pain meds to sleep for hours on end and not experience our periods. We eat junk because that’s what we think our bodies need. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Menstruation doesn’t have to be ugly and painful. How do I know? Dude, I’ve been there.

After YEARS of periods where my cramps made me nauseated, doubled over in constant pain, I’m finally opening up to my cycle. My last cycle, I had one day of moderate cramps, followed by four days of bleeding where I was simply another part of my day. To be honest, I kind of enjoyed it. The week before I ate super healthy foods to keep my body and energy in good alignment. I obviously allowed myself chocolate. Delicious, organic, dark chocolate – filled with antioxidants and the flavor I craved. 

My point is that it actually makes me sad when I hear these reactions from people. I just want to reach out and take them in. I want to teach them to be in tune with their bodies instead of being ashamed of their natural cycles. Do I think we all have to adore and look forward to menstruation? No. Everyone has their own take on it. But this self-hatred and shame needs to come to an end. It’s time to stand up.