I want to share today about something I’ve been experiencing the past few weeks. It’s a never-ending journey, this healing, but that’s a good thing! We keep uncovering more layers and healing deeper wounds and this is beautiful. As I’ve spoken about before, I changed my life a lot in the past three years. I took on diet changes, exercise and so much more to heal myself from mental health issues. Through all this, I made massive changes to what I was putting into (and onto) my body. From food to supplements to skincare – I started questioning all of it; is it natural? Is it good for me? So the decision about stopping the hormonal birth control pill started circling in my mind.
A little backstory – I’ve been on the pill for around 12 years. Consistently. I never took a break, I never missed a pill. I tried out a few different brands over the years for varying reasons. But I was taking the same one I’d say for the past 6 years or so. And it worked well, I thought. I didn’t feel too many of the side effects so many women experience. But through my healing recently, I started to question how “good” it was to be putting synthetic hormones into my body. To change/stop it’s natural rhythm and cycles. This started to not feel right to me. But I kept going.
About a month ago, I renewed my prescription for another three months – half deciding to stop after they were finished. But when I got home, I realized the brand was different. After doing some research online, it sounded like these brands were made by the same company – that they were both considered the lowest level of hormones I could get. So I figured I would continue on. Quitting seemed like a scary decision, so I put it off again.
This switch rocked my system big time. The shift in hormones triggered a series of side effects (most of which I had never experienced before) that ultimately led me to deciding once and for all to quit the pill. Within a week of taking this new pill, I experienced one of the most depressed days I had felt in years. And that scared me. All the tools I had learned to get myself out of a depression weren’t working.
A few days later, my skin began to break out. Which isn’t a “normal” thing for me, my skin is generally very clear. Another week passed, and my mood dipped deeply again. And the following day I had my very first experience of a migraine. It was awful, an 8 hour long headache that escalated into a migraine, complete with nausea and light sensitivity. At this point I knew what I had to do. I had made the connection to the pill, that it was the trigger behind these events. I could no longer let myself believe that this contraceptive was not welcome within my body. So I stopped mid pack. It’s recommended not to do that. But I couldn’t continue for another week. I felt like I didn’t belong in my body.
It’s been roughly two weeks since I quit the pill and I’ve had lingering headaches every day. It feels like my body is detoxing after so long being on something that was controlling my natural rhythms.
I feel I should point out that I understand the reasons for the pill. The ease it creates, the control, the protection. And in no way, should you just up and quit if that protection is still needed without having a backup plan in place. I’m beginning to trust my body more and I believe that we don’t always think or connect what we feel to what we’re taking. It’s important to reconnect with our bodies – they are beautiful and smart and know what to do and when to do it. I feel more connected and more in sync with my own rhythm in two weeks than I’ve felt in years.
I encourage anyone thinking about this to reach out to a doctor or a Naturopathic doctor – to find a form of birth control that is natural and effective and that feels right to you. Don’t ignore the signs your body is giving you.
**Update December 2018**
It’s been 6 months since I went off the birth control pill. The original desire behind doing this was to let my body return to its natural state. To remove any hormone altering substances and just return to basics.
I had done a lot of reading about how much the pill can impact your mood and I really wanted to see if it would be a final push away from mood swings, anxiety and depression.
And it was. It was that final tweak I needed to make to feel more balanced. I no longer have these insanely low moods right before or during my period. I no longer get these emotional swings or intense PMS.
I sometimes still can’t believe how good I feel leading up to and during my period. I didn’t think that was possible – I certainly bought into the mainstream idea that I was “meant” to suffer during that time of the month.
Of course, every woman’s period is different. I can only speak for myself and my experiences. But I know now that it doesn’t have to be as bad as it is.
When your body is naturally balanced, when your hormones are balanced – PMS just isn’t the intense downer it used to be.
I am so happy with my decision to quit the birth control pill. And I am now exploring natural and non-hormone altering ways of preventing pregnancy.
If you find you’re making health changes and still having major mood swings around your period – I urge you to look into quitting the pill.
Love & Light