Once I made the decision to live a holistic life, I went all in. Makeup, cleaning products, medication, clothing…even birth control.
To me, living holistically means I look for natural, healthy products void of chemicals, toxins and added hormones. I use cruelty-free makeup, buy cleaning products with natural ingredients (or make my own), and I don’t take any medication, including the pill.
My Experience with Birth Control Pills
I actually don’t have a lengthy history with birth control, prior to my transition to veganism. However, I was taking it for a few months last year. My boyfriend and I were really serious (planning our move to California together) and I didn’t want to take any risks with pregnancy. I have always been apprehensive about birth control pills because I didn’t like the idea of messing with my hormones. But at my yearly gynecologist appointment, I decided to ask my doctor about getting a prescription.
I was shocked that my doctor didn’t ask me any further questions. She literally just took out her prescription paper and gave me what I asked for. Granted she did have my medical history on her computer and knew that I was healthy. However, shouldn’t something as intense and invasive as birth control warrant at least a few health questions?
I tried the birth control for a few weeks and I started experiencing some uncomfortable symptoms. I called my doctor and she prescribed me a different pill over the phone. Again, I was surprised how easy this whole process was. No tests? No questions?
I didn’t like having this medication in my body but I didn’t know what else to do. I hated not knowing what was going on inside me and I worried about the risks that come with birth control. Not only was I experiencing sharp mood swings, but my libido DECREASED. This to me is the strangest of all the birth control side effects. Wasn’t I taking this so that I could have sex whenever I wanted to without the risk of pregnancy? But now I didn’t want to as much.
This saddened me because I was manipulating my nature bodily functions and my natural sex drive. After further research, I learned that I was at a higher risk for cervical and breast cancer, blood clots, gallbladder disease and even heart attacks. And now, heart disease has become the leading cause of death among women. I have to wonder if there is a connection between the widespread and long-term use of oral contraceptives.
WHY DIDN’T MY DOCTOR TELL ME THIS?
It is estimated that over 150 million women take birth control. And if their experience was anything like mine, I’m guessing they were not told the possible side effects either.
I decided to get off the pill about 4 or 5 months into taking it. Within a month, I felt so much better. I was my old self again in all the ways that birth control had numbed or altered my body.
All of this education got me thinking…as women we are in a constant fight for what we will do or not do with our bodies. Whether it’s for reproduction rights, objectification, and sexualization in the media or fighting for equality, we are on a mission. However, in my opinion, shouldn’t we understand our bodies while we are fighting for them?
What Use for Natural Birth Control
A lot of women who are active participants in holistic living use the Fertility Awareness Method. With this method, you simply track your fertility based on your menstrual cycle so you know when you are fertile and able to get pregnant. If you are using this as a form of birth control, like I am, you can either not have sex on your fertile day or use other means of protection.
I purchased the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler which completely changed my life. It explained in detail what my body does each month between my period and fertile phases. I was actually embarrassed that at 25 years old, I didn’t know what my body had been doing for over 12 years now!
There is a lot of information to process at first, but once practiced, the Fertility Awareness Method is quite simple and completely reliable (if followed correctly). Here are the absolute basics of the method: By tracking your waking temperature, your basal body temperature, you will get a clue as to what phase of your cycle you are in. Your cervical fluid will also let you know when you are fertile or about to become fertile. By tracking this information daily, you will see the pattern of your cycle and therefore be able to anticipate when you are fertile. Then you can make a choice to have sex on these days or not. I use an app called Kindara to chart my temperature and symptoms.
I STRONGLY believe that ever women should read Weschler’s book. Regardless if you are on the pill, trying to get pregnant, avoiding pregnancy or entering menopause, we as women should have a deep understanding of what our bodies are doing.
It’s so empowering!
Knowledge is power. Take back control of your fertility by actually understanding how it works instead of just muting its functions with medication. And if you are worried about your boyfriend or spouse’s opinion about periods, cervical fluid, birth control and all things pertaining to YOUR body, then I say this: If your man can’t respect and honor what your female body naturally does, then he shouldn’t be allowed to enter it 🙂
I don’t believe in the pill. I feel it is harming women. You are supposed to get your period. It is cleansing and natural. It is not a burden. I THANK my body when I begin to get cramps and backaches because I know my body is healthy and doing what it is supposed to. I want to honor my feminity and my female reproductive system by allowing it to work the way it was created to. Yes, the Fertility Awareness Method takes a little more effort than just popping a pill in your mouth. But isn’t your health and well-being worth it?
If you take anything away from this post, educate yourself. Just start there. Learn about your body. Listen to your body. And above all, respect your body.
Want to join this conversation? I would love to hear from you! Comment below 🙂