Before I begin, I would like to note that this article is not meant to sway people away from the pill. If you are not an avid condom user, continue to take that pill, or do whatever you do to prevent unwanted/unready pregnancy.
A couple months ago I read the book “Cunt: A Declaration of Independence” by Inga Muscio. This book inspired me to stop taking the pill because of its hormonal changes and feminism and all sorts of other reasons. I stopped taking it immediately, before thinking about it clearly and weighing the pros and cons. Which was fine because my significant other and I used, and still use, condoms every time we get friendly with each other. But because the pill is mostly associated with baby prevention, I forgot that I also took it to decrease my paralyzing cramps, regulate my period, and control the occasional breakout. So for the next month, all of these things slowly crept back up. My period wasn’t on time, my cramps were debilitating, and my skin was breaking out more than usual (and when I say more than usual, I mean like one or two pimples which is nothing, but still annoying). But even while I was bitching about all of these things to my boyfriend, and claiming I’d made a mistake by drastically tossing the pill to the side, I insisted on testing it out for another month or two, just to see what would happen.
My number one reason for continuing forth on my new, small journey of life without the pill was that my body consciousness had decreased tremendously. As a recovering eating disorder patient, this was huge. When I was taking the pill, it was almost as if I could feel my body whenever I walked, sat down, or moved in any direction. And in an incredibly uncomfortable way. I found myself body shaming every part of me more frequently, and trying to create a habit of complimenting my characteristics was one of the biggest challenges of my day. Bigger than work, school, personal relationships, etc. However, a week or two after ditching the pill, I felt a lot more comfortable. I wasn’t ignoring my body in any way, I was just simply enjoying it. Something I hadn’t done in years. That transition alone reinforced my decision as a positive lifestyle choice.
Life without the pill also lowered the number of migraines I experience. Usually I get them during my period. I still kind of do. But I also get them from muscle tension, stress, climate changes. You name it, it will induce a migraine. I have a few prescriptions for them, but I prefer not to take them if I don’t have to. But, since I stopped taking the pill, I don’t get them as often. When I told my doctor I had stopped taking birth control, she said generally the pill will heighten headaches and migraines and it’s up to me to decide whether I want to put up with that or not. Apparently the doctor before her forgot to connect the two when he prescribed the migraine medication. Job well done, sir.
Two reasons for not taking the pill may not seem like a good deal in comparison to preventing birth, and you’re right, this decision is not for everyone. And if my partner and I didn’t use condoms, I would probably still be taking the pill. But, for me, these two reasons are enough. Both of them are mood-changing side effects that control my day. I’m assuming, from my time in treatment, that many people have trouble not letting their body awareness, and lack of acceptance affect their day. And getting rid of that cycle is reason enough. I’m going to assume that it has a lot to do with the hormone changes that come with the pill, I’ll be checking in with my doctor about that in September. My mood in general seems more stabilized. I’m not up and down throughout the day like I used to be. And I can identify my emotions and the source of them better.
So far I’m enjoying life without the pill. But that’s not to say I don’t sometimes think about the pill, or other forms of birth control. This article was sparked by my four-day trial period of taking the pill on again. And let me tell you, I instantly felt uncomfortable in my body, I felt urges to pick fights with my significant other, and I had an excruciating migraine. The trial period ended, like I already said, after four days. And since then, I again feel well balanced and body positive. I’ve already talked about the IUD with my doctor, which I will be getting in September when I get back home from my summer in another state. Just because I do like the idea of a back-up plan in case of a broken condom or it just not working in general. And this way my hormones aren’t off balance and I’m not messing with my body as much as I once was. I encourage folks who are out there being sexually active to use condoms and to take the time to seek out an appropriate birth control for your body. Yay sex. Yay birth control. Yay to feeling good.
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