1 YEAR PILL-FREE: WHAT WENT DOWN

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A little over a year ago I went off the pill.
So this marks a pillversary for me and that’s why
I wanted to share my personal experiences of what happened, and how I felt throughout the last year. 

I had taken the pill for about six or seven years when I decided I couldn’t do it in anymore. I was sick of it and feeling that it didn’t do my body any good with it. I had severe migraines, my mood was dropping for no reason and terribly so significant that it left me crying in bed, having extremely negative thoughts, being antisocial. Furthermore I was suffering from bad breakouts, low sex drive, and even my digestion was off during the phase when you pause it. Basically, during the week where you don’t take the pill, I was a different person and I couldn’t explain or had a reason. And I had it. It was not always like this but I would feel it building up over the last 2 or 3 years. 

So I finally made the decision to quit and vowed to do the least harm to my body as possible from now. Don’t get me wrong, I had high hopes and expectations and was curious to see how it would hopefully affect my body (hopefully) positively. I went off the pill, switched to an 80/90% plant based diet, went on organic cotton tampons without toxins, I started tracking moods, period, etc via apps, switched to better skincare and cosmetics, etc. I took every measure what felt like to live a healthier life meaning not adding anything toxic or harmful to my body. 

My doctor had been hella unimpressed by my questions, concerns and worries and my desperate telling her I can’t do it anymore leaving me frustrated.  I waited for my next cycle to end, I finished the blister of my pill and that was it. Also after my partner had seen me struggling with the pill he was more on board than I was urging me to get off the pill which was a huge relief and also a great support.

I looked into different contraceptive methods besides the pill obviously, but I was kinda over it tbh adding something to my body
that’s not completely natural.

Therefore I educated myself on something called NFP (natural family planning), which is a natural contraceptive method where you basically find out your fertile and infertile days of your cycle - and it can be used for either becoming pregnant and also avoiding pregnancy. Whatever phase in your life you are on but without any additional hormones. 

You are only fertile on a maximum of six days in one cycle. How to find out your fertile or infertile days (then you know when you can have sex or need protection) is through measuring your basal body temperature (your lowest resting temperature usually during sleep) right after waking, but not getting up. Before ovulation happens in your cycle, there is a detectable rise in basal body temperature caused by hormones. The rise in the temperature indicates ovulation. To measure this small, but significant, rise you need a thermometer which shows 2 decimal places. And you measure/inspect your cervix mucus. Sounds gross, yes. It is. And it takes a while to get used to, but the combination out of those two is vital to detect your fertile days - and be on the safe side in my case. You do this every morning. You put it all in an app with your moods, your sex life, etc. and it does the rest. It spits out a curve for you telling you when you are ovulating, when you are not. This method is as effective as the pill, it has the same pearl index if you do it right. Still, when you tell friends about it, it gets you a lot of eye rolls and “bet you will be preggers soon” or “it’s a church method”. If you are on this journey, simply ignore it. 

I first came in touch with this method when I was around 22 or 23 when I had a wonderful roommate who would later become one of my close friend and who had back then even tried to convince me to test it. Basically she is a fucking pro at it and has been doing it for about 10 years before she and her husband decided to get pregnant because they wanted a baby.

So she knows her shit around her uterus and sex ed like no one else I know. Back then I was simply too scared, too inexperienced and did not believe I could handle it or understand it. I just brushed her off and said it would be too complicated.

Back then I simply wanted to take the easy way, not needing to worry, just popping the pill once a day and be done with it. 

Apart from NFP, I also checked out Natural Cycles which is even a little bit easier and feels a bit hipper/modern (Check out their Insta). They also base it, well surprise, on your  basal body temperature. Their algorithm does the rest and they have a great, great app. I use their thermometer as well, so I am all in. 

So here is my resume on it after a year: 

I haven’t gotten pregnant
Yay. But I do admit that I mostly - even though I am on the safe side, still use a condom. To be on the safe side. This is for my mind and even after a year I am still not confident enough to do it without. It’s just in my head. It’s annoying but it gives me a piece of mind.

I can feel my body again
I never missed a “period”. I read of girls where it’s taken up to 6 months or longer until their regular period would balance itself after getting off the pill. Not in my case. It took a few months so until it came back stronger again. Before it was very light. The pain I had suffered from extreme period cramps and pain pain is coming back month after month stronger and stronger. Before that I basically numbed my body. I went from being on heavy pain killers each month to not feeling anything basically. I also didn’t feel anything in my boobs. Now again, boobs hurt a lot. I fee my pain or pressure in my left or right or both ovaries during my period. I need painkillers again. For about 7 years I was able to stop taking them. So slowly but surely I can feel my body again and single parts of it. And it gives me relief.

Knowledge
Yes, I got my to know my body and my reproductive system way better. Yes it works. I have sex without condoms and I haven’t gotten pregnant so far. Nevertheless, I am too much of a thinker to fully let myself fall into the midst. 

You gotta be disciplined

You gotta measure your temperature preferably at the same time every morning. This method is based on consistency as well as the pill. If you forget or take it lightly or don’t do it on a regular basis, of course your chart is off.

A piece of mind I
I am incredibly happy that I don’t take any hormones anymore. I feel lighter and simply better by just knowing I am not taking the pill anymore. 

A piece of mind II
…on the other hand, I fully admit that I was more carefree, more spontaneous about my sex life while on the pill. Still, something leaves me not at ease. Maybe I don’t trust myself 100% or I feel like I missed something but this could just be me as I am an over-thinker and a worrier in cases like this. The pill was just too convenient but it simply didn’t do me any good. Also I did this for me, myself and my body, not to get pregnant, so I am fine with the condom.

Yes, sometimes I miss the pill.
Imma be honest. 

Obviously this is super personal and only my very own experience as it was my own choice. This doesn’t work for everyone, for example, if you don’t have a consistent morning routine (maybe working night shifts, etc. it may not be for you). Obviously this doesn’t mean I will never get back on the pill ever again. Obviously this is not the only right way to avoid pregnancy. I am just telling you what currently works for me and what I currently feel most comfortable with. Obviously I am not a pro at this and still learning and educating myself on my body, on my health and my reproductive system. And yes, if you are thinking about switching your birth control, it’s always best to speak to your trusted doctor first. 

If you are interested and want to find out if this method would be right for you, we recommend checking out these sites to get deeper into the topic and to get to know your way around natural contraceptive methods of NFP and/or Natural Cycles.  

 

by Teresa