"The Pill". Even the title requires some sort of "duh duh duuuuuhh" or at least ominous music. As soon as sex becomes a part of your life, usually oral contraceptives follows suite. The majority of women between 16 and 40 take, or have taken oral contraceptives of some sort at one time. As a teen that grew up in the 90's, I was a part of the "newish" trend for mothers and daughters to be more open with each other and "The Pill" was more accepted. We were also a part of a whole slew of women who would be on "The Pill" for lengthy periods of time, as many of us were going to University and starting families later in life. That's one huge guinea pig testing right there.
Oral Contraceptives are basically synthetic hormones that mimic the "pregnant body mode", forcing the woman's body to prevent their eggs from attaching to the uterine wall. Or something like that. In any case, women have been prescribed "The Pill" for various reasons- ranging from baby repellant to a pimple remedy, to decrease heavy flows, to help with cramping or all of the above. Did you know that a male version of the oral contraceptive was created, tested and deemed equally safe and effective as the female version? Several focus groups and surveys revealed that A) the majority of men reported they would never take it and B) most women reported they wouldn't trust their man to take it appropriately....
I took the pill for 8 years and have tried every. single. one. out there. I have. Eight whole years of swallowing synthetic estrogen, progesterone, androgens into my blood stream three weeks of the month. Have you read the possible side effect list on the huge, ridiculously small font, Japanese, English, Spanish, French pamphlets? They range from liver disease and blood clots to cancer. Oh, but only if you smoke and live a terrible lifestyle at the same time. Phew- I am SO safe. However, if you want a scary read- check out this site's research and stats on breast cancer and the pill...ack!
Ok, so as a late teen and early twenty-something my thoughts were primarily on the baby-repellant aspect- seriously those babies had to STAY AWAY. I didn't really care much about the long term effects of what it did to my body, those types of things happen to "the others", not moi. There was also no way in h*** I was taking "The Needle" (cue even SCARIER music). If a change in hormonal levels made me bonkers (i.e. from Tri-Cyclen) what would a HUGE shot of hormones do all at once? I'd be running down the street naked and shaking my fists angrily. A traumatic sight.
However a few years ago I began reading about what all those synthetic hormones were doing to our water eco-systems. Hah, never mind MY health, our Earth is suffering??? OMG stop the anti-baby pill! Who knew that a portion of fake estrogen/progesterone/androgen was being unceremoniously peed out into our lakes and rivers? My pee is creating mutant three head frogs?? Oh Goddess, this canNOT be good. According to Adria Vasil (Ecoholic), 1.5 million Canadian women are peeing out synthetic estrogen every day. Also, American researchers have found that the fertility of trout that were exposed to even super-low doses (80x lower than thoses found in the "wild") of estradiol found in oral contraceptives was affected. The patch and vaginal rings also pump out more hormones, resulting in more being peed out into the waterways (as our sewer systems are not set up to deal with filtering and processing synthetic chemicals... Halifax still has floatables for goodness sake!) and on average 25,000 patches being put into the landfills EACH WEEK. (Ecoholic, 2006).
Alright, I have to admit that even THOSE stats weren't enough to make me consider alternate options. Finally, it was my body that made the ultimate decision. After three years of continual spotting, and needing "feminine products" for about 50% of my time (that's 1.5 years of spotting), I gave up and went to see a Gynecologist. She was very friendly and had cloth blankets instead of those terrible paper throw-out ones (yay eco-gyno!). Who knew that 8 consecutive years of hormones could result in an eroded cervix lining? Since I'd tried every single oral contraceptive out there for a period of at least 3 to 6 months each, her verdict- stop, get an IUD (no way!) or deal.
I stopped about five months ago.
I was nervous, my body hasn't had a "normal" cycle in EIGHT YEARS. What were they like when I was 18? I barely remember. I am pleased to report that so far it has been fantastic- more mood swings, more cramping, more pimples.... but the important thing- NO SPOTTING. At all. Zip. Cue crazy arm swinging, butt wiggling dance with a happy happy smile. Also, I can actually predict to the minute when I'm going to start, run to the bathroom with my DivaCup all ready. It's cool to be more in tune with my body. Because she is beautiful. :)
So how are we keeping babies away?? Definitely NOT the rhythm method- I am way too flaky to keep track of that. Regular latex... still not ideal- but one step at a time right?
sigh- what a personal post. Strangely, it feels more personal than the whole parental unit-in-law fight one from earlier. My mom reads this- so sorry if it was TMI (too much info) for you... lol. LOVE YOU!
Blessings and for those Haligonians/Maritimers Eco-Yogi/ni's: Happy Sunshine!!
Article authored by EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com (keepin' away the babies, one post at a time)