Today, Morgane shares with us her reflections about 15 years taking hormonal birth control and some of the signs she experienced.
Teenage time and adult life under birth control
I often hear that doctors prescribe the pill for other reasons than pregnancy. In my case, it was because I was struggling with acne. After a few months on the pill, I had better skin, bigger boobs, and as a teenager, this is all I wanted. 🙂
From age 15 till 29, I have been on birth control.
I had plans for myself: I knew if I wanted to get pregnant I needed to get off any sort of contraception. This is when I then realized my hormones were sort of… frozen the whole time. When I stopped the pill, I waited: one month, three months, six… still no period. It’s only after eight months that my natural period started again and after checking back in with my gynecologist.
I knew that getting back your period after the pill usually takes time. This is when it all started: the questioning and the learnings. I wanted to be patient with myself. I wanted to investigate, to understand what was happening inside my body. I knew this was the right track for me to follow because getting my period back would mean I am healthy.
A quick chronology for you to understand:
- Hormonal pill at 15 years old
- Stopped every form of contraception fifteen years later
- Absent period for months
- Got prescribed an oral medication to increase my oestrogen levels
- Period finally here (eight months after stopping the pill)
- Went on a hormonal IUD for about one year and a half
- Took a complementary hormonal pill for skin issue that appeared with the use of the IUD
- Found out I present symptoms of PCOS
- Stopped everything: complementary pill + IUD
Impressive resume? As I write this down, the thing that strikes me most is that: The hormonal pill triggered my body. One thing I noticed in particular was the mood swings. I felt so bad about it. I had the intuition at that time it wasn’t the right thing to do for me…
“I knew this was the right track for me to follow because getting my period back would mean I am healthy.”
Learning to listen to the signs
A few months ago, I decided to distance myself from any artificial hormones. Because I skipped dairy, grains and took out my IUD for a while, my skin got better. I also discovered the benefits of bone broth, which helped me a lot. For a few weeks now, I’ve been tracking and collecting more information about my menstrual cycle. I have been tracking my mood swings as well to see if there is any pattern there, to get more in a self care mode and not force social interaction for example.
It’s amazing by the amount of information I could gather; I am also upset by the fact that I didn’t know that much about my cycle. Among the resources that I found helpful: Natural family planning, different resources for plant-based diets , Dr. Jolene Brighten on hormonal health after stopping the pill and Dr. Stacy T. Sims on why women are not small men.
Today, I have the feeling a new world has opened up to me. Even if I am still struggling, I feel more aware of what’s happening within. In the process, I am learning how to not blame these mood swings. I intuitively knew that the contraceptive pill wasn’t the right choice for me. Knowing that was adding to the overall feeling of not being in tune with myself and this is exactly the type of mental load I am trying to avoid.
For a long time now, even during these visits to the doctor, I was thinking to myself: the pill can not be the solution to all my problems. There must be something else. If I consider birth control for a second: why would I take hormones when I now know that I am fertile only a few days per cycle?
I just keep thinking that if my doctors had taken a bit more time to understand my story, what I have been through, it would have opened up more conversations and maybe I would have been offered something else. For all these years… I realised that I wasn’t aware of how my body functioned.
Having a regular cycle is now my priority. That’s why I track my patterns; because it’s the best way to learn about how my body works. I also found out for myself that each phase of my cycle has specific needs around nutrition and exercise. I have a feeling that the more we observe the different phases, the easier it becomes to get control of things like mood swings, metabolism and emotions.
All these questions, frustrations and intuitions triggered me to find answers for myself so I feel actually grateful it led me to taking this journey.
To my younger self
Here I am now: learning more about my body everyday, feeling amazed by the amount of knowledge I can gather. My mother didn’t know as much as I do today so she couldn’t set me on this path. But the beauty of technology right now is that it’s allowing more of us to grasp that knowledge.
To the younger Morgane, I would say one thing: You don’t have to go for quick fixes, there is more option than what you think.
This story was written by Morgane and edited by Diahala Doucoure