Thanks for joining me! Today I’ll be telling the tale of how/why I decided to quit taking hormonal birth control pills. I’ll chat about my journey of recognizing I wasn’t down with being on the pill, what research I did that convinced me to get off (and gave me confidence I could do it), and my decision to purchase Daysy to track my fertility patterns.
As always, these are just the things that worked for me. I encourage you to do your own research and consult your doctor. You do you, boo!
Okay, so #realtalk… making this decision was NOT an easy one. Society tells women that being on the pill is completely normal and that “everyone is on it”. In my gut I knew it didn’t align with my own values of living a holistic lifestyle, but I felt like there wasn’t another realistic option to prevent pregnancy. Well, I’m here to tell you there absolutely is. When I told my gyno (that I’ve been seeing since I was 19) that I wanted to get off the pill because I didn’t feel comfortable with the hormones being pumped into my body, she was not a happy camper, and wouldn’t continue to have a conversation to help me determine what my next steps were. She basically said “well, go ahead and just stop taking the pill tomorrow then, good luck,” then mumbled something about how my only hope is FAM (fertility awareness method), and how I would need to talk to my boyfriend. (Yep… definitely switched my gyno!)
Some people in my life looked at me like I was insane, and I don’t actually blame them. In my experience, it’s been instilled in women to be fearful of getting pregnant, especially if they aren’t married. (Pardon my French, but f*** that noise… but that’s for a whole other post.) Plus, the medical world tells us that birth control solves all of women’s problems. Well, I’m here to debunk that and tell you about my experience.
hi birth control, nice to meet you
I got on birth control when I was 19. At that time, my period actually made me vomit for days on end. I’ve never actually experienced cramps, but having to put my life on hold for a week out of every month for random vomit attacks was no walk in the park. I became anemic at that time, and that was when I knew I needed to do something about it.
I went to a recommend gynecologist here in Austin, whose first words out of her mouth were to tell me I should be on birth control. I had no idea vomiting on your period could mean hormonal issues that should probably be investigated further, so I agreed. She promised me she could find a pill to make that problem go away, so I went along with it. At the time I had never really thought about being on the pill. I also didn’t realize the pill would mask symptoms that may be indicators of larger, underlying issues.
my personal experience on birth control
I’ve always been good with keeping habits, so being on the pill was really easy for me. I only ever “missed” one pill in 8+ years, and that’s because I got really drunk in college one night, then ended up throwing up the pill I took that next morning, which had been the last one in my pack. (Tell me I’m not the only one!) So, generally, being on the pill had the benefit of making my period predictable, and, duh, keeping me from getting pregnant earlier than I wanted. Other than that, it was kind of a struggle. I had to change the type of pill somewhere between 5-10 times. One pill I took gave me excruciating headaches for months, one caused my skin to break out terribly, while others would leave me feeling super foggy. As I’ve moved neighborhoods over the years and switched pharmacies, I’ve been on a bunch of different generics. Despite what pharmacists would tell me, the varying inactive ingredients would throw me off depending on the generic. It would be a struggle to request the right generics that “worked” for me.
But the thing I hated about every type of pill, was that I always felt slightly dulled in my emotions, and disconnected from my body. My emotions were tempered to relatively one note (which felt strange), and not feeling the various phases of my cycle, like ovulation, was the weirdest thing to me. I felt kind of like a stepford wife. With my perfect, predictable period that could be adjusted however I wanted. A few years into taking the pill my gyno told me that I could even skip my periods whenever I wanted. So, from time to time, I would just skip the period week if it was the slightest bit inconvenient timing for my life. I remember feeling thrown off each time I did, as my body struggled to catch up to this forced adjustment.
time to switch things up
Then, about 4 years ago I started becoming more interested in natural living. I started following bloggers and reading books that aligned with a natural lifestyle.
As I read and learned more, I began to make small lifestyle adjustments – switching my cleaning products, using essential oils, purchasing plants for my home, looking into natural skin care, taking vitamins, etc. (All things I’ll talk about here on the blog!) Then, I stumbled upon a few great resources that inspired me to quit birth control. The following resources helped normalize the decision for me, and gave me the confidence this was the right decision for me:
Woman Code & MyFlo
The first thing I did was read Woman Code, which was incredibly eye opening for me. I had no clue how amazing the female body really is, and how empowered we are to take care of ourselves by living in harmony with our endocrine system. I definitely recommend purchasing Woman Code.
Alissa Vitti also has an amazing app, called the MyFlo app, which I immediately downloaded as well. I love this app because it helps you track what phase of your cycle you’re in to support your hormonal adjustments throughout the month. I was completely clueless before I downloaded this app, mostly because when you’re on the pill you aren’t experiencing all your natural phases. MyFlo helps educate you on food you should eat, how you should exercise, what you should focus on; all depending on what phase of your cycle you’re in.
For example, I’ve learned that during my luteal phase (what I’m currently in as I’m writing this post!), I tend to feel insecure and need more time to myself. I become more aware of things in my life that aren’t working for me, and can focus on communicating my needs. For exercise, I tend to feel the most refreshed by long walks or yin yoga. And I really crave root vegetables, which are super helpful in flushing out estrogen more effectively from your body. Being aware of all of these things helps me navigate my daily decisions to be the best version of myself.
Next, and this was the most important part of this process, I purchased the Daysy fertility tracker after learning about it from Lee From America. There are several options out there to track your fertility throughout the month, but this one was the clear winner for what I was looking for. Being that I’m very new to tracking my temperature, I wanted a device that would straight up tell me whether I was fertile or not that day. I wasn’t willing to roll the dice by making a mistake in tracking. Conversely, I WAS willing to put out the money to feel more secure. It’s pricey, but for me it was totally worth it (especially considering they offer a payment plan, plus you can get a $10 discount using this link!)
Here’s how it works: You take your temperature every morning with the device, very first thing. It tracks your slight temperature variances, then partners that data with an algorithm to tell you whether you are fertile or not that day. It literally lights up green if you are infertile, yellow if it’s unsure (these days lessen as you use it more and more), or red if you are fertile. Another cool thing, is Daysy has its own app you can use to view more details and charts. Plus it shows you what you should expect in the coming month or so. If you’re interested in becoming pregnant OR want to confidently prevent pregnancy, this is the gal for you.
This has been my own personal journey of becoming more empowered to make decisions for my own body. By no means am I suggesting everyone should go down the same path I did, but I definitely now encourage every woman I connect with on this subject to take a second to listen into herself. Is your form of birth control working for you? Is it possibly time for another solution, like even a different type? I’m so happy I took time to pause and really dive into what’s right for me. It’s been incredibly enlightening just to simply learn more about my body!
coming up next…
In “Saying Bye to Birth Control | Part 2“, I’ll be talking about how quitting the pill has been going for me over the last two months – hormonal and skin changes I’ve experienced, how I’ve liked using Daysy and MyFlo for tracking my cycles, and what the pros and cons have been for me. Stay tuned!
Are you making any similar decisions? I’d love to hear about your experience and chat about it! Share your thoughts below.