Life Without The Pill

Monday, June 1, 2015

So thanks to some amazing ladies on Instagram, I decided to begin my journey with the fertility awareness method (FAM), and get off birth control for good. It's only been a month, but I already have a lot to say (both good and bad), so I figured I would share my experience with y'all. Yes it's a period post. I figured I'd start with a brief blurb about my personal story, go into the book I read and the app I use, and then give you all the deets about my journey so far. I'm giving you a rundown so you can get out while you still can if you're not into it, and if you are, read on!

Basically the run-down is that I've been on birth control since I was 14. I loved how light it made my flow, and how predictable it became. Obviously it came in handy preventing pregnancy when I was sexually active, as well. I pretty much thought I was in love with the pill, and that I would never get off it until I wanted to get pregnant. Fast-forward eight years and one supportive boyfriend later, and it became very clear that I shouldn't be on the pill any longer. Who even knows what my real period is like! (The bleeds you have on the pill aren't real periods.) It was beyond time to check in with my body and prevent pregnancy in a much healthier way, and Michael was more than willing to help me out and support me through my transition, which has been beyond amazing. After reading the book I got, I was especially convinced, so now seems like a great time to transition into talking about that!

I went ahead and ordered Period Repair Manual to check out before I decided whether or not to get off the pill, and after reading the section specifically on our little friend, I knew my mind was made up. I was getting off. Even if you aren't on the pill, this book is still a great resource for knowing more about your body, your flow, and how to naturally diagnose your periods. I highly suggest picking up a copy.  After deciding to drop the pill like last season's shoes, I knew I wanted to get in the habit of logging  my flow and such in a period app so that by the time I get back to my real cycle (around three months, according to the book), it would be routine for me to log all my info. I tried out about 10 different apps (just type "period app" into to your app store and lots will pop up), and ended up liking Glow the best because it logs all the important info, can link up with your partner to track their fertility awareness and let them keep in touch with yours (it tells your partner cute things like, "Mariah is on her period, give her a hug"), and has an aesthetically pleasing layout, but there are lots of other good ones, so I suggest picking whatever you like the best! I also enjoy that it provides little tidbits of info the more you log, keeps a chart of all your info to show your doctor if you need, and can sync up with all the top health and fitness apps, which is killer. It has a lot of other neat features as well, so check it out! (They also have a pretty cool looking pregnancy tracker if any of you lovelies are baking a bun in the oven!) I also picked up a basal thermometer from Target for like $8, (in pink! Score!), which you need if you want to do the complete form of FAM, which is highly recommended.



And now to talk about what I've experienced so far! I figured I'd just make a detailed list for y'all, so here goes!

Cons
- Acne. Not crazy acne, but from someone with usually great skin, it was mildly disconcerting to see bumps all over my chin and forehead. Thankfully it's almost all cleared up by now!
- Bloating. Oh yes, the bloat. So bad. I kid you not I looked pregnant for about three days, and it was not good. Thankfully also gone now.
- Irregular cycle. This has ben perhaps the strangest side effect of them all. I still haven't had a real period yet, which is normal, but it's still freaky. Soon I suppose.
- Mood swings. The worst of all, I promise you. I have been up and down more than your local rollercoaster. I mean...so bad. Like crying hysterically one minute and then being super happy the next. Also the longest lasting side effect I've had so far. Can't wait for that to get back to normal. Whew. Michael is so understanding.
- Pelvic swelling. This is a weird one that I actually didn't read about in my book. Michael actually researched it for me and came up with the answer! He's so good. Anywho, this symptom isn't often associated with getting off the pill because many women don't know they're experiencing it, or just don't report it. Pretty much the only way to realize it's even happening is to have sex while it's going on, which is not pleasant, let me tell you. Painful. Thankfully only lasted for two days, that I knew of.

Pros
- Being in touch. With you body and your partner (if you have one). It's really nice to monitor what's going on with your flow, know what's going on and why it is, and do it in a natural and beautiful way. I think there is so much shame around female menstruation, which is utterly ridiculous, and by acknowledging and observing the body's natural cycle, a lot of the stigma around it can be dispelled. Your cycle is beautiful! My soulmate (BFF Jade, not Michael, just so you know) calls it her "moon" which I adore. Let's all call it that, right? Also, going through this transition with a partner is so beautiful! At least my personal experience with M has been. He has been beyond supportive. He even did his own research on the FAM method, got the Glow app to keep in touch and log his own daily stuff, and of course has been understanding and amazing through it all with me. So good.
- Hair and nails. So, also something I didn't expect, but my hair and nails have started growing faster and stronger, like they used to before I got on the pill. Score.
- Sex drive. Weirdly decreased sex drive is a side effect of the pill (ironic, no?), and I apparently was experiencing it. Tmi, probs, but I keep it real here with y'all.
- No more dryness. 'Nuf said.
- No more daily pill! This one seems pretty obvious, but it is really nice not having to take a pill every damn day (and then forgetting), so it's worth sticking in this column.

Well, that's it! I'm thinking I'll check back in with you guys when my three months are up and I am (hopefully) having a normal period. Let me know what you think of this, if you want. And, I'd like to note that if you ever have anything to ask or talk about or say that you don't feel comfortable commenting, you can shoot me an email at mariahalysz@ryapie.com

4 comments:

  1. Oh man alive. I can relate to this!! I'm off of the pill, and have been for about 5 solid years now. I couldn't be paid enough to go back on it! Mood swings, depressive behavior, you name it, I experienced it. My first birth control was Yaz. 'Nuff said. I'm definitely going to be checking out these apps!

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    1. It's so good to know that you would never go back! Being in the thick of it, I sometimes just wish I could get back on the pill to make all the nasty symptoms go away...I never would, but it's nice to know others who have gone through it. Definitely check out the apps! They are amazing!
      ♡Mariah Alysz

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  2. So interesting! I have considered getting off the pill myself but without it, I get the WORST cramps. I'm talking, don't go to work, down the Advil, curl up with the heating pad and cry kind of cramps. I stopped the pills once a couple years back hoping the cramps have gotten better as Ive gotten older but NOPE! They were still so strong. Sucks. Someday, maybe!

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    1. Oh man! That is awful! I'm sorry to hear that! Last time I was off the pill I was super young, so everything about my periods has shifted since then. I've actually gotten my first "real" period, it's a lot better than it used to be, and was even better than with the pill! I'm not entirely getting my hopes up though, since I'm still out of whack. Hopefully someday your cramps won't be as bad. I can't imagine that!
      ♡Mariah Alysz

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