First of all, I am not a Duggar wannabe. But, I don’t believe in birth control. Not the chemical kind, anyway. I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on television, but take my advice: stop taking the pill. Seriously. If you like to bang, and you don’t want babies, try condoms. Or get an IUD. I know I’m kind of a hippie, and you expect anti-chemical rants from me every now and again (though I’m apparently more than willing to pump my body full of all kinds of other crazy hormones and such in an attempt to get pregnant. Oh irony, you are too cruel…) but I really think this one is important.
I know it was this huge feminist breakthrough for women to be able to control their bodies in this way, but, I have to say, I think the BCP is one of the worst things ever created. I know that anecdotal evidence is no real argument, but I’ve seen so many women struggle for so many reasons in relation to the pill that I can’t condone it.
I don’t blame the pill for my infertility, but I have issues with it for other reasons. The first being that it made me want to kill myself. Literally. I started taking the pill around 2002, and very quickly thereafter my depression spiraled quickly out of control. Granted, I do have problems with depression, but I have always been able to keep it under control with diet, exercise, etc. I had never needed anti-depressants/anti-anxiety medication just to get by. (I’m not saying people shouldn’t take those things…God knows I love ’em and need ’em, just that I’d never needed them UNTIL the pill showed up). Within days of stopping the pill (In 2005) I felt like a completely different person, and again, my depression became manageable without the assistance of drugs. The minute I went back on, for about the first 3 months of my marriage, the depression went back to severe.
I know not EVERY person has these problems, and that it can be changed w/ different levels of hormones (though I was never able to find the right match), but I don’t think people ever really talk about the fact that your baby-stopping pill could be what’s making you sad. Think about it. Many women go on to the BCP at the same time they are encountering major life changes, so the connection of being sad/depressed/moody/etc. is linked to the life change, and NOT the chemical. “The first year of marriage is hard…” (yeah, especially if you’re pumping your body full of chemicals that can make you crazy in the head.) “College is a hard time for everyone, you’ll get through it…” (Sure, but studying sure is hard when I can’t stop the racing thoughts.) I don’t assume that the pill makes you as terrifyingly crazy/sad/angry/suicidal as it made me, but if you are feeling off, consider the fact that it just might be your birth control.
The other reason I am so enraged by the birth control pill is the fact that it can mask reproductive problems, which can lead to people being in a situation like mine.
My periods were never really regular (hi, male readers!) but I never thought much of it, as I’d never known anything different. I just knew I could never count on it coming when I thought it would. Going on birth control “regulated” my periods, which my doctors thought was great! fantastic! Except here’s the thing: it DOESN’T REGULATE YOUR PERIODS! When you are on birth control, you don’t have real periods, your body basically mimics having periods. That’s why you can skip your periods if you only take active pills. Just because you bleed every 28 days or so doesn’t mean that your body is doing what it is supposed to be doing, and I didn’t make this connection until way too late.
Because I was on birth control for such a long time, I never knew that my system was so effed up, that my ovaries produced tons of tiny little cysts all the time. (More on Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome in another post.) So, when I went off birth control, my system went all out of whack again. They never fixed the problem, they just covered up the symptoms. I know they prescribe the pill to a lot of women with PCOS for that reason, to “regulate periods” and I just think that’s a bunch of bunk. PCOS means that you have a problem that extends far beyond irregular periods, and menstruating (fakely) doesn’t mean that you’re fixed.
Also, I know that the pill is prescribed for many reasons beyond contraception. Clear up your skin! Reduce your PMS symptoms! Less cramping! What a fabulous little wonder drug. I guess I’m just too much of a cynic to think that you could get these things without some cost to your body at some point. The pill seems like a quick and easy solution to these things, but again, all of those problems speak to larger, underlying issues (hormonal imbalances, poor diet, etc.) that should be resolved and not just masked. (Yes, eventually you’ll get me soapboxing about traditional Chinese medicine and how it’s important to fix the whole body and not just the manifestations of illness…)
So, there it is. My anti-BCP rant. I don’t care if you believe it or not, but if you are a pill-user, at least think about the fact that it may be causing problems that you are unaware of. Stupid effing pill.