A little over a year ago, I started my relationship with a very mindful man. Our relationship developed quickly and we dove right into the past, present and future. In the early days of our relationship, I realized that he was eager to know every piece of me. I have never been with anyone who wanted to know me as deeply as Mansal wants to know me. It has been a beautiful journey, but not an easy one.
As we explored our pasts together (more on that later), and as Mansal’s masculine enticed and enchanted my feminine - I began to get curious about my own feminine core. I quickly realized that I was dangerously disconnected from the fierce woman that lived inside of me. I yearned to know her so that I may be a better human, partner, daughter, friend, mother and lover.
So began my journey…
There are many parts to this puzzle and I am still eagerly and curiously finding all the pieces. Today, I want to share with you my first stepping stone.
I’m a pretty health conscious person. Ask my friends and they will tell you I’m always trying out some kind of new "diet" or adding in new things to my daily routine. Mansal and I are both mindful of the things we put into our body. We want our kids to learn healthy eating habits, and we know they’ll learn those habits from us. Unfortunately, this has taken a bit of rewiring on both our parts and it is still something we “struggle” with today.
Because Mansal and I started talking about kids so early into our relationship (life), it made sense that I should start to think about the things I put into my body that could affect my future children.
In March of 2016, I started cleaning up my life. I got rid of loads of unnecessary clothes, furniture and miscellaneous crap that I had acquired over my 25 years. When it came time to clean out my bathroom, I remember seeing my birth control pills on the counter. I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Are these necessary? Do I really want to be putting this unknown into my body?” A quick internet search, and my fears were confirmed. I was putting unnatural and synthetic hormones in my body. Unnecessary, to say the least. I gingerly disposed of each prescription and never looked back. April 8, 2016 was the day I ditched the pill for good.
what was I going to do?
While we talk about kids frequently, neither of us are ready for that kind of responsibility. I had to come up with a solution. Lucky for us, there are many forms of non-hormonal birth control out there, some less appealing than others. Ultimately, I felt that the Fertility Awareness Method (or FAM), was the best choice for me. Here’s why -
-It challenged me to get in touch with my own rhythm and cycle
-It requires constant communication with your partner
-It is a non-invasive option
-Aside from the purchase of a thermometer and a book, it’s pretty much free
-When it is time to talk kids, I will already know my cycle and peak fertility times
The fact that FAM would challenge me to know my body and my partner better was my biggest incentive. If you want to know how FAM works click here.
And so it began
My first full cycle (the time from my last period to my next period) was a whopping 46 days. For those who don’t know, a “normal” cycle should last anywhere from 28-32 days, all depending on the woman. My cycles had been completely crazy for the years I was on HBC (hormonal birth control) so I wasn’t surprised when I didn’t get on track immediately. I was eager to start a new cycle and get my body back. Once you stop the pill, it can take anywhere from 1 month to 2 years (and sometimes more) for your body to fully rid itself of the synthetic hormones. I was lucky in that it only took me about two months to get back on a normal cycle.
The first few months of learning the method were rough. I was eager to learn everything I could so we could start using this method effectively. My feelings around this new life choice oscillated between curiosity, anxiety, and even...anger.
I was curious about all the different aspects of this choice. I’ll call it a lifestyle. It was changing the dynamic of my relationship with myself and my relationship with my partner. I was eager to know it all.
I was anxious about well…to be frank...getting pregnant. Like I said, we’re not ready for kids. I don’t have an easy, quick fix like the pill anymore and this new lifestyle took work and discipline on my part.
And then came anger
As I started this journey, I became more and more aware of how little I really knew about my body. That’s when the anger set in. How is it that at 25 years old, nobody had taught me the way my body worked? Nobody had educated me on my cycle, sex, birth control. None of it! The extent of my sex education in high school was a one semester course on health from a basketball coach (of which I’m pretty sure we didn’t even talk about sex or the creation of new humans!), abstinence by choice sermons/skits and one live abortion video.
In retrospect, I look at my high school’s way of thinking about sex and the human body as, “Let’s just ignore it and it won’t happen. Nobody needs to know about sex because they shouldn’t be having it. On top of that, why would they need to know about their own bodies if they are only using it to praise God.” I realize that my school was just doing the best that they could, but come on guys...WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? This way of thinking brought a whole slew of issues into my life. On top of knowing nothing about my body, I’ve had to navigate through the waters of shame and guilt around sex and sexuality. I won’t place all the blame on my school. More on that in another post.
“Anger is often what pain looks like when it shows itself in public.”– Krista Tippett
More on the pill
Let me say that I realize for some, HBC does more than just prevent pregnancy. I have friends who deal with PCOS, ovarian cysts, killer PMS, acne and other issues and they simply could not live a normal life without the help of synthetic hormones. (Although, I would still urge them to consider more holistic options for treating these issues.)
The pill is more than just birth control. When it was created in 1960’s, the pill was a groundbreaking option for women. Women suddenly had more control over how many children they conceived and thus how active they were in the workplace. Women were having more sex, less kids and making bigger strides towards equal rights. I support all of this. AND. While we were busy, getting “busy” and making things happen in the world...we lost something. We lost our femininity. We lost a huge part of our sexuality. We put a big fat “DO NOT ENTER” sign on one of the most natural and essential parts of our women-hood.
Let me rephrase.
I lost my femininity. I lost a part of my sexuality. I threw a tiny pill down my throat each morning and never talked about my body. It is too often that the words, “blood” or “my period” or “menstruation” are immediately followed by “EW” . Girls, this is us. This is what we were dealt. This is how we were created so that we can do of the most beautiful and transformational things in the world - birth another human. I realize that some may not choose to take on creating humans and I respect that. I also realize that some do not GET to create their own humans and I compassionately respect that as well. Whatever your viewpoint on creating babies is, for the sake of your body over everything, I hope that you will consider taking full control and dumping the pill.
If you take nothing from this post, if you decide to stay on HBC and think I am a crazy hippy, I hope you will at least hear this:
You are beautifully and wonderfully made. Your body is an extraordinary, complex and intelligent machine. It is your right to know it. Should you choose this path, it is your duty to discover it.
With much metta,
For more about FAM feel free to shoot me a message or click here.
For more about other non-hormonal birth control options click here.
For more about holistic options for treating PMS symptoms click here.
If you would like to get together, break down shame and guilt around sexuality and talk about all the gory details of sex, periods, men, women, penis, vaginas, etc. Please accept my invitation to “The Vulva Dialogues” this Thursday. Shoot me a message and I’ll invite you on Facebook.