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Coming Off The Pill: One Year On

(Thankfully the fire nipples have subsided)

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It’s been one year since I stopped taking the contraceptive pill. A pill that I had taken for 21 days of a month for the previous ten years. I wrote all about my experience here; the reasons why I decided to come off of hormonal contraceptive and the fire nipples, mood swings and eventual peace with my ovaries that followed it. I’ve blogged now for almost ten years and I’ve never had a response to a post quite like it. Even my mate’s Mum asked her about it. I’m guessing that my 97% female audience has something to do with it – maybe? Or is it just that our attitudes towards sex and contraception are shifting more to a place of openness and discussion. My mates LOVE talking about our respective period tracking apps and it’s a staple in our conversational scripts, along with who from school has just popped out a baby and what local takeaway can fulfil our urge for Singapore noodles the fastest. So one year on from ditching the pill – I was on Lucette at the time FYI – here’s how me and my bits are feeling…

I’m not sure how I’m going to eke this out to 1,000 words plus, because quite frankly, I feel pretty great. My first few months sans the pill weren’t too fab and I suffered with mood dips that made me feel muted and low and boobs that felt like they were on fire (and not in a sexy way), but thankfully my internal scales seemed to have evened out and aside from the odd headache that is probably brought on by my lack of hydration anyway, and a slightly sensitive nipple here and there, we’re all cool. The one big difference though are the periods. ERM, HELLO PAIN – WHERE DID YOU COME FROM? I wouldn’t say my periods on the pill where a walk in the park exactly, but they were manageable and I could easily get on with my day by popping a paracetamol or two if needed. But ever since I came off, day one of my cycle can leave me feeling physically sick. My insides feel like they are being wrung out and there’s a dull ache, with the odd stabbing pain for good measure, that just doesn’t seem to budge until the next day. Other friends have found their periods to be way heavier than before, for some their periods are longer now and for others it’s shorter. I feel like the silver lining to my day one utter grimness, are that my period overall is shorter – around the four day mark, when they were about seven days previously – so it all evens out in the end, eh?

Off course I would have no idea that day one was creeping up on me without my period tracking app. Gone are the days of circling the days in your ‘Groovy Chicks’ yearly planner – which was my first method of tracking, instead it’s all gone online and it’s bloody great (no pun intended). I use Flo, mainly because it was one that I’d heard people talk about and it came up top when I searched for one on the app store, but I’d say it’s the app that about 75% of my mates use too. You punch in the dates of your period and it collates data about your likely fertile window, day of ovulation and the start day of your next period. I have it set so that I get a reminder a couple of days before I’m due to come on again so that it’s at the forefront of my mind and I know to shove some tampons in my bag. Note to audience: Flo is very different to Flow Free, which is a great time-wasting game that I also highly recommend (it’s great for taking your mind off any nervy energy when you’re travelling). 

Although my motivation for stopping taking the pill was never to get pregnant, the whole shebang has made me think more about my fertility. Periods can be an exclusive thing and I had no idea how long it would take mine to return, or if it would even return at all and it felt like a good time in my life to just be armed with that knowledge. I count my lucky stars that they have popped back to say hello and seem to do so with prompt and regular timing. Of course you never know what the real story is until you ‘GO FOR IT’, which we are actively not doing at the moment, but it does feel good to have somewhat of an idea of what’s going on in my tubes down there.

Speaking of babies, younger me would totally have put money on the fact that I’d have a kid or at least be thinking of having children of my own at around the age of 30. Well that big ol’ birthday has just passed and I can safely say the idea to me right now FREAKS ME OUT. Maybe it’s because there isn’t a clearly defined path for ‘blogging with a baby‘ that’s set out in stone, or it could be the fact that not that many of my friends have children or are in the headspace to think about them in the imminent future, but I feel like the older I get the more the notion makes me light-headed. I’ve come to accept that it’s just our guts way of telling us that now just isn’t the right time. I feel like I could ramble on about the societal pressure of baby-making for a dissertation-length post, but I’ll leave it there for now. Just know that if you see any type of pregnancy announcement from me in the next who knows how long, that there’s been some Ross-esque call phone call to Durex behind the scenes…


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Photos by Mark Newton

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