(originally posted on 6 Jan 2019)
Hi! And welcome to Be the Sunshinee!
Today’s post is pretty lengthy but I promise it’s worth sticking around for! I’m going to be sharing my personal experience with birth control and talk about why I never want to take it again in my life.
*** DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a medical doctor, professional, or expert on the subject of birth control. I am simply sharing my experience and opinion. If you have any medical related questions or concerns please contact a medical provider and do research of your own. ***
I was 19 when I started dating my first boyfriend. I distinctly remember by mom texting me, “You need to get on birth control ASAP its not worth ruining the path that you’re on.” And so I did. I made an appointment, went to the doctor, and started on the Depo-Provers shot.
I did absolutely no research, didn’t really ask my doctor any questions, my doctor didn’t ask me any questions, and he didn’t explain anything about birth control, my different options, or possible side effects.
Birth Control- THE DEPO-PROVERA SHOT:
I started birth control totally blind and uneducated which was a really dumb mistake on my part. I didn’t notice any immediate side effects at first, but after a few weeks and definitely into my first few months on the shot I noticed I was spotting all the time, basically constantly. This was extremely annoying but I thought it was work itself out after a while, it never really did.
My biggest few with starting birth control was gaining excess weight. Luckily, this didn’t happen to me at all the 2 years I was on birth control. I didn’t change my eating habits or my workout routine and my weight stayed pretty consistent, which I was happy about.
Over the course of the next few months I become even more introverted than I already am (which is a lot). I never hardly left my dorm room except to go to work and the gym. I did make any effort to make any friends, and wasn’t happy about that but also didn’t do anything to change it. I dreaded going to work. I hated living in my dorm room. I basically didn’t do anything except watch Netflix and go to sleep early overnight. I felt very unhappy for no particular reason. I couldn’t pin point what was going on with myself, and honestly at the time I didn’t even recognize what I was going through. I don’t know if it was depression or not, but I definitely wasn’t my happy and positive self and I really wasn’t happy with my life.
I started doing a LITTLE bit of research, and only for a school paper when I learned about all these awful negative side effects of the depo shot.
slight bruising where shot was given
significant bone density loss
(All information found on Planned Parenthood.)
I already had constant headaches before starting the shot and I was mostly concerned about bone density loss since I hardly got any calcium intake and already dealt with extremely pain in my lower extremities. I stayed on the depo shot for a couple more months (you get the shot every 3 months) but eventually decided I needed to switch.
At this point, a lot of people would probably recommend a non hormonal brith control like an IUD but I did a little (and only a little) research and quickly decided it was a no from me. I read too many horror stories where women still got pregnant with a copper IUD, the IUD was misplaced and caused pregnancy, extreme pain, serious medical issues involving tearing of the uterus. I also read a lot about women have worse period cramps and heavier bleeding. Yeah, no thanks!
Birth Control- THE PILL:
So I decided to switch to the pill. It wasn’t hard for me to remember to take it every day so I had no issues with that, I stopped spotting so much but while on the shot I rarely had period and on the pill it came back regularly (this is probably a good and healthy thing but it was also annoying. No period is awesome).
While on the pill I did notice that I wasn’t as unhappy or “depressed” as I was while on the shot so I thought I finally found the right birth control. My periods came back and were pretty regular. They did get a lot heavier than before but I must note; before I got on any birth control I never had period cramping and my period only lasted 3-4 days max.
A few months after being on the pill I noticed I had a huge decreases in my sex drive. This might be TMI but I just want to keep it real with yall and a change in sex drive is a common side effect.
I still stayed on the pill for quite some time after doing more research but eventually decided I didn’t want to take this form of birth control anymore either.
I did a ton of research and basically became anti- birth control. I was furious with all the horror stories I read, a lot of which I related to in some way. I was irritated at myself for not being more educated about what I was putting and doing to my body. And I was also mad that my doctors weren’t educating me either.
I was TERRIFIED to stop taking birth control all together because I did not want to get pregnant. But I also knew the changes I was experiencing were not worth it. I was not interesting in any other types of birth control, hormonal or not. After discussing how I felt with my boyfriend I decided I would stop taking birth control all together.
This month will be exactly one year since I decided to stop taking birth control and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.
Finally, my periods are sort of starting to regulate again. I am back to my pre birth control cycles of 3-4 days (which is awesome). My sex drive is getting back to normal. I am definitely back to my happy and positive self (the best advantage of all). And I haven’t had any pregnancy scares!
Although I am getting back to my “old” self, a few things have changed. I did gain a little bit of weight this year, but that could completely be related to my lifestyle habits and have nothing to do with birth control. The one that sticks out, and sucks the most, is cramping. I now experience cramping during my cycle but only on the first day. I always feel so so sick the first day of my period. Headaches, nausea, and awful lower back pain. I am still thankful this only lasts one day (and I feel like I can’t even complain because my period is so short) but had I never taken birth control my body would have never gotten so messed up and I believe I would still have cramp free periods.
I took to Instagram to ask you guys some questions related to birth control.
I asked how many of you take birth control. Out of 48 people; 58% YES and 48% said no. So right about 50/50!
I asked if you do take birth control, do you take it as a contraceptive or for a medical reason (acne, periods issues, etc). Out of 26 people; 65% said as a contraceptive and 35% said for medical reasons.
I then asked if you love your birth control or if you hate it. Out of 22 people; 77% said they love it and 23% said they hate it. (I’m glad so many of you like it!!)
I then asked why you love it or hate it! Here’s the response I got:
I got a small mix of people loving their birth control and hating it! I’m glad so many people are loving the method they’re on, that is SO important!
I also if their were any questions or topics you wanted me to write about!
Somebody wanted to know what I use instead of birth control. And I just use condoms. Which is still technically classified as birth control, but so is the pull out method so I’m not sure how credible that information is! According to planned parenthood, condoms are only 85% effective compared to a lot of other birth control (the pill, patch, shot, implant, IUD) which are in the 90-99% range. Condoms are also the only birth control that help prevent and spread STDs.
Another women asked about different natural or non hormonal birth controls you can use in place of traditional ones. And I don’t know too much about these options because this was never the method of birth control I used.
Tons of information can be found HERE regarding all types of birth control, including fertility awareness and tracking your periods to know when it’s possible for you get pregnant.
Again, I just wanted to disclaim that I am no expert or professional. I am simply sharing my experience and thoughts on birth control as a whole. I don’t know everything about birth control but I know that it’s just not right for me.
Birth control can be great for many many women. The point of this post was not to deter you form using birth control at all, it can have many positive benefits for many different reasons and can be a great option to be safe while being sexual active if you are avoiding pregnancy.
I simply urge you to be knowledgeable about the birth control you use, the different options available to you, and talk with you doctors!!! They have the most knowledge!
At the end of the day, you have to do what is best for YOU. That’s all that matters!
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please feel free to comment on this post, shoot me an email, or DM me on instagram (the best place to reach me). I hope this post was helpful in so way. Let’s start a conversation and spread the awareness of the negative and positive effects of birth control use!