It’s been almost 60 years since women gained control of their body with a nifty contraceptive pill. Long gone were the days of fearing unprotected sex.
So like a right of passage, my friends and I popped down to our local clinic after school to get on the pill, cheering to no-more periods or unplanned pregnancies. But five years down the line, I came to realise that washing down the contraceptive pill every day at 9am comes at a hefty price.
Bloating, adult acne and a sex drive as dead as a SATC 3 reboot became the norm. And for what? So that he doesn’t have to wear a condom, because it feels a little less sensational, for him?
So I asked myself, as a woman, why is it my role to punish my body so that he can have more pleasure?
Aside from toll it was taking on my body, it became obvious to me as a feminist that it shouldn’t be expected for women to take this burden.
And so just like that, I decided to come off the contraceptive pill and reclaim my hormones.
Here’s how my body coped in the months after:
Okay, the jokes over now. Where have my boobs gone?
One month in and it’s as if my boobs, once a full balloon, have somehow deflated.
They look less full, less happy, than my once hormone enhanced bouncy bosoms.
I take a deep breath in, put a lace bra on and notice how my boobs do look more in proportion to my 5″1 frame now.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get worse. Nearing the end of the month Aunt Flo visited for the first time in years. She is not happy.
Period cramps aren’t a myth.
If I thought the shock of month one was bad, the second period was hell.
I can’t describe the pain, there was none like it. But it went something like this:
There’s a stabbing pain in my lower back and someone is playing footsies with my uterus. I’m sat at my desk with my knees tightly held to my chest, swiveling on my chair to ease the pain and silently crying. Did I mention I’m sat next to my male manager who probably thinks I’ve finally gone mad?
It turns out that 5 years later and there’s still period taboo. So feeling like a 15-year-old in class, I hide my tampoon in my shirt sleeve and head to the loo.
Is it possible that I’ve gotten hairier?
As I moisturise, I notice under close inspection that my jaw line – just below my sideburns – has become hairy. It’s now home to long, blonde, fluffy hair, which definitely wasn’t there a few months ago.
Is this why YouTube Guru’s shave before applying foundation, I wonder?
After much consideration, I leave the hair be and carry on with my makeup routine.
Half a year has passed, as have my pill-withdrawal-symptoms.
I wake up with more energy and generally feeling happier in my skin. I get the occasional spot on my chin (around that time of the month), but nothing more. And my body looks and feels much less bloated. But that could be down to it being summer. (Maybe I’ll check in during Christmas when I’ve got my winter body back.)
Although I still get cramps on the first day of my period, by using a period app I can be ready and prepared (read: paracetamol and comfortable clothes) ahead of time.
I’m not into period sex. Or period anything, quite frankly.
I just want to be curled up on the sofa watching Suits. So it’s nice to get a few days off sex/ exercise/ anything strenuous to just focus on me-time and do what feels right for my body in that moment.
The facial hair has magically disappeared, whilst my itty bitty titties (they’ve dropped two sizes) are here to stay.
So I’m learning to embrace my new body, which as a woman will keep on evolving as I journey through life.
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