It’s been a year since I started my second first period. About two years ago I made the decision to come off all medical/hormonal contraception and I’ve never looked back. Around the same time I came off anti depressants; something clicked and I came to the realisation that I knew sweet FA about what was going on inside me and I felt a huge disconnection. I knew nothing about the extra hormones I’d been pumping through me, since like most girls I knew, I was put on the pill as soon as started having sex; for me that was 17. I spent most of my late teens and early adulthood taking something that I didn’t really have a clue about, rather than getting to know my body properly. After I decided the pill wasn’t for me (because I was disorganised, preoccupied and not very good at taking it), I went for something stronger. Lo and behold the IUS (hormonal coil), which could possibly stop my periods all together (which it did) and last for almost 5 years. I was 20 at the time and although I maybe could have done my research more, I was young. You do impulsive stuff at that age, plus I now realise that I was very depressed and didn’t have a clue what was going on most of the time. The doctor never advised me of any risks or feelings that may later come with it and never asked about my physical or mental health. Surely the duty of care for a young adult girl was failed!?? Still unsure about that one but I’m going with yes. Within a week I was booked in and it was popped in. I initially thought it was the best thing ever, no periods, no babies, no worries, fucking jackpot. I even told all my friends how great it was.
It’s been one year and three months since I had the coil removed, a traumatic experience of which I came home crying, having had complications with the removal and 3 strangers prodding at my vagina trying to get it out. An a anaesthetic and many tears later I was free. If that wasn’t a sign to say I was doing the right thing I don’t know what was.
About 6 weeks later I finally bled again and three months later I attended a workshop led by Rabiah Mali (@herbal_blessingclinic on Instagram) all about medicinal herbs for menstruation and the womb (someone who I would highly recommend and is a gem at her craft). In the session I sat and chatted with a group of women of all ages and we spoke openly about our periods, the moon, life and generally what it’s like to experience the female form. Some were good, some not so good but our experiences varied and we learnt from each other. It was a revaluation! I stopped seeing my period as a linear event one after the other and embraced it as a cycle and a pattern to learn from each time. It’s not always a joyful occasion sometimes I do still have times when it just feels long but it feels different and I see that now. I understand my moods better and I feel like my body has more of a rhythm. We are in tune. Plus something that I didn’t realise would happen is that It’s made me feel much more body positive, love and overall respect myself a more as a growing woman.
My advice to any woman, girl or person who experiences periods, who is just a little confused or feels like they have a niggle of doubt about contraception is to do your research, then have the conversation with your partner or the person you are sleeping with, even if it’s casual; don’t be afraid to speak up. These conversations need to be had. Most importantly have a conversation with yourself. It’s your body. If its not working for you then it’s not working for either of you.
A couple of good apps that may help you get to know are Flo and Natural Cycles (I use Flo cause it’s freeee) Natural Cycles requires a thermometer hence the extra cost but with both you can track your cycle so it’ll learn from you and tell you when you are due on. You can also log a number of things like mood, exercise and sexual activity, plus it will also tell you when you are ovulating if you wanna make yourself some lil babas. I’ve also read some really good books which have helped and taught me so much, which I’ll post more about soon. Another good note is to talk to your elders and fellow sisters about this stuff; they’ve lived through it and they know their shit.
So Happy Periodaversary to me (I clearly made that up so if you can think of a better one please let me know). I’m celebrating in India with a view and a steaming hot cup of masala chai. Long may the lessons continue because, baby, I am here for it.