DISCLAIMER – this is a bit of an over-sharing kind of post, so only read on if you’re ok with that!!
For many years I have been a user of hormonal contraception, with just a few brief windows when we were “trying to get pregnant”. I knew how to be responsible, and so once I knew I was getting married I started on the pill in preparation, before moving on to the hormonal implant which I have been on ever since. At first I thought the implant was a miracle – my periods stopped completely the first time I had it (and who wouldn’t want that!). You don’t have to remember to take anything each day, and it is not affected by illness or other drugs. I could happily enjoy married life safe in the knowledge I wouldn’t get pregnant. After my first son was born I knew straight away I wanted it back in, and the same after my second son. I was safe and sensible, and for almost 10 years it has seen me through. But today I finally said goodbye to my implant for good. Our child-bearing time is over, and more permanent measures have been taken to ensure this (I’m sure you catch my drift!!). And whilst I am glad and thankful of the security the implant has given me during that time, I am so over the moon to no longer have artificial hormones swimming around my body.
You see, our bodies are a temple, and whilst I don’t always look after it that well (I am a fan of the takeaway curry and have a sweet tooth), I am well aware that some of these great ideas of the 21st century affect our bodies in ways we can’t even explain or understand. As a woman, I am supposed to have monthly periods. I am supposed to ovulate. I am supposed to get pregnant. Having extra hormones to stop those things, although seemingly convenient, must play haywire with our natural rhythms and cycles and who knows what else. I am well aware that hormone changes can affect your mood, your weight, your desire for sex and even cravings for different foods. So bring on my hormone free body and all things natural!! It feels wonderfully freeing to know that I am not being affected in these ways anymore, and I look forward to seeing what that is like.
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Recently I have also started using a menstrual cup (I thought I’d throw that out there given the deep sharingness of this post!), and I have to say it is a GAME CHANGER!! For so many years (apart from the few where my period stopped altogether and the blissful period free time of pregnancy) I have begrudged having to use sanitary pads. Running back and forth to the bathroom, hiding pads up your sleeve to smuggle them in, the inevitable leaks (sometimes onto cream carpets – not a great moment of my life) and having to get a note to get out of swimming at school. It is not a fun part of womanhood if we’re honest. But having a menstrual cup means that there is no smell, there is no ticking time bomb if you forget to go to the toilet every few hours. You can happily get on with life for up to 12 hours without emptying it. If you’ve had kids then you’ll already be accustomed with hands and other objects being up in your stuff, so really there’s not much difference there. There is a bit of an ick factor when you empty it and come face to face with what your menstrual blood actually looks like, but one month in and it will feel totally normal.
So, why am I sharing all this with you? Well I guess in a way I feel like I am reclaiming my womanhood a little. I am stopping letting the world take over and dictate how my life must be – controlled by hormones and a slave to my period. No. I am a woman and I can make my own choices thank you. You don’t need to follow me or copy me in this (we’re all at different stages in our reproductive lives and have to make decisions accordingly), but maybe just take stock of how your contraception can affect you and think about whether that is the best thing for you and your family, as it might be having a bigger impact than you realise. x