Claire hardly needs an intro – this beauty has featured on my site many times before and is a woman after my own heart. She’s got a powerful message to share, and today, on a topic we all know I’m totally into. Claire talks today about the deception of the pill and her own experience. Over to Claire.
I want to talk to you about the contraceptive pill and my tumultuous relationship with it that started in 2001.
But before we begin, let me make this very clear that I don’t believe in regrets and so I have none.
Regardless of the (multitude of!) choices I have made over the years that have been detrimental to my health, I know I am exactly where I am today because of these choices. I am the best health coach and mentor I can be, because I understand exactly where my clients are coming from and what they are going through. I’ve totally been there.
Saying that, I also believe wholeheartedly that the long term use of the contraceptive pill holds a massive risk to women’s health, our hormonal balance and our ability to make babies. I know it is linked to breast cancer, infertility, digestion issues and nutritional deficiencies and I have experienced firsthand a number of health issues due to long term use of the pill; post-pill amenorrhea, PCOS and a butt-load of hormonal (and emotional!) imbalances.
I cringe when I think about the enormous length of time I mindlessly swallowed those little pills every day; 10 years. A decade. Almost 40% of my life. I could be annoyed or angry about the decision I made to go on the pill all those years ago, but I’m not.
To explain why, let me take you back eleven years ago.
So I’m 16, totally fascinated with boys and totally hating on my body. In a super short period of time I’ve sprouted hips, boobs and a bunch of acne all over my face and back. I was your classic teenage girl with bad skin and shocking self esteem.
In my head, I was like, so FAT (if 52kgs is fat!!) and I would have done anything to be rid of the pimples that left me feeling unattractive and frustrated. The state of my skin played on my mind constantly and I covered my face in slabs of makeup every morning. And the scars! That was just a whole other ball game. I was pretty miserable.
For me, at this vulnerable time in my life, the contraceptive pill was like a miracle drug. Not to mention the fact that I actually lost weight while taking it and I could skip my period whenever I wanted, spending most Summers completely period-free! And acne-free. I wasn’t sexually active then, but that was definitely a bonus a few years down the track!
It felt like the best thing ever.
Over the next 10 years, I came on and off the pill for various reasons; liver dysfunction (connected to some antibiotics I had been on previously, for – would you believe it – my skin), travel, not being sexually active, not having enough money to pay for my prescription (that first year of uni was tough!) and my Mum in my ear telling me I ‘should have a break from it’.
Every single time I came off it, my skin would go bezerk! Instantly I would break out, put on weight and suffer huge mood swings. So naturally, I’d start taking it again. At 22, I had a Dr. tell me that because my acne was hormonal, I would most likely suffer from it for the rest of my life – he felt the contraceptive pill was the only solution. Deal with it.
However, about 2 years ago I started to take my health and wellness more seriously; from a holistic perspective, I began to clean things up. I had this internal knowing that I needed to come off the pill, finally. What was the point of eating organic and meditating if I was popping pills every morning?
And so, after months of preparing my body and making some significant lifestyle changes, I did.
And nothing happened.
Amazingly, my skin didn’t break out! I didn’t put on weight. My moods were fine.
But I also didn’t have a period.
Months went by and nothing happened. My body showed no signs of ovulating or menstruating – and I started to freak out. I was SO mad at myself for taking this pill for such a long time. What if I couldn’t have babies?!
So, I did what I knew I needed to do; I nourished myself with knowledge (mostly thanks to Nat!), blood building foods, acupuncture, yoga, sleep, meditation and emotional healing. I also saw my GP (who diagnosed me with PCOS) and I made the conscious decision to not go back on the pill (despite her firm encouragement for me to do so), instead choosing to trust that my body knew what she was doing.
And she did.
12 months later, my period returned! And my skin has stayed clear, my weight is stable and my hormones are re-balancing every month. The first few cycles were seriously painful (hello Cramp City!), but my most recent period was smooth sailing. I love learning about natural contraception, tuning into my body’s natural cycle and feeling her do her fine thang.
I could be annoyed at my 16 year old self for carelessly jumping on the ‘band aid solution’ that was the contraceptive pill, but I’m not. She didn’t have the information we have now. And to be honest, I probably wouldn’t have listened anyway. I needed a solution, STAT. I had no idea that my diet, lifestyle and stress levels could impact the state of my skin. What a revelation!
So what can I leave you with? The fact that you CAN influence the state of your skin and the balance of your hormones. You CAN choose to tune into your body for contraceptive purposes, healing and optimum wellness. You really can and I am living proof of it.
Claire Baker is a certified coach and mentor, passionate writer and speaker and author of ‘She Is Radiant: Your 6-Week Wellness Adventure To Get Glowy & Feel Rad’. Claire guides vibrant young women as they get from where they are, to where they want to be – in their health and life, blog and business.
With a background in visual arts and business management, her gorgeous clients (from all over the world), experience greater confidence, improved relationships, more joy and clear complexions. They throw out the scales, book the flight, launch the blog – and fall back in love with their life.
Through her honest and empowering blog and unique coaching packages, you can consider Claire your personal advocate for living an energised, playful and heart-centred life.