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Claire Baker : The Contraceptive Pill – Why I Took It For 10 Years & Why I Never Will Again

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

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.

Come say hi at This is Lifeblood, her online space to share her passion for all things nourishing, soulful and creative. You can also find her on hanging out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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11 Responses to “Claire Baker : The Contraceptive Pill – Why I Took It For 10 Years & Why I Never Will Again”

  1. Adriana

    Thanks for sharing your story Claire. My story is very similar. I’m currently using breastfeeding as a contraception (I’m not yet ovulating after having my daughter), but I’m wondering what other forms of contraception you suggest for someone that is in a long term committed relationship like me?
    Thanks 🙂

    Reply
  2. Jonesy

    Thanks for sharing Claire! I have also had a very similar situation, I WAS honestly a little annoyed at myself for going on the Pill, because from memory there was really no need (maybe cause EVERYONE was doing it). Luckily I have finally got my period back thanks to one of the practitioners at The Pagoda Tree who I will continue to work with and have already purchased Nat’s Fertilise Yourself…it all just makes sense. Thanks x

    Reply
  3. Jodie

    Oh this is the best Claire, since coming off the pill i have been annoyed at myself for being blind to it for all of those years, this is just the perspective change i needed. Thanks lovely!

    Reply
  4. cd

    The same. I still don’t have a clue of what I should do… The first time I was so scared that I have to return to the pill. 5 months without the pill and no period. then 2 months with the pill and great periods. Now 3 months without the pill and no period.
    This is a crazy restart!!! (deep breath)

    Reply
  5. Michelle

    So incredibly true! I was on the pill for a decade from 15 years due to having acne. Yes, my skin was awesome. Yes, I could skip my periods which was ever so convenient. BUT – the IBS-type symptoms kicked in, slowly at first, until after about 4-5 years they were unbearable and oh-so-unpredictable. My libidio was shot to pieces.
    I decided (for the sake of my relationship at the time) to come off the pill. My IBS symptoms went away instantly. Seriously awesome! .. but my skin went to shit. My weight ballooned. I felt and looked like crap. 6 months later, I still had no period. My doctor diagnosed PCOS after bloodwork, and prescribed metformin to try and get on top of the PCOS symptoms. Another three months later, and I finally had a period. My skin was slowly improving. Eventually, after about 18mths, I was able to wean myself off the metformin too. I don’t currently take any medication.
    Like you Claire, I have really appreciated getting to know my body in its natural state. I know all it’s little signs and cues that things are happening: even the occasional hormonal zit on the left side of my chin that indicates that things are working as they should!
    I’ve treated my body much better in the years since; eating well. Exercising. It’s made all the difference.
    Many of my friends deal with the same IBS-type symptoms I dealt with all those years. I try to tell them to get off the pill to see if it sorts itself out, but they are very reluctant to do that – it seems to me that it is so ingrained in us that the pill is the answer to our problems, rather then the cause of a whole set of other issues.
    I personally would’ve take any hormonal contraceptive ever again; no pill, no IUD, no implants in my arm, no injections. The way it made me feel and the impact it had on my life simply wasn’t worth it.

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  6. Jess

    Thank you so much Claire. After being on the pill for 12 years, I went off it in December last year after my husband and I decided we wanted to try for a baby sometime down the track. WOW, how did I not know what the effects of the pill were doing to my body?!?

    After coming off I the pill I became so lethargic, I started to get acne on my face and back which I hadn’t had in years, and spent the next few months trying to figure out why I hadn’t got my period yet. I started to do some research on Nats site and found that this is actually quite a normal side effect of coming off the pill, but I also found out that I had not actually had a true period in the last 12 years, my hormones were a mess and that my body was now totally depleted in nutrients and just flat lying. I never knew the pill was doing this! It opened up a whole new world and I started to dig deeper. Why aren’t we taught about what the pill is doing to our bodies as teenage girls! I became angry with myself and started to get scared that I may have done some irreversible damage to my body and may not be able to conceive. I had read that Vitex agnus-castus helps to regulate hormones so decided to start taking that along with upping my dose of good fats, continued eating organic, fresh food and started having Maca in my morning smooties.

    After 5 months since going off the pill I finally got my period, however it was very light and only last 2 days. I was over the moon and decided I know longer needed to take the Vitex as my body was back on track and had regulated itself again. How wrong I was. It has now been 3 months since I last got my period with no signs of it returning. We started to try for a few months ago, without success. I am starting to get concerned and not really sure how to nourish my body better. Nat or Claire, could you give me some advice please?

    Reply
  7. Lee

    I am thinking about stopping the birth control pill. I feel like it isn’t good for me anymore. DO you have any suggestions for avoiding weight gain and hair loss when stopping the pill? Or any suggestions to make the weight go away if I gain any? Or to stop hair loss if it happens?

    Reply
  8. Maritsa Santana-Ruiz

    Your post sounds too familiar, I having been struggling with the notion of quitting the pill! I am just hesitant because of the same symptoms (I.e. Acne, weight, mood swings) but I have made every effort to clean up my diet and starting my goal of becoming a certified Yoga Instructor. I also have two children and have no plans for more ;-). Thanks for sharing your story! ~Maritsa

    Reply
  9. Joy

    ah man I don’t even want to read this stuff. I was on the pill for a long time and had a hell of a time coming off it. Swore I’d never do it again. Here I am 8 years later (I’m 34)….just diagnosed with endometriosis, a fibroid, painful periods, had surgery to remove an ovarian cyst, HPV, a serious boyfriend and of course my doctor recommends I go on the pill. I just found this site. I need to do more research and decide what I want to do but this is very eye opening. Thanks for sharing your stories.

    Reply
  10. Melanie Howella

    I need help coming off the pill. I’m only on it for adult acne but I’m so messed up hormonally. Doe she have a book I can order?

    Reply