Another disclaimer- I'm still learning this stuff. I strongly suggest that if you're interested in this method of avoiding pregnancy, that you do your research! I know I did!
Three months ago today, I took my very last birth control pill. No, there is no Hunky/Little Offspring in the plans. No, we're not crazy. We're using FAM.
A little background info-
I've been on birth control since I started college... so.... 7 years. My mom told me she thought it would be a good idea- that it would help regulate my periods and clear up my acne. I'd always had pretty regular periods, but I liked the idea of starting fresh in college without zits.
During those college years, I was pretty stretched for cash, so I had to prioritize my budget. First on the list was birth control, followed by food. I was a dedicated pill user. I had alarms on my phone to remind me. I carried an extra pill pack in my purse in case I forgot to take a pill and I remembered when I was out and about. I really liked knowing exactly when my period would arrive, the fact that my embarrassing zits cleared up, and frankly, that I was doing what all responsible grown-up women do.
I never had any side very noticeable side effects. Sure, I gained some weight, but almost everyone does in college- I attribute putting on the pounds more to the ice cream machine in the dining hall than the Pill. However, I did see some of my close friends experience side effects. One friend was taking a version of Yaz and had terrible mood swings that left her feeling powerless and a little crazy. She switched pills and the side effects went away. Just one of those crazy things, I thought.
After Zeke and I got married, I continued using the Pill to regulate my period and to avoid pregnancy early in our marriage. Now that I was sexually active, though, I started paying more attention to the signals my body was sending just in case, on the off chance, I did get pregnant while on the Pill. Paying closer attention to my body made me realize a couple of things.
First, I noticed that I got headaches before and after every period. Secondly, I noticed that while my periods were never very long, I always had lingering spotting for a couple of days afterward, something I didn't remember having happened before I was on the Pill. And thirdly, I realized that my sex drive was super low (which I didn't know before getting married, anyways).
With my new health insurance, though, the Pill was free. And everybody takes the Pill, right? The other options were an IUD or condoms, so I thought.
Still, I didn't like the very minor side effects I was recognizing, and I also didn't like the fact that I was forcing my body into a pattern other than the natural and normal pattern God gave me. I started finding information about natural birth control, and came across several bloggers who use the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) or Natural Family Planning (NFP). I talked to Zeke about it. He told me that he wanted me to be healthy, but wasn't so sure about FAM. Sounded risky.
So I did more research. I was really surprised by some of the information I found, like that the "yucky discharge" I found in my panties as a teenager was natural, normal, and was able to tell me a lot about myself. I found research that showed that the Pill is a cause of cancer, that the Pill ages the cervix twice as fast, that the Pill can act as an abortifacient. I learned that FAM has been used for years and years, that it's scientifically accurate, and that if it's used correctly, it can prevent pregnancy 99% of the time.
I bought the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility, read it cover to cover and then again, and then decided to start charting. I talked to Zeke again... and he read TCOYF and made faces about some of the pictures... and agreed that we could do it. I practiced charting my Basal Body Temperature (BBT) and checking my cervical fluid, and when I had taken my last pill for that cycle, I didn't refill my prescription. I kissed birth control goodbye.
See another post here about our FAM journey!