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The Mama’s Perspective – What Has Been Your Experience with Birth Control?

The Mama’s Perspective – What Has Been Your Experience with Birth Control?

Here’s your opportunity to learn more about the parenting styles of each Maturing Mama. No Mama is exactly the same in her parenting skills. This is our opportunity to highlight our differences in parenting in a means to help you find a method that works for you.

Today’s Question:

What Has Been Your Experience with Birth Control?

Chanelle

I hate birth control in all its shapes and forms. 

I really do!  I only have two kids so clearly I’ve used birth control. But I have not had the best
experience with any of them.

I started with the pill and it really messed with my periods. There were times I was bleeding for a full month. It didn’t help that I would forget to take it at least once a week on average, despite setting multiple alarms on my phone.

After having my first child, my doctor encouraged me to try a fool proof method- it was as small as a match stick, and would be placed within the top layer of the skin of my arm. It was called Implanon. I got that inserted in Australia and after moving back home to Canada I was full of so much regret. Why? Because there was only one doctor in the entire province that was certified to remove this tiny little match stick.

Hunting her down was not an easy task – even taking public transportation to
her was a long day. Once I got this birth control device out, I noticed what it had done to me. It had made me quite irritable, but now I was finally calm and with a clearer head.

After having my second daughter, I told my husband it’s all him now. I was done with birth control! It was up to him to pull out, wear a condom or get snipped. I was done!

It’s been so nice going the last two years with no foreign type of synthetic hormone pumping through my system. It was a major relief not having to worry about any of it.

Being able to track my period properly was huge! I don’t believe I will ever take any birth control ever again. Women have enough to deal with, without adding more hormones or the stress of not knowing our proper cycles. If you’re the type that gets pregnant too easily, I say, good for you honey- there are millions of women that can’t.


Mirjam

I must say, birth control is not my favorite topic; it feels like there is nothing birth control related in the market to find, at least to my knowledge, that doesn’t come with a compromise. But I’m very curious to hear from others if they have found the one method that works well for them.

My husband and I have not been able to make peace with the thought of taking hormones, because of the side-effects. So that eliminates half of the birth control methods already.

The natural family planning method is what I can recommend to every woman because it helps women to get to know their cycles better. In the beginning it seemed a bit complicated to me and it definitely requires some reading and discipline with the application. But the apps available today make it way easier than when I started. I had to use a book, pen, paper and a thermometer to keep track of things!

To be on the safer side, it is good to combine this method with other methods (for example, condoms or a diaphragm). I must say my husband and I got pregnant sooner than expected but, in hindsight, we are grateful for each of our children and see
God’s perfect timing and plan in the midst of imperfect circumstances
.


Kyler

My experience using different birth control methods began when I was 16. The doctor put me on “the pill” because I had extremely irregular periods and they said it would help me to get regular.

I had the WORST experience. I quickly became unrecognizable to myself with grumpiness and mood swings and irritability. I immediately gained like 20 pounds. It was miserable. As soon as I discovered it wasn’t going to level out and obviously my body was just not taking to the hormones well, I stopped taking them.

I didn’t use any other female birth control again until after my first son was born. I chose to go with the copper, non-hormone IUD. I never had a single problem with it- I barely even remembered it was in there.

After our 4th son was born I had a very traumatic hemorrhage experience that hospitalized me for almost a week and required 2 blood transfusions. After that happened, the doctors informed me that I could not safely have anymore children. I chose to use the same IUD for about 5 years until I decided I needed to come to terms with my limitations and have my tubes tied. Surgery is never easy, but it went well and I had a pleasant recovery.

For each woman, birth control is such an intimate personal choice, and I have always been so grateful that there is such a wide variety of choices available. It gives every woman a chance to find the perfect option that works best with her body.


Dawne

Getting pregnant is never something that I had to worry about.

 After issues with menstruation as a teen I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is a hormonal disorder that is common among women. It can cause irregular menstrual cycles, excess male hormones (think extra hair) and infertility.

Throughout my teens and early adulthood I would go months without having a cycle. This meant that getting pregnant would be difficult. I did, however, start taking birth control in an effort to regulate my cycle. In my teens and early adulthood I used the pill. It didn’t really help with regulating my cycle at all.

After struggling with infertility and accessing fertility treatments, I finally fell pregnant with Zoe. My pregnancy was a rollercoaster: at 26 weeks I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia is a disorder during pregnancy characterized by the sudden onset of high blood pressure. Due to pre-eclampsia, Zoe’s growth was restricted. I was hospitalized and the doctors balanced my blood pressure with Zoe’s heart function. Zoe was born at 28 weeks and spent 4 months in the NICU fighting for her life. I didn’t want to put my body -or my heart – through that trauma again so I decided that I wanted to go back on birth control (sometimes women with PCOS can become pregnant easier the second time).

Due to neurological issues (I was hospitalized after a suspected stroke) after Zoe was born, my doctor instructed me that the only birth control I could safely use was the mini-pill and I have been using it ever since. The mini-pill contains the hormone progestin but, unlike other birth control pills, does not contain estrogen. Estrogen in birth control can cause an increase in blood clotting and blood pressure , and combined with additional stroke risk factors including migraines and hypertension can increase the risk of an ischemic stroke. The mini-pill is taken daily without a break. I have not had any side effects using it so far. I’m very happy about that.

The only thing I don’t like about the mini-pill is actually having to remember to take it every morning.


Sharon

Birth control is a very fresh subject for me personally; I think we should all be
aware that there is always a risk that contraception methods may not work. My husband and I have been blessed with two beautiful children who are very
close in age; they are 13 months apart. Yep, that’s right… 13 months!

Our son is 18 months and our daughter is 5 months. Our baby daughter was our unplanned surprise.

Life was quite challenging before and after the birth of our first child as he has a serious heart condition and spent his first 4 months in hospital. At my 6 weeks post baby check up, we briefly touched on contraception and the doctor prescribed the mini pill. I was really in no state or head space to properly process it all and I don’t recall much discussion on the other methods such as the Mirena or the rod.

I lived with my son in the hospital (he was moved into the ward from PICU at 4
weeks of age where I was able – and encouraged – to stay with him) and my
husband had to come and go each day. After 4 months we finally got to bring our
baby boy home and be a family and, very, very shortly after that, I discovered I
was pregnant with our beautiful daughter. She is an absolute blessing to us and I
am loving every minute however, if we choose to have anymore children, we are
certainly not planning on such a close age gap.

I have discussed contraception methods with both my husband and doctor.
I’ve actually heard several other stories of the mini pill not working. There is one
major catch with the mini pill… it needs to be taken every day without fail and at
the same time (no more than half hour difference should you run a bit late). This
is why I do not recommend the mini pill…unless you have a fantastic reminder
tactic in place (I guess phones are good for that!)

When I look back and think about what I was going through at the time, there was no way that I was going to remember consistently. There are other kinds of contraception methods that are much more effective than the mini pill. It is important that we always keep in mind that birth control is not guaranteed protection from pregnancy.

Having said all of that, I know and believe wholeheartedly that God’s plan is the ultimate and perfect plan; Children are his gift and are a blessing to us in his perfect timing. Whilst it may not have been our timing to have 2 children so close in age , it was and is His timing… and I am grateful. Each and every day with our children is a miracle and true blessing.


Mimi

Hmmm… birth control.

That can be a loaded word. I have heard some horror stories…. Failed protection, heavy bleeding, no bleeding, weight gain, weight loss, hair loss, fatigue, skin conditions,  mental health challenges like anxiety, mood swings, depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and so much more. 

Is it worth it? I can’t answer that for you. 

Personally, 3 kids later, and into my 40’s I’m not sure it really was. 

I got pregnant with my first 2 children while on birth control and I’ve been left with a myriad of physical and mental health issues. Mind you, I was on birth control for over 20 years and I can’t help but think that adding a regular synthetic dose of hormones to my body to change the way God designed it to work for that long wasn’t the best choice for me.

While I never got pregnant while on the Mirena (my birth control choice of 15 years until I switched to copper IUD), I also never got my period the whole time, was increasingly moody as the years went by and was later diagnosed with PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder -it’s like PMSx1000…Look it up. It sucks!)

I did ask my partner to get snipped a few times but that was not his cup of tea. Unfortunate, I know. But, hey, it was probably better that I be in control of my choice to not get pregnant anyways. 

So, I did some research and learned that hormones were pretty good at MAYBE preventing pregnancy but were also really bad at being kind to your body and brain chemistry. The copper IUD has its risks too and is not perfect for everyone… but it has no hormones and I have a period again (thank you, Jesus!). I remember the first time I sat on the toilet and saw red (after 15 years, remember), I laughed and cried. I felt SO relieved. I was a WOMAN again. 

I think the most important piece about taking birth control is to know your body and use your voice.

Pay attention to how your cycle affects your body. We are all different. Get to know your body; I use the Flo app on my phone. I love it because it offers insights into my diet, sleep, mood, exercise and stress/coping based on the symptoms I log. It even tells me when I’m ovulating and at my most fertile (so for all those who choose natural methods of birth control this would help you know when NOT to have sex)!

Don’t let anyone, including doctors, convince you that you are wrong about the body you live in. Use your voice. If something doesn’t feel right, say so. If the first doctor won’t listen, find another one. Find 20 if you need to! Fight for yourself. Remember that your health is your responsibility and you are the expert on your body. 


Jessica

Birth control…

Well my question is, is it really just up to me? 

Birth control to me is a really big thing. But why is it only a big thing to us? Why do women have to take all responsibility for birth control? Is it just me? I hear so many excuses from men like “It doesn’t feel the same with a rubber” or “it’s your job
because we don’t have to carry and deliver the baby”.

WHAT A LOAD OF POOP!

See Also

I have always taken full responsibility when it comes to my birth control… But can we really fully control whether or not we get pregnant? With my first baby I was only 17 years old when I fell pregnant. I was on the pill. Did the pill
fail… or did I? I still can’t tell you the answer to that.

At 17, with my head buried in college course work, getting pregnant was not a part of my plan. Did those long college days affect my consistency? Did I remember to take it everyday? Did I even take it on time? Who knows!

After this pregnancy, I turned to a different form of birth control: the implant. I didn’t have to remember to take this one. It covered me for 3 years. Nothing better, hey?  
Well … maybe not. This birth control did not help my mental health. My mood swings went wild. I found myself piling on the pounds. I was told this was not due to the implant but I went ahead and had it removed anyways. Just in case.

Turns out, due to the way my body and brain work (as a result of my mental health), when you add a little extra mixer of hormones, it doesn’t turn out so great. The doctor suggested I go on a non combined pill next. I am now okay with this form of birth control. It works for me and – two little people later – I make sure I take it at the same time every day.

But- back to my first question. Is the responsibility for birth control really just down to us women?


Brittny

Well, ladies, when it comes to birth control I’ve researched it all. I’m kind of a health nut and try to avoid synthetic things and chemicals (where are my fellow essential oilers?!) I’ve tried a lot of different birth control methods including natural family planning (that resulted in my first daughter being born), condoms and the copper iud.

I’d have to say that the copper IUD is my favourite. I wouldn’t say I like it, it’s just the easiest to use. Despite being easy to use, it was not easy on my body. It made my period ALOT heavier and last longer. I’m not kidding! I would try to avoid leaving my house for the full 7 to 10 days that my period lasted so I wouldn’t have
to deal with finding a bathroom every hour.

I’m not a fan of any birth control methods and it frustrates me that we, as women, are the ones that have to deal with it. Men rarely want to use condoms because its an “inconvenience” and that puts it all on us as females to not get pregnant. I believe that there should be male birth control options that are readily available too.

Along my researching journey, I found out that there actually are some male birth control methods out there, but they cause things like mood swings, weight gain, nausea, acne and many other terrible side effects…does this sound familiar? Those are all the side effects women go through on our hormonal birth control methods!

Some of these male birth control methods were deemed “not plausible” because they were too inconvenient for men to take. Again- does that sound familiar?! It all falls on our shoulders to make sure we don’t get pregnant; it’s unfair, it’s sexist and it’s far from equal.

I hope that one day there are better options and that men will be held as equally
responsible for preventing pregnancy as women are.


Kelly

Birth Control….where do I start? I hate it almost as much as I hate giving birth. One
form in particular has had literal life changing consequences causing irreparable
damage! 

I can say, hand on heart, that I’ve tried pretty much everything available and hate it all.

When I was younger I used the ‘patch’ and that was probably the most suited to my
body but it doesn’t seem to be as readily available here in the UK. The most commonly
used birth control here is the pill but most of them give me such bad headaches. I think me and my doctors have tried every variation. Plus, I forget to take them. 

Because my memory is so bad, the next logical choice was the Implant. You know,
the little stick thing they put in your arm. Bad idea! That thing turned me into an absolute raging lunatic. I piled on the weight, completely lost my sex drive, and my mood swings were so horrific I seriously thought I was going mental. I’d often sit in a corner absolutely bawling my eyes out uncontrollably for no reason whatsoever.

The bleeding never stopped either! It must have taken 6-8 months for a doctor to agree to remove this bloody thing from my arm- all they kept saying was “give it another month, let your body settle”. Just piss offfff and pull it out (pardon my french)!! 

I decided to go natural after this. Well heelloooo daughter! Once I’d had Harley, I
decided I wasn’t quite ready for anymore children but I knew I would still be having
intercourse, so me and my doctor decided I should try the coil.

Because of previous experiences I knew to ask for the copper coil which did not contain hormones as my body clearly don’t like ‘em! But I was almost forced into having the one that contains hormones. Worst decision of my life. It may seem trivial to some, but this has literally ruined my life.

After having it put in I kept getting cramps; I could deal with that though and, considering there was now some foreign object inside my womb, I expected it!

But then the weight piled on again. I went up two dress sizes in a month. Then, my skin
changed. Day by day, more and more spots would appear. I was always red
faced and no matter what I tried, my skin got worse. I lost all confidence. I suppose that
would work as a contraceptive too… since I didn’t want anyone near me!

So again, I begged my doctors to remove it but there was no one qualified to do so! I was desperate and ended up ripping the damn thing out myself (please do not try this at home!). This was over 2 years ago and my skin has gotten progressively worse, and I
have since been diagnosed with Rosacea, an incurable skin disease. Wonderful. 

I’m now a single mum to 2 children but I am most definitely not celibate. Nowadays
when I am with a ‘friend’, birth control is his responsibility and that doesn’t always go as planned… but I would honestly rather have another child than go through what I have again.

View Comments (3)
  • There are male birth control pills???? Why does the doctor always look at me when asking, “have you thought of birth control methods?”

  • I love reading all the different perspectives. The topic of birth control is definitely not black and white. So many different methods and reasonings for each choice.

  • Birth Control is a tough topic. The easiest method I have used was the Mirena IUD that I first got after my youngest was born. However, I have recently found out that it has created ulcers around my cervix. I’m worried that this could be part of what is stopping us from getting pregnant. Lesions from the IUD is a common thing on both the inside of the uterus and the cervix.

    The worst BC method I have used was the pill. The pills literally made me crazy. I flew off the broom handle at the slightest thing while I was on this method. The pill also caused me to gain a bunch of weight. I went from a comfortable 175 to an unsightly 250. I didnt even start losing weight until I got off of it.

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