I was 16 years old when I was first handed the “pill” by a doctor. Since day one of my first period, I have had irregular cycles. (Pause. If you are becoming a little woozy at the thought of reading about periods, remember that fertility is a gift from God. It should not be the taboo subject that society has made it out to be. Play.)
I was not sexually active, so consuming this daily pill was solely for maintaining a regular period.
By the grace of God, within two months of taking the pill, I chose to stop taking it. It was not for moral reasons, but because after trying two different kinds, the mood swings I experienced as a side-effect were unbearable for me (and my mother.)
For the next few years, I remained indifferent to the pill but never tried it again for myself. It was not until I was 19 that I fully understood the all the harms of contraception and realized that there was a different and better plan out there.
Harm of the Pill
To put it bluntly, birth control is just not good medicine. Fertility is not a sickness, yet birth control completely shuts down the proper functioning of a woman’s reproductive system. There is no other type of medicine that purposely takes a perfectly healthy organ system and shuts it down.
Birth control also has terrible consequences to your body. According to the American Cancer Society, oral contraception that combines two hormones called “estrogen” and “progesterone” is classified as group 1 carcinogens. This means that it is 100% known that the pill can cause cancer.
According to the Mayo Clinic, some side effects of oral contraception are cramping, tiredness, changes in mood (as I know all too well,) headaches, breast pain, and vomiting. Rarer but serious side effects can include weight gain, brown spots on skin, lumps on the breasts, depression, increase in blood pressure, stomach pain, and coughing up blood. I know I sound like a prescription drug commercial but it’s all true!
NFP for the Win
Something that many girls do not understand is that the “pill” is a cover up. When I was 19, I decided I was sick and tired of having these irregular periods. Instead of going back on the pill, I decided to see a Catholic doctor in my town who I knew wouldn’t prescribe me birth control. She asked me if I would be willing to use a method of period tracking called Natural Family Planning (NFP). I had heard about this before from people at my church but I did not know much about it. What I did know about it though is that it is used by Catholic married couples to plan their families. I was confused as to why they asked me to do it because I am not married, but they told me that NFP is not just for married couples. It can also be used by single women to make sure their body is working the way it should.
I started using NFP to track my periods while the doctor was keeping a close eye on my charts. She told me that they were highly abnormal and decided to do blood work. Through this whole process, I found out that the cause of my abnormal periods was a disorder called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Basically, my body was not ovulating, which means that if I had tried to get pregnant (which I wasn’t at the time), it would have been impossible. Luckily, this disorder can be treated with proper medication.
If I had decided to go back to birth control, I would have never known about my disorder. The pill would have just been covering up a real problem with my body, instead of fixing it which is the purpose of medicine in the first place.
Make a Gift of Yourself
When God created the world in Genesis, everything He created became more and more beautiful and complex: light, water, land, animals, man, then woman. Women were the last to be created. That’s right, women are the most beautiful and complex creatures (shocker…). But our complexity is not a negative thing. Because of it, we have the ability to hold life within our bodies. Women are known as the crown of creation, yet, when society tells us that contraception is liberating, our crown is being ripped off our heads as we are handed these harmful drugs like they are candy.
Women are a gift to mankind. The Catholic Church endorses NFP because not only is it completely natural and molds to the rhythm of your body, but also because it allows you to make that complete gift of yourself. Sex within marriage is created to be free, total, faithful, and fruitful. If I get married one day, I will be able to give all of myself to my husband, holding nothing back, not even my motherhood. My husband will love all of me, including my fertility.
To learn more about NFP, talk to a Catholic doctor near you. If there is not one near you, many doctors would be willing to help you over the phone, or can direct you to someone that would be able to help in your area. If you are currently on the pill or using any type of contraception, know that you are a beloved daughter of God and He wants more for you than what any contraceptive can offer.
- “Estrogen and Progestin Oral Contraceptives (Oral Route).” Mayo Clinic. Truven Health Analytics Inc., 1 Apr. 2015. Web. 10 July 2016.
- “Known and Probable Human Carcinogens.” Cancer.org. American Cancer Society Inc., 15 June 2016. Web. 10 July 2016.
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