Before I continue my period saga, I’ll give everyone a quick recap so we are all on the same page. To make a long [and bloody] story short, I had my Mirena IUD taken out this past August after bleeding for 5 months straight. Yes, every day for 5 months. One week after my IUD was removed, the bleeding stopped. Hooray!
So things seemed to be back under control. No more bleeding, and I was thrilled. That’s what I wanted, after all. But then it was September and then October, and I was getting worried because where was the blood?? I had read that it can take a while for your body to get the hormones rolling again, but knowing me, I obviously wanted to take some action to get my period back.
I saw my naturopath here in Boulder, who is brilliant and wonderful and not as wa-wa as you may imagine. She had suggestions in terms of foods and lifestyle changes, but she also gave me a topical progesterone cream. I was very skeptical at first, because I wanted to stay away from exogenous hormones. And a special cream sounded like a scam to be honest. But I also didn’t have any other ideas so I went with it. She told me to use it twice a day, then stop a day before the full moon on November 4, which would cause a drop in my progesterone levels and signal my body to get a period.
It is common for women’s menstrual cycles to sync up with lunar phases (look it up seriously this stuff is on pub med). While not necessary, because I had happened to see my naturopath a week before the full moon, she suggested I try syncing up with the moon’s 29.5 day cycle since it was coming right up.
I did as I was told (because I am way too good at following directions) and used this mystery cream twice a day for 5 days. I also increased the amount of carbs I was eating and had a tablespoon of flax meal every day. The day before the full moon, I stopped using the mystery cream. I waited, full of excitement and anticipation, and that felt weird because I had never actually looked forward to my period before. But nothing happened that day, so I was impatient and mad.
But then a couple days later, it came. Ever so slightly, entirely subtle, but it was something. It hung around for a few days and then left again. Exactly a month later, I again was full of anticipation, followed by disappointment that my body wasn’t perfectly regular already. I forgot about it and then blamed 3 days of an achy back on weird sleep. The back pain should have clued me in, and I finally made the connection when my period returned, more robust than the last time!
So this is where I’m at now. I am a 22 year old woman who has only ever had 3 natural periods (read: without the influence of exogenous hormones) in her life. This is all very new to me, the learning how my body feels during each phase, the looking forward to my period, the pride of actually getting my period.
There were a lot of physical effects that birth control had on my body, but only now can I see how it affected me emotionally. I went on birth control because I didn’t want to deal with my period. I didn’t care what was happening in my body. I didn’t know what birth control was doing to my body. It was as out of sight, out of mind as possible. I just needed my period to be one less thing I had to stress about. I loved my IUD so much initially because I rarely even spotted and totally forgot that women are supposed to bleed every month. When everything is going right but you don’t really know what’s going right, how are you supposed to figure out why something goes wrong?
I had never cared to learn what birth control was actually doing, or what my body would do naturally, and so when my IUD stopped working and I wouldn’t stop bleeding, I was left pretty clueless. Knowledge is power. I want to encourage anyone on birth control/ with a period to learn what’s going on with their bodies. This beautiful and intricate process is something to be proud of, even celebrated. I have never felt more proud to get my period, now that I know all of the things that have to be going right in order for this to happen.
May your next period come with excitement, pride, and joy