Since coming off the pill two months ago, a few things have changed. First, I no longer have the help of medication to keep my belly baby-bump-free, so until the hubs and I are really ready to try-try, we’re using the good ol’ rubber hats. It’s like being a teenager again, except less awkward.
Second, I have done a ton more research on this whole conception-planning thing, peppering FBM Erin with tons of pregnancy questions (thanks for imparting your knowledge, my dear!), reading up online on when I’m really going to have to totally give up my beloved French press coffee and red wine (right now I’m down to one serving of each just a few times a week), and even purchasing a basal thermometer to better track my cycle. If learning new things really does create more brain cells like my fifth-grade teacher claimed, my noggin is wicked awesome right about now. Because I have learned a crap-ton.
Despite all of this baby-making education I’ve been getting, there’s still one area that seems a touch unclear—or at least wildly different amongst women and brands: The side effects of coming off of birth control. While some women have a period in just a few weeks, others take months (apparently like me, who has yet to have a period—and, no, is not pregnant. I tested days ago just because I’m neurotic.). Then there’s the whole mood, body, weight thing that seems almost random as to what it does to whom. Even my doctor confided that side effects were a bit of a crapshoot.
Because everything I read said that “it depends,” I wanted to share what’s been true of my two months off the pill. If you’re in the same conception-planning boat as me, I can’t claim to believe your experience will be any more like or unlike mine, but hey, I promise to make it entertaining!
Coming Off Birth Control Side Effects
1. Dr. Jekyll, meet Mr. Hyde. Mr. Hyde, meet Dr. Jekyll. Okay, so I haven’t had regular mood swings, but I have had a few days where my moods were fighting it out Battle Royale style. One day I was filled with pure rage for no apparent reason. A week later, I spent an entire day crying in between writing posts. The next week? Irritation like none other. Most of the days in between though, I’ve been happy as a lark, keeping my husband on his toes.
2. Goodbye belly bloat. I’ve always tended to carry weight in my middle, and since I’m active and at a healthy weight, I’ve just come to accept that my abs will probably never look like Jillian Michaels’ (although my arms or legs might!). But coming off the pill has left me with fewer cravings for unhealthy foods like sugar and salt, and, like magic, my stomach has gotten flatter. Still no crazy eight-pack yet. Pretty sure you have to work out like a banshee for that one.
3. My dreams are better than the best fiction book you’ve ever read. I’m not sure if it’s because of coming off the pill or if taking prenatal vitamins (B6 vitamin has been shown to increase dream recall) is to blame/credit, but my dreams have been off-the-hook crazy. While on birth control, I’d remember a handful of creepy or downright disturbing dreams each month with a few fun ones thrown in. Now? Almost every night I get a ride into my freaky subconscious. Lately, I’ve been to the most beautiful mountain range you can imagine, survived a tsunami while sitting naked on ice blocks with friends and family (decode that one, folks), gone shopping with Gwen Stefani and had high tea with Jane Fonda. ‘Nuff said.
For those of you going through this or for mamas who have been-there-done-that, please, please share your experience and any advice in the comments! Would love to hear about your off-the-pill randomness! —Jenn