This is a story that has been longing to be told.
It’s a very personal one but at the same time I feel like I’m writing the story of thousands of young girls and women whom I’ve spoken to and heard of. It feels sort of like a collective story of our now, a little piece of womanhood today.
In short, this is a story about a crazy confused mind and body, a story about The Pill. A story of being super hormonally challenged and trying to find a natural way to function.
Remember that what you are reading here are of course my personal opinions and the road that I have chosen to walk upon. Your choice is always your own and I am not trying to point my finger to any sort of truth, I just think it’s our duty to tell our stories in a world where we’ve come so far from everyday sisterhood and overall sharing. Again, I’m simply sharing my own story so please don’t be offended. We are all very different and have different paths.
I had just turned eighteen and was in a stable relationship (waiving to Fabian) when I got a prescription to start taking the pill – the most common contraceptive – by a very well meaning nurse. My mom had kindly reminded me to ask about the options as she had read some of the reports on the bad and even nasty effects of taking the pill but she also wanted me to be able to make my own choice. Thing is, I had seen the cooler, older (and even my age) girls popping that blue little pill out of those cute flowery cases everyday at lunchtime since I was 13 and the sense of belonging took overhand I guess.
I got my period pretty late (at 16 if I’m not mistaken) and it had just started to get regular when I began tampering with that delicate balance still trying to find it’s way. Smarty pants me. What followed was this; my weight suddenly took both a leap and a jump up, I was way angrier than usual (always over nothing) and my emotions were all over the place. At the same time I felt all grown up and rather rebellious to have taken this decision that I think I knew deep down was not ideal for me. In a time of trying to figure things, dreams and possibilities out, confusion was greater then ever and the crying sessions got more and more frequent. I had no gratitude whatsoever towards my body, I hadn’t even been able to get to know or speak it’s language! And I was so not happy with that extra weight. I quit taking the pill after only 6 months on it and it felt go-oo-od.
I suppose I thought that my own real period would come back the month after but boy was I mistaken. I decided after careful consideration never again to use any contraceptive that fed my body fake hormones and therefore started using an intrauterine device, or IUD (sometimes called a coil) made of copper, one that would stay there for four years. My natural cycle never returned during that time so I went for check ups regularly at the hospital and everything seemed to be as it was supposed to. My reproductive organs were healthy but obviously not ovulating and my hormone levels were, according to the doctors, normal. I can’t tell you how many times I have been offered hormones to ”kick start” my own cycle. Oh-no, fool me once, fool me twice, I thought and instead gave my body space to breathe.
At that point I was never unhappy not to have my period there. I had never thought about it as a miraculous thing that would have been able to serve my well and give me hints of clarity and guidance. Not to mention children. Honestly, for a very long time (4 1/2 years) my only feeling towards not having a monthly cycle was relief. I always had it in the back of my mind that I did dream of kids and eventually I grew to actually like being a woman (that took me a while) but I never really worried. I knew instinctively that my system had been (and was) way too highly sensitive to handle those pills but that somehow it would work out in the end. Hormones are very powerful substances. Begin tampering with nature’s finely tuned messengers of life’s processes and you are asking for trouble. I had only been feeding my body synthetic hormones for 6 months, which is a short amount of time if I’d compare it to, well, pretty much anyone, yet my own hormone production did not fully regain strength or even start. Some women who quits taking the pill gets their periods back right away, for some it takes a couple of months but I had never heard of anyone how kept adding years to the count.
Somewhere along the way I changed my approach to womanhood and began living with full on goddess power. Of course studying natural nutrition and organic gardening opened my eyes a lot but I know it was always there, suppressed behind the picture of what a modern woman ought to be. I never fit into that frame. I was too wild, too brave, too outspoken and too much. Not cute or quiet or even frameable but luckily I had a family who supported all of that. And so I started to read anything and everything I could get my excited hands on when it came to a natural cycle, balancing confused hormones, female nutrition and sisterhood. Basically the sacred feminine and what it could be to live as a woman at 100%. To live this life as I meant it and not hide away anything. I decided to take out that IUD coil and go one step further in letting my body freely and fully heal. Again I got that go-oo-od feeling like when I quit taking those oral contraceptives. I was on the right track, I howled to the moon and I felt fierce, raw, hot, vulnerable and alive. I felt like a woman.
I was more of a woman then I had ever known I could be but I did keep adding years to the count and my own natural moon cycle did not arrive. I still wasn’t worried it wouldn’t return, it just felt rather awesome to realize that I did want it to exist and to function. Then thoughts on how long it would take to actually get pregnant when that time came crept up (the time was to be honest very much there but I don’t think I fully allowed it, being rather young). So I continued to support my natural production of hormones in any way I possibly could (listed below) and kept on feeling fabulous, connected and sexier than ever.
It worked. Maybe not in the way I thought it would but it did. I do know the egg is step one and realizing my period had come would be step two but never in my wildest of dreams did I think we could be pregnant before I actually got to step two the first time. I mean, what are the odds after years of nada nada nothing?! Of course that is exactly what happened. The very much loved minisprout in my belly either decided to join with us on my body’s first ever natural ovulation in, let’s see, 6 full years and that I would have otherwise gotten my period two weeks after. Or it was one of those miraculous conceptions that just doesn’t fit into any frame but as I’ve heard happens now and again.
Either way, here I am sharing my story and the story of a thousand hormonally challenged women globally. Isn’t it time we stop searching for ”quick fixes” that are outside of ourselves? Why give away our innate power to something that we honestly know has got insane side effects. I’m not sure how this resonates with You but I am certain these stories needs to be told and that nurturing the female force of nature (both within men and women) is of great, enormous, explosive and very much massive importance.
How to support your natural hormone balance
Regardless if a little blue birth control pill has ever passed through your lips, if you’ve taken any other hormone based contraceptive or none of the above, it is still a great idea to support those clever but very sensitive natural hormones of yours. Hormones are very much at the steering wheel of that inner GPS-system or intuition that I always go on an on about and it would be great to have that in balance, right? Basically what happens when taking birth control pills (BCP’s or OC’s) is that they will feed your body a very high dose of estrogen and progestin (synthetic progesterone) and thus prevents the pituitary gland in the brain from initiating your ovaries to produce these hormones on their own. In lazy terms, it will cheat your body into believing you’re already pregnant and the flow of blood that will come during the week ”off” the pill is merely a chemical reaction. Now focus, this is really cool; the hormones that would normally be secreted by your ovaries that control the menstrual cycle are (as I mentioned) influenced by the pituitary gland which is in influenced by higher brain centers which are in turn (beautifully enough) influenced by the seasons, the weather, the moon cycle, your emotions and how you feel. A woman’s psyche is indeed closely connected to her monthly flow of hormones as you may have noticed over the years;) Obviously big things happen in the pituitary gland and the hormones who acts as little smart messengers to pretty much everything that happens in your body are affected by what takes place in the pituitary gland. I therefore ask myself, is this something we what to mess around with?
Even if we try to keep our systems free from synthetic hormones, the fact is that we still get bombarded with them everyday by drinking water contaminated with for example residues from the pill, breathing the air around us polluted with toxic particles and eating food full of growth hormones. I’m not saying thins to send you off living in a cave somewhere to be completely ”safe” (or am I?). I am just saying that it is possible to be connected to your female cycles and the cycles of nature -which are of course one and the same- all while living and participating in today’s world and while living in a city (I know, gasp!)
All right, enough with the sarcasm and back to fun & fabulous facts. There are hundreds of lists and studies showing the side effects of taking birth control pills and therefore I decided to focus on the goodies here instead. Let’s talk about the things we can do (and eat!) to feed our body and soul with tasty, juicy stuff that can very strongly support our hormones and hopefully make them able to do their job. Note: If you just got off the pill, are thinking about quitting or maybe want to keep taking it, do supplement with Vitamin B6 as birth control pills cause major B6 deficiency.
Quit the Cortisol addiction
The hormone Cortisol, aka the king of stress (and the king of today) will keep your hormones wild, crazy and very much out of line. De-stressing yourself and your life is a major part of de-stressing and thus balancing the production of your other hormones. Solution: breathe
Dump the xenestrogens
Xenestorgen mimicks the function of your natural estrogen, attaching to your body’s estrogen receptor sites causing major confusion. These may be either synthetic chemical compounds or natural chemical compounds and you can find them in for example: plastic water bottles/toys/containers, personal care products, cleaning products, soy, water, conventionally produced greens/meat/dairy and the list goes on. Solution: do a lil’ research and toss the toxins far from your life, go organic and get a water filter. Upping your intake of crucifers like broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts and kale will help your body fight the xenestrogens by blocking toxic estrogen and supporting the production of the beneficial kind.
We need a good strong foundation for our hormone production and bioflavonoids can help us! An amazing way to get these into our system is by adding bee products to our everyday diet. Fully raw (important) jewels like honey, bee pollen and royal jelly will do the trick. Take it easy in the beginning and start with 1/2 tsp mixture of bee pollen and honey and work your way up to 2 tbsp a day. Thank you Lauren for this tip!
Fabulous F’s! Flax, Fiber, Fat
Flax seeds are an outstanding source of the phytoestrogens, Lignans. These will attach to your estrogen receptor sites and keep the xenestrogens from attaching to them. Have you heard of soluble fiber? The greatness of soluble fiber (that you can find tons of in lentils) will act as a broom and sweep your intestines free of toxins. Toxins like xenestorgens that have been pulled from the bloodstream and then dumped in the intestines. Bye bye! The third F stands for saturated fat. Now I’m talking saturated fat from for example raw cacao butter and raw coconut butter/oil. The saturated fat is actually what the body uses to produce hormones so we want to keep a steady, healthy, high quality supply.
Howl to the moon
Start paying attention to the phases of the moon, go out each night and get a glimpse, draw the current phase in your calendar. Remember that I mentioned that the pituitary glad is actually influences by the cycle of the moon? Go out and look at it’s grandness!
Get your hands dirty
The female monthly cycle is not the only one out there! A powerful tip of mine is for you to get your butt out in nature, go for hikes, walks, breathe it in, do some gardening and grow something (even if it’s only in a pot on your windowsill). Get your hands into the earth and start noticing the other cycles of this world and how they flow.
Sing with your sisters
Live with the intention of surrounding yourself with the healing powers of sisterhood. Gather, share, love, support, laugh and have an awesome time together. This is very much lost today (time for change!) so I suggest we stand up for one another and spread the shakti power!
If you are a meat eater and your hormones are completely out of wack, try giving the spotlight to more and more gorgeous greenylicious food instead. Conventional meat and dairy are today often filled with growth hormones and other really nasty things (Cortisol for example) that we don’t want to ingest to have a natural and functioning hormone balance. Plus, it’s way kinder, way more loving towards the earth and the animals and, and, and.. If you choose to eat meat or dairy, please buying it organic from your farmers market or another good supplier.
The ”no-fish” omega berry bowl
This may look like nothing else than a super-creamy-gorgeous-beautiful-delicious breakfast BUT get this: it is also packed with ingredients that will support your natural production of hormones and their balance. It’s perfect for anyone and feeds your body with amazing fiber, vitamins, fats, antioxidants and minerals like iron, calcium and zink. Prepare in the evening and breakfast will be done in no time at all.
1 1/2 heaping tbsp chia seeds
1 1/2 heaping tbsp flax seeds
1 1/2 heaping tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 cup water
2 tbsp buckwheat groats + water for soaking
2 dried figs
1/3 cup berries, frozen or fresh
a pinch of cardamom
1 tbsp lemon juice
a sprinkle of raw coconut flakes
1. Add buckwheat to a small bowl and cover with water, let soak overnight
2. Add chia, flax, pumpkin seeds and figs to your blender, add the 1 cup of water (or more if you want the berry pudding to be less thick) and let it soak overnight.
3. In the morning, rinse the buckwheat groats thoroughly and add them to the blender, also add berries, cardamom and lemon juice. Blend until the seeds have broken down but the mixture still has some crunch to it.
Scoop up the berry pudding into a jar or bowl and top it with the coconut flakes, some mint leaves (I use peppermint leaves for this one), some extra berries and dig in!
I strongly encourage you to research this subject further, there’s a world of incredible and important hormone related knowledge waiting to be found. The many ways of natural birth control, hormonal contraceptives and how they effect us, the cycles of nature and what it could mean to be attuned to them, the way we live/build our houses and how that effects our body, the way we eat and think – I believe you get the point :)
I’m glad I finally decided to share this story here as it is such a major part of who I am. I hope, I hope with all my heart that you’ve found some spark of inspiration in this (long, I admit it) article.
I want to thank you for reading and holding the space. If this resonates with you in some way, please share. It’s a big message that needs to get out there.
Let’s talk, it will get sensational heat waves of miracles rolling.
Elenore (+ a wildly kicking minisprout)