I’m not here to tell anyone what to do with their body. Given how my country (America) just decided to make abortion illegal, I think that deciding to go on birth control is a more valid option now than ever before. With that said, my hippie ass made the decision to get my non-hormonal copper IUD removed after having it in for six years and I’m so glad I did.
By the time I went away to university, my gynecologist had put me on the standard (at the time) form of birth control – the pill. It made my tits bigger, which I was totally here for. But it also made me moody and depressed, and I was defintiely not taking it as prescribed. There are, of course, those type-A ladies who set alarms and take the pill at the same time every day but that was definitely not me. I was such a mess back then that I would just take it whenever I remembered, which oftentimes meant taking it every other day.
When I entered a serious relationship at the age of 19, my boyfriend and I decided we didn’t want to use condoms anymore so I decided to get the copper IUD. It was the only non-hormonal option available at the time and seemed like the least invasive. My mother, a public health professional, green-lit my decision and for the next six years, I didn’t think much about it.
Occasionally, a lover with a big dick would complain about being able to feel the strings sticking out but I didn’t really give a shit. The biggest annoyance was the heavier periods. I had had pretty light periods beforehand, and could have never anticipated how disruptive heavy periods would become to my daily life.
But I certainly preferred that to the alternative – the IUD that makes your period go away entirely. Sounds nice for my underwear and bed sheets but god damn, doesn’t stopping a natural process entirely seem a bit sketchy? Where’s the long-term research studies definitively proving that this shit doesn’t cause ovarian cancer?
Flash forward to the fall of 2019, when I went to go live at an ashram in Thailand. Surrounded by woo-woo women who abstain from all conventional medicines – Ibuprofen, birth control, antibiotics – I was educated about the concept of copper toxicity. Here I was thinking that this piece of metal lodged up my uterus was having absolutely zero effect on my body.
But upon learning about the potential side effects of copper toxicity – chronic fatigue, mood changes and depression, premature arthritis and osteoporosis – I was desperate to get this once trusted device out of me as soon as possible. I called my mom up for assistance, and though she didn’t quite understand the urgency for me to get my IUD removed right then and there versus waiting a few more months until I was back in the states, she stepped up to the challenge, reaching out to her international network of public health colleagues and helping me lock down an appointment in Manila.
Since getting it removed three years ago, I remain very happy with my decision. Here’s three ways my life has improved since going off brith control:
More intentional when it comes to Sex
When I had an IUD – a 99.99% effective form of birth control – I was less anal about protected sex. If I was seeing a guy regularly and trusted his std-free status, I was much more inclined to have unprotected sex than I am now. At 28, I am generally much more selective of who I allow inside me than I was at 23.
But not being on birth control definitely ups the stakes. “If I get pregnant with this man’s baby, can I deal?” is a question I have to ask myself these days. If the answer is “no,” then I’m not letting him anywhere near my sacred energy field, condom or not. That’s how I wound up in a serious relationship and let my boyfriend cum inside of me three times while I was (unbeknownst to me at the time) ovulating and having to get an abortion.
Thankfully, I lived somewhere with affordable healthcare access that enabled me to safely terminate my pregnancy — something that is definitely not a reality everywhere in the United States. It wasn’t fun and I got majorly depressed for a short time, but all in all, it definitely pushed me to get more in tune with my body.
Somehow getting pregnant for just a month triggered an allergic reaction to alcohol, something that still affects me two years later. It was almost as if my brain was communicating to my body, “You aren’t having this baby but now it’s time to prepare your body to someday be a vessel.” No more alcohol, less processed foods, more intentional eating, sleeping, exercising, and sex.
I definitely won’t deny the reality that at this age, my hormones are screaming “Put a baby in me,” but I’m I guided by the my goals — to do a few more gut cleanses and score a couple more zeroes at the end of my bank account — before I start seeking out a partner worthy of reproducing with me.
Healthier Mind and Body
Before getting a copper IUD, I had light periods, so I wasn’t all that concerned about a symptom of this particular IUD being heavier periods. My average number of menstrual days per month went from three to five and my period got noticeably heavier and with more intense PMS symptoms. Being the lanky pants that I am, lower back pain was no stranger to me, but having agonizing back pain for an entire week each month that sometimes left me bed-ridden, was.
The internet gives you exactly what you look for, so if you start a google search having recently convinced yourself that Paraguard-IUDs have been giving you copper toxicity and ruining your life for the last six years, it should come as no surprise when a Paraguard IUD support group on Facebook further perpetuates your sense of betrayal by the medical establishment, mostly by featuring one in a million horror stories where something goes majorly wrong and ruins lives.
I totally recognize my biased view and fully respect all the women who claim to have no side effects and nothing but love for the Paraguard IUD. If anything, I’m angered by the fact that I so blindly accepted western medicine – assuming that having a foreign metal object shoved up my uterus wouldn’t disrupt my hormones because the metal itself didn’t contain hormones.
It wasn’t until I got my IUD removed that I was able to sigh a deep sigh of relief, blessed with lighter periods, less back pain, and an overall improved feeling. Simply put, I felt like an energetic weight had been lifted off of me.
Thinking of all the mediocre dicks that had made contact with my IUD and all the bad juju that was somehow just left there as result, was enough of an explanation as far as I was concerned. From that point forward, I considered myself officially cleansed, and embarked on a journey to improve my health and be more mindful about the things I put and let inside of my body.
More in Touch with my Moon Cycle
A big part of all this healthier body, healthier me narrative was learning about moon cycles and how they align with periods. Before technology, all women were linked up to each other and the moon. Starting your menstrual cycle on the new moon has been linked to increased fertility and is associated with maiden energy. Whereas, having your period synced up to the full moon is more wild woman, witchy energy.
Across different cultures, there were even ceremonies where women having irregular periods would bathe under the moon to get their bodies back in balance. Another ancient tradition entailed women across generations gathering together at the sacred crimson time of the month, exchanging stories and wisdom, forging bonds, and celebrating womanhood.
Western society, with its contempt towards and attempted taming of the feminine divine, has reduced the period down to a brush-it-under-the-rug- sort of embarrassment. Tampon manufacturers literally compete with each other to roll out the smallest, most discrete prototype – never mind the toxic chemicals used (like bleach) nor the potential longterm effects of shoving highly processed synthetic materials up our vaginas for decades (and don’t even get me started on scented tampons).
Women are trained to be docile, little people pleasers, who put blind faith into the status quo of healthcare options on the market. “Just go on birth control the second you become sexually active or develop a pimple as a teenager,” they tell us. Totally lose touch with the moon and ignore your body when it exhibits autoimmune symptoms all because your doctor tells you you must be healthy since you’re not overweight, diagnoses you as a hypochondriac, prescribes you Xanax, and tells you to move on with your life.
I for one am done putting full trust into the medical institutions that have been dismissing women’s pain and suffering since the very beginning. But regardless of personal preferences when it comes to birth control, getting regularly tested for STDs should be a part of any sexually active person’s life.
See below for a list of clinics you can get tested at today:
STD Check London
Suite 1, 117A Harley St, London W1G 6AT, United Kingdom
+44 20 3745 7523
Burrell St Sexual Health Clinic
4-5 Burrell St, London SE1 0UN, United Kingdom
+44 20 7188 6666
Jefferiss Wing Sexual Health Clinic
St Mary’s Hospital, Praed St, London W2 1NY, United Kingdom
+44 20 3312 1225