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“I’m glad to have stopped taking the pill”.

More and more women are coming off the pill for a variety of reasons: family planning, fear of side effects, the simple desire for a natural cycle. After 15 years, our author Anna Wengel decided to stop taking the daily pill – and today she is very happy about it. For Tikbow, she has written about her experiences with stopping the pill.

The pill is dangerous. Illnesses, loss of libido, mood swings. Such were the warnings when the anti-pill wave took off a few years ago. Yet the contraceptive in tablet form was once a sexual liberation, a means for women to have sex in a self-determined way without having to live in constant fear of pregnancy. One of the good ones. WHAT exactly we were swallowing down and into ourselves on a daily basis, many of us didn’t question for years. Me neither. For 15 years I dutifully took one pill after the next, taking them was part of my daily routine. Until I too began to worry about this self-evident fact and finally stopped taking the pill.

Pill as a cure for teen symptoms

I was 14 when my gynecologist prescribed me the pill. The reasons: pimples and cramps. The effect: my skin became smooth, blemishes disappeared, and Mom no longer had to confirm in writing once a month that I wasn’t skipping school but was actually unable to attend. When it came to sex, the pill was even more practical. At that time, no one talked about thrombosis, ovarian cancer or liver disease. The doctor advised me not to smoke. I did it anyway and told her honestly. She then dutifully wrote down the daily number of cigarettes (maybe ten) and dismissed me with the words: “But that’s all it should be.” Sometimes it was twice as many. But that did not matter. The gynecologist said that everything was okay up to the age of 35. After that, however, she would no longer prescribe the pill because of the increased risks if I continued to smoke. But it was still a long time until then.

Discontinuing the pill – my experiences

Then suddenly I was 29 and didn’t want all that anymore. Not the pill. Nor smoking. My gynecologist thought that was nonsense: "Why don’t you continue taking the pill until you want a child”. Looking at the year of birth: "And that’s about time.” A child was not planned, but I stopped taking the pill anyway. I also stopped smoking shortly thereafter. It felt right and also a bit strange: After 15 years, everything felt natural again. Will I notice anything? Will my body change? Will I notice it mood-wise?

You bet! Suddenly they were back: abdominal cramps straight from the throat. Suddenly I remembered how awful it had been before I started taking pills. Then I started bleeding and didn’t stop for a long time. Hemorrhage. For days. The anemia was noticeable on my face after only one day: I looked chalky white and tired. I was. There was not much going on with me, everything was too exhausting. I wanted to crawl into bed and find the world blöd. When almost forgotten, unloved acquaintances appeared on my skin the next month, I got a little scared: pimples at 29? Please don’t! My beautician had little hope for me: "After stopping the pill, the skin sometimes continues where it left off. Before it was verschönert with hormones. This is rare and happens in maybe five percent of all women. So my skin was back in teen mode? Great.

Start the pill again? No!

Two years later, I’m so glad I stuck it out. I have gotten my skin problems under control thanks to a modified skin care routine. The cramps continue to come every month, but today I am actually happy about them. Not about the pain, but about the fact that my body is healthy and doing what it should and wants to do. There is help for the pain: warmth. And yoga. If my body wants to stay in bed because everything is blöd and hurts, it can. If it is really bad – we are talking about cramps that tie me to the bed in the fetal position, up to a full-blown migraine –, then there’s the chemical club. Since I stopped taking the pill, my consumption of painkillers has definitely increased. But only temporarily, and not every month.

I am much happier.

And the mood? With the pill, it rarely climbed above a solid six on the mood scale. Everything was always kind of okay. I thought that’s what it felt like to be happy. Maybe a few outbursts here and there when something really great happened. But maybe I just didn’t question my feelings, that’s just how it was. Today, six is the lower limit. I am happy, free and satisfied – that is the normal state. The bar for happiness is definitely higher. Low points are now only situational exceptions that my body tells me about immediately and that I can compensate for myself. Around the time I stopped taking the pill, however, I turned my whole life upside down and around. The priorities are different today. It may also be that my general well-being is primarily due to this. However, I think it’s a mixture of everything.