I’ve been on hormonal birth control for 15 years and I successfully have zero kids. That’s awesome, but I’ve always had a tough time with my periods. I don’t go batshit crazy and try to literally kill people, but I get such bad cramps that I can barely function and I cry without even knowing why I’m crying. It’s not a fun time for me or my husband. This is why I use an extended-cycle pill that reduces the bad weeks from 12 a year to only 4. However, I never knew that the week-long breaks from active pills and subsequent withdrawal bleeding are not medically necessary at all, ever. It turns out that the way we’ve always been instructed to use our birth control pills was invented by a Catholic doctor by the name of Dr. John Rock in the 60’s in order to mimic a woman’s normal cycle so that (he hoped) the Pope would approve of its use. That’s right; I’ve been suffering all these years for NOTHING. Because of religion. Fuck that bullshit.
In case you’re unfamiliar with how birth control works, allow me to introduce a brief tutorial. The hormones in most birth control pills completely stop the body from ovulating as long as the pill is taken daily at the same time. If you don’t ovulate (release an egg to be fertilized), the sperm has nothing to fertilize and conception can’t occur. When the pill fails, it’s almost always because of missed doses or taking it late, which is why timing is everything when it comes to birth control. Because you don’t ovulate, the withdrawal bleeding that occurs isn’t a real period; it’s just a result of not taking the hormones for that week, and it’s completely medically unnecessary. A real period (if you’re not on birth control) IS necessary to shed the uterine lining that results from ovulation, but we birth control ladies don’t ovulate, so we don’t need periods at all. That’s right, folks. We’ve been duped into unnecessary pain for all these years. I don’t know about you, but I’m pissed about this!
As many of you know already, my husband is a practicing Catholic and I’m an atheist. Before you ask, no, he’s not anti-birth control in the least. I’m pretty sure I managed to find the only Catholic dude in the world who doesn’t want kids, and he’s smart/realistic enough to know that birth control is the best way to achieve that goal without having a boring sexless marriage. I’m an atheist because I was dragged to church every Sunday as a kid and went through all the motions of religion but never felt that “thing” religious people claim to feel. Even as a kid, I thought the outdated myths were ridiculous, and they just sounded more and more ridiculous the older I got. However, even if I did believe in a god and decide to join a religion (never going to happen), it definitely wouldn’t be Catholicism. Especially now that I know I’ve been dealing with unnecessary misery for decades because of those assholes.
The NHS in the UK has officially updated their guidelines for contraceptive pill use, advising women to skip the placebo pills and go on to the next pack because the week-long break is entirely unnecessary and has no health benefits. In fact, they say that the risk of pregnancy could even be lower if the pills are taken continuously without the break. I’m not British, but that makes a lot of sense given the science behind how birth control works. I think I’ll be skipping the placebo weeks altogether from here on out and living happily cramp-free! Thanks science! And FUCK YOU RELIGION.
By the way, in case you were curious, obviously the Pope still did not approve of the birth control pill. Dr. Rock felt so strongly about his position on it that he actually left the Catholic church as a result of its decision. Thanks for your amazing contribution to women everywhere, Dr. Rock; I’m still pissed about the placebo week but because of the invention of the Pill in general we have more opportunities to be in control of our own lives and bodies. Also, thank you for standing up for us by leaving the church.