Period Regulation After the Pill

Back in August, I wrote about my difficult transition going off birth control pills (BCPs). Many readers responded and shared their own experiences of leaving the Pill behind. There were stories of acne, weight gain, resurgence of libidos (yaaaaay!), and emotional rollercoaster rides. But the most shared experience by commenters focused on menstrual cycle regulation. Given the overwhelming number of responses to this effect, we thought it would be a good idea to tackle this issue in more depth.

First and foremost, I want to emphasize that every single woman is different. Some women will have zero problems coming off BCPs, while others, like myself, have a rougher road. So while this post addresses post-BCP menstrual regulation, it does so in terms of “typical” cases (as defined by the medical community). But please keep in mind that menstruation and hormones don’t always fit into nice, neat categories, so if your story fits outside the “typical” parameters, don’t freak out. (Although, if you do have cause for concern, please seek out the advice and expertise of your health care provider, as we are not doctors).

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Fellated fish and dead chickens or – how a woman’s body can be used to sell just about anything

Sourced from

I spent a day last week off work due to stomach flu , so I was catching up on talking cats, gossip and other wonders I don’t usually have time for during a work day. While I was busy investigating the glory of the Internet, my Mom sent me a link to the website of a chicken slaughterhouse. My Mom’s a law professor and doesn’t usually spend her days trawling the Web in search of places to kill the farm animals she doesn’t have. But one really does not have to have the least bit of an interest in poultry to find this site, or rather its banner, “amusing.”

You can keep rubbing your eyes and it won’t go away. This chicken slaughterhouse in North-western Poland thought it’s a good idea to advertise its chicken killing services by having a “hot blonde” in a bikini pose surrounded by chickens (which will presumably have their heads chopped off at any minute). I don’t know about you, but by golly, I wouldn’t want my chickens killed anywhere else now that I’ve seen this.

This obviously isn’t the first loosely food-related disturbing ad I’ve seen, but one other especially stuck in my mind. My husband and I were on a trip to Southern Ukraine (he was working and I was being the awesome supportive partner), when walking in Yalta we bumped into this:   [Read more...]

Does the pill cause weight gain?

I recently had a concern about a new birth control pill I began using. Not only did I notice a difference in my normally clear complexion, I began to notice some pesky weight gain that seemed hard to explain. After much contemplation, I tied the start of each problem to the beginning of the use of Ortho Tri Cyclen. I decided the smart thing to do would be to head back to the Planned Parenthood clinic where I received the prescription and see if I could switch things up a bit.

When I called to make the appointment I told the operator why I wanted to come in. She said that both the complexion issues and weight gain could certainly be tied to my birth control and encouraged me to make an appointment.

Thinking that at least one barrier to a clear complexion and girlish figure was soon to be out of my way, I went to my appointment the following week.

I was about to be pretty disappointed.   [Read more...]

Pro-Choice News Roundup: Happy Anniversary Roe v. Wade!

On Roe v. Wade Anniversary Obama Vows to Protect Women’s Choice. Huffington post.

Roe v. Wade Anniversary” Marking the 39th with marches and blogs. L.A. Times.

Roe at 39: Celebrate Roe by Taking Action to Ensure Abortion is Both Legal and Accessible. Alternet.

Roe at 39: Sometimes the Sky Does Fall. RH Reality Check.

Roe v. Wade Turns 39: Top 5 Threats to Women’s Right to Choose. International Business Times.

“Believe me, I knew you, though faintly, and I loved, loved you.”

Inspired by Merle Hoffman’s new book Intimate Wars, we’re sharing some of our own most memorable pro-choice/social justice personal actions this month. If you’d like to contribute, let us know!

The first time I discovered I was pregnant I was twenty-two years old, an art school drop-out on social assistance with no home in particular. I was couch-surfing, chain-smoking and imbibing illegal substances of all kinds. The father of my foetus was a man I had known for about two months. I was crazy in love with him even though my friends disliked him and seemed concerned for my well-being. I thought he was just intensely passionate. Turns out he was intensely abusive.

When I got the news from my doctor’s office that I was not just pregnant but four weeks pregnant, I stubbed out my last cigarette and ran excitedly to tell my boyfriend the news. I had been pro-choice for years and had never, ever wanted to have kids. I had no job, no money, no permanent residence, and had just been knocked up by a virtual stranger. Logically it seemed like a no-brainer that I would have an abortion; it’s not practical to be penniless and pregnant, but on the contrary, I was ecstatic, something I never would have thought I’d feel at the prospect of becoming a “welfare mom.” No one I knew was as thrilled as I was that I was pregnant given my circumstances but I knew that becoming a mother meant becoming an adult. It meant that I had to stop messing around, start taking care of myself, and grow the fuck up. No more Gen-X slacking, no more drugs, no more all night partying. Becoming a parent gave me a focus and drive to better myself, to make myself worthy of the person growing inside me.

The second time I discovered I was pregnant I was in my mid-thirties. I had left my son’s father just before my son turned four and had been more or less on my own ever since; occasionally being involved with incredibly supportive partners. I was about five years into a fantatic career in publishing that I had worked my ass off to establish, having put myself through night school while parenting full time. I was making a decent salary, my son was happy and healthy, we lived in a great child-friendly neighborhood. I was no longer a houseless slack-ass jerk, I was a capable, confident, career-minded sole-support parent and damn proud of it.

After a few months of casually dating an old art-school friend, I realized with shock that I was pregnant. Shock because I knew the exact moment that I had become impregnanted: less than twenty-four hours before vomiting as a side effect from the morning after pill. I had rushed to the pharmacy and dutifully read the instructions and took the pills as prescribed. I wanted to do the responsible thing; concentrate on my career, continue to parent my son, and keep enjoying my hard-won life.   [Read more...]

The Republican primaries and why I’m starting to feel good about Poland

I spent a few wonderful years in America as a child and have a lot of fondness for the country. All these years later you could wake me up in the middle of the night and I’d recite the whole Pledge of Allegiance from memory without even properly waking up. I’m a fan of a lot things American – literature, attitude to life, belief in “try and you will succeed” and the ridiculously huge selection of breakfast cereals. Partially out of sentiment and mostly because America is still a major international player, I follow American politics pretty closely. Frankly, I know next to nothing about the economy and taxes, so really by politics I mostly mean the reproductive rights situation.

Earlier this week pro-choicers around the world celebrated the 39th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. This was particularly meaningful to me, because in my home country – Poland – we still haven’t come as far as to clearly and loudly say that a woman’s uterus is her own effing business and no one else’s. In fact, we’re actually pretty darn awful when it comes to reproductive rights. But I have to say, following what the Republican presidential candidates have been saying about abortion and contraception lately I have trouble believing what I’m reading. I’m starting to think that although the laws are worse in Poland, the attitude of major politicians might just be better.

And this is actually saying a lot as I come from a country where (and I kid you not), we are continually debating the issue of formally enthroning Jesus Christ so that he will join his mother (yes, the Virgin Mary is officially named the queen of Poland) in some sick, incestuous, royal coupling in a supposedly secular country. Abortion is practically illegal, there’s no real sex education in schools and contraceptives are relatively difficult to get and expensive. And I could just keep them coming… So trust me, it’s pretty bad back home, but I’m starting to think that even our right-wing politicians have more common sense than the future president of the US will, if he happens to be Republican (and now that’s real nightmare material!). And here’s why I think so – if the winner of the Republican primaries wins the National election he will most likely:    [Read more...]

Arizona Politician Thinks He Knows What’s Best for D.C. Women

Not content to just do the work for the state that actually elected him, Arizona Republican Trent Franks has decided to tackle the apparently pressing issue of late-term abortions in Washington, DC. Franks, with backing from the National Right to Life Committee, has introduced the ”District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” which would ban abortions after 20 weeks for District women. Similar bills are already in place in Nebraska, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

As Franks is the chairman of the House subcommittee that will be handling his legislation — and the bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Lamar Smith and Darrell Issa, who both hold powerful committee positions as well — it is all but certain the the bill will be on the fast track to a vote on the House floor.

Defending his decision to interfere in the personal decisions of women he doesn’t represent, Franks says that his bill “would address the pain and suffering of children who have done nothing wrong … [i]t will emphasize the humanity of the child and the inhumanity of what is being done to them.” This is in keeping with the anti-choice rationale for all of these bills, but it ignores some very basic facts about late-term procedures and fetal development. [Read more...]

The Santorum Double Standard

With the way the Republican presidential campaign is going, it’s entirely possible that Rick Santorum will have dropped out of the race by the time this article runs. Yet before his third-place finish in the South Carolina primary, Santorum had been making a lot of news for his personal experience with terminating a pregnancy.

In 1996, the then-nineteen weeks pregnant Karen Santorum had undergone surgery to address a fetal kidney malfunction. Following the operation, she developed an infection, and the Santorums had to make the difficult choice of terminating the pregnancy, or risking Karen’s life. By all accounts they made the decision together, and Karen was given medication to induce labor.

Rick Santorum is stridently anti-choice. He has signed the Personhood Pledge; he opposes Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court decision that legalized birth control. Santorum considers late-term abortion procedures “medically unnecessary,” and opposes abortion in all circumstances, including rape; incest; if the fetus has no chance of surviving to full-term; and if a woman’s life is threatened by continuing the pregnancy.   [Read more...]

March Online for Reproductive Rights!

Join the online march for women’s rights! During “Trust Women Week,” January 20-27, a whole host of fantastic organizations, including Medical Students for Choice, Ms., the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and the National Network of Abortion Funds have come together to support women’s lives and women’s rights. This online, mass mobilization is letting members of Congress, state governors, and selected state legislators know just how important reproductive rights are, and making sure that your voice will be heard. To learn more and add your message, click here!


Thinking About What Roe Means to Me

The past week has included three incredible celebrations of Roe for me. The first event was a film screening at the UA of “Jane: An Abortion Service.” This film tells the story of Jane, an underground abortion service that helped Chicago women get abortions pre-Roe. Listening to the women of Jane tell their story is so inspiring, and it’s a big part of my motivation for starting an abortion fund in Arizona. Thank you to the Women’s Resource Center at the UA for sponsoring such an incredible event.

Saturday was even more exciting. Abortion Access Network of Arizona had its very first house party fundraiser. One of our board members invited us into her home and provided an overwhelming food spread. Thanks to the generosity of her friends and family, AANA raised over $1400 – which means we will be able to fund another 28 women seeking abortions.

Last night I went to an unofficial Roe Happy Hour with some friends at the bar. We toasted Roe, drank to women’s health, and talked about the things we want to do to keep serving women here in Arizona. It was nice to have a relaxed atmosphere to plot our activism together! [Read more...]