*This post is sponsored by Natural Cycles
This an odd post to write, not in a ‘I never expected to write anything like this’ kind of way but more, well, where do I start?
Maybe let’s go back to Mary at 19; I was in my first year at Nottingham Trent Uni (only to drop out and move home by summer) and a month before had started chatting (and humping) a pretty cool and v good looking guy called Hainsley. It was actually my mum who suggested I go on the pill and I remember the appointment at the Clifton Campus of NTU like it was yesterday. I described my very modest sexual encounters and was packed off with a months supply of Ovranette and away we went. Fast forward to 33 year old Mary and this guy Hainsley and I are still chatting and humping (albeit a lot less, I mean things change we’re in our 30s LOL!) but I am now pill free and couldn’t be happier.
And before you ask no we’re not trying to get pregnant, exactly the opposite…for now;) I’m not sure what it was exactly that made me decide I wanted to come off the pill, but after having been on it non stop for over 10 years, all of a sudden the thought of getting to know my body and cycle was intriguing. I’d never actually had a problem with the pill, no noticeable side effects and for the time I’d been on it, it’s always served me well, no side effects to speak of and I was pretty good at remembering to take it.
It was last year I noticed some influencers doing some work with Natural Cycles. A hormone free contraceptive method of tracking your cycle to either plan or prevent pregnancy, completely naturally, no intervention and no hormones needed. I started looking into it, discussed it with Hainsley as of course, this affects him as much as it does me, and when I couldn’t get my repeat prescription on time I took it as a sign and decided to take the plunge and sign up to it. I downloaded the Natural Cycles app from the app store and ordered my basal thermometer. Essentially Natural Cycles is a really traditional way of tracking your cycle, every morning as soon as you wake up you take your temperature and log it into the app, this then gives you a red or green day indicating your fertility. I’m preventing pregnancy so red days mean no go or use extra protection such as a condom and green days mean go for it, it can take a few months for the app to really get to grips with your cycle and this can be frustrating in terms of the amount of red days at first but it’s really worth it in the long run if you’re prepared to commit and not slip up on those red days.
There was something about this that really excited me, for once in over 10 years I was going to know my cycle as it was naturally, I was going to have an actual period, naturally, and I couldn’t wait. I suppose it’s getting older and becoming more aware of what your body is for, kids is always something I’d seen in my future with Hainsley and as no-ones getting any younger so I thought now was as good a time as any to start preparing for it and letting my body do it’s thing without intervention. What really impressed me with Natural Cycles was the amount of research and information I found surrounding it. The app is clinically proven to be successful and the only certified contraceptive app on the market, this is down to the amount of scientific clinical studies the team have done to improve women’s health around contraception.
It’s now been around 3 months or so that I have been pill free and in all honesty, it’s been a breeze. My period returned straight away and I’ve now had three natural periods pretty much like clockwork. They’re not half as heavy or painful as they were before and during the pill and it makes me feel really empowered to know that I’m back in control of my body as well as gaining more of an understanding and awareness of my cycle and the changes it brings about in my body. I also really love how the app gives you information throughout your cycle for example, when to check your breasts and what changes to look out for. I count myself lucky as I know not all women have easy periods and in a lot of cases it can take a while for your period to even return, everybody is different so don’t be worried if your experience is different to mine or you’ve heard horror stories from other people. I know I certainly did, some were so keen to fill me in on how their awful PMS symptoms returned and the misery of there flow once a month was too much to bare, but I really feel like this is such a personal decision, all my advice would be is if you’re considering it, just give it a try and if it doesn’t work for you there’s so many other options.
You can download the app from the app store at a cost of £39.99 for the year. (18+ will not protect against STIs).