We have much to be thankful for with the Pill. It gave us reproductive control and greater sexual freedom. It meant a bunch of hippies at Woodstock could get laid without repercussions. It meant that a ton of Betty Draper types could get on with their careers without their uteruses hanging out of their body. It meant that women could spend heaps of money and a whole lot of time going to the doctor while men got on with the Cold War.
Five months ago I turned my back on 50 years of feminism and came off the Pill. I thought that when I did, that I’d be liberated from synthetic hormones and the Crazy. I’d become a kind of mystycal wymynly earth mother in touch with my body. Small children would pluck at my swirling skirts, old women would clutch my arms with ancient understanding and butterflies would lay moonbeams on my eyelashes. I would look into the full moon with my gossamer wings catching the light and I would start eating tempeh. What is more, I would enjoy it. I would shovel down that tempeh like a gritty foie gras and catch my companions with a steely gaze, all the while going ‘MMMM-MMMMM’, just to remind them of how damn supernatural I am.
By February I could only wear the Fat Jeans, my hair fell out and every month I started gushing like a Singaporean storm-water drain. As for the mental state I was left in, I don’t think ‘ratty’ quite covers it. Was there anything on the packet about how stopping the Pill leaves you looking like a late-career Marlon Brando? Any illustrations of the Venus of Willendorf or floods of Biblical proportions? I think not.
After five months of this tomfoolery I stumped off to the Doc in high dudgeon. Thinking I had something exotic she ordered every blood test under the sun as well as something called a ‘transvaginal ultrasound’, which is a procedure whereby you drink a litre of water in under an hour without going to the loo, have a total stranger shove a prop from Lair of the White Worm up your lady-cavern and press firmly on your bladder while a trainee helpfully parts your pubes. It is…not nice.
The total strangers also murmured imperceptibly throughout the procedure, all the while measuring something dark, round and sinister which later turned out to be a fertile egg. Those things are gargantuan! Colossal! This is another thing –like how to walk in heels, pull out a wedgie without anyone being the wiser or apply liquid eyeliner – that they do not teach you in Lady School.
I waited a few days to ponder.
It seems to me that the Pill has been a massive 50-year experiment by drug companies and doctors. If you’ve never taken it, or are a chap – this is the sort of drug where your doctor says in a cavalier fashion “oh hai that one didn’t work – let’s try another one! No? What about this one?” After you roll up a year later in abject misery all they say is ‘oh yes, some women don’t get their periods for five years after they come off the Pill. Interesting, isn’t it?’
Do you know why that is? Everyone’s endocrine system is totally different. No one woman has the same kind of hormones or reactions to things as the next. Despite the oh, hundreds of bits of anecdotal evidence I’ve read by women going through exactly the same thing as me, my Doc was a bit nonplussed by my symptoms. I think that if someone sprouted real gossamer wings and started enjoying tempeh I don’t think any medical professional would be surprised in the least. The Pill is an experiment. A crapshoot. And it’s made a lot of people filthy rich. You may think it’s the answer to all our prayers but I think it’s cocked up a perfectly healthy body for nearly 18 months now.
Anyway, after all those tests all that’s actually wrong with me is that I’m Vitamin D deficient. Thanks, Sunsmart!! The cure? Lots of time in the sun and a nice long break. Luckily I’m travelling to Central Asia next week eh?