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Issue 3: The Contraception Contradiction

Let’s all be real for a second, has anyone here started hormonal birth control and had a completely pleasant experience?

As women, we often will say we are fine, when we are not. We will withstand more pain then we should because it seems like somewhere along the way, someone convinced us that it is not worth voicing the physical discomfort we feel in our bodies out loud...

A couple years back, I was suffering from irregular cycles and ovarian cysts. My OBGYN put me on a low-dose contraceptive pill to help me re-balance. Two weeks into taking the pill, I sank into a deep depression. I told my OBGYN, but she tried to convince me to stay on it.

I spoke up and told her the depression was unbearable, and not normal. After one last shot at trying to convince me to stay on the first pill, she had me switch to another pill (“don’t worry, it’s low dose!” she promised again). The second pill made my body and my mind so anxious, I ended my hormonal birth control journey right then.

When starting any kind of hormonal birth control many of us have been told: “you just have to let your body get used to it!” or “just take it for three months and then the symptoms will decrease.”

These are common phrases women hear when starting the hormonal contraception or when they report problems with a form of contraception they are on.

But Lara Briden (this issue’s featured female healer below!) and I are here to tell you: when you feel discomfort, listen to it! Your body knows what is good for it, and what is not.

You do not have to let your body get used to anything, or wait for the symptoms to decrease (which only happens because your body finally gives up on trying to get you to listen).

When birth control was first released to the public 60 years ago, women reported negative mental health effects, like anxiety, depression, and mood swings, but early scientific research on hormonal contraception did not even mention these reports.

Researchers brushed the women aside, telling them the emotional side effects would pass, and instead boasted about the benefits of birth control: no pregnancy and (possibly) better skin!

So it’s important to keep in mind that there has been (and there still is) a huge knowledge gap that exists when it comes to the negative effects of hormonal birth control. At the end of the day, the women’s healthcare space today has been largely dominated by male scientists, whereas before women were in charge of women’s health.

In ancient tribes, women helped women connect with their bodies. They birthed babies, healed people, celebrated their womanhood together. That dynamic is coming back—women are reclaiming their bodies and this space—but it will take time.

Hormonal birth control disconnects us from our body, we give our sacred cycle and connection to nature over to a drug, which begins to control when we ovulate and when we menstruate. 

Through our monthly cycles, we create fertile ground for life, we can harbor and birth life, or we can shed, giving back what we do not need, like nature does everyday.

Finding true balance starts with you reconnecting with and reclaiming your body by taking back your natural cycle. There are other ways to control contraception, they just require a bit more mindfulness and effort on your part, and doesn’t your beautiful body deserve that extra time and attention?


Today's meditation is all about cultivating your connection with your body, and ultimately yourself. 

In today's world, we spend so much time on our devices, whether its reading emails or binging Netflix. And though modern day technology is amazing (I can facetime my family from 10,000 miles away!), we are slowly losing our natural ability to connect with and listen to our bodies due to this heightened co-dependent relationship we have with our phones and laptops.

Our bodies can tell us so much about our health, and even our emotions, so let's start by just noticing this connection through meditation.

Balance in the body starts with actively connecting with the body, so we can learn to listen to what the body has to tell us. 

*Guided Meditation Here*

Women's Candlelit Balancing Workshop
February 29, 2020
15:30 - 17:00 GMT
L I F E S P A C E 
purchase tickets

Women's Healing Meditation Circle
March 1, 2020
16:30 - 18:00 GMT
Evolve Wellness Centre
purchase tickets

Featured Female Healer: 

If you are experiencing any period problems Lara Briden should be your go to. She is a naturopathic doctor based in Christchurch, New Zealand. But no fear if you are nowhere near her, she wrote a book called Period Repair Manual so she could share her knowledge with women everywhere. The book details natural ways to balance your body and hormones. 

How do you find balance in your body, mind, and spirit?
Wilderness walking.

How would you describe what you do to someone who has never heard of it before?
I help women find alternatives to hormonal birth control. Hormonal birth control switches off women's hormones and replaces them with contraceptive drugs which can cause symptoms such as depression and hair loss. As a naturopathic doctor, I treat period problems with a combination of diet changes, nutritional supplements, and herbal medicine.

What is one thing you wish all women knew about balancing their bodies? 
Ovulation is not just for making a baby. It's also how we make the estrogen and progesterone that we need for long-term health. ​

What is one thing you have learnt about women's health that you wish every woman knew?
Women's health is not as mysterious or complicated as we've been led to believe.

What is one supplement you think women should eat everyday? Why?
Magnesium because it reduces inflammation and helps the body to cope with stress. ​

What is one thing you wish women did less that would help them more easily find balance in their bodies if they chose to forego it? 
Reducing or quitting alcohol is an important way to improve hormonal health. ​

What is one piece of advice you would give to your daughter?
Find a way to not have to take hormonal birth control​!

Thank you Lara!


Herb of the Hour: 

Spearmint Tea

Spearmint tea can help hormone imbalances.

Studies show that spearmint tea can treat various hormone imbalances in women. For example, consuming two cups of the tea every morning is shown to help reduce hormonal cystic acne, and even help curb hirsutism, excessive hair growth (think pesky chin hair or unwanted hair on the body).

This is because spearmint tea is proven to have an anti-androgenic effect, meaning it lowers the hormones responsible for "male traits". The herb has proven to be  especially helpful for women who suffer from polycystic ovarion syndrome.

But don't overdo it, most studies found that two cups a day is sufficient for treating symptoms. Results are best if the tea is consumed in the morning  because that is when androgen hormones, like testosterone, are highest in the body. 

*I promise to never include a herb I have not personally tried here. I only include herbs that have benefitted my body, but every body reacts differently. I am not a medical professional, so take the research-based advice with a grain of salt,. Remember to exercise with caution, and respect what works for your body and what does not.*
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Sara Shah

logo design by Carsyn Ciuba
cover photo by Allison Bagg
herb photo by Creative Family

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