Is the Pill Worth It?

By Shannon Gosney
In Blogging Randomness
November 15, 2009
20 Comments
2163 Views

When my husband and I were first married, we weren’t ready to start having children yet.  I immediately started taking Ortho-Tricylin because it was what everybody was using for birth control (or so I thought).  You’ve heard of the common side effects, such as dizziness, nausea, depression, and other symptoms.  However, what they don’t tell you is that you might experience symptoms that are similar to PMS x 300% or emotional instability.  I started taking anti-depressants to counteract the depression I was feeling as a result of the pill.

After a year or so, I decided that it wasn’t worth it and that my marriage was more important (I was very emotional, which strongly affected my marriage and my relationship with my husband).  We used the FAM Method – aka Fertility Awareness Method.  I was blessed to have regular cycles and could to tell when I was ovulating.  If we didn’t want to get pregnant, we used other means of protection and were fine the rest of the time.  We had baby #1, #2, and #3 when we wanted by using the FAM Method.  Please understand that this is my experience and that if you are unsure of your cycle or do not have a regular cycle, you may not want to use this method. 

After baby #3, I was definitely not ready to have another child for a while.  However, I didn’t feel like we were done.  I felt like there was someone missing.  Again, I was on a lower dose of birth control (Jolivette – the nursing pill – they give this birth control pill to women who are breastfeeding).  After about a year, I went to the doctor for symptoms of depression and they put me on an anti-depressant.  Again, emotional instability, anxiousness, depression, and more.  I decided it was silly to be taking an anti-depressant to counteract the effects of the pill.  There are other methods of protection that don’t mess with my hormones or emotions.

Once I stopped taking the pill, I felt more calm.  I felt less likely to break down into tears at the drop of a hat and less likely to snap at my husband and kids.  I also felt the clouds of depression lift.  I felt normal again and in control of my emotions.  It felt wonderful! 

Again, these are my experiences with 2 different types of birth control pills.  My goal is to let others out there with similar experiences know that they are not alone.

About Has 4151 Posts

Shannon Gurnee is the author of RedheadMom formerly "The Mommy-Files", a national blog with a loyal following. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development with a Minor in Business Management. Shannon and her husband, Frank, have a large family with 6 awesome kids and love living on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, California, as well as traveling around the world. A full-time Social Media and Professional Blogger, Shannon also serves as a National Brand Ambassador for many well-known companies. Her blog focuses on motherhood, family fun activities, traveling, fashion, beauty, technology, wedding ideas and recipes while providing professional opinions on products, performances, restaurants, and a variety of businesses.

20 Responses to “Is the Pill Worth It?”

  1. Victoria says:

    I don’t like taking the pill either. I was on it for several years before having my son. It’s something I don’t want to go back to. Right now I’m not planning on having more children but I refuse the pill. I’m usually regular too so I go by my cycle as well.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    That is exactly why I have always refused the pill. My doctor thinks I’m crazy for it but even though we think we could be done having babies, I want to stick to my own birth control methods. I am one of those blessed women that doesn’t PMS. Okay, I do get a little sappy and want to watch sweet romance movies while eating chocolate. But, my emotional levels aren’t terrible. I don’t yell or sob. I’m so afraid the pill would push my emotions down, cause depression, etc. Thank you so much for posting this because I *have* been considering the pill lately since my doctor is brilliant and I trust him. But, to know that the pill HAS done exactly what I’m afraid of for other women… Well, he can keep his pill and I’ll keep my emotional stability.

  3. Caryn B says:

    I was on the pill for a long time. I ended up with migraines and my blood pressure started to climb…..I think it’s important for women to know that these pills have side effects….

  4. Angel says:

    I had all of my children while on the pill.. apparently it made me a fertile turtle.. yeah nice heads up there doc.. I also tried the depo vera shot. I lost tons of weighton it which was NOT normal and I also bled like a stuck hog. The first shot was 24 days the second dose 27 1/2 days ( hubby insists I remember the half day lol) However I also gained muscle spasms so bad they doubled me over froma sitting position. What they don’t tell you about the shot is if you have a family history of fibromyalgia, arthritis, muscular dystrophy or such this shot will speed up their attacks and increase your risk of having them, as if family history wasn’t enough. so Iwent back on the pill .. and still got pregnant.. yeah… my method of birth control .. VASECTOMY

  5. Sara says:

    GREAT post! For my family, NO, the pill was not worth it. It made me crazy, killed my sex drive, etc. I tried ortho, I tried the Nuva Ring. Same results. So we use good old fashioned condoms. ๐Ÿ™‚ Not ideal, but it’s better than being married to a basketcase. Soon the husband will be headed under the knife though!

  6. Lin says:

    I guess everyone reacts to the pill differently. I have been on the same pill (Ortho Micronor, same as your Jolivette) for the past 6 years & I’ve never had any issues with it. On the other hand my sister in law had to change her form of birth control 5 times in 2 years because she was seriously depressed, moody & had migraines all the time.

    I’m glad you finally found something that worked for you ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I had problems with the Pill too – various kinds. I suffered from horrible, horrible realistic nightmares. It took me ages to figure it out and when I finally did and stopped taking the Pill they went away. It does have strange side effects for some people. It’s great that you posted this because others may not even realize the Pill is what could be causing or increasing their depression or anxiety. It stinks that you had to go through this, but hopefully now your telling of your experience will help someone else.

  8. We too use other methods of birth control, I don’t take the pill because I have a high rate of heart disease, and stroke on my side of the family.
    Basically, I’m scared of the side effects. As weird as it sounds, I enjoyed reading your point of view. ๐Ÿ™‚
    ~ Rose

  9. Cheryl says:

    For me, I went off the pill when I was newly married because I started getting migraines. Migraine and the pill could equal stroke, not something I’d like to have happen! At the time we used condoms as birth control, and then in between my 2 girls, I did BBT (basal body temping) and watching cervical mucus to determine when I was ovulating. My periods used to be ridiculously irregular, but this method worked for us. Now? Or method of choice was a tubal ligation. ๐Ÿ˜‰ After my 2nd daughter, we were finished having children, after a 30 weeker, a 5 week NICU stay and now a diagnosis of CP. My emotions are often haywire without the pill aiding in that! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Doreen says:

    I went on the pill in my late teens and after 6 months, I stopped. I was changing too much emotionally too. I just never took the pill afterwards. I found that not only did it change me emotionally, but I had tender breasts and was bloating up.

  11. Sheena says:

    A lot of problems we have with our bodies stem from the things that we eat and medications we take. I intend on trying the FAM method because I am not comfortable with the side effects that “artificial” birth control come with. I was on Orth Tri Cyclen in my teens. It mad me dizzy during the day, so I took it in the afternoon. When I went to college, I couldn’t keep up with taking them or refilling. I switched to Depo and bled all of the time and got scared out of my mind because I thought I was going to be infertile. Read My Conception story (click my name). Now I’m on the Mirena IUD and I’ve started to get bloating and cramps more than twice a month. In the next few months, I plan to take that leap in to FAM. We would love to have a big family and we’re ready to accept all “surprises” with open arms :).

  12. Cat says:

    I actually had no idea birth control pills could have the effect. I started taking ortho right after my son was born and went through the absolute worst period of my life emotionally, combining post partum depression and eventually major depression, not one doctor ever mentioned the birth control could have been contributing to it.

    Once I got my life in order I decided to stop taking the pill and haven’t had a major episode of depression since…now I wonder if there is a correlation between the two.

  13. Jammie says:

    I do not think I will ever go back on the pill. I was taking Ortho as well. Taking it for 7 years I figured it was all normal stuff to be depressed. To me it someone what is, but I need something more for anxiety, I have a crappy doctor though who says anxiety is all in my head yea whatever. Anyways we kinda decided we wanted another baby, well i did and hubby agreed not sure if thats good or now, so I stopped take the pill in Jan of this year and in the process I lost my monthly, it just now started back 11 months later so maybe baby will follow. Although I have to say, I loved not having this thing.

  14. LeMira says:

    I’ve used the pill two different times in my life, and it mostly worked well for me. It was the second time around that didn’t work so well, as I felt like my ovary was going to burst every month after my period. However, I have to be on some form of birth control so I don’t get pregnant. I decided to go with an IUD this time around (paraguard), and so far I love it! I’ve had it for one year, my cycles are regular, and there are no extra hormones being pumped into my body.

  15. Lori Z. says:

    The only problem I ever had on the pill was remembering to take it! But I know it’s hard for some people and I’ve heard the patch is about the same. A lot of teenage girls come into my mom’s office, though, wanting to get on it just so their acne clears up, and if it has the side effect of teenage pregnancies decreasing then that’s a great thing.

  16. I agree with you. I never had much issue with the pill, however I watched my sweet 18 year old daughter go insane when she was younger on the pill.

    One day she just stood in the kitchen and started screaming and holding her head. I took her off the pill immediately. I learned that she was over sensitive to the hormones after a few attempts we got it right. She is taking Yaz now, and it is so much better. She is allergic to latex so she has to use polyurethane when she uses condoms.

    I am using the Mirena, it makes things easier to control for me, after 6 kids… it isn’t necessary since Dave is snipped, but I LOVE not having a monthly cycle. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I agree that women need to know about the side effect of the pill, it can be so dangerous to the mental stability and there are so many reasons that can happen, mainly the hormones.

  17. Amy says:

    I have heard so many horror stories about pills and have lived a few of them. I have cycled through five different pills in an attempt to get the least side effects with the most benefit and finally ended up coming back to Ortho-Tri-Cyclen. I have endometriosis which, without the pills, leaves me with two week periods, cramping that is debilitating and…well it’s not worth it for me. I am fortunate however in that my side effects with O-T-C are low and consist of PMS symptoms and breast tenderness at certain times of the month. Some of the other pills I was on were so much worse, one even made my hair fall out by the handful! I don’t particularly like being on the pill but when the other alternative for me is excruciating pain it’s just a no brainer for my situation.

  18. Brittany says:

    I didn’t like the pill either. When I stopped taking it I felt like myself again. I now use an IUD, the Marina, I think. I have loved it. No side effects, no period, and it’s good for five years or I can have it taken out whenever I want. Since I had both my IUD’s put in right after having my babies I had already hit my insurance deductible so it only cost me about $100.

  19. Kayla says:

    If you know me at all, you know I’m DEAD SET AGAINST 99.9% of drugs, including birth control-I’ve heard horror stories from my friends who have been on birth control in the past and would never do it again: Two gained weight (50 and 15 pounds) and can’t seem to lose it and one got severely emotional like yourself. In all honesty, like you said, there are other things you can do instead of going on contraceptives.

  20. I haven’t had any problems with the pill, but I know others have. Right now I have an IUD and I love it.

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