Birth Control Side Effects

[Book Review] Sweetening the Pill by Holly Grigg-Spall

Ever since I first heard about this book coming out from the Red Tent Sisters, I knew I HAD to read it. As you may know, coming off the birth control pill is what led me to discover my PCOS and into the land of natural contraception. I received this book as a gift this past Christmas, and I have to say- it both delighted and angered me.

Now don’t walk away– I’m going to explain the reasoning behind this.

Sweetening the Pill is a book for every woman. Whether you have been, currently are or are considering taking a form of hormonal birth control like the pill or patch, this is a must read. There are countless side effects of hormonal birth control that many women don’t realize are caused by the medication. Things like insane mood swings, weight gain, depression + thoughts of suicide and much more.

Reading this book will empower you to make the right choice in your life for contraception. I love that Grigg-Spall also talks about men. Our cycles affect our partners whether we mean for it or not, so getting them involved in your choice of contraception is key. When I switched over to the Justisse Method of contraception, I talked with my man about it and the implications for our relationship.

Now on to the angry part. . .

“The pill is no longer about birth control; it is about being a better, improved woman.” – Sweetening the Pill, pg. 109

The pharmaceutical industry along with the government and medical industry have pulled the wool over our eyes. The birth control pill is no longer just a means of stopping pregnancy, it’s now a “cure-all” drug that prescribed for heavy and irregular periods, mood issues, acne, weight gain, among many others. Don’t be fooled! Hormonal contraception simply masks these symptoms while feeding us a huge dose of synthetic hormones our bodies aren’t meant to deal with.

Women no longer own their cycles, as Grigg-Spall explains, but rather if we are to be “liberated” we must be sexually and intellectually available 24-7. So what’s wrong with this picture?

We have natural ebbs and flows to our cycle- some weeks we feel energetic + sexy, where other times we may feel calm + introspective or just like a raving lunatic. But that is the BEAUTY of being a woman. If we are expected to be “ON” all the time, we will burn out!

Being on hormonal birth control takes away our choice- to be in tune with our bodies, to manage our life’s activities according to our cycles and much more. We are not actually more liberated by using these prescription drugs, but rather become more docile and easy to “manage”. Yuck, yuck, yuck!

I don’t know about you, but I want to feel my body in its ebbs and flows. I want to take advantage of my different perspectives throughout the month. Simply take responsibility for your body back from your doctor and the pharmaceutical industry. And be persistent! You WILL get your choice and it will be worth it in the end.


“The choice to come off the pill and be well rather than sick does not have to be a political action. To politicize this suggests that achieving personal wellness is not a good enough end in itself.” – Sweetening the Pill, pg. 191

 BUY THE BOOK! You won’t regret it.

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