Learning about Your Fertility is a Feminist Act

Written By: Erin Bach

When I was 28, I stopped taking the pill. At 17, when I started birth control, I didn’t really think twice about putting artificial hormones into my body. I had decided to have sex with my boyfriend and didn’t want to get pregnant. It was a no-brainer. That relationship lasted over five years, as did my next relationship, so I kept filling my prescription and went on with my life.

It wasn’t until I was in yoga teacher training that I realized what I had actually been doing for over a decade. Not only had I replaced my own hormones with synthetics, but I’d also silenced my cycle. Yes, I was getting a period, but the pill works because it stops your body from ovulating, thereby overriding your natural creative rhythm.

As I learned about the second chakra, sacral energy, and the power of moon cycles, I felt more and more absent from my body. As someone with a history of body image and eating issues, this absence felt very familiar. But this time I had a deep urge pulling me back toward connecting with myself. So I stopped my prescription and started studying my cycle.

Now, I’m not bashing birth control. I understand the myriad benefits of women having the ability to control their fertility. However, I think that for far too long, women have grasped at a solution without fully understanding it. Yes, hormonal birth control allows us to avoid pregnancy so we can focus on school or careers or decide for ourselves when we’re ready. BUT it also distances us from our feminine power source, causes tons of side effects, and sometimes permanently hinders future fertility.

I grew up thinking that the pill was part of a feminist revolution, and maybe it was. But this type of “I can do anything a man can do, so I’m going to silence my femininity to do it” feminism is not my cup of tea. Yeah, I can do anything a man can do, but that doesn’t mean I want to, and I’m sure as shit no longer willing to give up my connection to myself, my body, and my cycles for the sake of male convenience.

I believe feminism is all about knowledge and choice. I made the choice to go on the pill, but I had no knowledge about what I was doing to my body. After choosing to stop, knowledge was my go-to, and in the years since, I have learned all that I could about alternatives to hormonal birth control (YES there are reliable options).

For example, there is the Fertility Awareness Method, which involves tracking your cycle and fertile windows through various factors (there are even apps for this, and they’re pretty good!). There’s also the option of a non-hormonal IUD which is made of copper and therefore toxic to sperm (but perfectly safe for your body).

Here’s my point. For too long, I saw my fertility as an inconvenience that needed a solution rather than part of my creative potential. Your body is pure magic. How you treat that magic is up to you. The choice you make about your fertility is entirely YOUR choice (not your parent’s or your partner’s), so I urge you to do some research, talk to other women, and make a choice that lets you feel liberated as well as connected, that puts you in harmony with your deepest desires and your beautiful body.