Who am I, really?

This isn’t a confession post, where I tell you that Ive been blogging under an alias or anything! But it may strike a chord with anyone who’s been on any hormone based contraception or anti depressants for any length of time.

I’ve been thinking recently, for a while actually, that I’ve been on “potentially mood altering” prescribed drugs for so long that I don’t know who I am without them, if that makes sense?

Let me explain.

I first started taking the pill – Microgynon – when I was 17. Far from an adult (certainly in mind), not experienced in the world and not really properly mature. I was living at home with my parents, still at school studying A levels, working a Saturday job in a clothes shop. Life was pretty easy.

I was lucky with my pill, it suited me from the off. No spotting or breakthrough bleeding, no bad skin or mood swings, or any noticeable change in me. Or so I thought. But what if the hormones changed the future me? What if they blocked something in me that would have become apparent as I matured, started working, became financially independent? What if the change was subtle enough for me not to notice it, but it did make a difference somehow?

I had to change my pill a while back, because of my age (urgh), so I’m now on the mini pill which I take daily, instead of having a 7 day break (you can read what I found out about hormone based contraception as you get older here). Again there was no discernible difference. But lately I feel tired and not interested in going out. What if I’m blaming that on winter, and getting older, but really it’s the effect of the pill and I just haven’t put two and two together?

Similarly, with my anti-depressants (read my depression story here). I have come off them a couple of times, without my doctor’s supervision (don’t do that, by the way), and at those times I’ve returned to Mrs Angry-with-Everything-and-Everyone but that makes me wonder then, is that the real me? Are the anti-depressants just masking my true aggressive nature? Or did the depression make me that way and the anti Ds just put me back to my normal level headed self?

What if my pill was the trigger for my depression? What if, had I never taken the pill, I’d never have had depression and almost 20 years of being on and off medication for it?

The point is, I’ve been putting hormones and SSRIs into my body for such a long time, and from such a young age, that I don’t know who the real me is. Stripped down, no medication or contraception, me. What would I be like? Would my personality change? Would I hate myself? Would other people hate me?

And in that respect, my thoughts start to run away with me, and at times I wonder if I’m living a lie. Which is crazy!

It’s too late for me to ever find out, obviously. But I know that there are thousands, probably millions of people out there, like me, who’ve followed their doctors advice for many years and now blindly, repetitively, habitually take what they’ve been prescribed “just because”. I’m not saying that doctors have acted irresponsibly. Just that it’s something worth thinking about.

I’m too scared to take myself off my anti-depressants to find out what would happen, but at some point as I get older I won’t need the pill anymore, and it will definitely be something I take note of, to see if there are any changes in reverse that I was too young and naive to notice at 17.

I’d love your thoughts on this! Am I overthinking things? Have you seen big changes from long term medication? Leave me your comments.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

Hormone based contraception when you’re over 35

I’ve been on the pill since I was 17. I’ve been happily taking Microgynon, which is an oestrogen and progesterone pill for 21 days in a row, then having a 7 day break and repeat.

During a recent check up I asked a nurse when it would need to be reviewed, because I’m aware of my advancing years (ick). She told me I would be fine until I reach 40. As I have no intention of reaching 40 (at 39 I’ll start counting backwards) I worried my little head not.

When I put my last repeat prescription request in, only 1 month was returned instead of the usual 3, with a note that I needed to see the nurse. Assuming this was for a standard blood pressure test I thought no more about it.

Arriving at my appointment, the nurse said “I assume you know why you’re here, we need to change your contraception”. Cough, splutter, what? Why? I don’t want to! “Well, you’re over 35 now, and that’s the boundary we set on combined pill taking.” And off she set in outlining the alternatives.

The most straightforward swap is onto a progesterone only pill – the “mini” pill. This is taken every day with no break. You probably don’t get a period and only have a 12 hour window in which to take it (with Microgynon it’s 24 hours). Now, call me bonkers, but I’m quite fond of having a period every month. It lets me know that nothing untoward is going on in the womb region, and no little critters have been fertilised and implanted themselves (I know there are the odd exceptions to this, but generally it’s peace of mind). I’m incredibly lucky to have never suffered with my periods, they’re very light, very pain free and I don’t get PMT (unless the P stands for Permanent, in which case the husband may disagree). Plus my Mom reckons it’s healthy for your body to do it’s natural thing (albeit unnaturally as forced by hormones but, y’know). And, to my shame, I’m sometimes a little bit tardy with my pill taking. Maybe I’ll forget to take it in the evening and do it next morning. But perhaps its the weekend and I have a lie in. A new pill needs a new regime. What if I forget and then don’t have a period to set my mind at rest? And then, horror of horrors, what if I end up like one of those women in Take a Break magazine who think they need the loo and a baby drops out? No, no, noooooo!

Alternative one is a contraceptive implant. I’m not sure about this. The concept behind it seems pretty wishy washy (although I’m sure it’s not) plus they have to cut your skin to get it underneath. I’m not squeamish with things like needles and ops, but they like to put it in the opposite arm to the one you write with, and no way am I having my tattoo cut in anyway! Plus I’m a picker and a messer and I know if there’s something I can feel under my skin then I’ll play with it. Yes I’m a 38 year old child.

Alternative two is an IUD (the coil). My initial reaction to this was absolutely not, as I know my Mom had lots of issues and complications when I was young. But the nurse said problems were generally associated with the copper coil, and there are very few issues with the new plastic one.

So, I leave the surgery with a 3 month mini pill prescription and a couple of leaflets.After a quick perusal I decide I’m going to make an appointment for an IUD, which I share with the husband. “Really?” he asks. “You know that you can feel the strings, don’t you?” This is news to me. I’m not sure how he knows this, since he was quite obviously a virgin at the age of 34 when we got together but he assures me that sometimes the man is able to feel the strings during shenanigans. Google research confirms this and I’m shocked. This seems like a rather odd state of affairs (is it just me that didn’t know this and think it’s incredibly odd that women all over the world are tickling their sexual partners from the inside?)

My Mom further adds to the anti IUD argument. “They’re not very reliable, people get pregnant on them”. So I look at the reliability statistics on the leaflets that I’ve so far only given a cursory glance, and the difference is staggering. There’s a less than 1 in 500 chance over 5 years of getting pregnant if you have a coil. Say what? Those odds still seem pretty high to me. What if I was the 1 in 500?

Unwillingly, and somewhat uneasily, I’ve switched to the mini pill as suggested.


I’m assured there are less mood altering side effects than the combined pill, which is a good job, because I really value my marriage and I’m not sure it could stand a change in my mental welfare, as things get pretty horrible when that happens.

I’ll let you know how I get on!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Is this the final nail in the coffin for Donald Trump’s presidency bid?

Like so many people across the world, I’m apoplectic with rage at Donald Trump’s latest misguided, idiotic, foolhardy and downright stupid comments in his bid to become a presidential candidate.

For anyone that might have missed it, Donald Trump believes that abortion should be made illegal, and any women having an abortion should be punished.


I feel very strongly about the right to abortion.

If you choose to read on, then please respect that these are my thoughts, my opinions, and this is my blog. I will respect your right to share your own thoughts, but will not tolerate rudeness or personal attack.

I’m very vocal about my beliefs and quite often end up in “discussion” with people on Facebook threads.

I believe that abortion is a woman’s right, for whatever reason she chooses.

I also believe that no man should have a say in that right. If you haven’t got the physical bits to carry a baby and give birth, then butt out.

You might conclude from this that I’ve had an abortion myself. I haven’t. But if I had, I wouldn’t be ashamed. And here’s why.

A woman’s body is not just a vessel for carrying babies. I’ve posted previously about how annoyed I get when people assume women will grow older and procreate. We’re about more than that. And that’s fine.

But, let’s face it, mistakes happen. Contraception doesn’t always work. People get caught up in the heat of the moment and make ill informed decisions. Accidental pregnancies are a real thing.

I believe that a woman has as much right to abort an accidental pregnancy as she does one that isn’t viable for health reasons, or as a result of rape. The reason for aborting the latter two types of pregnancy is completely obvious, and anyone who disagrees with that needs their head looking at. If you think it’s better to progress with a pregnancy created through violence, or one that will result in poor quality of life for the child, then you’re not pro-life. You’re a sadist. Even if your argument is that the birth mother could give the child up for adoption, you’re still not pro-life. Because living in a foster home waiting for new parents, for who knows how long, maybe forever, isn’t living. It’s existing. Being in a children’s home where bullying and abuse is often rife is robbing a child of any life. Putting a child through the pain and suffering of an incurable illness to sooth your own conscience is selfish. Better not to be born at all.

Back to accidental pregnancies though. If a woman falls pregnant unintentionally; through failed contraception, or a bad decision, or even being careless, why should she be consigned to a lifetime of unwanted parenthood? Why should one brief experience define her life forever more, if she doesn’t want it to? Why should she be forced to go through with having a child she may not want, a child she may not love, or may not care for, just because the law says so?

Here’s the crux. I’m probably a prime candidate for a child. I’m happily married, settled, own home, well paid. But I don’t want kids. And do you know what? If I fell pregnant now, accidentally, I would have an abortion. No doubt about it.

And do you know something else? I wouldn’t feel guilty about it. Because it would be the right decision for me, and the right decision for that collection of cells, because I know I couldn’t give a child the very best in life – purely because I don’t want to. I don’t think that’s selfish in the slightest. I think that’s realising that, despite all the great things about having kids, I don’t want the whole package.

I don’t buy the belief that all women feel guilty about terminating a pregnancy, and will think about it forever more. If a woman is making the right decision for herself, based on her own personal circumstances, then why would she feel guilt? Sure, at some point you might think “what if?” But that’s not to say it will be a whistful what if! Personally I would feel relief. Relief that I live in a progressive society where a woman has the right to choose and take control of her body.

Relief that I will not be punished for making a decision that, ultimately, affects me more than anyone.

So, Mr Trump, you have completely isolated all the women out there like me, who believe in “our body, our right” (as if we didn’t already hate your guts for your vile thoughts about Muslims and closing borders).

But that’s ok I guess. Because all the pro-lifers will be on your side and you’ll guarantee their share of the vote, right?


In a statement, Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, said Trump’s comments were “completely out of touch with the pro-life movement and even more with women who have chosen such a sad thing as abortion.”

“Being pro-life means wanting what is best for the mother and the baby,” Mancini said. “Women who choose abortion often do so in desperation and then deeply regret such a decision. No pro-lifer would ever want to punish a woman who has chosen abortion. This is against the very nature of what we are about.”

Ha, have that you orange bigot!

Worse still, upon sensing he’d dropped a massive clanger with his comments, Trump has back peddled and suggested he meant punishment for the doctors carrying out abortions.

Oh, so that’s ok then? No it’s not! A doctor, a medical professional, carrying out a legal operation that a woman has requested? Would you punish plastic surgeons who are going against the natural grain with breast enlargements and nose jobs? Because I don’t think that’s what God had in mind when he created Adam and Eve.

What next? Surely some homophobic slurs and a vow to reverse the decision to legalise gay marriage. Making it legal for police officers to shoot black people on sight. Hell, let’s even give the KKK some political power. Sounds far fetched?

Unfortunately, I think anything is possible with this vile excuse for a human being.

And you know what’s worse than him?

The misty eyed dim witted followers that agree with him.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

The baby debate (with some really awesome memes!)

I’ve read a couple of articles recently that talk about the “phenomenon” of women not wanting babies.

Not, not wanting them at a particular point in life.Not wanting them at all.

The first article I read spoke to a woman who has been fighting for sterilisation rather than continuing to use contraception (which, let’s face it, can and does fail). She’s childless and knows she doesn’t want children. Ever. Yet she keeps getting pushback from health professionals who don’t want her to make that permanent decision.

She was nearly 30.

Now, I’m firmly in the no kids camp. The idea of being a mother does nothing for me. I have no aching womb, no maternal instincts, and no desire to push a human being out of my front bottom. So obviously I’m going to defend her position and stand up for her.


But actually, regardless of your stance, isn’t it pretty disgusting that a grown woman with years of life experience is being told she doesn’t know her own mind? Complete strangers think they know her better than she knows herself?

Not broken

Why is a woman’s personal view on procreation such a big deal? Why is it everyone else’s business? And why, in this day and age, are we still expected to be baby makers, and frowned upon when we express a different view?

I appreciate that women who don’t want children are in the minority. Girls grow up with dolls and pushing prams and there is a certain unspoken expectation that they grow up and have their own kids. I was no exception. I grew up with that expectation of myself. Hell, at 20 I’d even picked out kids names with my then boyfriend (cringe). Because that’s what girls do. I thought I’d follow the path of meeting a boy, getting married, living in a semi detached house with a garden, having kids, and going for Sunday lunch at my parents’ house once a month.

My life now couldn’t be further away from that. The only conventional thing I’ve done from that list is get married. Outside of that I live in a flat, I spend all my money without fail every month, I drink too much, I have hangovers most weekends, I enjoy afternoon naps when I’m at home, I swear like a trooper and I fill all my space with clothes and shoes. I have no room in my life for a child – physically or figuratively.

No children

The great thing about this is that the husband feels the same. We were friends for two years before we got together, so we already knew each others opinion on children by the time anything happened between us. In fact he split up with a previous fiancée because she announced she’d be having a baby as soon as they were married, so he couldn’t really be clearer! We’re both only children, but neither of our families have expressed any interest in us giving them grandchildren (thank God!)

I can only imagine the pain and heartbreak it must cause if one person in a relationship wants something different to the other. It’s so important to set your stall. I don’t think there can be a middle ground with children.

And yes, I know that people change their minds. Maybe personal circumstances change, or they meet a new person with whom they want to share the joy of children. So in that respect I can see that the NHS is trying to avoid future heartbreak. But I’m sure, if you sit people down with an assessor or psychiatrist, you can tell the difference between those people who are on the fence and those who are a vehement no. In the meantime women are having to continue with contraception and, in some cases, dealing with unwanted pregnancies, simply because the powers that be think they know better.

And it’s not just professionals. Everyone seems to have a view. You get married and people want to know when you’ll be starting a family. Not just people who are close to you either. Work colleagues, shopkeepers, the window cleaner. Worse still, when you say never, the condescending “you’ll change your mind” statement. No I bloody won’t! Now bog off out of my business!

My decision

The temptation to tell people I’m infertile just to watch them squirm is immense. For the record, I’ve been told I’d make a brilliant parent (aside from the drinking, swearing and sleeping for as long as I like, when I like). I lived with my step brother and sister during my 20s, when they were 18 months and 3 years old. I looked after them, bathed them, cared for them, played with them and fed them. I adored them. But the difference was they weren’t mine. Ultimately they weren’t my responsibility. I was a part time participant when it suited me. The responsibility sat with my Mom and her husband.

In truth, I’d love to want children. I think it must be so rewarding. Seeing that tiny hand curl round yours, a smile that lights up when your child looks at you, or the cuddles and kisses just for being there. But I don’t want it. None of that is enough to make up for giving up the life that I’ve chosen for myself. That’s not being selfish. That’s being self aware.

Besides, you wouldn’t question a woman about the fact that she chooses to have children. You wouldn’t ask a pregnant woman if she was sure, or what would happen if she changed her mind. You wouldn’t try to cajole her by telling her she’d make a bad parent.

So why is it acceptable the opposite way around?

Don't have children

Maybe, just maybe, the NHS should start giving women the credit that they’re due, rather than treating our independent thoughts and beliefs as silly hormonal confusion and brushing them under the carpet.