It’s been ten long years since I last had a coil in, and I have had horrendous periods in that time. I’m not going to lie. I have always had heavy, painful periods. I have had multiple investigations done. And I’ve written about my periods, menstruation practices and the way these link with Brigid many times before! But I want to talk about another aspect today.
What’s the coil, Órlagh?
The coil, in this case I’m referring to the Mirena coil, is a small, T-shaped plastic device that’s put into your womb (uterus) by a doctor or nurse. It contains a low dose of the hormone progesterone. For more information on the coil, other forms of contraception and what to think about when choosing contraception, check out the HSE website. The HSE is the Health and Safety Executive and is the governing body for all things health related in Ireland.
Now, while the coil is used for contraception, that’s not why I’m using it. And, there are other options, see the link above, for both contraception and heavy periods. Research is needed for what is best suited to you, your circumstances, your lifestyle etc.
Why did I get the coil back after a decade?
The one and only reason I got the coil taken out in the first place was to try and have a family. That didn’t happen. The family, I mean. So, after ten years and after my health scare a few weeks ago (I don’t think I wrote about that on the blog, but I did to my email list. Sign up here if you want to hear all about my life and practice!) I decided enough was enough.
Now, I am someone who was taken to the doctor at 15 to go on the pill so I’d have some chance of surviving the Junior Cert. Seriously. My mother was not impressed by said doctor telling me to have a few babies and I’d be fine. I’m not talking a minor cramping issue, now mind. I’m talking about throwing up, days in bed, inability to walk…
So, essentially, from the time I was 16 to the time I was 33(ish), I was on contraception. Now, several times during that time I changed types, mostly due to me complaining to various medical personnel about the pain I was suffering and about how the drugs just didn’t work anymore. Periods suck sometimes, y’know?
But the husband and I also wanted to try for a family. And we gave it a good go, did a lot of investigations, did a lot of work, practical and spiritual, spent an amount of money…. but no joy. So, we decided to get it back in.
How will this affect my practices around menstruation, periods and Brigid?
Well, here we go. The last time I was on the coil, my periods stopped. Completely. But then I was much younger than I am now and my body has changed a lot. So the insertion was a touch more difficult than usual, but no worse than my normal cramps. There may be a difference in the effects as well.
One thing that will change is my usual practices around menstruation. As in, if my periods stop again (please, Brigid, please!!) I will no longer be returning my menstrual blood to the land, because (please, please, please, Brigid) I will no longer be producing any. On the other hand, I will have more energy throughout the month and my iron levels will probably shoot up. (Yes, I loose that much blood every month).
So, I will be thinking about alternative ways to honour my body’s cycles and feed the land I live on. I haven’t got it all sorted out, but I think that monthly rest is going to become an essential part of my life, driven by my need not to burn out rather than by simply being forced to rest.
What does Brigid think about contraception in general?
Honestly? I’ve never had a problem with Brigid and contraception. The “ban-leighis” or “woman physician” mentioned in the Lebor Gabála Érenn is discussed as being a midwife or a physician of women in some texts. (Can I hell find the citation for this now, but I’m reasonably certain it was in Fergus Kelly’s Brehon Law book). (Yes, it’s also gendered language, but remember the time frame’s we’re talking about…)
A midwife has to know about things like preventing pregnancy as well as helping people through pregnancy and birth. What kills can often cure in smaller doses after all. And by understanding, in the context of the science available at the time, what’s going on inside a person’s body, the midwife can help the person bleeding a lot better. Now I have two courses where you can find out more about Brigid the Healer. The one over at IPS and the one on Brig in the LGE here in the Forge. Yes, there is a price difference. That’s the difference between a 5 week deep dive and a 2ish hour class!
Thus far in our multi-decade long relationship, Brigid has never had an issue with contraception, particularly when it’s for health reasons as well. And, I’ll be honest, I’ll be using the three months between Samhain and Imbolc to figure out what my new practices will be like. Click here if you want to join me on that journey! (or just check it out, find out more etc!)
This was a big move. And it meant giving up a dream both my husband and I had for a decade. But honestly, it was time to move on. The pain, the monthly retreat to the couch, most of the time in tears, with zero energy and less enthusiasm… none of it was worth it on an ongoing basis. And Brigid has work for me to do. So, I need to get on now and do it!!