I remember how excited I was when my husband first said he wanted to “try”. Immediately I’d had visions of cribs and diaper bags and felt like dancing a jig. After all, I was young, healthy, and had oodles of love to give away, not to mention that everyone I knew was asking me when two would become three. Nothing could bring me down at that point from my hoping-for-baby induced euphoria.

I had gotten married during college, so in order to make sure I could finish classes, I’d started on birth control. I had figured that when my husband said that magic word (”try”), I’d celebrate and just send everyone at the birth control clinic thank-you-but-no-thanks-anymore cards. I would stop taking the birth control, immediately become pregnant, and all would be well.

It was a simple, brilliant plan.

Ok… maybe I didn’t send cards to the birth control clinic, but I did stop taking birth control. I had the ovulation kits. I had my online cycle calendar. I was so ready to have a kid.

Of course, then life happened.

After stopping the birth control, I was a complete mess. For starters, my doctor had made it a point to tell me that it might take two to three months for my cycle to find its own rhythm again. I figured that meant I might be late or early by a maybe a week, tops-after all, I was normally like a clock, anyway, and my doctor had said I might be irregular by “a few days”. I guess to him, “a few days” could be 3 or it could be 15. Guess what number I experienced.

Even a year after stopping the birth control, the ovulation kits and such became pretty useless and I gave up on the calendar tracking. Not even monitoring cervical fluid was predictable. I cried at everything and acted like the Tasmanian Devil in a dress to my husband-it’s a wonder he didn’t leave me, and I’m totally sure my fits of tears and screams were such a turn-on.

To make matters worse, babies were everywhere. A couple with which my husband and I are mutual friends announced the birth of their second daughter in two years. Oh, I’m so happy for you, I said-What, you just laid yourself down and got sprinkled with fertility juice? I thought. You weren’t even looking for these kids and you’ve got ‘em. I’m trying here and have squat. What gives?

Weeks later, I learned a scary truth about birth control-although most women experience normal cycles after three to six months, for some women, it can take up to two years before the cycle is back to its pre-birth-control rhythm. Now, if you aren’t planning to get pregnant any time soon, that’s no biggie except for the slight annoyance of a less predictable period. For someone who actually wants to try, however-well, that’s a whole different story.

Under the right circumstances, birth control can be a good thing, but women who are considering taking it need to understand that the decision to take it may affect those months after they pop their last pill. Remember that every woman is different. Talk to your doctor, but don’t be afraid to get online, go to the library, or make a few extra phone-calls, too.

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