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Birth Control Fail: Buyer Beware

After I had my baby, I was pretty anxious to figure out my birth control situation. I don’t plan to wait for a terribly long time to have my next child, but I definitely wanted something that would provide me with a high level of assurance that baby #2 wouldn’t be arriving too soon.

After discussing birth control options at my six-week postpartum checkup I decided to have the Mirena IUD inserted and 11 weeks postpartum the deed was done. IUD inserted and future sex, free from worry, was gleaming on the horizon. Oh, how naive I was.

Now, 12 weeks later, I hate my IUD and have an appointment next week to get it removed. I give you forewarning (especially if you know me personally), this post may be TMI, but I wanted to share in hopes that I can help someone else who’s experienced something similar or who is considering birth control options.

Read more about my bad birth control experience after the jump!

When I had my IUD inserted, my doctor said that I could expect “spotting for up to six weeks”. OK, I thought, that kind of sucks, but I can deal with it. But, 12 weeks later I was still “spotting” (not so much “spotting”, more like a nasty brownish discharge alternating with days that seem more like a light period) and having to wear panty liners…EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. That means I’ve been bleeding for at least 84 days and that doesn’t even include the 6 weeks of on and off bleeding at the beginning of my postpartum experience. LONGEST. PERIOD. EVER.

On top of this never-ending-period, all of these hormones have led to a decreased sex drive and  I have been absolutely ravenous (not just breast feeding type ravenous, because I learned what that was like during the 11 weeks prior to getting my IUD) and gained five pounds. Definitely not what I was looking for in a birth control. Sure, it’s doing its job, but that’s only because I feel fat and gross and have no interest in sex. Thanks birth control.

I knew that increased appetite and lower sex drive are often associated with hormonal birth control, but I was starting to worry that maybe something was wrong with me because the whole bleeding situation should’ve stopped weeks ago, so I headed to Google. I ended up reading forum after forum of women who had the exact same symptoms and as they shared their stories I couldn’t believe no one else had ever mentioned anything like this – not even my doctor. There were women in these forums who had been dealing with the “spotting” issue for six months, a year, even 18 months! One woman even blamed her Mirena IUD for the ruin of her marriage, since her husband found her unappealing from the non-stop bleeding for so long that he eventually had an affair! Obviously that is an extreme circumstance and birth control alone cannot be blamed for the disintegration of someone’s relationship, but still…

After everything I read, I’ve decided to have my IUD removed and scheduled an appointment for next week to do so. I really wanted this relationship to work out, but it just hasn’t. Since we don’t plan on waiting all that long to have our next child, we’ll probably just stick with something simpler like condoms for the short term, because while I’m nursing, my options are limited. It sucks, but it’s better than the alternative: never having sex at all.

Have any of you had similar birth control experiences?  What type of birth control do you use postpartum?  

Lauren Hartmann is the founder of The Little Things We Do, a blog about life and adventures in Portland Oregon. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook, or catch up on all of her posts here on Babble.

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