I Have A Love-Hate Relationship With My IUD
And here's the reason why.
After getting a divorce when I was 41 I was faced with the fact that if I ever wanted another partner again (I did), I’d have to get out there and give it an honest try. After being with the same man for almost 20 years and pushing out three kids who somehow turned into teenagers, training for a marathon in sweltering temperatures sounded like it would be easier.
Little by little I found my way. At first, I just wanted sex. I didn’t have the emotional bandwidth to offer anything else. Then after some time had passed, I felt ready to try and have a somewhat decent relationship. I say decent because, dammit, it was scary. You think you’ve done the work on yourself after a breakup — and then inviting a new person in your life can bring up all the stuff you thought you’d taken care of.
Being in a relationship with all the great, regular sex made me realize quickly that I wanted to be in control of the birth control situation. I’m allergic to condoms, and having a burning/itching vagina gets old really fast. Not to mention this wasn’t a worry I’d had for a really long time. I was positive I didn’t want any more children, and my ex-husband had a vasectomy after our three kids … so, having to use birth control was never on my radar.
I’d heard from my friend that the IUD worked beautifully. I was nervous because there was a stint in college when I’d been on the pill — only to go off of it in six months because my mood swings practically ended my relationship and all of my friendships.
After talking to my doctor, she assured me it was a low dose of hormones, most women are fine, and I could always have it removed. When she told me I could have sex right away without worry, I morphed into a teenage boy and had one thing on my mind: It was party time. No need to worry about condoms or mistakes; I could finally get lost in the moment. It was pure freedom.
At 45, I’m at my sexual peak. I’ve never been so ready to go at any moment — not even in my 20s was I this ripe for the plucking. And my periods have completely gone away: I’m talking the bloating, headaches, cramps, bleeding, back pain and acne are long gone. For those reasons, I love my IUD.
However, while I’m not the same woman who fantasizes about ripping people’s heads off like I did in college when I was on the birth control pill, I can be a bit of an emotional wreck at times. OK, that was vague. Let me give it to you straight: Every two and a half weeks, I sob … like I’ve never sobbed before. I can’t get out of my own way. My anxiety is through the roof, I can’t sleep, I feel like the world is going to end, and the tiniest thing makes me feel like I won’t be able to make it through the day.
Then as soon as it comes, it goes. I’m pretty sure that’s the IUD at work although I am perimenopausal. I know this because within 48 hours of getting it I got in my car to drive to the grocery store and sat in my garage for a half hour crying, clutching on to the box of tissues … for no reason.
It was dramatic, and the whole time I was thinking, I don’t even know what’s wrong.
That has pretty much been the scene here for the last three years or so, and I have yet to pull the plug on my IUD. I have a love-hate relationship with it — though I do love it more, I think. I can handle the breakdown since I’m not bleeding and gaining 10 pounds each month, and I don’t feel like I have to stay in bed for the day. Plus, the spontaneous sex is so delicious.
I’ve heard other women my age (who aren’t on any type of birth control) say they relate to my sobbing sessions. They are crying in their cars, too, and feel like the littlest thing can break them on some days. So who’s to say it’s my IUD, anyway?
I’m thinking I’ll leave it in and enjoy the fact I no longer have to use my Diva Cup and try to get through life with debilitating cramps. Oh, and did I mention the spontaneous sex?