the Mirena IUD changed everything about me, my body & my mind.   

 

In two years of having the Mirena, I experienced severe weight gain (60+lbs), depression & complete loss of my libido.
Over time, I've started to share my story over Facebook & Instagram and the outreach from other women has been truly overwhelming. 
In one day, I had over 30 different women message me on Instagram telling me their birth control stories, experiences and asking questions. I hadn't realized how hidden the topic was until I had all these different women of all different ages - suddenly coming to me for advice. 

Sex wasn't a subject discussed with either of my parents. I think they just preferred to pretend like it wasn't happening. So thank goodness for the internet & Planned Parenthood. Let me just quickly add - Planned Parenthood is a seriously incredible resource for young adults. The fact that politicians have even tried to take this resource and funding away from our communities is absolutely disgusting. Planned Parenthood wasn't a place encouraging me to have sex. If anything that was in school & on the internet. & while we are being really honest. I had /had/ sex before even walking into a Planned Parenthood for the first time. PP,  provided me with a safe and private place to get the information and resources I needed at that time. Thanks to them, I never even had to think about the need for an abortion. They had provided a safe place for me to find birth control, condoms and any type of STD OR STI information I could have needed.

After graduating high school, I moved out and into my boyfriend's place. 
(This relationship ended in June 2016 and while relevant, I won't be posting much details into that on this post. ) 
At eighteen, I struggled with the time consistency necessary for taking the pill. I was working the waitress/artist cocktail and waking up at a different time every day - I never really had a routine and found myself struggling to take it at the right time. 
For my boyfriend - condoms just weren't an option because 'it didn't feel the same'.

All the pressure was put on me and my body to make sure I was the one who didn't get pregnant. 

 

Photos Below
1 Month w/ Mirena (2013)
almost 2 years w/ Mirena (2015)

 
 
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October 2013

I decided it was time to get more official and find a long-term OB-GYN. I asked a few people I trusted for recommendations & was able to get into an appointment with the my first choice. 

We went over my lifestyle, relationship status, what I was looking for and then the different options.

Thereare pills, IUDS, rings, patches...etc. 
After everything, she suggested that the Mirena was my best option. 

1) You only have to have it inserted once & you're great for 5 years.
2) Your periods will stop, no more bleeding. (This is promoted heavily as a positive thing.) 
3) Low hormones
4) & best of all  - worry free sex!

It all sounded perfect. 


I got it in on Halloween 2013.

I spent that night with a heated blanket in the fetal position. It was an uncomfortable /crampy/ feeling but nothing unbearable. With the use of Advil, I was pretty much back to normal for work the next day.

It was after the first week when the cramps started to come and go. 
Excruciating cramps.
Cramps that made me fall to the floor. 
After a call to the doctor, they re-confirmed that this was normal and could be expected while the body adjusts. When I started to talk to other women, some even said it took their bodies 6-8 months to finally stop the cramping completely. I continued to have unpredictable cramping for about 8 months, some cramps worse than others. Several times while driving, I would need to pull my car over to the side of the road and wait for the pain to subside before I could go back to driving safely. 

 

my CRAMPS ARE GONE WITH MY INTIMACY. 

Finally after about a year, the cramps began to disappear and only come around once a month. However - now my sex drive has completely vanished. I don't want to touch or be touched. I have absolutely no desire for intimacy. Watching romance movies even begin to make me uncomfortable. 

When you lose your libido/sex drive, it is horrifying, confusing and lonesome. 
You question absolutely everything about yourself, you are convinced there is something wrong with you. 
Multiple times my boyfriend would compare us to his other friends who were having more sex than him and that I should want it more. I was convinced it was my problem, that I was brokenMy moods became worse, I became more irritable and depressed. I was questioning myself constantly.

/ Why are you like this?/
/Why can't you just want it?/
/Why can't you be more like the other girls?/
over and over and over. 

I had stopped laughing.
I was sleeping as much as possible so I didn't have to be awake
I stopped hanging out with friends. 

Left photo (2014) About a year into the Mirena | 200lbs Right Photo (2016) Around a year after getting the Mirena out | 160lbs

Left photo (2014) About a year into the Mirena | 200lbs
Right Photo (2016) Around a year after getting the Mirena out | 160lbs


| MARCH 2015, THE REMOVAL |

I didn't even make it two years before I decided to get it removed.
My intimacy levels were at an all time low. The fights had become almost daily between my boyfriend and I. I only ever had sex to make him happy.  I felt so ashamed and embarrassed to be 22 and facing these issues. This seemed like the only possible option because I wanted my relationship to work. 

After expressing my concerns, the doctor was quick to shut them down.  She was adamant that the hormone amount was so low that it couldn't possibly be causing such a rapid dip in my sex drive. She continued to ensure me that there was no way the Mirena was producing enough hormones to cause this and that maybe I needed to look at my relationship. 

Unable to gather my thoughts to even form words. I felt claustrophobic, confused and lost. Everything I was counting on her to say - she said the complete opposite. 
I came in wanting to get the Mirena out because my libido was gone, my personality was gone - and now she is telling me getting it removed isn't the answer. She assured me the Mirena just couldn't be the cause because it was too low in hormones.  I was devastated. I had put all my hope on this. 

I had to choke back tears. I didn't want to defend my relationship to her. I was tired and frustrated. I'd been questioning myself and my relationship for month and this had felt like my last option. She said the last thing I wanted to hear. 

Despite her advice, I continued with the IUD removal that same day. I had already made up my mind that I didn't want that invading my body anymore.  I knew I wanted & needed that IUD out of my body as fast as possible. 

Photos
Top left ( October 2017 )
Top Right ( January 2015 )

 

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| YOU KNOW YOUR BODY BEST |

The best decision I've ever made for myself was getting the Mirena out. I am not saying this is going to happen to every woman who gets on birth control. However - I was told I was wrong about my own concerns about my body and that is what upsets me. 

Within 2 weeks, my mood began to improve tremendously.
& even like clockwork, my libido was back in full swing. 
I started to feel like myself again. 


| 60+lbs in less than 2 years | 

I never once suspected my weight gain was from the Mirena.
I got off the Mirena because of the person it made me. 

I had no sex drive, I was irritable and depressed constantly.
I barely recognized the person I turned into.

I didn't realize how much weight it had made me gain until I got off of it.
The weight literally started to melt off. I didn't do anything to change my diet.
I was still eating and exercising the exact same. 

In 2013, I was 160lbs when I got the Mirena in. 
Between 2014 and 2015, I fluctuated between 200lbs & 225lbs until I got the Mirena removed. 

Within the first 2 months, I lost 20 lbs. 
By June 2015 - I hit the lowest I'd been in years at 190lbs. 
By June 2016, I was back to my starting weight at 160lbs. 


| CURRENT OCTOBER 2017  | 

I got the Mirena in October 2013.
In four years my body went through massive amounts of changes due to birth control, all of which was denied by doctors. 
I stayed away from birth control for a year to help my body re balance itself and continued to lose weight steadily. 

I am now on the non-hormonal Copper IUD & I have not had any similar experiences to the Mirena. I don't even get the cramps that I had with the Mirena. 

My weight loss remained consistent for a year without changing anything in my diet. In June 2016, I finally ended an unhealthy relationship I had been in for over 5 years. Since June 2016, my lifestyle and food choices have changed dramatically as I've cut more than 85-90% of  meat and dairy out of my diet. 

 

Please share and spread awareness!
We should not be afraid to talk about these things. 

It changed everything for me when I had a woman personally tell me that I had saved her life.  
She had read my story I shared on Facebook and she'd been getting incredibly bad mood swings with severe depression. She was contemplating her life. She got off her birth control because of my story. She experienced the immediate weight loss and an improved mood within just a few weeks also. 

We are NOT the only ones.

Please feel free to share with your friends and family members. 
I've specifically created this page to create a public spot for people to read, learn and share about my experience. 

Please feel free to share your story, message me or just to connect with me! 

Find me on Instagram! @mandeerae 

why now?

 
 

As a kid, I journaled a lot. I wrote almost every day.
It was my way of dealing with my feelings and getting it out. When I started photography, that became my new way of expressing myself. I started by taking self-portraits. I was getting bullied for my looks in school. And in a very short amount of time, I lost two people in my life that meant a lot to me. One of them was my best friend. Instead of getting hooked on drugs or alcohol to deal with emotions, I became very introverted and started going on photo adventures by myself. 

As soon as I graduated high school, I was out of the house. I moved in with the boy I'd "fallen' in love with. I had stopped journaling and I stopped taking self-portraits. Instead, I started to use all my energy on making photography my career. Fast forward 4 years and I stopped taking self-portraits completely. I stopped sharing anything about my life and slowly started to become more and more depressed. 

For 5 years, it was a mixture of many things. 
I'd got onto birth control that completely changed me as a person, physically and emotionally. As well as into a relationship. In 2 years - I gained 70lbs. I was becoming so lost and confused with my own body that I allowed myself to stay in a mentally abusive relationship that was also killing my self-esteem and happiness. 

So why now?
Our break up was in June 2016 and even though it has been a year, I am still working on rebuilding myself after all those years. Now, I am in the healthiest relationship I have ever been in and I'm the happiest I've ever been. The amount of support and growth I've been able to make this year has been substantial and I truly don't think I would have grown the way I did without the man I am with now. 

As I've started to share my story over social media, I've had so many women and men reaching out to me to tell me I've been inspiring or helpful. It has truly changed my life. I had no idea that me sharing my own stories would help or inspire others. It has truly left me speechless. 
Knowing how many lives I've changed - I only want to continue. I felt very alone for a very long time and I want to help keep other women away from that.