After the birth of my last child, I learned I was suffering from a debilitating disorder – premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which is a severe form of PMS that affects between 2 and 10 percent of all menstruating women. I had dreadful mood swings and what felt like the most painful periods any woman could ever face. I lived with this unspeakable pain for months, and it seemed to get worse every month. I knew this wasn’t normal, and finally I decided to mention it to my gynecologist when I realized that I could not live like this any longer.

My gynecologist was great and recommended birth control. She seemed to be a wealth of knowledge about PMDD and was supportive about my desire to do some of my own research before making a decision. After reading all I could about PMDD, I decided birth control was the avenue I would pursue. We settled on Nexplanon, a matchstick size arm implantation device. The only scary part was the insertion and healing process, as it did cause my arm to swell and caused a bruise, which healed after about a week.

Within the first week, I already felt my symptoms subsiding. My doctor had explained that I could experience spotting frequently, and that is usually why most women want it taken out. I seemed to have the opposite, thankfully. It caused my periods to become shorter and lighter. They weren’t painful at all, and I didn’t have the embarrassing symptoms of PMDD anymore.

After a few weeks, I realized I was no longer in pain at all during my cycle. I didn’t have headaches and painful cramps before my period. I was not having to wake up multiple times a night to change a tampon and my clothes because I had bled through them.

I was so unbelievably happy that I could have a normal life again, and I could even wear white pants in the summer.

It wasn’t until a month into having the Nexplanon in place that I realized I was having a very negative reaction to the hormones inside of the rod inserted into my arm. I was having a decreased interest in sex with my husband. We didn’t even discuss it for that month. I was so happy I wasn’t in such agony that I didn’t even see what it was doing to my husband and our marriage.

“Why won’t you come out here with me?” my husband asked.

“I know what you want, and I just can’t,” I replied back.

It was not the kindest way to answer him; here I was ignoring his plea for some intimate alone time with his wife. It was the 4th week in a row that I had denied him and I just couldn’t face him. I knew he would ask me what was going on and I just didn’t have an answer for him. I just knew I didn’t feel like having sex with him, and didn’t know when I would feel like doing so again.

And yet, he was being genuinely nice and understanding to me, even though I was being such a witch to him. And the fact that he was always so nice to me, despite my continual shutdowns to his advances just made me feel guilty. How can a marriage of only 10 years survive with a wife who doesn’t want to be intimate with her husband?

Now I am stuck with this horrible task. Which is more important to me?

Is birth control the only thing that can stop this horrible tormenting pain or is there something else out there that I haven’t found yet that can stop what I am feeling? Will switching to a different birth control allow me to have the best of both worlds? When will I enjoy the company of my sweet husband again?

I want to be selfish and enjoy no periods or pain but not at the expense of my marriage.

Is it so wrong to want it all?

Megan McLemore

Megan McLemore is a wife and mother to three amazing children, two of which are on the Autism spectrum. When she's not busy managing the controlled chaos that surrounds family life, she is either at the gym, relaxing with her sweet husband, or writing about her life experiences. Her family resides in Florida and she is active with the Sidewalk Advocates for Life.