Wow, this post has been a long time coming. I’ve been working on a post on PTSD for so long and it is getting nowhere, I don’t know how long that one is going to take me to be honest. I’ve been working hard all week after my first week in my masters began on Monday, the work load is a lot but I’m feeling confident and I signed up to the counselling services (which had the fastest turn around ever, within 24 hours I’d had my first meeting and formed a timetable for help).
So, let’s talk about the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, for the first time writing this blog I am writing raw. I don’t speak about the impact or implications often because I can’t, but now is the time. This week I posted on Instagram about my mental health history, I posted photos taken the day after my suicide attempts of me dressed up about to go clubbing. Without knowing what had happened you would never have guessed where my brain was at, my journey with PCOS and infertility has been very similar in regard to how I’ve kept it all together on the outside despite falling apart internally.
My eating disorder ruined my life. It wasn’t my depression, even my suicidal thoughts or my bipolar disorder. It was my anorexia. At such a pivotal age in the growth of a youth to be starving yourself essentially to death because your so-called friends made it clear you were too fat to ever be wanted; it ruined my body. I didn’t go through puberty normally; I was quite a late starter for someone who was having huge growth spurts monthly I got my period when I was 13. This might not seem that late to a lot of people, but I was informed of the consequences of my earlier anorexia and that it could’ve caused problems. I was twelve when I found out my chances of having kids could’ve been significantly lowered thanks to my eating disorder. I battled that alone and didn’t tell anyone for years.
I finally told someone, and I have regrets, I thought I was friends with this girl, but she made the news more public and suddenly quite a few people knew of it. I felt vulnerable, it wasn’t like my anxiety and depression, to be honest telling people about that was nothing compared to that of my infertility. How many twelve-year olds are told that they could potentially have caused their own infertility?
I put it out of my head though, as previously mentioned I fluctuated through weights but remained healthy throughout secondary school. I acted as if it hadn’t affected me, but it had; as I fell in and out of infatuation with several guys, I kept thinking at what point is it normal to bring up you may never have kids. Let me tell you now, what I’ve learnt is there IS NO TIME TO BRING IT UP. Half the guys you meet will see that as a free pass to not use protection (it is not, keep your STDs to yourself) and half will feel too awkward to carry on speaking and you’ll end up wondering if it was your mental stability or your stupid need to be upfront with your flaws from the start which scared them away.
Then university came. In February 2018 I got diagnosed with PCOS. Now this bit, if you are a man who can’t stand hearing about periods will confuse/irritate you but it’s important. I was getting my period twice to three times a year, it would come for four days and be heavy on day one then light after. I never knew when it’d come but the pain once it was there was horrific. I was fed up of this pattern, I never had even the slightest idea of when my period would come and when it did the first day or so would be so painful that it was almost my luck it’d turn up on important days.
I finally went and got it checked, I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I wanted answers. My blood tests showed irregularities but not in the sense they could do anything about it and I was informed I had PCOS. A common side effect being infertility, I was broken. I still am. Occasionally my Granny forgets that I’m infertile and states how excited she is for me to give her great-grandchildren. Jokingly responding with ‘you’ll have to cope with adopted ones if that’s okay’ gets me choked up every time. What twenty-one-year-old should be having to tell her parents and grandparents they may never have biological grandchildren and greatgrandchildren; now I just want to put this in because it is so important. I’ve always wanted to adopt, along with having biological children, adoption was always in my plan. I have so much love to give and I can’t wait to be able to give it.
Over the years I’ve had different doctors say different things to me. A doctor last Christmas broke my heart, I’d been in A&E for hours with horrific abdomen pain, the woman insisted I was pregnant due to my lack of period for a few months. I’d taken a pregnancy test literally a week before and knew I wasn’t but a professional telling me that got my hopes up. (If you are sat there trying to work out who would’ve been the father, couldn’t have told you to be completely transparent). I told the doctor I had PCOS and have basically been told there is nothing more than a miniscule of chance I could have children, but she was insisting that this was the only thing. Now that’s the problem, I was broody as hell as a few people I knew had just given birth and thinking wow is there a possibility. I knew there wasn’t.
I feel like it’s quite easy to talk about my depression or even my failed suicide attempts but speaking about this is a whole different field. I actually began writing this and having had a breakdown had to carry on this morning with the treat of a McDonalds breakfast slowly coming my way.
I’ve always wanted children, like always wanted them. I always said my biggest dream in life was to have children and to this day it still is but I’m aware more than ever before that dreams don’t always come true. I think it’s important to note at this point though I am prepared for if I never manage to biologically reproduce and have therefore prepared myself for other ways of having children through adoption etc.
At the age of 21 to be looking into a future where I won’t be having children is hard, like really hard. Most people find out that they can’t have kids when they are trying not many years before, I’ve been given options of freezing my eggs but it’s not an option at such a young age. I have so much I need to achieve before I’m in a mental position to say yes to having children and quite frankly right now is not that time. The problem is by that age I could be in a position where I have no eggs left, the same time that Doctor told me I was apparently pregnant last Christmas she said I could’ve gone into early onset menopause. I was terrified, I’d walked into A&E a 20-year-old in physical pain and left emotionally scarred. I had no words. My period did turn up the day after and the abdomen pain got worse, meaning I ended up back in A&E finding problems elsewhere.
Since that I got my period in January, then missed February then again in March. After that my period didn’t come till August and even then, the period was two days long with no pain or anything so I’m still not sure it actually was a period. September however, definitely had a period. I was in severe pain for a full week and despite it I’ve never felt so relieved.
This sounds so stupid but half of my insecurity around my infertility is surrounded by my fear of not being enough, for example though I know this is such an outdated way of looking at things women’s primal reason for life has and probably will always be reproduction. It makes us far superior to men; but I can’t have kids so where does that leave me? Am I less of a woman because of it? I surely do feel like I am sometimes because of it and that’s definitely not right.
So, where do I conclude this? My PCOS means I have higher chances of infertility, so does my past eating disorder and both of those is terrible to remember and think about. There are other side effects of my PCOS and I’m sure one day I’ll finally make a post on that, but this is already quite long, so yeah this is my story. I’m twenty-one-years-old and I may never have biological children and whilst that is a heart-breaking sentence to write, IT IS OKAY. I will be an amazing mother anyway.
Thank you for bearing with me, I know this is long-winded, but this was hard to write.
Lots of love as always.