My PCOS Journey: Living with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Living with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, this is my PCOS journey and story. Before I begin, I just want to praise and acknowledge anyone who gets up everyday feeling optimistic and accepting their PCOS journey. Even though you may question why this has happened to you or feel you may not be worthy of being a mother, know that God or whatever you may believe in has a better plan for you.

Below I explain PCOS and some symptoms I face:

What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a condition that affects women and how the ovaries function. Nowadays it is thought that about 1 in 10 women in the UK suffer with PCOS. It is a hormonal condition and it is not known what causes this. Living with PCOS can be very difficult.

Common Symptoms or Signs of PCOS?

  • Excessive hair growth (face, chest, back)
  • Irregular periods or no period
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty getting pregnant
  • Oily skin
  • Acne
  • Hair loss or hair thinning from the head
  • Increased risk of getting type 2 diabetes
  • Depression
  • Sleep Apnoea
  • High Blood Pressure

My PCOS consists of all these common signs and symptoms except type 2 diabetes (all praises to God). However, when I was seen by a gyno 8 months ago, she told me I was borderline type 2 diabetic. I was in the middle of my emotionally abusive marriage which I know was not helping my condition either!

Anyway, I only ever started my period naturally maximum 3 times in my whole life! Once when I was 11 years old and my period lasted 1 day, again at 15 years old and my period lasted 2/3 days and lastly at 27 when my marriage broke down. But my gynocologist mentioned I may have miscarried due to stress during my marriage breakdown. As you can imagine, living with PCOS and in an abusive marriage was extremely taxing on my mental health.

At the age of 21, having no period was obviously very abnormal. PCOS can run in the family and my cousin had been diagnosed with PCOS so I was pretty sure I had the same condition. However, I was neglected by the NHS when being checked by doctors at the age of 16 and was ruled out as having a “hormonal imbalance”. At 21 I had the same scan again and was finally told I had PCOS. I cried my eyes out because the thought of not being able to have children was daunting.

Toxic Relationship and PCOS

For me personally, I now see my PCOS as a gift. Why you may ask? Without a doubt it has saved me from my biggest regret. My marriage. I know if children were involved my life would have been over because he would have used my kids against me. Being in a narcissistic relationship didn’t help me or my health when I was trying to get pregnant. And thanks to my PCOS, I was saved from an abusive relationship longterm.

My ex husband was adamant that we would have children, despite knowing about my PCOS before we married. I stopped taking my contraception pills and began to see a gynocologist to help me conceive naturally. Unfortunately after some scans and blood tests I was told I would need to go through IVF. IVF is a procedure where the sperm and egg are fertilised outside the body by scientists and then inserted back into the female. This comes with some risks and is very expensive, however, many have been successful.

I would have mental breakdowns due to my ex’s comments on my weight as well as me not being able to conceive. He would embarrass me in front of other people. I had never hid my condition from him but he made me feel like less of a woman due to my infertility. Due to this I became suicidal, and had constant panic attacks. Thanks to good friends and supportive family members (who lived in the UK whilst I was in the US) I managed to escape my marriage.

Also, the pressure of his mother always complaining about me not being pregnant was constantly on my mind. She would make remarks about if me and my ex were using protection and would discuss this with her friends in front of me. I would be so embarrassed and my ex was okay with it. He would defend his mother and tell me she can say and do what she wants.

How to Cope with PCOS

So what do I do, while living with PCOS to cope? I remind myself every day that I’m beautiful in any shape or size as PCOS does make losing weight difficult. My weight fluctuates but I don’t let it bring me down. Yes, I do experience bad days but I try to eat healthily but never starve or deprive myself. PCOS is a mental challenge more than anything so it is very important to keep and have an optimistic mindset.

PCOS does not rule out having children for me. It just makes the journey to become a mother more difficult but I know that God has a plan for me. I surround myself with people who will always love and support me.

It really does affect my mental health and I always try my best to support charities who help orphaned children and women struggling with fertility. This gesture gives my mind comfort that I’m helping those less fortunate than me and I begin to show more gratitude.

I have started to try and drink green juices every morning, I avoid dairy products as much as I can as I become bloated! I was also advised to eat gluten and dairy free products to avoid diabetes and increase in weight. So you might want to look more into that!

For excessive hair growth I have had laser treatment done and it has really helped with my confidence and self-esteem. Laser has many benefits as it also clears up your skin and any hyperpigmentation caused by PCOS.

Remember ladies, having a supportive partner is so crucial when facing difficulties in life especially involving fertility. I wasn’t as lucky BUT not being able to have children doesn’t define who I am as a person or a woman. Just remember after hardship comes ease and if we are not blessed to have children, we will be blessed in other ways.

Written by Layla

Being Childfree at 30

silhoette of woman
Photo by Ilzy Sousa on Pexels.com

Here I am, a few weeks after my 30th birthday, divorced and childless. Not exactly the image I had of myself when I was in my early twenties. I was in a stable long-term relationship throughout my twenties and truly believed I would be a mother by my early 30s. This is something that has been weighing on my mind recently. So let’s talk about it.

As my marriage came crumbling down around me, I have had to get used to the feeling of discomfort. And one of the major sources of this discomfort has been the realisation that motherhood may not be on my radar. I have not cancelled out having children altogether. Not by a long shot, but right now I am single and it is certainly at the forefront of my mind.

Here are some of my recent thoughts on whether to have children in my thirties or not:

It is Okay to be Unsure, Even at 30

For lots of women, their maternal instinct is strong. They have this deep sense of urgency to be a mother from an early age. They know that starting a family is their calling and have zero doubts about it. Take my mother as an example. She met my father at 19 and by 22 she had me, with no doubts in her mind. The idea was not intimidating to her and it felt 100% natural. However, for me, I have moments of broodiness. I catch myself tearing up at photos of babies and longing to be a mother. But I am also used to being childless. The idea of having a baby to look after 24/7 is terrifying. And I am selfish. I enjoy my weekends, brunches and spontaneous city trips despite my ticking biological clock. And I know I am not the only one like this.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

At the age of 30, almost everyone I know is either married or has children or both. I can count on my hands, the people I went to school with who haven’t started a family yet. However, comparison is the thief of joy. As happy as I am for my friends when I see their swelling bellies and baby scans, I am also happy to wake up late on a Saturday. I like to do my yoga unbothered and spend the day how I want. It is ok to do things in your own time. Do not feel pressured to join the club, just because it is society’s expectation of you to be a mother.

Educate Yourself on Fertility/Options

By this age, you’ll definitely have heard comments like “So any plans for starting a family?” And while these comments can get really irritating and feel like a personal attack on your womanhood, it is important to educate yourself on future options.

Only recently have I really started to think about different future options. At around the age of 30, our fertility decreases and at 35, we have an even sharper decline meaning the chances of falling pregnant naturally can be difficult. Modern medicine is our friend here. Thanks to the miracle of freezing eggs, IVF, surrogate mothers and of course fostering/adoption, we have plenty of options for the future. However, it is important to educate yourself if you think you may want kids in your late 30s.

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Photo by Anny Patterson on Pexels.com

Being a Mother Does Not = Womanhood

Your womanhood is not determined by having children and there is still a stigma around women who choose not to have a family. We are portrayed as lonely, cold and unlovable, while men who choose not to have kids are “career-driver” and “successful.” However, the reality is that more and more women are choosing not to have children nowadays. We are going to break the stigma by having conversations about it.

And while I myself am still undecided about whether or not I will have kids, I am open to having the conversation. I am starting to look at my options and educate myself to get a better understanding of what my future might look like!

I hope this advice is somewhat useful and would love to hear your opinions on the subject of motherhood and fertility in your thirties!