I have PCOS, but I will never be PCOS: My story

Friday, February 26, 2016

Well, this explains why you haven’t had your period in seven months. You have PCOS.

A tall, thin middle-aged lady with curly blonde hair, my midwife, Linda, continued to keep her eyes—which were masked by reading glasses—on the laptop screen in front of her. I immediately broke down in tears as I lay on that cold, hard table with my legs spread in the stirrups. My mother was in the room with me, too, teary-eyed and saddened by my reaction to the news. I had read about polycystic ovarian syndrome and all that it does to women. I read stories of women who never had babies and would never become mothers. Hearing Linda tell me that PCOS is super common and that many women have it didn’t make me feel any better. In a sort of dazed stupor, I sent Brian a text:

I have PCOS.

It all started to make sense. In 2013, when I was 22, I started to grow little and few hairs on the bottom part of my chin, close to my neck. Having refused to shave it, someone had pointed it out at a Memorial Day barbeque, laughing, telling me that I needed to pluck the few hairs. I was humiliated, so I went ahead and shaved the hairs. Now, I’ve got to shave my chin almost every day. Since 2014, I’ve gained about 50 pounds. I won’t blame my weight-gain solely on the PCOS, but I’d say it played a huge part in the process. I was also feeling comfortable—I’d moved in with hubby, and I was happy and in love. In January 2014, my periods had started to come later and later, and in August, they stopped coming all together. I knew something was wrong, but I refused to think it was anything that would have such an effect on me. There was NO WAY it could be PCOS.

So, that all being said, I was prescribed some birth control and sent on my way. I wasn’t happy to be going on it, but I knew that it had to be done. Linda also said that taking birth control will regulate me and make it easier to conceive when I am actually ready. When I got home, Brian could immediately tell that I didn’t take the news so well. He hugged me and told me not to worry; that we’d get through it together.

I have a few friends who also have PCOS and have told me that it’s no big deal; PCOS doesn’t mean you’re definitely infertile and it can be cured. As much as I wanted all of that to make me feel better, it didn’t and it doesn’t. In fact, it annoys me more often than not, because all women are affected differently by PCOS. PCOS has been attacking directly at my womanhood. I lost all confidence in myself, often calling myself a “fat, hairy, infertile blob.” There are days when I wear huge, baggy tees and refuse to put on makeup all together (and while this may not seem like such a bad thing to some, it’s bad for me because I genuinely love the art of makeup and how it makes me feel). Suddenly, the confident, happy, flirty, sometimes-crazy woman I was becoming disappeared. I’ve stopped going out to bars with my girls. I decided against going to the gym because I don’t want to be judged. For a while, to be honest, I had been sinking into this pit of self-despair.

At first, I kept telling myself that I needed to hide until I lost this extra weight.  I didn’t feel worthy of dressing nice. “You can wear cute things when you’re 90 pounds lighter.” Having drilled that into my head, I refused to go shopping for clothes or accessories. I also wasn’t sure if I should blog about my life. Who the hell would want to follow someone with so many insecurities? But then, one day, something so fabulous happened: I discovered the world of plus-size fashion!

There are so many gorgeous women out there who are my size and look fabulous in their little black dresses, bikinis, high-waist jeans and pencil skirts. They wear gorgeous high heels and have their hair done and, most importantly, they are smiling! I knew from that moment on that I wanted to be a part of their world. I want to feel good about myself again. This doesn’t mean I’ve given up on losing weight and achieving better health; it just means I’m going to flaunt what I got while I’m on this journey of self-improvement and self-love.

When I began to experience symptoms of PCOS in 2013, I started to put on weight and have since had trouble losing it (oh, the joys of polycystic ovaries!). I had no motivation for a long time to do anything! I was too depressed and anxious and thought to myself, "You're too big to be pretty. Wait until you lose weight first to start trying." Then, I found the beautiful world of plus-sized fashion. I was so, so inspired by some of my favorites (@boardroomblonde , @curvygirlchic , @curvesonabudget13 , etc.) that I finally started wearing makeup again. I decided to stop wearing huge, ugly, baggy clothes because I wanted to hide. So, this is what I chose to wear today. And yes, I am battling PCOS and my weight, and I will lose it! But, until then, I will flaunt what I've got! And I will finally launch my blog! ❤ #EffYourBeautyStandards #PlusSize #Curvy #fashion #inspired #EffPCOS
A photo posted by holly anne silva🌺 (@floggingholly) on



Perhaps the worst part of this diagnosis, though, is the constant thought that I may be a childless stepmother.

As many of you probably know, my future-hubby has a baby girl, Abigail. She’s 2 now, and so sweet and beautiful, and I love her! I am happy to assume the role as her stepmother, but in the back of my mind, I am overwhelmed with thoughts of never having a baby of my own. I never really thought about kids before; I knew I’d probably have a couple of them later in life when I was older and ready. But, now, having a child is something I can’t stop thinking about. And, to be honest, I’m terrified of never being able to give my husband a child. He assures me over and over that we will make it happen no matter what, and if we can’t, he will love me just the same. He’s been pretty great through all of this (not to mention, he frequently puts up with my profound mood swings and random craziness!).

I wish there were answers for all of my questions. I’ve got so many of them. Like, “How does this happen?” and “Why do people randomly develop PCOS at certain ages?” Unfortunately, there aren’t many answers to these questions. That’s why I want to share my story with you. Though PCOS is so common, it is very misunderstood. If you think you are experiencing signs of PCOS, see your gynecologist and request an ultrasound. As stated by the Hormone Health Network, some symptoms of PCOS may include:

  • Irregular or missing menstrual periods
  • Difficulty conceiving
  • Excess or unwanted body or facial hair growth
  • Thinning of the hair on the scalp
  • Weight gain and difficulty losing weight
  • Skin problems, including skin tags, darkening skin and acne
  • Anxiety and depression

These symptoms suck and, as I said earlier, they affect everyone differently; some people don’t gain any weight. Others (like myself, thank goodness) don’t lose hair. Either way, PCOS does affect women. And it brings fear and uncertainty with it. If you feel like you don’t understand it, reach out to a cyster. Reach out to me. I don’t mind talking about it and I’m not ashamed of it. This is a battle I will fight for a long time, but it’s one that I’m determined to beat.

1 comment:

  1. I know people with PCOS and they conceived kids. I hope you are one of them. I understand infertility. Been there, done that and as it turned out, despite being told I would never conceive a baby, I'm a mother of three. Hang in there and keep your thoughts positive. Keep being an inspiration for other young women with this. Xoxo

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