Well where do I begin? Do I start from the moment I found out, or do I go further back when I decided to begin my journey…where this story really starts?
Back in 2013 my partner and I decided to talk about our future…where we were headed, where we hoped to be in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years time… we both joked about kids, how many we would have…what we would call them… From that innocent conversation, we both realised that we were planning our life together, and that this relationship was no longer just a relationship but instead a commitment, a promise, that from that day forward we were going to stick together through thick and thin, that we would love each other, especially during the times we weren’t deserving, or being unlovable. We would start our forever…
From there we decided that I would come off of the contraceptive pill…that we were going to put our fate in the hands of other sources…that if we created a beautiful life then so be it, and if not then we would continue our lives enjoying each others company until we did… That’s what most people who decide they are ready, and or want a baby do right?
Fast forward to the beginning of April this year, 2015…the realisation hit me (I was aware the entire time but I didn’t really worry too much about it) I hadn’t (sorry about TMI) menstruated since I had come off of the contraceptive pill. You’re probably wondering why I had not spoken to anyone about this until April…I mean it was well over 1 year and that’s not normal right? Well to be perfectly honest I gained a lot of weight during this time, so I thought that was just a symptom of fast weight gain… but it wasn’t until a friend at work shared with me her great news that her and her husband were expecting. She told me she was surprised by her pregnancy as she was older and thought it would take them longer, not only that, they had only recently discussed having a child so it seemed to happen quite quickly for them. That night I got home and for some reason the news really affected me and I cried. Please don’t think that I was a horrible friend for being so upset, in fact I was the complete opposite, I was thrilled for them both, I was so happy that she was about to begin a new journey, one most precious and exciting, what I was so upset about was the acceptance…well…true realisation that I was in ‘trouble’.
We weren’t actively trying, in fact since coming off of contraception our sex life had suffered… I was in my final year at University, I was working, and I was doing a diploma in College. He was working very hard; often we would go long periods when we were so busy we were just passing each other in the corridor. That didn’t mean our relationship suffered, it just meant for that time being we were not physically close. But still there were those rare romantic nights, nights of closeness…
I remember being told it only took 1 time to get pregnant…I know now that the likelihood is actually slim and that though you can prevent unplanned pregnancies by using contraception (or several methods just to be safe) having sex that one time doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get pregnant (I’m also not saying this never happens, it can and it does!) But the naïve me almost wanted to get ‘accidentally’ pregnant…part of me just wanted it to happen…but at the same time the realistic, goal grabbing, wannabe career ladder climbing, me didn’t…so I was torn…part of me was glad I hadn’t gotten pregnant YET…but another part of me questioned why I hadn’t… there were times I would buy pregnancy tests and get genuinely terrified…sometimes excited, but negative after negative plagued my 2013-2014…and by 2015 I had accepted that it may just not happen.
So after hearing the news about my friend’s pregnancy, I decided to find out.
In April I attended several doctors appointments. I didn’t involve my partner because I wanted to shut myself out. I felt so alone, but I wanted it this way. I had blood tests, scans, monitors… before I even found out the results I was already feeling resentment…shamefully I admit this. Resentment at my partner who I felt could leave me, leave me and find a woman who was capable of having his babies without difficulties…because who wants a broken woman right? It hurts to write that, much more to say it out loud…to tell him…but instead of being hurt back, instead of being angry or annoyed her held me, he let me cry and reminded me of the promise we made to each other. Good or bad, healthy or sick, baby or no baby, our path would be together and that we were still going to be us…it may just mean we have to try harder, it meant that if we decided to have kids we would know already that we really wanted them, or if we decided not to have kids then we would grow old together and just be the best auntie and uncle to all of our nearest and dearest’s children. He’s amazing right?
I think it’s natural for women to feel at fault when they experience fertility difficulties…but we must remember to love our partners too…it isn’t their fault. It isn’t your fault either. Sometimes it just is. But the most important thing to remember is to be together through this journey, because baby or no baby you’ll always have each other.
Then my results came back. I was called to an appointment with my doctor…he sat me down and told me it was, as he feared.
My name is Jessica and I have polycystic ovaries.
Though part of me already knew this, it was finally a diagnosis…and boy did it hurt… to be told this, to hear it in my ears…to be told chances of getting pregnant would be challenging let alone naturally would be even more difficult…. To be told carrying a baby to full term will be very hard… to be told that it is incurable and difficult to treat? He said it was common…I felt like laughing…because that fact didn’t make me feel any better… Because I didn’t know anyone who has/had it… and what now?
You know when you’re told really bad news and your ears just start buzzing. And you kind of just nod and the moment you hear the word ‘options’ you’re just like…can you just give me a moment to let this all sink in before we start talking about options. I know my news didn’t mean the end of the world, I know I have options…
But I can’t help it. My heart hurts.
The fact that one of my options is to start actively trying now feels like something that is far from what I want right now, why? I don’t know. I just don’t. Maybe I’m afraid… I’ve seen so many movies where fertility problems create unhappy and unhealthy relationships… and the thought of trying for a baby sounds so frightening. My doctor told me people don’t often find out they have polycystic ovaries until they actually start trying. That must be heart-breaking…because deciding to have a baby is a big step, something you have to be mentally and physically prepared for…some people plan for a really long time, when they want to have a baby, what they hope it is, what lifestyle changes they’re going to make, what preparations they need to make, what they’ll do about their careers, how they can continue a loving and romantic environment…but people never plan for what they’re going to do when they find out that having a baby may be impossible… and it’s funny how you can be uncertain about whether you want a baby, a child… and then when you find out that you may not even have that choice you start to wonder what could have been… you start rethinking your attitude towards parenthood… you start to appreciate the life you had before you found out, because lets face it, it is life changing…and you aren’t the same person you were a few minutes before you sat on the plastic chair in front of the doctor… and you won’t be the same person tomorrow.
How do I feel? Well I feel ashamed. I’m sorry. I’m sorry to those who have gone through this, or are going through this. I’m sorry that I don’t know enough or have enough experience to be able to feel what you believe I should be feeling. I feel like something so simple and so natural is suffocating me… Like I was born as a woman, and if I decided to have a child then I could. I was born in a female dominated family and felt the joy of seeing bundles of joys grow up and become amazing human beings… I grew up believing that someday I could have my own family, my own children to nurture and care for… a child to teach the difference between wrong and right, one I can tell my stories to and hope that they learn from my mistakes. I was excited to experience what mothers feel, an unexplainable bond with their child, unconditional love… not just that but the bond with my partner, the person who is going to watch our babies learn, love and live…grow up and have their own kids too.
My doctor handed me information on polycystic ovaries and said it may answer some of my questions… I took them. I read through them when I got home, then I spent 2 hours researching about it. What it meant… Every few minutes thinking what now?
All my life I wondered what my life would be like, how I would be as a mother, would I be as good as my own mother? Will my daughter love me as much as I love mine, will my son grow up seeing his father as his hero like my dad is mine? Will they have my partners pointed nose, my dark hair, our sense of humour and love for car park movie nights and afternoon naps?
I feel like they should offer support groups for these kinds of things, and if they do where can I sign up? I have so many questions that I just don’t want to ask a doctor. I want to ask someone who knows, someone who understands…there’s only so much that yahoo answers can offer in terms of wisdom and to be honest I only go on there to laugh… and right now I don’t think laughter is the best medicine.
So what’s our next step? Well more tests…not just me but my partner too… I was afraid to tell him that in case he started to feel like I was the one who brought this to him. That I had made a journey that was meant to be wonderful and exciting into some sort of circus of tests and poking and intrusive questions about personal aspects of our lives that we wanted to keep private…at least we can share this experience together… at least we know that the other is feeling the same way too…
I wrote this accepting that my reaction to finding out that I have polycystic ovaries may be far different to other people. I understand that people may not get why I’m so overcome with emotion and have found great difficulty in accepting that some things happen and that not everything has an explanation. I don’t know enough about polycystic ovaries to know what people usually feel when they get the news. Is it even a big deal? Well…I think that all depends on the person. I can only speak from my own experience and I am still trying to accept it. I am still letting it sink in. I just want people who may be going through what I am to know that if they feel sad, that’s okay. If they feel angry, that’s fine too, but it’s also very important to remember that in all the craziness that will follow, you’re partner is there too. He or She will be going through high emotions and low emotions too and they’re going to need you for support, they’re going to need to know that you’re there for them too. This is a journey you’re going through together, remember that they are your bestfriend and when you hurt they hurt as well. Remember to keep being romantic, and keep being you, but above all else remember to love each other.
Peace and Love