It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada – so Happy Thanksgiving! I hope your weekend was full of food, friends and family. 🙂
When I first heard of PCOS, all I could think about was women with beards (cue panic attack!). It terrified me, but thankfully I had virtually no symptoms (except visibly polycystic ovaries diagnosed on an ultrasound). I dreaded the day I would wake up to my first, ruthless chin hair… living in constant fear of the inevitability of the symptoms – and with little knowledge about the syndrome, I had no tools to prevent any of them. (Spoiler alert: the day did come where I got my first chin hair, and the world did not end).
The further we got into trying to have a baby, the more severe my PCOS symptoms became. I went from someone without a single symptom, to someone with almost all of them at one time or another.
Here’s the tricky thing about PCOS – it has this way of completely un-womanizing you: making you infertile, emotional, and hairy to boot. I felt like an incomplete woman, an incomplete wife and a failure as a potential Mother. It, literally, took away everything that made me feel feminine (I was growing facial hair!! (although, it was significantly less than I feared)). On top of it all, I couldn’t even do the ONE THING women’s bodies are built for: childbearing. It was a very dark time for me, I was 100% disconnected from myself as a woman and my marriage.
Then it all began to change when I realized that somehow, in spite of it all, Mr. Big continued to love me as fiercely as always. Actually, he loved me more (enough for both of us) because I was too broken to love myself. The need to wax my chin did not even faze him, the extra meat on my bones didn’t turn him away and the lack of baby only made him sad for my broken heart. Absolutely nothing in his actions validated my harsh feelings towards myself, and slowly – very slowly – I came to see myself more as he saw me, and less as the cruel thoughts in my head.
Yes, I was growing facial hair. Yes, I was plumper than I’d ever been. Yes, I was emotional and irregular and annovulatory. Yes, I was infertile. But none of those things were the reasons Mr. Big married me. He did not marry me for my smooth face, my thin frame, my calm, normal periods (haha), or for my fertility. He married me because of the person I was underneath all of that – the person I was in my soul. The same person that my family and friends loved. The same person that my work appreciated, and my friends came to in times of need. Realizing that was what made me a stronger person. My body is just temporary: it will change with time, age and experience. But my soul – that’s permanent – and something I will carry with me always.
From there I realized how very lucky I am: Mr. Big is wonderful. He is such a good, kind, gentle man and I am so very blessed to have him. Knowing that he stuck by me through such a difficult time, and loved me when I was too hurt to love myself, showed me the kind of man he really is. It made me love him harder and more, which has – in turn – allowed him to love me harder and more. The thing about love is, the more you love yourself – the more open you are to be loved. The more he taught me to love myself, the more I was open to receiving love, and the more rich and full my life became. Realizing this is what has made our marriage stronger.
Without PCOS, I am not sure either of us would have learned all that we have, and all that we continue to, on this journey. Every day it makes me a stronger woman and a stronger wife, and every day it makes him a stronger man and a stronger husband. It is also what has driven us down this adoption path that has been so very fulfilling, already.
So this weekend, while it is a time for Thanksgiving, I have to say I am particularly thankful for PCOS. At times I truly felt it was ruining my life, but it really was just taking it apart and rebuilding me as a stronger, better person…and for that, I am so very thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving – I hope you all find yourselves surrounded by love and peace this holiday!