PCOS Sucks! How To Fight Like A Girl And Survive Like A Woman. Chapter 4: Infertility
The struggle is real! I say this jokingly when asked why I don’t have children at thirty-three. If you don’t know me, you don’t know that I have PCOS. Most of my symptoms aren’t noticeable, except for a few chin hairs. That is my typical “joke” answer, and then I attempt to educate them on PCOS and infertility. People who ask questions like this mean no harm. Although, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t sting.
I’ve struggled with infertility for over ten years. It is the one symptom I despise with this disease. During different times, my body, marriage, and mental health have suffered. There was a period where I refused to go to baby showers and cried for hours when I saw pregnancy announcements on social media. Some women struggle with this every day. I get a little jealous when I see baby announcements and don’t jump for joy when invited to a baby shower. However, I learned when I accepted PCOS for what it is; I was better equipped to deal with my infertility.
Women with PCOS can conceive. It may take medical help, but it’s possible. And if not, there are multiple different options to give you a child. I think the moment I realized that, accepted it, was when the healing began. I wish I had some big secret to share on how I learned to accept my PCOS, but I don’t. One day, I woke up and decided I wouldn’t let PCOS define me. Yes, I have infertility. But it doesn’t mean I won’t ever be a mother.
Costs are high for all the above, even with insurance. My state isn’t required to cover fertility treatments, and my insurance doesn’t cover it. Any fertility treatments I’ve received, I’ve paid for out of pocket. I have an issue with costs for treatments, but I can save that rant for another day. It is normal for your doctor not to refer you to a reproductive doctor unless you have been actively trying to conceive for a year. This is where the expensive treatment starts.
Saving money can be easier said than done. Life happens. I wish that the day my doctor told me I had PCOS, I would have opened a savings account. Twenty-five dollars a week, and I would have over nineteen thousand dollars saved. I could beat myself up over this for days, but I bring it up because it’s important to plan. Start saving now if you are in your middle twenties and know you want to start treatments or even adopt in your thirties. My doctor told me it might be hard to conceive with my PCOS, and it would have been nice to know the potential costs associated with infertility. Unfortunately, it wasn’t my doctor’s job to educate me on that.
Surrounding yourself with other women trying to conceive can be therapeutic and educational. For instance, I didn’t know that some digital ovulation tests may not work for women with PCOS. Or that there is a reproductive institute in New York that allows you to make payments on your fertility treatment. This is important information that I wouldn’t have learned if not for my Facebook support group. The one I belong to is PCOS & TTC support group. Women around the globe are facing the same challenges as you. This group and others are great for mental health. I dive deeper into that subject in my next chapter.
Some women have said they have reversed their infertility by losing weight and taking certain supplements. I wrote about my experience with weight loss in the last chapter. Yes, losing weight has helped me ovulate. I’ve tried the different supplements, and I’m still not a mother. The good news is that everyone’s body is different. What works for one woman may not work for others. Keep that in mind when you get on Amazon and start spending your savings on supplements. On a side note, if you are under medical care for infertility, check with your doctor before you mix medicines.
In March, I saw my first positive pregnancy test after ten years. Unfortunately, it ended in a miscarriage. I was heartbroken and cried for three days. Next month would have been my due date. You never know how you will handle having a miscarriage. Instead of curling up in a ball for months, I brushed myself off and chose not to feel defeated.
I started seeing a therapist (more on that in the next chapter), wrote a short story, and posted it in my Facebook support group. Comments flooded the thread with women sharing their miscarriage stories and ideas on how to cope. A friend of mine has also suffered a miscarriage, so it was comforting to be around someone who understood my struggle. Support is HUGE with PCOS and infertility.
Writing for me is relaxing and takes my mind off the real world. It’s more than a hobby for me, but I suggest finding one that can help you focus on something other than your infertility journey. One woman I’ve spoken to spends hours assembling puzzles. She states it takes the stresses of the day away. Painting is another hobby that I’ve heard is calming. I’m horrible at it, but you may be the next Picasso!
There is no book on how to handle infertility, and my suggestions won’t work for everyone. However, I can say that if you ever need to talk to someone, message me. There’s no need to walk alone on this journey!
Photo by Deanna Jackson via Canva