I’m young, too old for high school and too young for babies, when I first hear about the disease I have given myself. PCOS: Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome. I’ll save you the medical jargon, it sucks. It’s a syndrome which means they can’t really isolate what it is, they just know what it does. It is triggered by a hormonal imbalance. It makes you fat(ter), it prevents you from ovulating, it impedes your ability to conceive. From where I’m standing now I see it for what it is: an unfortunate condition which will seemingly complicate, but in the end actually save, my life.
But I’m eighteen or so, and I’m confused and I’m pissed off. All I see is something inside of my body designed to further torture me. When coworkers make fun of me, and they do, I tell them about this beast growing untamed inside of me. I explain that I am fighting something I can’t see, something they can’t see, but you know what? They’re bullies and they don’t give a fuck. (It takes me almost a decade to discover this) A crack starts to open up in my head and in it seeps a truth I start to accept: I am a defect. I cannot get pregnant and I will always be fat. I am not worth the materials it took to make me.
This might be where it starts. This might be where it ends.
In my twenties, I discover an online support system: Soulcysters. When my ex-husband and I try to make babies, it is this group of anonymous women that suffer through it with me. Together we chart basal body temps, fail pregnancy tests, and synchronize our medicines. A few of them become rising stars and leave our discussion boards (TTC=Trying to Conceive) for the greener pastures of (BFP=Big Fat Positive!!!). I miss them, I send them my best wishes, I never get to join them.
PCOS is a barrier. PCOS is a parasite, sucking away my female parts, saddling me with the androgyny of infertility. There is only one way out of this tunnel. There is only one way to reverse the damage I’m doing to myself. It takes me ten years to get control of this disease, of this syndrome. Ten years before I’m hunched over in a bathroom peeing on a stick and nearly fainting as the second pink line appears. And that is how PCOS saved me in the end. It saved me from having babies with the wrong man, from being anchored in a port I did not belong, and it saved my fertility for my babies.