Post by Rachel, Verity chair
(CN: mention of weight loss and miscarriage)
One of my earliest memories is being 3.5 years old and playing mummy with my cabbage patch doll. It’s all I ever wanted to do and be and I knew I would do whatever it took to make it happen – one way or another.
Fast forward through over a decade of trying and failing, month after month seeing your dream get further out of reach. The pain, fear and feeling of unworthiness were sometimes too great to bare. I never ever had regular cycles, they were extremely unpredictable. Some years, on a good year, I’d have four or maybe five. But then after turning 34 I just started bleeding… every day. Not always a lot, but sometimes it was. And it didn’t stop – for 18 months.
I was also now my highest weight of 24 stone, and any support I ever asked for was just met with a “go away and lose weight” message. My fertility, and lack of support especially made me feel alone. The babies and the large family I had been envisioning all my life were seeming impossible. So I ate to comfort my souls destroying grief and fear. And on the cycle went.
Turning 35 was a turning point for me. You always hear that go away and lose weight message as a fat person and especially one with PCOS. But I’d done that, and just kept getting bigger! The biological clock wasn’t just ticking louder but it was swearing. Loudly.
So I decided to take action and have weight loss surgery. I needed to lose weight, and quickly. And everything I tried before had the opposite effect. So I found a surgeon and booked myself in. I was told a few days out from my surgery that it would have to be delayed by a few months to get my iron levels up, which were dangerously low (thanks 18 month period). It was devastating, but better to be safe than sorry.
Surgery day came and my life changed immediately. Literally. Within a few weeks I had lost 5-10% and I got a normal period, with clear signs of ovulation that very same month. And then, for the first time in my 35 years on the planet, I had one every 34 days like clockwork. It was absolutely mind blowing and exciting to see my body was working in this way! My dreams felt possible for the first time in my life.
11 months post-op, and over 50 kg / 8 stone lighter, I got pregnant. For the first time in my life at 36!!! Only if you have been through the experience would you understand that feeling of utter joy and disbelief of seeing that “pregnant” sign on the test for the first time. Sadly I miscarried that baby (I have other fertility complications besides PCOS), but although devastated and grief stricken it gave me hope. And certainty. It happened once, and it will happen again.
And it did. Five months after losing that very first baby I found myself pregnant with my now 3.5 year old daughter. And when she was a year old and my periods started again after being absent due to breastfeeding, I got pregnant that first cycle. And now my son is 1.5 years old and an absolutely darling tornado.
My cycle has just returned again, and I’m thinking that dream of a big family I had may still yet become a reality – despite now being over 40!
Don’t give up hope, if this is what you want for your life then keep trying. Try everything. Cutting out 80% of my stomach was drastic, but it’s given me the life I’ve always dreamed of having and a healthier one at that. Whilst it’s not the right answer for everyone, it was for me.
And I am sending you all the baby dust in the world.
Author bio: Rachel became a Trustee of Verity in 2006 straight after being diagnosed with PCOS and was elected as the Chair in 2007. Outside of Verity, Rachel works in digital marketing and enjoys knitting and travelling.