I am the youngest of five. By the time I was 12, my sisters and brothers were all 17+ and weren’t often home. To curb my boredom, I started babysitting the neighbourhood kids. I would teach, play and care for them all, toddlers and babies. I loved it.
When I was 16, I went on the pill. It wasn’t because I needed a contraceptive (boy germs, ew), it was because I was told it would be the best way to handle my usual periods.
During high school, I was a fairly academic kid but I had no career path in mind. The only class I enjoyed was Early Childhood. I remember sitting in a theory class when the teacher announced we were going to watch a birth video. The other students covered their eyes, giggled and cringed. I can still picture my teacher, a woman with two children of her own, trying to hide her face as she wiped the tears away- I remember feeling like I understood, I was moved too. Unlike the other kids, I wasn’t embarrassed, I was truly in awe of the extraordinary feat happening on the screen. I knew I was destined to be a mum someday.
In 2017, after 10 long years of heavy, painful and frequent periods, confused GP’s, blood tests, scans, skin conditions, pill after pill, naturopaths and tears, lots of tears- I was given a diagnosis by a general practitioner I had only seen once before. “See how your ovaries look like swiss cheese? Well, that’s because you have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome”.
Thanks for your sensitivity, Doc.
I asked what my options were and he said all I could do was go back on the pill. At the time, I didn’t ask why. Before I got up to leave, he flippantly said that the condition often causes infertility. My heart sank. I walked out of the room holding back tears. I got in my car and let it all out. I rang my partner who assured me that everything would be okay (although, I heard the sadness in his voice).
After spending just under a year with this diagnosis and having more and more baby conversations with my partner, I decided to see a different doctor to discuss my options. I told her my situation and she looked at me puzzled.
“I’m sending you for further tests, that doesn’t sound correct”.
She looked at my scans, read my blood tests and gave me a new diagnosis. I did in fact have cysts on my ovaries but I didn’t have the syndrome. When I asked about my irregular hormones, she said she believed my hormones were “naturally imbalanced”. Which, years later, still confuses me. How could my hormones be so out of control and that be natural?
In February 2019, Matt and I sat stunned, staring at a positive pregnancy test. It was the best news of our lives. News we believed would never come. We were thrilled.
I had a happy and healthy pregnancy. The midwives were wonderful and informative all the way through. I loved watching my baby growing and getting to feel her movements. On October 28th at 4:35pm, we welcomed our sweet, wide-eyed baby girl into the world. It was magical.
The weeks that followed were a complete shock to the system. Nothing can prepare you. Running on barely any sleep, trying to recover from the birth, breastfeeding every hour (no one tells you how hard breastfeeding is!) and adjusting to a completely new life. I struggled, I sobbed and I screamed.
Motherhood is hard. I felt like I couldn’t say that for a long time. It took us years to finally become parents, I didn’t think it was acceptable to talk about the difficulties.
My beautiful girl is nearly one. She is blossoming into a clever, sassy, hilarious little human. Over this time, I have grown and learnt so much as well. I’ve learnt that it’s perfectly okay to talk about your struggles. I’ve learnt to ask for help. I’ve learnt to be strong and remember that tomorrow is a new day. I’ve learnt that there are always challenges but there are more rewards. I’ve learnt that mum’s are superhuman.
I believe that, perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learnt, should be a bigger discussion. The importance of female reproductive health. Women carry the future of the world, quite literally, so why is it not a bigger focus? Why are we not encouraged to take better care of ourselves? Why do we not understand how our hormones work? Why, as a young teen, was I given a pill to mask an underlying condition rather than treating the condition itself? What caused the condition in the first place?
I will no longer accept that my hormonal imbalances can be passed off as normal.
I am the mother of a female and it’s my duty to ensure Macey doesn’t experience the same difficulties I suffered. It’s time to switch the focus and pay more attention to the world’s superhumans- women.
Caity Hockins is a first time Aussie mama, candidly blogging her way through the wild ride that is motherhood. Caity’s blogs can be found at littlecuratedme.com