By: Kate Cruz
“First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage.”
However, for many women, the baby carriage never appears or is unobtainable. There is no test that says PREGNANT in big bold letters or little lines that confirm life is growing within you. For the past four years, my husband and I have been attempting to conceive a child, from the many doctors appointments, specialist, tests, and scans, we constantly heard that getting pregnant will not be an option for us. This is mainly due to the fact that I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, PCOS is a condition that I have been struggling with over the last few years, and I can honestly say that it is a dagger to my gut and my dreams.
[Editors Note: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), also known as polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a common health problem caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones. The hormonal imbalance creates problems in the ovaries. The ovaries make the egg that is released each month as part of a healthy menstrual cycle. With PCOS, the egg may not develop as it should or it may not be released during ovulation as it should be
Between 5% and 10% of women between 15 and 44, or during the years you can have children, have PCOS.1 Most women find out they have PCOS in their 20s and 30s, when they have problems getting pregnant and see their doctor. But PCOS can happen at any age after puberty.2
Women of all races and ethnicities are at risk of PCOS. Your risk of PCOS may be higher if you are plus size. Can also be the cause of more weight gain.]
Being overweight or having a high BMI can sometimes be a hindrance in getting pregnant, however when someone has PCOS the challenges become almost impossible. Weight gain becomes second nature to those women who suffer with the condition, as well as the inability to lose weight. I have attempted all the different diets out there from Keto, to Weight Watchers and nothing has seemed to help with losing weight. Many of the side-effects from PCOS is weight gain, irregular periods, and even lack of ovulation, all three of which I personally suffer from. In my personal experience this is one of the worst side effects to the condition, it is almost like a double-edged sword that keeps stabbing you no matter what you attempt to do.
Over these last few years all of the doctors have said “lose the weight and you can finally get pregnant”, well to those doctors who don’t see the internal struggle I say shame on you! I wish it was as simple as lose the weight, but that isn’t the case for every patient, nor is the depression or sadness that comes along with the constant disappointment when you look at the negative pregnancy tests each month. As women many of us tend to reach out to our girlfriends for support or a shoulder to lean on, however not all of them understand our infertility plight. More often than not those of us who struggle are advised by friends and family to “lose the weight, stop worrying about it, don’t stress out, try x-y-z and you will get pregnant.” Sadly not all of these tips/advice work, and for those of us who suffer from an underlying condition it becomes a struggle each month, it becomes agonizing when those around us get pregnant after one or two tries, or when we feel completely alone in the world of motherhood.
I am blessed to have a child from my first marriage, but I just will not be blessed to have a child with my current husband. I know that I shouldn’t rationally be upset since I unlike many other women have been blessed to experience pregnancy, birth, and watching my child grow. Unfortunately there is no real way to explain to the heart and soul how rationality works. I like many other women would love for my child to have a companion and friend for life, and at times I feel like a failure for being unable to provide that to her because I have PCOS and am unable to be at a weight where a doctor wants to help me conceive. I know that there are risks involved with being overweight and pregnant but being pregnant in general comes with risks, shouldn’t the patient be the one to understand and accept those risks?
I attempted fertility medication to aid in my attempts to become pregnant but because of my weight I was excluded for attempting additional trials. Where does it say that if you are overweight you should not be a mother, or that doctors should refuse to help you in your dreams to have a child? It is sad and harmful that women like myself are turned away daily and if we seek out other avenues of motherhood we are excluded as well. My husband and I have shifted our focus towards adoption and I have still found prejudice and pain behind every door. Many adoption agencies will not work with women over a certain weight because they are too high risk to be parents, because I am unable to lose the weight, I am unable to be a mother again. It is sad that in a world as advanced and in some areas forward thinking, we can still be rejected because we don’t fit the standard.
My weight should not keep me from becoming a mother, just like it should not keep me from a job. There are shows on television today like “This Is Us” that showcase women who are overweight, and the struggles that they face daily with infertility and the lack of aid in getting pregnant. I applaud “This Is Us” and the attempt to represent women who are plus-sized and the endeavors they face in wanting to be happy just like everyone else. I pray that one day the system will change and people will see that there is no difference between a woman with a 12 bmi or one with a 40 bmi when it comes to wanting a family or being treated like a normal woman. We all struggle the same, we all feel the same, just because my body is larger does not mean that my heart is smaller.