Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I Have PCOS, but that doesn't mean I'm broken.

It's been getting on my nerves lately how many women suffering from infertility refer to themselves as broken, sometimes proudly. I was tolerant at first, but today I read a facebook comment from one infertile to another that really offended me. They were discussing what words are offensive and the comment was,

"Different people have different thresholds. Some have even said that they are offended by the use of the word 'broken.' ... You can't please everyone all the time."

So now, apparently, I'm some crazy person who is easily offended by the slightest insult. What bothers me about the term broken isn't that it's insulting, it's that it is inaccurate.  Once something is broken, it no longer works. Usually, once something is broken, it's garbage.  I never doubted I would one day get pregnant. Not when I was diagnosed with PCOS at 16, not when I went off birth control pills, not when we started TTC, and not after we hit that TTC for one year mark.  I was learning more and more about my reproductive system every cycle.  It seemed to be working better and better each time, and I felt like we were getting closer.  There were times during that year I doubted if we'd be able to conceive naturally, but I never doubted that it would happen somehow. Not broken. I just work differently. Once I figured out how I worked, I got pregnant. I needed timed intercourse, metformin, weightloss, and soy. That's a very specific combination of factors, but it's now worked for me twice. So...I'm not broken.

I had a miscarriage, and I at first I thought perhaps my spirit had broken, but I never thought my body had broken. I was angry at my body for it's failure.  My grief was deep. My body had failed, but it wasn't broken, and it turned out my spirit wasn't either.  Broken would be if I could never carry another pregnancy to term, and I don't believe that's true.

Let's look at it from yet another angle. Something broken that can be repaired. Once repaired, it's permanently fixed. Once an infertile achieves pregnancy is she fixed? After my first child was born did I no longer have PCOS? A women suffering from infertility who achieves pregnancy isn't fixed, because she wasn't broken in the first place.

Would you say a computer was broken if you forgot or didn't know your password? Or would you just say, "I can't figure out the password to this stupid thing!"  Having a fertility condition is terrible, frustrating, stressful, and all sorts of other things, but it is not brokenness.  If you believe you can achieve pregnancy (and if you're TTC then at least a small part of you believes this or you wouldn't try), then it's not possible to believe you're broken. You just work differently, and will eventually figure out the combination of meds/supplements/lifestyle/diet that will get you pregnant.


  1. I am 23 and just now in the diagnosing phase of PCOS (like just Wednesday). While I've had my suspicions for a while, I wasn't going to assume until I was able to get it checked out. I haven't had the ultrasound to know exactly what it looks like for me, but my OB did say that it's what we're looking at. So now, I am in the wee beginning fazes of figuring out what may work for us, and such. Your story gives me such hope! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Sounds like you're researching it and that helps so much. Good luck!