Monday, March 21, 2016

A Quiet Ostara: a Personal Post About being a Witch with PCOS and Questionable Fertility

I was planning on doing a much brighter post about how I spent Ostara/The Spring Equinox. Unfortunately my body had other ideas and left me feeling incredibly ill and reminding me of my supposed lack of fertility on a holiday celebrating it. Personal details ahead, feel free to skip this post if you’re not interested.

I was very recently diagnosed with a mild form of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). Not sure if I 100% believe that I have it. These days PCOS seems to be the catch all for doctors saying “Something’s wrong, and we’ve crossed everything off the list.”

Now, I don’t deny that I have serious issues with my reproductive system. When I was younger, I would go months without a period and then over the course of four to five weeks bleed myself into severe anemia.

That finally stopped the day I told my mother I felt like I was dying and needed to go to the doctor. Much like the other doctors I told about this issue, the woman I saw wrote it off as abnormal but not alarming. She did, however, decide to do a blood test. When those tests showed I was on the verge of needing a blood transfusion, my life changed significantly. It was iron pills the size of what you’d give a horse and birth control that made me insane for the remainder of my high school and into college. Thankfully, now my body hemorrhages less, and when it does, I know how to control it through medication that won’t make me batty.

All that being said, now that I’m in my thirties and my husband wants to start our family. I don’t yet share his strong desire, but we’ve agreed to start trying soon. As a result, my primary care doctor recommended revisiting my issues. And so, after about four rounds of blood tests, we’re at the point where I have PCOS and my fertility is in question.

To try to combat my issues, my doctor prescribed me Metformin, a drug meant for type II diabetics, but strangely helpful to women like me. At the suggestion of the pharmacist, I started with half the dosage a week ago due to infamous side effects. The first night, I woke up at midnight ill. If you have ever almost lost consciousness in the bathroom due to severe cramping while dry heaving and doing other “stuff”… well, you know my experience. Thankfully, the next day was better and within five days I was almost back to normal.

On Saturday, I doubled the dose with almost no ill effects other minor stomach cramping. It hit me full force on Ostara.

I was home alone, with my husband at work. Between the nausea and downstairs action, I was intimately aware of the fact that I didn’t want to be on this medication anymore. I also wondered if it was worth it when my desire to have offspring feels more like a chore than the drive so many of my female friends have described.  

This of course led to larger questions on fertility. Has my hormonal problems caused my apathy for having children? Has it made me infertile in mind as well as body? What does it mean to be infertile as a pagan? Especially, when the general female aspect of God has a whole third of her being named after being a mother.

I am angry and annoyed that I have to be on this medication, but I have yet to be angry or sad that I seem to be infertile. Does this further the idea that there is really something amiss about me? What do I tell my husband when he asked what happened to the dreams I used to have about having a happy little girl?

I’m not sure myself where this dream went. Was it when I was in grad school? Was it when I finally got my first job that led to a real career that I wanted? Was it because I went into a mostly male profession where being female and having kids was a problem? Was it when I finally overcame a chunk of my self-consciousness and realized how much I could achieve?

I’m afraid I have no answers at the moment, just questions.