pcos to baby + looking beautiful AF along the way
i was the most mentally stable, hormonally balanced, and strikingly beautiful I'VE EVER LOOKED while pregnant. i shit you not.
this may come as much of a shocker to you as it was to me. from the moment that magical pee-stained stick spelled 'pregnant', i mentally prepared myself for swollen face, fat rolls, crying spells, acne, bacne, smack me because i COULD NOT re-live italy 2005 all over again.
picture it. florence, italy. fall, 2005. i leaped into my junior year study abroad program with sun kissed hair, perky twenty year old breasts, and the intention of bedding only the finest stallions of all the italian stallions in the land. well, boxes of chianti and gallons of gelato later, i was fifteen pounds heavier, with a broken out face, clogged up pipes not even ovaltine could fix (seriously, OVALTINE), and crying spells each and every day.
once i returned stateside, it took months before my weight, face, bowel movements, and hormones balanced out. doctors sited "homesickness," or being drastically out of my comfort zone as the cause of my foreign freak-out. so naturally, i became fearful of the effect something as mind and body jarring as pregnancy would eventually have on my mental and physical well being.
fast forward ten years and an indian ayurvedic palm reader's suggestion later, i had my hormones tested and was subsequently diagnosed with polycystic ovarian sydrome [pcos]. pcos is a very, very common condition in which a woman's hormones are out of balance. this leads to the growth of cysts on the ovaries. pcos can cause problems with a women's menstrual cycle, fertility, cardiac function, weight, hair growth (in all the wrong places), and appearance. my doctor braced me for the possibility of having not just a difficult time conceiving, but the certainty that it would not happen naturally. suddenly, the possibility of an "ugly" pregnancy seemed as superficial as it truly was.
being the spiritual yogi goddess that i am, i took a step back and asked my doctor for my holistic alternatives. she said something along the lines of, "throw out the condoms. have lots of sex. try acupuncture."
given our un-readiness to conceive just yet, this was my perfect eat pray love moment to pursue an eastern approach to healing. i began acupuncture about two months or so removed from my doctor's steadfast IVF warning and a few weeks shy of my 30th birthday. the timing felt right. the throwing out my iced coffee that lida - acupuncturist / feminine guru goddess - instructed me to, didn't feel as good. after our first session, lida prescribed supplements and provided me with a list of foods to eat (soups, smoothies, veggies) and foods to avoid (dairy, gluten, alcohol).
within a week of my first session, i traded in my usual pizza-popcorn-kit-kat routine for the healthy lifestyle that i always wanted for myself but was too lazy to pursue. i doubled down on my yoga dosage and got lost in the streets of chinatown as i picked up my newly prescribed herbs. i swapped my coffee for hot water with lemon, found and frequented the cutest fucking vegan bakery, and was that girl ordering the only gluten free, dairy free, taste free items on every menu. LA embraced me. NY, not so much.
week by week i journaled my thoughts and feelings after every session with lida. did i look any different? did i feel any better? were my periods starting to normalize? how the fuck should i know - by week six i was pregnant. and don't hate me, but i was fucking beautiful. and my new wellness regimen? - discarded. minus the weekly acupuncture sessions - those were my everything.
i assumed that once my diet resumed to its pre-lida status, pregnancy would begin it's warpath on my hormones. i sat. i waited. and i ate. yet, with each month that passed, my hair just grew shinier, my skin clearer, and my body voluptuous AF in all the right ways. and when life kicked the shit out of me in the way 2016 was notorious for - job fails, relationship bomb drops, financial crises, moving thrice, LABOR - i was grounded and calm. i was thoughtful in my responses and reactions in a way that i never, ever, in my seven years of yoga, two teacher trainings, one spiritual awakening, and a trip to india, was before.
WHAT IN THE FUCK?!
it's hard to know for sure if it was the weekly acupuncture or the surge of pregnancy hormones that balanced a decade's worth of imbalance. or maybe it was both. i practically failed chemistry and skipped biology, so i'll never really know for sure.
but what i do know is that i wish i didn't spend those ten years fearing pregnancy.
especially since the prize is so worth the fight.
i wish i knew that pregnancy was like having my body filled with little magical skittles shitting rainbows from my head to my toes. except instead of each color representing a flavor, it was a hormone that i was deficient in.
and with that being the case, i wish i could be pregnant forever and ever (minus every single other thing that has to do with being pregnant) and reap the bountiful benefits of a harmoniously hormonal body and mind. unlike my body and mind poooost baby - which deserves a blog in it of itself.
i wish i could bottle up the burst of hormones that pregnancy surged through my body and hand them out on street corners like those cool cats selling cds or oprah giving away cars to all of my pcos wearing chicas. the badass mamas fighting breakouts, freak outs, weight gains, or pregnancy losses.
i wish i could tell those badass mamas / maybe soon-to-be mamas / that you are not alone.
that my journey was my journey. your journey is your journey. but they are our journeys.
i wish you peace mentally. physically. emotionally.
i wish that all the wishes you wish, come true.
and that you feel beautiful AF along the way.