It’s so romanticised growing up – becoming a woman. Growing into your womanhood. Taking your place amongst the generations of strong, beautiful women that have come before us, proudly.
Becoming a woman (for me, at least) has been a big, hot, steaming pile of BS.
I just wanted to get that out there, upfront, no sugar coating, because – well, it really has been.
Once you reach a certain age, you become a woman in the most glorious way anyone could have imagined. You get to bleed and feel like shit every month from here on in – hey, lucky you!
As a young girl, at the tender age of 11, I had to come to terms with the fact that I had now become a woman, and just what that meant.
I was introduced to these totally foreign things called pads. I was told that these were my new friends each month and I needed to keep them in my bag for when the need arose. So into my school bag went my care package. Now, without making myself sound too old here, back then my Mum used pads that could easily rival a surfing longboard. One look at these things had me wondering how the hell they would fit in my knickers!
After some time, and a lot of complaining about these pads, Mum and I went to Coles and I introduced her to these new age pads. You know, the ones that are designed to actually feel comfortable, unlike the paddleboards she had introduced me to earlier.
So, at the age of 11, I became the go-to person at my primary school for all things period-related.
As each girl in our class gained her new status as a woman, I was there to offer a shoulder to cry on and some advice on the more comfortable pad choices that were available. Being the period support person of your class was an eye-opening experience, that’s for sure!
Over the years, I got used to dealing with that side of it.
But what lay ahead of me was far worse than anything I could have imagined, and would take more to deal with than any pad design, that’s for sure.
I remember being 11 and in such pain every month, that most of the time I ended up curled up on the classroom beanbag in the reading corner, just waiting for Mum to come to school and take me home. During these times it was not uncommon for me to sleep for 14 hours or more.
Fast forward through a couple of years of heavy, painful and very long periods, then anaemia struck. At the age of 13, I was prescribed the contraceptive pill just to control my periods each month, and to combat the anaemia. I also had to take iron tablets. If you have ever had to take them you can appreciate just how much they added to the discomfort. So now I’m 13, dealing with being a woman each month, suffering from anemia and taking constipation-causing iron tablets.
Life is good, right?
But my story is actually not uncommon. When I was 25, we had been trying to fall pregnant with our second child for 18 months, so we were referred to a fertility clinic. After filling out the pages and pages of questions trying to get to the bottom of the issue, our specialist took one look my answers and said he suspected I had a disease called endometriosis. All my suffering was caused by this disease and
there are around 700,000 other Australian women suffering through the same symptoms every month, just like me.
My first laparoscopy found severe, extensive endometriosis, which was removed, along with a pesky cyst. After this surgery, I was one of the lucky ones, and fell pregnant naturally, which was a little bit of light amongst a shit load of darkness.
I had another laparoscopy three years later, to remove another cyst. It was also noted that my endometriosis had grown back. But since we weren’t trying to fall pregnant, and due to the difficult surgery the first time around, it was left alone.
After the birth of our second child, I tried the Mirena, which is a type of contraception that has shown signs of being able to help some suffers by suppressing the symptoms of endometriosis. I thought it would be great, five years of contraception in one device.
Life was good.
At this time, I was well into my gym training, and loving it! Until one day, my Mirena decided to introduce itself to my cervix…and get stuck! Yeah that was fun, trying to hold your legs together while running on the treadmill – please don’t try it, it won’t end well!
So that one was removed and I had a second one put in – because if at first you don’t succeed, get someone else to shove something up your hoo-ha, right?
Well, this time my Mirena decided to try to insert itself in the rear wall of my uterus, right on a nerve. I couldn’t walk. I thought I was dying! I sat in the doctor’s office crying so hard I’m sure everyone thought I was deranged! After a few days of this pain we found out exactly what was causing it and that one was also removed.
Only a few months later, my endometriosis symptoms had returned with a vengeance. To get through my bad days, I am currently having to take Tramadol, which is an opiate pain medication. So, I decided to take things a step further. Enough is enough at some point, right?
I booked myself in to see the amazing, endo-slaying gynecologist, Dr Jade Acton. She has been so sympathetic to what I have gone through and as I write this, I am looking forward to surgery this Friday. Dr Acton will be doing a hysterectomy and removing the horrible, life-sucking endometriosis. After the recovery time is over, I’m hoping to be able to live a pain-free life. And hey, no periods ever again, that’s a little bonus I guess!
Despite the horrible experiences I have had, and the terrible amount of pain I have had to live with since I was 11 years old, the fact that I still have hope for the future (and a sense of humour!) really says something about the strength of womankind. Becoming a woman (and being a woman) sure has sucked at times. But I am strong because of it.
As the inimitable Betty White is credited with saying, “Why do people say, ‘Grow some balls?’ Balls are weak and sensitive. If you really want to get tough, grow a vagina! Those things take a pounding!”
Kosoula Chase is the owner operator of Complete Approvals. She lives in Perth, Western Australia with her family. Kosoula is an AusMumpreneur 2018 Finalist, seeker of knowledge and is new to blogging. Kosoula believes words are powerful in the right hands and loves pizza and red wine – sometimes together!
Why are we doing this thing? Because there’s enough noise in the world telling women what we ‘should’ be doing.
We should parent more consciously, but not be helicopter parents. We should take care of our bodies, but not be vain. We should make boys pay, but demand equal rights. We should dress appropriately, but also be confident in our skin, wear what we want, but not be provocative, oh and please feel comfortable in the world’s skimpiest school bathers but then wear your jeans to the formal because last year the boys looked up the girls’ skirts and so you’ll have to be the ones to modify your behaviour. Yeah. No.
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