Navigating life as a woman in the world today is interesting. From Nigeria to Timbuktu, it’ll amaze you how similar all our experiences are. Every Wednesday, women the world over will share their experiences on everything from sex to politics right here.
The subject of today’s What She Said is a 26-year-old woman. She talks about not really having a childhood, not wanting children, living with PCOS, wanting a hysterectomy, and wanting more money.
Tell me something about your childhood.
Growing up was fun. I’m the last born and even though my parents didn’t have much, it never really bothered me. I was somehow still very spoiled and protected.
I didn’t have toys or watch cartoons because we didn’t have cable and I was growing up with people 5-11 years older than me.
That’s a huge age difference.
My siblings are all way older than me. I am 26 now and my parents still ask for their approval about things I want to do with my life. It’s like my siblings are my parents and my parents are higher authorities.
How does that make you feel?
It doesn’t bother me much. I just wish my parents would take me more seriously, but I don’t see that happening. I know my siblings always have my best interest at heart and it’s a lot easier to go through them till I no longer have to.
They’re also very close and that’s what I knew. I learned friendship from my siblings. We are friends with each other and always have each other’s backs. It’s nice and warm.
They have been very big influences on my life. From listening to rappers like DMX, Ja-Rule, Snoop Dogg and a lot of artists from the early 2000s because of my older brother, to getting a PCOS diagnosis with the help of my sister.
Why did you think you had PCOS?
I’d never had regular periods. I started seeing my period in 2006 and even then they weren’t regular. I told my mum about it, but it wasn’t a big deal until I didn’t get my period for 5 months at a stretch in 2012. We went to the doctor and he said it was stress from writing WAEC. The period eventually came in October and came for a while. It was on and off.
I started having sex in 2016 and didn’t get my period for months. I took multiple pregnancy tests and they kept coming back negative, so I eventually told my mum about the delayed period and she insisted we go to a gynaecologist to get me checked.
Before that, I’d done some hormone tests, so I already knew I had a hormonal imbalance. I just didn’t know it was PCOS. My sister has PCOS and my mum is a retired nurse, so she put two and two together and she said I probably had PCOS too but wanted a proper diagnosis. I went to two different gynaecologists, and I got the diagnosis.
I went to a government hospital and then I went to a fertility hospital. I got a scan to check the size of the cysts and my female gynaecologist told me not to bother so much about it till I’m ready to have kids, but I don’t even want to have children. Not for any particular reason, I just don’t care much for them. I have two nephews and a niece I love very much but I’m not keen on having any of my own.
What happened after the diagnosis?
I got medication and I’m very nonchalant about it. I didn’t really start paying attention to my PCOS until this year when it felt like it was going to kill me. It was like every single symptom hit me at once. It was insane and drove me to read a lot about PCOS. The more I read, the more sense things made.
What were these symptoms?
I got period pain so intense, I couldn’t sleep. I was taking medication, but it wasn’t working. I was even having hot flashes.
I’ve only had two periods this year and they’ve both come with different madnesses. I had to induce the first one by taking the medication my doctor prescribed and the period lasted for 16 days and left me depressed and ill for the whole month. The second period I had this year came on its own but it felt like all the blood in my body was going to drain out and it lasted five days. Honestly, I’m really looking forward to a hysterectomy.
That’s very intense. Why a hysterectomy?
I don’t want a uterus anymore, and I want to live a life free from PCOS even if it’s just for my mental health. I went from a size 12 to a size 18, and I’ve had bouts of severe anxiety. It’s also worse when I’m on any form of medication for PCOS. September was an awful month but I’m a lot happier in October. No more medication, plus I was a lot more intentional about my happiness.
I thought medication made things better?
Better ke!? All the medication did for me was make my period come. It left me miserable. Letrozol, the medication my doctor prescribed for when I hadn’t seen my period, showed me pepper. I would have joint pain and be unable to sleep. I was crying and had to throw it out even though I’d used it for just two days. I’d rather not get a period than be in so much pain.
Honestly, what’s the point of periods anyway?
I don’t know. Nothing happens when I don’t get my period for months. If anything, I’m always so happy. I just want the period because I like to feel like a woman, but it’s like being a woman comes with hardship because why should I be crying for days because I didn’t get pregnant?
There were some times I even tried getting pregnant just for fun, but that didn’t work. No periods mean no ovulation. I’m not so bothered because like I said, I don’t want children. I consider that symptom of PCOS a blessing in disguise.
Since you don’t want children and your uterus is stressing you, why haven’t you done the hysterectomy?
I don’t know how much it costs, but I really don’t think I’d be able to afford it. Also, it’s a really big step and I haven’t given it much thought. I fancy the idea of not having a uterus, but am I ready to give it up? I need to think it through a lot more.
What’ll make life easier for you?
Money. I don’t think about PCOS when I’m enjoying my life. I want to earn enough to survive on my own and that’s one of the reasons I really want to leave the country. I’m only earning enough to make it through a few days post salary day. Money gives you a lot of options, and I don’t have that yet.
Help Zikoko keep making the content you love
More than ever, people are turning to Zikoko for stories that matter and content they love. But still, we, like many media organisations, are feeling the financial heat of these times. If you find us valuable, please make a contribution to help keep Zikoko zikoko-ing.
Thank you for your support.
We are also cool with Crypto.