PCOS: How to live with it, things to look out for & tackling adversity

PCOS, poly cystic ovary syndrome

Article by Leila Martyn, Founder, MyOva

When all seems lost, ditch the map and you’ll find a different route – somehow.

Some of us go through times in our lives when we just can’t imagine how life could ever be good again. And we definitely can’t imagine that it could be better than anything we’ve thought possible.

This is exactly what happened to me. At 19 I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS, a condition affecting 1 in 10 people worldwide. It can play havoc with a woman’s hormones and can heavily impact their fertility. I was told I’d find it difficult to conceive and sent on my way. Just like that. Not really understanding the potential impact this may have on my future self, I also had a nagging feeling – which would last for well over a decade – that I would have problems conceiving.

Perhaps it was a self-fulfilling prophecy, but when the time came to start a family, what should be a happy, joyous time was the start of a living nightmare.

If you’ve ever experienced baby loss, you’ll know it doesn’t matter how long you were pregnant, even if it’s only a matter of weeks. You’ll have made the mental shift and started to get your head around the fact that your whole life was about to change.  You’ll have made plans and dreamt about meeting your baby. You’ll maybe even have thought about what you wanted to name them and envisaged the rest of your life with them in it. When that is taken away from you, those feelings don’t just vanish. There’s a deep sense of loss. Something not even another baby can replace.

This is what happened to me 6 times over a 5-year period. It was devasting and shattering. But it was also life changing and transformational. What blossomed from those painful years was a life I couldn’t have ever imagined. I had unwittingly set off a chain reaction that would take my life in a completely different direction.

During the midst of my miscarriages, I had an overwhelming need to find a solution to my problem. Don’t we often, in times of darkness, refocus ourselves into practical action? Something we can control in a situation that’s out of our hands?

I came across an amazing type of B vitamin called Myo-inositol with promising research on helping relieve the many symptoms of PCOS, including improving egg quality (which I was convinced was reason for my miscarriages). I’d never heard of this ingredient before and realised there must be so many other women like me who would benefit from this too.

This is what sparked the idea of launching MyOva, a natural supplement brand created to help women just like me to not feel so alone. Shortly after launching MyOva, I discovered a wonderful fertility doctor who helped me conceive my two beautiful boys.

I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like if I had just given up and accepted my fate, instead of relentlessly searching for an answer. And I’m hugely grateful for what these life lessons have taught me and how I have been able to apply them to every area of my life, including my business.

Tips for dealing with adversity

Don’t give up

Life has a habit of coming through for you when you least expect it. Yes, it can pull the rug from under your feet, and it can often be a very painful fall, but hold onto some belief, some faith, some tiny beacon of hope that you can and will get back up again at some point. It doesn’t have to be today. Just take it a day at a time and allow yourself time to recover at your own pace.

Understand that with time, you will gain perspective

They say time is the greatest healer. It doesn’t take the pain away, but it helps you learn how to manage it and cope. Hindsight is a marvellous thing – think about what you have learned from other difficult times, however hard. Try to hold on to the knowledge that at some point in the future, you will look back on this and see it with fresh eyes.

Have a purpose

When you can get to the heart of why you are doing what you’re doing, you will be able to push through, no matter how difficult the situation is. Set yourself a goal or two, give yourself a timeframe, jot down some actionable steps. Do it by yourself or with a partner, friend or family member who can help keep you on track.

Embrace adversity as a chance for opportunity

With chaos comes a feeling of being unable to control what’s going on. That’s why it’s often so scary and uncertain. Make a list of things you could do to feel more at ease, or to divert your attention into something new. Maybe it’s a hobby you’ve been meaning to try, maybe it’s a new route to focus on after your setback, maybe it’s a holiday. Think like a phoenix, and rise.

Stay optimistic

Focusing on the negatives will only keep you feeling low. Allow negative feelings, acknowledge them as completely natural and normal, reflect on them – then ultimately you take away their power. You take back control in the situation, and this will help you to feel more positive about the future.

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