Hi all, this is a pretty long read. It contains opinions towards the end you may not like or agree with. It contains discussion about periods, sex, and other debauchery. It contains potentially triggering topics.
It also contains my dreams.
So yeah, it clocks in at about 2,000 words, and there’s no photos, so it’s up to you whether or not you read this through to the end xx
It’s easy to imagine me as a child, with round chipmunk cheeks, masses of brunette hair cut into a china-doll bob, and bright blue eyes (they turned hazel when I was 9).
I wore pretty dresses and patent shoes, and always, always has my baby doll by my side. She had short ginger hair and soft skin the colour of peaches and cream.
If you were to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would answer you: Rock Star and Mum. I always knew what I wanted, and I worked hard even as a child towards my goals. I learned to read and write music, practiced writing poetry and lyrics every day. I listened to every kind of music, to find inspiration and motivation.
I was born to rock.
Rock star aside, everyone agreed I’d be a natural mum – I was stern but supportive, warm and engaging, and was the best baby sitter around. I never had to raise my voice have any toddler or young child behave themselves, and I was always rewarded with those warm, all-encompassing, loving hugs only young children can give. I also gave apparently the best hugs in return.
Being the sensible sort that I am though, my plan was to always try to be a rock star first, and then do the whole mothering thing once I was in my thirties. I like plans, and goals, and ambitions, and despite those plans, goals, and ambitions being a bit strange for a small child, I always knew that a sensible approach was the only approach.
My rock star goal was well on its way to fruition when I was a teenager – I had been having vocal lessons for years, knew my way around a piano, and had developed a pretty rockin’ musicality.
However, when I was 21 I realised I’d never actually be a rock star as despite my years of training: when my voice is recorded it sounds really weird. Like a child.
Like a child singing through a kazoo.
No amount of production could hide my childish voice and so instead I spent my twenties working with musicians, giving singing lessons to metal heads, and writing music. In fact, I still write music for a friends band who is very much living the rock’n’roll lifestyle!
Unable to be a rock star I figured I’d still be a mum one day so hey ho, plans change, go with the flow.
So I still lived the rock star life, without actually being a rock star. There were lots of parties, a lot of alcohol, and a lot of intimate encounters. Around me, my female friends were having pregnancy scares, falling pregnant, having abortions, or carrying to term, and at each step of the way we were all incredibly supportive of each and every decision made through those processes.
This was the naughties, we were strong women in control of our bodies and our sexuality, and you know what? Accidents happen, we all knew it, so there was never any judgement – only support.
Personally, I never had even so much as a scare, and assumed my dedication to safe sex was working for me. Despite the fact that you know, sometimes protection wasn’t readily available, I wasn’t always on the pill or another form of chemical contraception, and sometimes those aforementioned accidents simply happen (condoms can and do break y’all).
I never even a missed period though, so I figured I must have been doing something right, or was just really lucky.
Speaking of periods, mine at the time were pretty irregular. I never missed a period, but would sometimes start bleeding mid-cycle, and it wouldn’t stop for weeks. Once, when I was 27, I spent a full month bleeding heavily (but we’ll get to that later).
I always assumed my irregular bleeding was down to the pill, or the shot, or the implant. It had to be the birth control right? At least, that’s what my doctors were telling me and so I was always getting new prescriptions, new needles, so on and so forth. Not a lot of fun, and why I wasn’t always on any form of chemical contraception.
Despite all these issues though, I knew when the time was right I’d go get myself pregnant with the right person, give up the rock star life, and start a family instead.
My first relationship failed when he declared he never wanted to have children, as did my second. Having a family was important to me so had to be important to the person I was in a relationship with too!
It was during the second relationship, age 27, that I bled heavily for a full month straight.
Doctors were confused as my hormonal levels were fine, and I had used that method of birth control before without issue. There was a lot of confusion and I was in a lot of pain.
Having been in pain for a month and bleeding excessively, my relationship went on a “break” and I stayed with my family whilst trying to figure out what was going on. I had left a few things at the flat I had shared with my boyfriend, though nothing of consequence – some deodorant, my women’s daily multivitamin, and some food.
A few days later my bleeding stopped.
After collecting the aforementioned products a week or so later, my bleeding started again within days…
It was then I realised the womens daily multivitamins were causing my bleeding. They contained evening primrose oil which is meant to help relieve PMS. I remembered that when I was a teenager my mother had bought me EPO supplements to regulate my crazy period, but they’d only made it worse… As had St Johns Wort, another PMS relieving supplement.
I realised that it was the foods and supplements that were causing me to bleed, and so I started to keep a food diary, noting everything I ate and the way my body was reacting to them.
As it turned out, every time I ate anything containing seeds or beans, whether it was a soy hot chocolate or a super seed salad, the bleeding would start. In fact, when I was using any form of chemical birth control I wouldn’t even get a period, unless I ate seeds or beans!
I had finally figured out what was causing my bleeding, and it was a massive relief. But why were seeds and beans causing this problem? Surely they must all have something in common that was causing me to bleed.
After a quick Google search, I discovered that seeds and beans are rich in Phytoestrogens – female plant hormones. Some further reading explained that these phytoestrogens are easily confused by our bodies with actual human estrogen!
With this information in hand, I started returning to my doctors to get them to sort out my uterus. We now knew it wasn’t the pill but phytoestrogens, so that was a massive leap in the right direction for me getting better, and to stop the bleeding.
Unfortunately though, the doctors didn’t believe that plant hormones were causing such an adverse effect, and I was literally laughed at many many times. Given my blood samples all came back a-ok, I was always quickly dismissed from their offices.
Now, I’m no quitter, and I wanted to know what the hell was going on – why is my body reacting so badly to phytoestrogens and how can I stop it?
I needed to see a specialist, but given my blood samples kept coming back normal there was little I could do. The doctors refused to refer me.
After a bit of thinking, I came up with a solution on how to finally meet with a specialist, a solution I knew would work.
My mother has a thyroid condition, as does every single female on her side of the family. Because of this, every September, like clockwork, I would have my Thyroid tested to ensure that should I have any issues I’d catch them at their earliest stages.
I care a lot about my health.
Anyway, year after year my tests always came back normal and within healthy ranges, but when I was 29, I decided that the tests weren’t good enough and I wanted to see a specialist to see if they may see something in the tests a GP couldn’t. Given my family history of thyroid concerns, the doctor agreed it was probably a good idea.
But why would a thyroid specialist be able to help my broken uterus?
My mother’s specialist was also the same specialist that a friend’s partner was seeing to help with hormonal treatments throughout their gender transition.
Meaning, if I could get an appointment with this specialist about my thyroid, I could also ambush him into discussing my phytoestrogen intolerance – after all, it’s all hormones!
Within a few months I finally had my appointment with the specialist. After reviewing 9 years of healthy thyroid tests, he gave me the all clear – if there hadn’t even been so much as a hiccup in my test results over nine years the chances of me developing any thyroid related problems was slim to none.
Good news! However, I had more important things on my mind.
I asked him about phytoestrogens, and told him how my body was reacting to them. He looked at me strangely and asked me a few questions as he paced the room:
You don’t have children do you?
Have you ever been pregnant?
Abortion or miscarriage?
Nothing so much as a scare.
You’ve always been on the pill though, or been practicing safe sex?
I’ll be honest with you, no. I was a bit of a rock star in my 20’s.
His face fell, and a sadness passed over his face that today thinking about it breaks my heart.
Oh, I am so sorry, was all he said.
See, as I mentioned earlier, the human body confuses phytoestrogens with estrogen, meaning that if I have such a massive reaction to phytoestrogens, my body will react the same to proper, human estrogen – aka the pregnancy hormone.
Eventually, after he had gained his composure, he sat and explained to me that it wasn’t luck that I had never fallen pregnant, but that my body never would, and that I would never be able to carry a child to term. I could conceive, yes, but the second my body detected estrogen, the lining of my uterus would shed, essentially self-aborting.
Needless to say, and I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know if I’ve ever fully recovered from that meeting.
Since finding out the bad news five years ago I continue to remain conception free. My inability to fall pregnant has caused relationships to end before they started, and in one case was used as an excuse by a guy to cheat on me – but that’s another story.
Ben knows the difficulties that will surround any attempt at us wanting to start a family – especially as I turn 35 this year, and that from here on in things are going to grow even more difficult even if I could naturally conceive and carry to term.
Surrogacy and adoption are options, but both are expensive and emotionally exhausting, and may not be options for us.
But, and here’s the bit where my human side is going to show, where the controversial statements will be made. I understand not everyone will agree with what I say here, but please put yourself in my shoes and you will hopefully understand.
Just like the women in my family all have thyroid disorders, they are all also super breeders and able to pop out babies willy-nilly without a care. I have no right to be jealous, but I am.
I read about so much child abuse, and neglect, and in fact I work professionally alongside organisations that deal with looked after children, and although I have no right to be angry, I am.
I know that being a mother isn’t the end all and be all of being a woman, and that we have opportunities now that we never had 50 years ago, let alone 100! However, being denied even the choice as to whether or not I want to have a child naturally? I have no right to feel as though my body has let me down, but I do.
One day I hope we’ll be able to discuss freely women who struggle with pregnancy, to raise awareness of infertility, having a hostile uterus, or other obstructions preventing women from being able to conceive or carry a child to term. I know I am not the only one who has this struggle, and I hope that this post can help raise awareness, in some small way, that being without a family isn’t always a choice.
I wanted to be a rock star, and it never happened. However, I used my talents to help others become rock stars and have watched them jet off around the world.
I wanted to be a mother, and it will never happen. However, I will use everything I have from my supportive nature, my empathy, and ability to give pretty amazing hugs, to ensure that every single person I care about is loved and cared for the best way I can.
I had my goals, my dreams, and my plans for as long as I remember, and I’ll never be a rock star, and I’ll never be a mum, but if you ever need a baby sitter with fabulous taste in music? You know where to find me.
xx Bry Jaimea