One of the most common questions I get asked is "How did you pick yourself up after understanding your diagnosis of Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)?". So today I've decided to address it head on.For those of your who don't know what POF is, it is more recently described as Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI) and essentially means the ovaries have stopped functioning the way they are intended to. Some would describe it as Premature Menopause; however, physiologically speaking that is incorrect. But let's just put it this way - the symptoms are pretty much identical. 

In my opinion though, understanding the disorder is microscopic in significance when compared to understanding the psychological aspect. Women who are diagnosed tend to experience a constant roller-coaster of emotions and unfortunately, some women never find a way to prevail.

My hope is that by sharing the thought process I used to triumph over my diagnosis, I may be able to help inspire a new way for other women to view theirs.

So here it is:

How did you pick yourself up after understanding your diagnosis?

Dealing with this diagnosis is extremely tough.

What many POF patients, and many onlookers, don’t seem to realize is that in order to move forward, the diagnosed woman needs to go through an entire grieving cycle. This should be approached just as a death is – you must let yourself grieve.

In case you are unfamiliar, the grieving cycle looks like this:
  • Shock stage: Initial paralysis at hearing the bad news.
  • Denial stage: Trying to avoid the inevitable.
  • Anger stage: Frustrated outpouring of bottled-up emotion.
  • Bargaining stage: Seeking in vain for a way out.
  • Depression stage: Final realization of the inevitable.
  • Testing stage: Seeking realistic solutions.
  • Acceptance stage: Finally finding the way forward.
(http://changingminds.org/disciplines/change_management/kubler_ross/kubler_ross.htm)

Some people go through the cycle fast, and some people don’t. I, personally, went quite quickly, but that isn’t always the case.

There are many places where we can get stuck in this cycle and there are many places where we can find ourselves right back at the beginning. It all depends on the person and their support systems. I can’t tell you what you need to do to get there, but I can tell you how I personally arrived at ‘acceptance’ myself.

What I realized one day is that I had to let it go. This was the body I was granted with and the situation I was placed in. I can’t control whether or not I actually conceive naturally one day, so instead I decided to seek for what I could control – I re-focused. What I eventually established is that I could control two things: My health/wellbeing and my mind.

In my mind, I still have hope to conceive naturally one day (I would NEVER suggest giving up, or losing hope), but instead of weighing myself down with thoughts such as “why me?” and “this isn’t fair” – which are nothing but added weight on my shoulders – I’ve decided to put energy into building the healthiest me possible.  

By becoming healthy and strong physically, I have the peace of mind in knowing that, should my path in life result in a spontaneous pregnancy, I am healthy enough to carry it to term. And this, in turn, has made me healthier mentally.

I made a conscious decision to not let this diagnosis define me. I am not Kristen Adamson with POF, I am Kristen Adamson and I can be whoever I want to be.

Just because I have this diagnosis does not mean I cannot be a mother someday.

Truthfully, it is often the dwelling that bears down on our bodies, creating unnecessary stress. And when our bodies are under stress, chemical reactions occur within that can hinder its ability to work effectively.

So, I have chosen to remove that stress and allow my body to work on functioning the way it was intended to, and to support that decision, I have decided to nourish it with nutritious, whole foods and happy thoughts daily.

I know it isn’t easy, and in all honesty, I still have really really tough days - and that's completely normal when faced with this type of circumstance - but what I remind myself regularly is that I cannot focus on the outcome being ‘getting pregnant’ and having a child that is biologically mine. My focus must be on accepting me for me. I have to love myself in my entirety. And should I be destined to be the biological mother of my children someday, that will be the cherry on top.

Deciding to accept it was a conscious choice I had to make. I had to decide it was time to move on and focus my energy on something positive instead.

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