I have ovaries, boobs and…………..a beard! What?!? Maybe I’m part manatee? Nah, I just have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
I recall when those hairs on my chinny chin chin started growing in with fury. Course. Dark. Thick. What? All of the sudden I had a full-blown goatee! We’re talking thicker than my husband’s beard. It was devastating and honestly, oddly kinda fascinating. Not quite brave enough to post the pictures so you’ll have to use your imagination.
What in the world was happening to me? After quite a bit of tests, I finally met with a reproductive endocrinologist. My diagnosis: PCOS and advanced endometriosis. Now that I confirmed it was hormonal, I realized why laser hair removal had never worked. I now understood why I always struggled with super oily skin, cystic acne and weight issues. Most importantly though, I realized some big lessons on body acceptance.
I remember when I was letting the goatee grow to show my doctor (because let’s be honest, you really have to see it to believe it) and I had to run an errand. My then 8 and 9-year-old, with terrified eyes as big as saucers, asked if I was REALLY going inside the store?
In that moment, I stopped the car and we had an important chat about loving yourself for who you are, not what you look like, that physical appearance does not define a person and that your worth does not come from other people’s opinions. So, we marched up to the checkout line, my hairy chin held high, where I’m certain the young man on the register stared in awe…or perhaps that was disgust…or maybe he didn’t even notice? But I didn’t care. In that highly vulnerable moment, I had just modeled for my children what it actually means to “love and accept yourself”. It wasn’t just talk. I showed them what it looks like, whiskers and all.
I must admit, I now betray that moment and shave every day, sometimes twice a day. Honestly, I’m not quite down with having a beard yet. Perhaps by the time I’m 65 I won’t care so much? Besides, my kids are entering into their teenage years, and I’m pretty sure they’re relieved by my choice of hair removal.
Still I am happy they got to experience a brief moment of bravery and a quick lesson on self-acceptance and self-love.
So what if I happen to have too many androgens, if thick, coarse hairs sprout out of my chin, if I’m as big as a manatee??? I’m still the same person I’ve always been and a little facial hair, acne or extra poundage doesn’t change that.
Ok, after writing this I’m feeling a little braver! Here’s a little treat for those that actually read this post all the way to the end: