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It Wasn't NORMAL - Cervical Awareness Month

I remember the day I came into what was called my womanhood. I was 12 years old, and I got my first menstrual cycle. I can recall the fear and excitement that I was on my way to adulthood (silly me). As the months went on, it was only one more time that my "friend" would visit me. I didn't think anything of it because the doctors said this was normal when it first started, and things would regulate as I got older. 

Fast forward to when I was 17 years old, my "friend" finally returned to visit me, but the visits were far and in between. At this stage, I began to hemorrhage blood during the infrequent cycles, and yet again, the doctors said, "This is normal when you haven't had a cycle in some years." Little did I know that at 24, now married and trying to conceive, it wasn't normal, and something was wrong.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, commonly known as PCOS, was the diagnosis. My ovaries were covered in cysts, which didn't allow me to have a menstrual cycle, ovulate, and, in the doctor's words, get pregnant. In recognition of Maternal Health Awareness Day on 1/23, I want to urge every woman to challenge the comments of "this is normal." Get the answers that doctors don't always give. 

To women who look like me and other marginalized groups, continue to ask questions even when your questions are ignored. Continue to advocate for yourself even when your cries for help are minimized, and reduced to exaggerations. Continue to ask for the tests even when the doctors minimize your symptoms. Get the answers you need even when the doctors don't want to give them. 

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