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Mel Greig: "I don't feel that I'm a real woman."

If you’re looking for advice about options surrounding fertility, pregnancy or counselling, always consult your doctor.

In an agonising essay for the Australian Women’s Weekly, former radio host, Mel Greig has spoken out about her reality of living with endometriosis.

Although speaking about her condition before, Greig’s piece is one written with brutal honesty about the pain she silently suffers.

Greig has had endo since she was 17, most likely a hereditary condition.

“I have had endometriosis from the age of 17 – it sadly runs in the family,” Greig wrote. “The contraceptive pill has helped me keep the pain under control for the past decade but it hasn’t controlled the endo. Mine has been getting steadily worse during the time period, eventually taking over my bowel and uterus.”

In fact, in March 2013, Greig was faced with the possibility of losing her bowel and one of her ovaries when the endo spread. But, even after surgery, the doctor promised her the endo would grow back within six months.

Not only does endo cause women a “shitload of pain”, as Greig puts it, but it also causes infertility.

mel greig endometriosis
The pain is often not understood. Image via Instagram.
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And, this is perhaps one of the most heartbreaking parts to Greig's story.

"I am one of those women. I have now been told that I have a 1-5 per cent chance of falling pregnant naturally. To say I'm devastated would be an understatement.

"I don't feel that I'm a real woman. I know I shouldn't feel this way but I do. But that's okay. It doesn't change the way I will love my children if I manage to have them, or how I will be as a mother."

Greig is very real and honest about her life with endo. Images via Instagram. Post continues after gallery...

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In her hope to have children, Greig has gone off the pill, which for so long regulated the insufferable pain endo sufferers endure.

"...I went off the pill to start trying for a baby and so I now get to feel every ounce of pain that endo brings its suffers every month.

"I go into self-lockdown for 24 hours at the start of each cycle. I can't move. Every step I take I'm in severe pain. Ironically, it feels like I imagine childbirth to be like, which something endo might mean I never experience."

On top of her diagnosis, Greig recently separated from her husband, making the fight to have children reach "a whole new level".

"But often a bigger battle can be finding a partner that understands someone who is prepared to go to war every month, his helmet on and sword is drawn ready for battle."

Even though Greig seems to jokingly admit the effort partners of endo sufferers must put in, it's terrifyingly true. The condition is one that can tear women and their relationships apart.

Listen: Mamamia Out Loud discusses: who owns frozen embryos after a breakup? (post continues after audio...)

"He must find immediate sources of chocolate, he must be willing to fill and refill my hot water bottle and he must be on his best god damn behaviour to avoid igniting an all-out battle."

Greig is now a strong advocate for making people aware that endo is a real disease. It isn't something that just comes and goes or another condition that women complain about - it is insufferably painful and something we must be aware of.

"When a woman with endo complains of period paid, shit is real. If she calls in sick, you better bloody believe she is enough not to come - she can't walk.

"Partners, it hurts like hell to have sexy-time with endometriosis. You need to be gentle and you need to make love to us on our backs...

"There are different levels of pain and damage but all endo sufferers feel the same in the sense that we just want some understanding. It's real and needs your support."

Mamamia's Infertility Week shines a light on the joy, the pain and everything in between when it comes to creating families. To read more from Infertility Week, click here.

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