There’s no doubt about it, going through life can be hard. And you may find yourself in a position where you wonder why certain things are happening to you. Whether you’re experiencing loss or dealing with a personal struggle, it can seem like nothing good will ever come from your pain, but that line of thinking is flawed.
The very reason you read stories on this website, and this one in particular, is because I went through a period of devastating pain that led to the end my marriage but birthed The Weight She Carries. So I am a firm believer that pain creates opportunity if we allow it to.
There’s a woman I want to tell you about today. Her name is Lesego Motshwane. It was her own battle with endometriosis, adenomyosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and delayed diagnosis that led her to push for more education on women’s health so others would have more information than she had as an adolescent.
Born in Soweto, Lesego suffered for many years without answers. It took 11 years for doctors to finally diagnose her with endometriosis.
Affecting one in every ten women, endometriosis is a reality for more women than we realize. It is a painful condition where tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside the uterus.
PCOS is another disorder that often goes undiagnosed. Women with PCOS produce higher-than-normal amounts of male hormones which causes irregularity periods and makes it more difficult to get pregnant.
Between 2.2 and 26.7 percent of women in childbearing years (15-44) have PCOS, yet a large number of women with this condition do not know it.
Lesego was also diagnosed with uterine adenomyosis 2 years ago, and told Global Citizen that she has had five laparoscopies to remove endometriosis and ovarian cysts.
Her frustration with battling issues she couldn’t name for so long compelled her to advocate for other women who may be facing similar conditions and have no one to advocate for their health.
Lesego is the founder of the Seratabatho Foundation, which supports women’s health, and president of World Youth Leading Change Africa. She also works with World Women Leading Change.
But back to you…
What can you do with your pain, you ask? When you begin to open up and use your story to work for you instead of against you, you’ll be amazed at how much healing and purpose that gives way to.
When it became abundantly clear that I was going to be a single mother, all I could think about were the various stereotypes that I felt I now embodied. Single mother, single black mother, broken family, and the implications that had on my kids who would now be labelled as kids raised in a single-parent household. And don’t get me started on what that means within the African culture.
Accepting the fact that, yes, I had become a single mother, and yes, my marriage had failed was the beginning of me changing my narrative and choosing to do something positive with it. It took a long time to get there though.
There are many layers to that season in my life and I am still working my way through some of them, however, I can say that choosing to except my reality for what it was and channeling my pain into something positive made all the difference. I’m happy to say that I’m experiencing so much joy and peace in my life. God has turned things around for my good.
So, what about you? What have you gone through that you can transform into something that helps others?
Vimbai E. is a writer, journalist, ghostwriter and the founder of The Weight She Carries. With hundreds of articles publishing online, in print and for broadcast, her love of language and storytelling shines through every piece of writing that bears her name.