A woman who is constantly mistaken for being pregnant by strangers due to severe bloating may never be able to have children.
Grace Moon, 24, from Birmingham, West Mids, suffers from endometriosis – where tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
It also causes the trainee nurse to have a ‘pregnant-looking stomach,’ a symptom Grace says adds to the heartbreak of her condition, which means she may never be able to have children.
She said: “People see a bump as a joyful thing and just want to say congratulations but it hurts.
People always congratulate me, but I may never have children
“People always ask if I’m pregnant because of the bloating.
“I’m normally a size 12-14 but when I’m bloated, I have to wear a 16-18 and it really knocks my confidence.
“I used to work in a pharmacy and people would ask when the baby is due on a daily basis.
“It just rubs salt in the wound but I would look like I was ready to pop.
“I’d explain it’s part of my condition and that I may never have children, I try to let it go over my head and people usually apologise but I do want to tell them that it’s insensitive.
“It’s heart-breaking and painful because I’ve always wanted a family but I may never have children.
“I don’t know if I can conceive. I might be able to get pregnant and not be able to carry the baby.”
Grace has suffered symptoms since the age of 16 but was finally diagnosed when she was 21 and doctors advised her to have a baby before it was too late.
Deciding they weren’t ready for a baby, she and engineer partner, Joshua, 25, chose to take the risk and wait.
But Grace says she’s willing to try anything to have a baby including IVF, surrogacy and adoption.
Advised to have a baby at 21
She said: “When I was diagnosed, at every appointment, I was advised to have a baby because it could be my only chance and the longer I waited, the worse it would get.
“I didn’t want a baby at 21, I wanted to get my health sorted.
“My friends are amazing and have offered to be surrogates. I would do anything.”
Endometriosis affects one in 10 women in the UK and the symptoms can range from migraines, bladder retention, chronic fatigue, heavy periods and severe constipation.
Due to her agonising condition, Grace has been forced to take months off work as a trainee nurse and is taking morphine daily.
She also takes menopause medication to ease the symptoms and two years ago, Grace considered having a hysterectomy.
Grace said: “It started with severe bloating, nausea and I would pass out.
“I became anaemic because I lost so much blood, I had symptoms of IBS and I was in excruciating pain.
“The symptoms weren’t just during my cycle, they were constant.
“I had some of the endometriosis lasered off and I’m on menopause treatment which shuts down your reproductive system.
“It’s basically like I’m going through the menopause at 24 and I may never have children.
“Doctors just don’t seem to know a lot about it and that makes you think it’s all in your head and you just feel crazy.
“It took years for me to get a diagnosis because the condition is rarely heard of.”