A mother who has been dealing with facial hair growth since she was a teenager decided to embrace her beard and learned to be more confident about her unusual appearance.
Gennevieve Vaillancourt of Ontario, Canada, used to desperately hide her facial hair when this started growing on her upper lip and chin. She was about 16 years old when her hormones changed, and she grew a full beard in no time.
Vaillancourt is one of 4% to 20% of women of reproductive age around the world who has Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a condition where the ovaries produce more androgens or male sex hormones. An unwanted development with PCOS is hirsutism, or the appearance of excessive coarse and dark hair on the woman’s face as well as the chest, back, upper arms and legs.
The hair growth can be managed with proper medical treatment through regular consultations with a reproductive doctor, a dermatologist or an endocrinologist. There are many options for dealing with PCOS facial hair, including taking medications.
However, in her younger years, Vaillancourt resorted to shaving every day. Because of her appearance, Vaillancourt admitted that she was bullied in school. Kids made jokes about her needing to shave or meddled with her grooming habits. These intrusions left her feeling so ashamed.
Her PCOS diagnosis cleared up some of the confusion about her changing body, but she also felt her condition took her femininity away. Vaillancourt said in a 2022 interview that she lost some hope of becoming a mother, which is a fulfillment for some women because PCOS can also lead to infertility.
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Fortunately, in 2019, Vaillancourt became a mother to a boy she named Duncan. He was a factor in her decision to stop hiding her beard and be more accepting of her appearance.
“I wanted to lead by example,” the mother told Metro. “I couldn’t teach him to love every part of himself if I wasn’t doing the same.”
So, Vaillancourt shared photos of herself on her Instagram account to boost her confidence until she was finally ready to go out in public without hiding her beard. Her first public outing happened when mandatory mask-wearing during the lockdowns was no longer enforced.
Speaking with Studio 10, Vaillancourt recalled that she was very nervous about showing her beard to people and tried to decode their thoughts when they saw her. However, she realized she was “more nervous than necessary” because she learned that “people are generally kind.” It was a completely different experience compared to her teenage years, and this gave her more resolve to finally stop hiding. In September 2021, the mother decided to lay off the razor and stop shaving.
In one of her Instagram entries, Vaillancourt said that hiding her beard made her feel like a fraud, and this made loving herself harder.
“I was never truly myself, and along with hiding my stubble, I was hiding the best parts of myself which made it really hard to love myself. I felt like a liar.”
Vaillancourt also realized that the world is more open to those who show their authentic self no matter how different they look, and that’s what she wants to teach her son.
PCOS is a common struggle for many women, but do you agree Gennevieve Vaillancourt has a great attitude about her experience? Let us know, and pass this story along to someone who may be going through the same thing!