I’ve been debating writing this piece and putting it out there. For all my talk about being honest and real, I still wrestle with when and how. Is this too much? Is this too personal? Is this too intimate? I started actively sitting with these questions this January when I began having chronic pain in my lower pelvis and back. I am no stranger to pain in that area. I am no stranger to painful, lengthy, and challenging menstrual issues. What I am a stranger to is stopping and listening to my body. Slowing down and going to the doctor. And then continuing to ask questions and speak up until I am heard.
What I am also new to is sharing this part of my life. Those who know me most closely have known the pain, embarrassment, and struggle I have lived with since starting to menstruate at 11. Most people don’t know. Because like a good girl, I haven’t said anything. I’ve swallowed more than my share of ibuprofen, plastered a smile on my face, and kept on keeping on.
This winter I stopped that.
This spring I stop the silence.
The reality is in less than two weeks I will be having a hysterectomy to treat fibroids and a myriad of other menstrual issues. Even as I type, I find myself wondering where the “whisper font” is. This is not something we talk about in polite company. We can mention knee replacement, heart surgery, and gallbladder removal. But hysterectomy…shhh.
Mention this and there are a million images projected onto the emotional screen in your life. Maybe it’s the secrecy. Or the assumption that women aren’t women without a womb. But the assumption is devastation.
And in my case, that’s true in part. It is devastating…a loss. Truly closing a door to the life that I always thought I would have…the one where I birth a baby of my own.
But on the other hand, it allows another door to open. The one where my body can finally heal from pain that has tormented it for years. The one that proclaims to the world that womanhood is so much more than a part of anatomy. And motherhood is larger than birth. For me the loss of a womb feels a little bit like the fear and joy of the empty tomb. A place where Mystery just waits to be resurrected.