10:52pm I'm sitting at the computer but I'm not comfortable. I'm actually hurting a bit tonight. "It has to hurt if it's to heal!" (reference from 'The Neverending Story' film) I sure hope I'm healing well enough and I'll find out with my first follow-up appointment on the 2nd of November with the gyno specialist (who also performed the surgery to remove my uterus) and I just hope things look good. I thought I was doing well until the other day and then I noticed that without the help of stronger bandages over the area, I'm in more pain with the increase in movement. I also know that I haven't drank nearly enough water as I was while in the hospital and I'm concerned about how much it's hurt the past few days when going to bed. My dreams / nightmares are a good distraction until I'm awake enough to feel the discomfort and to start worrying about it all again. I think I just feel scared in general when it comes to this recent procedure. I know that it's a common thing in my family on my mother's side to have done but I'm not in contact with any of them so I don't have their stories or words of comfort (if they had any). I also don't know who has had an abdominal hysterectomy or how it went.
I guess it is like every other rite of passage I've had throughout my adult life - figure it out for myself as I go along. I've been surprisingly fine about that for several years but there are times, especially recently, where I've wished things had been different and that I had mentors and a connection to women of wisdom, empathy, love and experience in my life. I have lacked in role models and relationships of that sort. When I get to feeling really sorry for myself, I remember Granny Pullin saying to me when I was in my '20s over the phone that she wished she was younger so that she could be there to guide me - to teach me and help me - not those exact words but the basic gist - and I didn't quite understand fully just how much she knew exactly how I would feel right now and what I would need, that I'd be lacking in my life - that I will probably go without for the rest of my life. Both of my parents are alive but I feel like an orphan.
11:06pm Yes, the uterus needed to be removed. There is no doubt about that. I have never had a desire to have children, what with my fear that I might be an awful mother based on the two mothers I had in my life. One of my biggest fears was that I would be like them. This is not an uncommon fear and while sometimes these things seem to be passed on from one generation to another, I think that my self-awareness from an early age and concern about it would have prevented me from being like them, no matter what. I would not have put any child through the neglect or the abuse that I went through. However, that said, I was okay with not having children, as in, I didn't need to prove a point that I could be a better parent by having children. However, I did think of having my own children - maybe even twins like myself or passing that on to later generations - and even though I knew that I wasn't able to get pregnant from the first relationship where I was sexually active (at age 20), I think I wondered if someday I might be able to fix that. Depending on the situation, maybe, you never know? Though again, with so many other considerations in mind, I didn't actually think I would have children. But it wasn't ruled out completely. Maybe once I was healthier. Maybe this or maybe that - there was at least a maybe. A maybe baby.
Rationally, I know that I'm not even in a relationship where I could even adopt a child, let alone would I want to have given birth in recent years. Nope, not on the top of my to do list. But dammit if this doesn't just feel so final. It's expensive to adopt, you know? It's expensive to have children but yet if you have no money, you can pop out babies all you want. If you can't get pregnant, it gets more complicated. Then, suddenly, all the things that should be checked off to be able to care for children by society's standards become important enough to become an obstacle to having them. Look, I've honestly not needed to have my own children. I've even been in relationships with men who have kids from previous relationships and that was fine, totally cool, I was okay with that and had much respect and an understanding that both parents need to be involved in their children's life no matter what goes on with their romantic relationships that develop after the one they conceived the children in is over - the parenting relationship should hopefully continue if at all able to in a healthy way. I don't have this mindset from seeing it done but from thinking of how much better it would be for the kids to have it happen that way. It's not always possible because some people are jerks and can't have any kind of healthy relationship but still, I've had compassion with this type of situation because of what I've experienced - from childhood and through some relationships.
But that doesn't change the fact that I am feeling a sense of loss (let's keep adding the losses one atop the other in life - is that what getting older is? - loss upon loss) and the finality of knowing I can not carry a part of myself forward, not in the way that so many others can do. If I am fortunate enough to get old, I will do so and then I will be gone. It's ego that wants to be remembered, to not be lost, to not have it so in my face clear that no one will remember me when I'm gone. The line stops here. I'm the surviving twin and I can't leave any trace of us but a mass of words and my sister's gravestone that will have no one to wipe the moss off it when I am gone.
I can't say why people want kids exactly but I think there is a part of them that thinks of the future beyond themselves when they have them - at certain points of their lives - and that future being an extension of their own selves, their own mortality - their continuance. Not everyone wants kids. There are plenty of people that are happy to be childfree. Or those who made peace with it for their own reasons. Maybe even an aversion to having children. I think that I would probably still decide not to have kids at this time even if I did have a uterus and I likely would choose to remain without children if it was my choice at all. I don't want to have kids as an excuse not to write or try to make something of myself from within myself and not vicariously through offspring. I have never been a fan of those who try to lockdown a partner by having children. I don't like the way kids are used as pawns in mean games played by hurt grown ups. I am thankful (so very grateful) that I wasn't able to get pregnant with my first partner because, although I was in love and hopeful and naive, I knew well enough that if he couldn't be there for his own children in whatever way possible, then how could I expect he would for me? It had nothing to do with our relationship or it's ending years later but all these years later, I'm sure it's not just him that is relieved that I didn't have his children. I know that a few of my relationships were based on the fact that the men found it appealing that I couldn't get pregnant as they said they didn't want children. One of them that I was especially fond of became a father in recent years. People change their minds. He probably wouldn't be the only one.
The thing is, I won't ever get to change my mind.
In a culture that over sexualizes women or wants them to be Mothers - (or both!) - I am in that area where I'm neither and while it doesn't have to be one or the other to define one's self, I wonder if this will help me to become the writer I've always wanted to be or, in not having that motherhood experience, I will forever have lost out on some missing element that would have made me more of whatever I might have been. I don't know. I'm two weeks post-op as of midnight and I still don't know if my body has adjusted - there is an actual void - there is no uterus - and my body has to figure out if it's going to keep the rest of what's in there up where it belongs or let it fall (seriously, that's a thing that can happen and that scares the hell out of me!) - and what now?
11:56pm I typed a lot tonight. NaNoWriMo begins on November first and I'll be writing this many words and then some to reach my daily goal of 750 words. I promise I won't go on about my uterus (or lack thereof) for 1600 words! It's just what was on my mind tonight, as I was trying to deal with the bit of pain I'm feeling. That led to the psychological part of it and how I'm trying to handle this mentally and emotionally. Apparently, this is part of it for some people as well. I'm thirty-eight and while that seems to be too old for kids (especially in my small hometown - zing!) there was a news article in one of the social media feeds that scrolled by today about how more women are having children in their '40s now than there are teens having kids - surprise!
& I will not be one of them.
Friday, October 28th, 2016.
12:08am It's not a surprise though. It's not even a disappointment - not entirely. It sounds silly to express grief for a loss that I didn't even think I would have when I honestly stated that I didn't feel the need to be a Mother (at least, not to children born from my body). It did not feel necessary to me. I thought that if it really truly got to me and whoever was my partner wanted children and didn't already have them, that adoption would totally be the route to go because there are so many children out there who need families to love them. But it's the lack of choice now - the definitive decision to take away any chance - that is what is gutting me.
Is it all the examples of how having children is supposed to complete you as a woman? Or how you aren't truly a woman unless you've had kids? Or that only mothers can truly understand the wondrous complexities of life because they've given birth? Or that women are most useful for sex and presenting offspring to their partners and beyond that, well, you better accomplish a hell of a lot on top of that or make magic of your life if you hope for any relevancy because gosh darn it, what are you doing with your life?
Some women, we really can't have it all.
It feels much like my desire to move to Toronto - to just be there so that I feel like I'm at least doing something with my life (living in Toronto!) - as opposed to just living in my hometown again with nothing much to show for it. I think that's why sometimes people have kids - to say, "see! I made this! My life has meaning!" & if you don't think there isn't a little smidgen of truth to that, then explain to me all the baby photos, all of the traditions we have for people giving birth in a world where we slaughter baby animals on the daily, destroy environmental resources that future generations have to live with (or without) and basically just make people feel like crap if they aren't checking off these mandated boxes. Not to take away from the joys of child bearing and rearing, but it's a dichotomy that can feel confusing to someone who is just trying to get through this thing we call life, to take a lyric from Prince. Random fact: It was sometime when they were putting the I.V. in me before taking me into the surgery room and minutes before I'd be put under for my hysterectomy when the music they play whenever a baby is born was aired over the P.A. system or whatever they use in a hospital. A baby was born just before I was to have my uterus removed.
When I was being put under, I was anxious and was crying a little, as they were trying to get me to take deep breaths. I could see my gyno in view and a nurse right beside me. The anesthesiologist was behind me, at my head, doing his job (which would turn out to be more of an issue than the surgery itself and I had four extra hours of staff trying to get my oxygen up to stabilize my breathing before they would move me to a hospital room) but yes, there I was, hoping I would wake up because I've still not made an up to date will with my wishes which is stupid to not have done and I digress --- I cried because I was afraid of dying with so many loose ends and I was scared because no one told me what comes after this.
Now I'll admit one of the biggest worries I've had about the removal of my uterus (aside from prolapse or other complications) and it's not about weight gain or sexual dysfunction or anything like that - I think that I'm going to be fine with that stuff after healing and just adding the fact that I will no longer have to worry about excessive bleeding (to the point of requiring blood transfusions) or the pain of a large and growing fibroid in the lining of my uterus and whatever complications that was causing pain and affecting me for years & years (I won't miss bleeding on the floor) - but what I do worry about is something I haven't been able to find through google, though I haven't searched that deep into it yet. I remember the question though. It will sound silly to most but maybe some of my readers will get it. And maybe some will have the answer.
After my hysterectomy, can I still feel the moon?