The way she phrased the question shocked me into deep thought. “How long was I going to hang on to it?”
I churned in thought for a year at least, imagining the reasons why I was hanging on to an organ that was past its expiration date. Pain and problematic symptoms aside, it was once the love-filled life pouch of my two beauties. It was their home base in utero. It served me (and them) quite well, but now it was failing.
For a surgeon, it may feel as plain and simple as the way she phrased it. But the sarcasm was kind of prodding, like “let’s get on with it, kid.” Or, perhaps she was thinking, “get there faster,” as though I wasn’t getting the easy decision to have a total hysterectomy.
Home base mushy feelings aside, the decision goes deeper: it cuts into the sense of self as a woman. I’m fortunate to have not experienced the change of life yet, and I knew this surgery would throw me right into it. “I don’t have time for that!” I rationalized to myself. I considered reasons to put it off, mainly thinking that it would zap my energy and creative impulses-my libido- during a crucial time of dissertation work.
Once in a while, I’d share my predicament with a like-aged female friend to garner her perspective. “Having it done was a relief,” and “I wish I’d done it sooner,” recurred as common replies. The best comfort came from a wise "chrone"-aged friend that I look up to spiritually. She said her sex life actually improved after menopause and she felt better than ever! Well, that is certainly a good reason to consider!
So what exactly is my issue, and why was I “hanging on” to my most private body parts against my doctor’s well-rationed advice?
Who the hell knows, but if I had to guess, it was a sentimental attachment to my feminine mystique. Those precious ovaries and fallopian tubes, cervix, and uterus are so taboo to speak about in polite conversations, but they are a such crucial life force within. It’s magic in there.
I remember back to my very first encounter of the uterine magic as a 12-year-old girl at my Auntie Amy’s house, when I got my period during my piano lesson. She gave me a glass of wine to mark the occasion, and I relished in the rite of passage that made me a woman.
Hundreds of cramped, time-of-the-months later, two beautiful children were born. Thank goodness for those lovely lady parts that did all the work (along with the care of my surgeons)! It is truly miraculous when you stop to consider how amazing the female reproductive system is.
Fast forward through the delay of game through the Covid-era missed doctor appointments, the whisper in my ear finally said “it’s time to let it go.”
Once I knew the date and time that it would happen, I scheduled a special gift to myself- to my lovely lady organs- of a chi nei tsang abdominal massage. I’d experienced it a few times years ago when I was suffering from the pain of abdominal adhesions, and I remembered the spiritual aspect of the healing touch. Chi nei tsang tenderly addresses each abdominal organ and profoundly conjures up and releases emotions held deep within, along with aiding comfort and space by gentle and deep massage work.
This time, a tear streaked down my cheek as I said my silent goodbyes. Unexpectedly, I had a mental image of a little bitty baby face, and couldn’t help but grieve the unborn babies I never had the chance to create. (I’d always envisioned I’d have four babies, but had to stop at two for medical reasons ). It was a beautiful closing ritual to a body well served.
With my eyes closed in remembrance, I mysteriously heard the words to the children’s book, Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown. Those familiar words came through an echo in my mind as the words I read to my babies more than any others. “Goodnight moon. Goodnight room. Goodnight to the cow jumping over the moon ...” This makes perfect sense to me now, as the moon is the governing force to our lady part functions. Tomorrow morning when I’m drifting away from the anesthesia, I’ll try to remember those words. “And goodnight to the old lady whispering hush ..."
xo, mama Tree