UPDATE: Amanda's Story -- Dealing with the Aftermath of a Hysterectomy
I think I have reached a point since my surgery where I am ready to talk about it and be completely honest with myself. I knew going into this that there was really no other options for me. I was 27 years old, never had children and was pretty much suffering all the time with endometriosis. The road leading to my surgery was a difficult one and while I was scared to death of doing it I hoped and prayed that the road from here on out would be an easier one. Well, it did seem easier for a while. I felt better physically and I seemed to have a much better attitude towards things. Recently, though, I’ve had to spend quite a bit of time alone and I’ve realized some things. I seem to have gradually gotten myself to a point where I am angry most of the time, I am not the fun loving, happy go lucky person that I once was. I’m realizing that after my surgery I convinced myself that this was the best thing for me and pushed any negative thoughts so far into the back of my mind that I never dealt with them. Well, you can only ignore those feelings for so long before something triggers their release. I think for a long time now I’ve been in denial and that is not a way to live. So, I think I am finally ready to deal with this and move on and hopefully find a way of coping with this that will put me at peace with my journey so far, and on the road that lies ahead of me.
Before my surgery I was worried that my fiancé would see me differently afterwards. I was scared he wouldn’t look at me as a woman, that my scar would disgust him, that I wouldn’t be attractive to him anymore. I think though, that that’s how I saw myself and if you project that image of yourself to someone for so long eventually they are going to see what you see. If I look at it objectively I know that there is nothing about him that could change the way I feel for him. If he was horribly scarred, or lost a limb I would still love him just as much, if not more, than I do now. So, why is it that I think I’m not deserving of the same? I am not less of a woman because I don’t have a uterus, I just don’t have the ability to do what most women feel is their entitlement…have a child. Does this make me untouchable, does this make me undeserving of love? In my mind I know that the answer to that is “No”, but it’s hard to convince my heart of that. My fiancé is 13 years older than me and has children of his own, so I know that he isn’t with me because he needs a family, but I still worry sometimes that he sees me as less than what I used to be.
I also worry a lot about being alone. At this point in my life I am OK with not having kids. I am in a relationship that makes me happy, I have a man that I love very much, who I consider to be my best friend and I do not feel like there is something missing. I do worry, though, about getting older and not having children and grandchildren to rally together to help me in my feebleness. However, I do not feel like I should have children just to insure that when I am older I will have a caretaker, since we all know that that’s not a guarantee anyway. I know at 28 years old, it’s not the time for me to be focused on what my life will be like when I’m an old woman, but I also know that the sooner I deal with these demons and come to peace with where my life is and where it’s going the sooner I will be able to have peace. It’s just figuring out how to come to terms with the uncertainty of my future that’s giving me a run for my money. I don’t want to be in a nursing home when I’m 90 years old and have no one to visit me. I don’t want to die alone and not have someone to make sure that I’m sent off properly. How do you become OK with this? We all want to know that when our time comes we will be missed, well, who’s gonna miss me?
It also hurts to know that I have things that have been handed down to me from my Mom, my grandmother, my great-grandmother that will stop with me. I will not have someone to give these things to. I know what an honor it was to have my Mom give these things to me, to have her tell me, without saying a word, that she trusts me enough with these valuable memories. I won’t have a daughter or a son to give these things to, to bestow that honor upon. I can’t pass my grandmothers best recipes down to my children and take them into the kitchen and show them how to make them. I won’t have a daughter that I can look at and see myself in. Yes, without children there are plenty of things that won’t happen in my life that will probably spare me much grief and heartache, but there are also many things that won’t happen in my life that will cause me much heartache. I will miss out on getting to experience everyday mundane things through the eyes of a child and being reminded how awesome some of the simplest things in life can be.
I know that most of this comes across as being very depressing, but in reality it’s what my life is like right now. I have exited the stage of denial and I am working towards acceptance. It’s not easy, it hurts, but I know that before I can feel better I have to come to terms with these feelings and reach a point where I can learn how to live with them. I know the pain of not having children will always be carried in my heart, but I am trying very hard to figure out how to bring the happiness back.
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