Today We Say Goodbye: A Letter To My Uterus



Content Notice: Infant/Pregnancy loss

Dear Sally,

(Note: I only just now named my uterus Sally. I don't know why I chose Sally, it's just the first thing that came to mind. I don't know why I chose to name my uterus right now, but it seems more reasonable to write a letter to a thing with a name, not just a generic organ.)

Today, we part ways. Once the da Vinci robot and Dr. Lake are done with me, I'll go to a pink-wallpapered hospital room, where I will enjoy Jello and Percocet, and a Grey’s Anatomy marathon. And you'll go... somewhere. Probably to be incinerated.

Sorry about that.

To be frank, this whole hysterectomy thing couldn't have come fast enough. Were it possible, I’d have removed you myself on the bathroom floor. (Remember that time I went manic and yanked out my own IUD? Like that. Only messier).

But that's another story, though I'm still sorry about the IUD poking. Not as sorry as I am about the incineration thing, but sorry just the same. Honestly, you got off pretty easy there. You know, a lot of uteruses ended up with the Mirena implanted right into the endometrium.

Our relationship has been a little complicated. I've loved you a lot, and I've loathed you at least as much, but mostly you've just gone unnoticed. Except for those 5-to-7 days every four weeks when you made your presence quite evident, what with the river of life blood and the random, excruciating, and from what I can tell, unnecessary, contractions.

You showed up pretty late to the party. To be fair, 13 is the average age of menses, it just happened to be behind average amongst my developing girlfriends. No one else celebrated your arrival; there was no First Moon party, no setting of crystals. My mom just handed me a giant maxi pad and told me it was now possible that I could get pregnant.

But I was thrilled to see that first drop of blood. It wasn't the womanhood I wanted as much as the boobs and the bragging rights. Also there was some allure to popping four Advil at a time, like pharmaceutical dependence is some sort of a rite of passage.

Either way, you were a nuisance and that was pretty much all you did for seven years.

There was that one early miscarriage in high school. I never had a positive pee test, but as I bled painfully into the ocean during a spoiled summer vacation, I knew it was more than a period. Even at 16, I felt a sort of mourning for the baby I knew I'd want someday.

And then there was Jordan. There were a lot of months of false alarms, and lot of precious dollars wasted on First Response early pregnancy tests. There were a lot of tears shed, and a lot of basal body temperatures taken. I really hated you for about eight months.

But of course it was all forgotten the day before Valentine's Day; the day I found out that my life was about to change.

You gave me the gift of an early rounding of my otherwise slim belly. While other women lamented the need for maternity wear, I silently thanked you for the gift of being "annoyingly" tilted in my pelvis.

We were making a baby and the world knew.

I felt the flutters of wiggly life in early May, the weekend of Mother's Day. But no matter how still I lay, no matter the gallons of heartburn-inviting orange juice I chugged, I'd never feel her again.

By late May we knew we'd never hold this living, breathing, pink and squealing newborn baby in our arms.

My belly disappeared, along with the life inside it, and I sunk into a crippling depression. I blamed myself. And I blamed you. I was consumed by anger for a long time.

It wasn’t your fault, I know, but you took the hatred and kept on regardless. Thanks for understanding that I needed to blame something. I just needed somewhere, anywhere, for my pain to rest. You were the unlucky scapegoat of that.

And then came Kelsey. My pregnancy was saturated in fear, but you kept it textbook. And on a miserably hot day in August 1995, after 16 hours of relentless contractions, out she came. With my three hefty pushes and your oxytocin, a new life was born.

I was too busy falling in love with her to thank you.

So thank you for her. And thank you for the next baby, and the next. I wasn’t expecting either of those two guys, but as it turns out, two of the best things in my life were people I didn’t know I needed.  

So it was with them. For all of the loathing I felt in the early years, for the years I felt like you were failing me, for the times I thought you were broken, you showed up. You made my life what it is. You made me who I am.

I know you thought our baby making days were over, so the two extra kids, in two years time, ten years later, probably came as a surprise to you. And when everyone else lamented my “advanced maternal age,” you showed them that we wouldn’t be defined by any statistic.

Together, we made two huge babies. Well done. Eleven pounds is a little excessive, but if nothing else, you gave me the bragging rights of pushing out a giant baby in my kitchen.

We are 42 now; things started to fall apart about a year ago. The books and the doctors said it was perimenopause. It felt weird saying "My childbearing days are over." It felt weird saying that you were done, whether I was or not.

But once our days of working toward a common goal were done, I was ready to be done with you. A week wasted every month seemed unnecessarily torturous when your services would no longer be required. When the really heavy bleeding started, I figured you were as done with me as I was done with you.

I’m not sure why you tried to kill me, but I’m going to let that one go. I’ve put you through a lot in the last 30 years; a few months of hemorrhaging seems like a relatively small price to pay.

When the gynecologist said it was time to go, I cheered. Out loud even. It’s not you I hate, it’s just everything you bring with you.

Now we say goodbye. I’ve felt entirely indifferent about today for the last few months, but tears well as I write this. I guess you’re more important to me than I thought.

It’s weird to say goodbye to an organ, but you feel more like a friend. For all the nuisance you have been, you’ve also given me all the things I love the very most in the world.

Thanks for that. And sorry about the incineration.


Your Current Bodily Residence

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