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. . . Lifestyle: The Womb

Fear of Loss
Abigale Vail
I know I’m here for the positive, but I can’t help thinking about my impending loss. One of the most serious issues is that you are parting with your personal identity as a woman. The fear of loss can be just as realistic as the actual loss.

I’m here at Blexington Ward Three for a hysterectomy. The Greek word for ‘womb’ takes its name from ‘hysteria’. Am I being hysteric? I’m here for a hysterectomy…a removal… a tie-up…an ovary extinction. One of the most essential parts of being a woman is being creative, pro-creative, and to have that taken away from you brings fears of great magnitude. The womb that carried my children has become the ‘sac’ that has to be removed, the channels of creation, my fallopian tubes, have to be tied up. My womanhood is just about to be stripped, sterilised and become defunct.

Endometriosis is the falling away of the lining of the womb that has caused me great pain. This operation should restore my internal health and therefore give me a new lease of life. What will my life be without my eggs, ovum, ovaries? Will I feel different without my uterus, my womb? What about ‘my time of the month’, menstrual cycle, the cycle of the moon? I will find out after my sterilisation whether I can still be a woman.
I must put losing into perspective, losing a purse on the bus is annoying, upsetting and sometimes expensive. Losing a child to cancer is devastating, terrifying, and is a loss that can’t be calculated. Is my loss any more or any less than other losses? Medical professionals said that this operation would stop my pains, the pains of womanhood. My fear of loss is because I might not feel a woman, and mother towards my children, that came from the womb, that is to be removed. Never will I hold my own newborn child in my arms, because I will have no womb.

The Registrar is here, and the anaesthetist, all preparing me for my loss. The nurse offers sympathies and words of encouragement as I take the pre-med drugs. The drugs started to make the issues that seemed so important earlier, fade away. The pains of my particular womanhood receded and the feeling was euphoric. I slowly drifted, and was wheeled through lights, sounds and dimmed, muffled voices. Counting to ten I was soon lost under anaesthesia. I dreamt of fecundity, of pro-creation and of virgin life. I dreamt of luscious jungles, with tangled creepers that oozed life from every leaf, branch and tendril. Every life form illuminated the genesis of its own creation and I, in my dreams, took comfort from that.

Stark lights, and again muffled voices, and the pains of invasion. But, I remembered my visions and dreams of future fertility in another life. The loss that I had been anticipating had been eradicated and I was free to enjoy being a mother, sister and a woman.

© Abigale Vail - November 2003

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