Reclaiming My Body after Endometriosis
Last updated: January 2021
I’m 43 and I just got my nipples pierced this week. You might wonder what that has to do with endometriosis but hang in there, I’ll get there.
Endometriosis has really damaged my relationship with my body. My first period was awful and from then on, I have hated my uterus with a passion. The pain was so bad, I couldn't walk. Menstruation became something I dreaded, and each month I started to hate my uterus a little bit more. As early as sixteen-years old, I wanted a hysterectomy, eager to get rid of the offending organ. Only the wish for children made me hang in there, but the wish for a hysterectomy never went away.
Celebrate my body? No way!
I received my endometriosis diagnosis when I was twenty-eight, by which time I hated not just my uterus, but my whole body. I didn't feel like a woman at all, my body repulsing me rather than making me feel sexy. My female organs were causing me ceiling pain all the time, so I never felt a need to celebrate womanhood. Even though the initial laparoscopy gave me some relief, the endometriosis pain was soon back with a vengeance.
Soon it began to be too painful to have sex as well. And not only that, but my body had become repulsive to me, so that, even on the days the pain wasn't bad, I didn't want my husband to see me naked. Sex was furthest from my mind. I didn't feel like a sexy woman, or even like a woman at all. The endometriosis had made me loathe my body, ruining my life.
Reconnecting with my body post-hysterectomy
In the end, I did find an endometriosis specialist who agreed to perform a total hysterectomy. As soon as I came home from the hospital, I felt like a different person. I felt more me, and I definitely felt more like a woman. My body stopped hurting, I didn’t have to endure horrendous periods anymore and I could finally reconnect with my body.
So why did I decide to pierce my nipples?
That was four years ago. I’ve made a lot of progress since then. I don’t hate my body anymore. I even feel sexy on occasion. But the feeling that my body isn’t really mine didn’t go away. For most of my adult life, I’ve been hostage to the endometriosis and when I wasn’t in pain, I was pregnant. As I said before, endometriosis has really damaged my relationship with my body. Which is why I decided, at the age of 43, to get my nipples pierced.
This is my - small - way of reclaiming my body. I didn’t pierce my nipples to please anyone or to diminish any pain my body was in. I did it to show to myself that I have control over my body again. That while the endometriosis isn’t completely gone, the pain is virtually non-existent. I want to say that my hysterectomy has helped me feel myself again, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt myself while I was in that much pain. So let’s just say that I am discovering who I am. And piercing my nipples is the first step.
Do your endo symptoms ever cause you to feel socially awkward?
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