The Fetal Position

The Fetal Position

The fetal position: This is a position I found myself in often, very often. It was the only way I received any “comfort” during my period and cramps. The cramps that came with my period felt crippling, especially as a teenager. In my late teens/early 20’s, my pain tolerance had certainly increased and I could handle the cramps while functioning normally, or at least my normal. I would occasionally be affected in school, while sitting in class, trying to focus, but could only concentrate on the pain I was feeling. It was when I was working full-time that endometriosis really started to complicate my day-to-day life.

The service industry

Waiting tables and bartending is pure agony with endo. Being on your feet all day and night, running around and having a smile on your face and the feeling of a knife stabbing and twisting in your lower stomach is about the hardest acting position a person can hold. I can still remember the relief I would feel every night when I finally got that moment to sit down after a shift. I spent so many nights dripping with sweat from pain, not from running around and working. A customer’s nasty comment or rude demand would bring me to tears. I have a very thick skin and can take a lot, but the irritability caused from that pain could set me off and cause emotions that made me feel like someone other than myself, someone I didn’t even know.

The sales industry

I thought that the irritability in the service industry was bad, until I got into sales and customer service. Putting high heels on every morning kicked off the beginning of the horrible pain I would feel for the next 8-14 hours. I vividly remember wanting to scream at my customers to hurry up and decide on what they wanted because I couldn’t physically stand any longer and I just wanted to take them back to my desk to sit.

I was affected by the clothes I wore. If I wore a suit or dress pants, the slight pressure in my waistline would add so much agony to the pain. If I wore a dress with tights or leggings, the pressure from them would be so much worse. There were times I would rush to the back room and drop to my knees finding myself back in the fetal position, where if I could get any hint of relief, it was there. Working in a male dominated industry, it was never easy to explain these actions, this pain and my irritability. I felt weak and defeated.

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