Saying Goodbye to My Period
I have been bleeding since I was nine. I am now forty. This means I have been menstruating for three decades. It also means for the better part of those thirty years, I have also been suffering from severe pelvic pain related to my periods.
Respecting my body
While I have often hated and resented that my body has had to endure the affliction of endometriosis, there is still a part of me that has always been awed by that process of my body, and the connections of menstrual cycles with the ocean tides and the phases of the moon. I don't even much mind the blood itself, when it is not a super-heavy flow. When the pain has been lower-grade, or at least at a level when it didn't substantially interfere with my daily activities, I could almost revel in this aspect of my life as a biologist who finds the body and its workings fascinating.
But, for the most part, my periods have been heavy and excruciating, and it's come to the point where I'm no longer willing to let it dictate my life and determine what I can or cannot do and when because of it. And so, despite my awe for the function of menstruation, I am having a hysterectomy and am grateful for that option.
Yet, while I look forward to a menstruation-free chapter of my life, there is still a wistful part of me that knows something that characterized my life for the majority of its duration so far will suddenly be gone.
Womanhood is more than a period
In this society, we often define femininity and womanhood through the basis of biological sex. When I was young, it was common to say that finally getting one's period means that "one is now a woman". Fortunately, we are now learning gender identity is not dictated merely by the characters and functions of one's anatomy- and obviously there are many women who have not ever had periods or have them no more. They are still women.
In some strange way, I will miss my period, in the way you might miss someone who has hurt you but was still always there and you are used to them, or even sometimes reminded you about things in life and nature you appreciated. I also think it's good to come to terms with leaving behind certain notions. It's still a part of my body I will be letting go of, a part (my uterus), which, while it also supplied me with painful periods, also contributed to some powerful orgasms.
I understand that it's okay to be a little sad about its loss, and to mourn it, while still being happy to let go of something that no longer serves me in the way I need now in my life. I'd rather live with less pain than hold onto something over what it once symbolized to me (and while I used to have deep and long uterine orgasms, they have already gotten much shorter and less intense in recent years- I believe due to the advancement of my adenomyosis and fibroids; meaning this disease is already detracting from the aspects I liked about having a womb).
I think coming to terms with these complicated feelings, acknowledging them, and letting them be, will allow me more closure as my surgery date rapidly approaches.
Has intimacy with your partner been affected because of endometriosis symptoms?