A Farewell Toast to My Uterus
In preparing for my own hysterectomy, I spent a lot of time reading about others' hysterectomies. Most of the stories were heartening, but some were horrifying or heartbreaking (or both). I mostly feel good about my decision and even find myself giddy at the thought of not having to plan my life around my period anymore (as I have had my entire adult existence).
Still, I do have some reservations and anxieties about the upcoming procedure. I was reading about how sometimes having a ritual or event to do a sendoff to one's uterus, something positive, can help contribute to better feelings and with it, better outcomes for the surgery itself. It was with that in mind I decided to celebrate my hysterectomy the way some do other occasions like birthdays, new jobs, or anniversaries. After all, while this is the end of one chapter, it is also a beginning of another- one to a life that is hopefully less painful.
Saying farewell to my uterus
So, I made an announcement to a few of my closer girlfriends who live locally: Let's have a farewell dinner for my uterus! Additionally, some neighbors who have monthly gathering (potluck) at their home also invited me especially to do a toast to my departing uterus! Twenty people at a table toasting to my hysterectomy felt validating and even liberating. Afterwards, one of my friends picked me up and we went to dinner. We started off with apps and conversation between just the two of us before several more of my friends joined us. We had drinks and dinner, and some of my friends gave me sentimental and/or hokey gifts or tokens: cards with their own poems about my uterus and some healing crystals. After dinner, a couple of us who could stay out later went to a second place for dessert and a nightcap. It was a lot of fun.
Taking time for self-care
The following evening, I took an Epsom and sea salt bath in a room lit only by candles. Placing my hand on my belly, I meditated on my period and my womb, about what I am losing and gaining. I wished my body well and blew out the candles. Oh, and of course, the next day I splurged and bought myself my favorite cake (strawberry shortcake) in celebration of my hysterectomy.
The truth is, even if this is over the top or a little hokey, I don't care. I feel like women are always taught to be ashamed of our bodies and silent about our pain. Hysterectomies are one of the most common operations in our country, and yet, societal stigma prevents us from sharing stories publicly or even celebrating it, even if it means a cure or an end to a particular kind of pain.
So I plan on debunking that stigma and being loud and proud about my choices about my body and embracing such changes, if they can help me.
Did you undergo any ritual or celebration (mourning or jubilant) for your hysterectomy? Please feel free to share in the comments below!
The holiday season is among us and can be so stressful! Do you experience more flares during this season?