Endometriosis Doesn't Devalue Us
Talking to your partner about endometriosis, or telling a new partner about your chronic illness, is a scary thing. After all, if you suffer from endometriosis, you face a lot of challenges in life. Challenges which will impact your partner as well. When I wrote about telling a new partner about endometriosis, I said that if they don’t want to be with you because of your diagnosis, they’re not worth your time.
We are not a burden
It is hard living with endometriosis because having a chronic illness and being in pain a lot is hard. And a partner should be supportive. But often the language we use about endometriosis sufferers in a relationship is quite damaging. I am guilty of it myself. I call myself a burden for my husband. I praise him for his support and sometimes wonder how he puts up with it. But just because we suffer from endometriosis, doesn’t mean we don’t have value. Or that we don’t bring anything to the relationship.
Society has this view of disabled people as “lesser than”. Especially when it comes to talking about being in a relationship, we often say that our endometriosis diagnosis is a strain. I certainly feel like I can’t be the wife to my husband or the mother to my children I would be if I were completely healthy. I suffer from lack of energy and although I’m not in as much pain anymore since my hysterectomy, the illness still impacts me (and always will).
Our value isn’t tied to our productivity
We have been conditioned to equate productivity with value. Therefore, able-bodied, high-energy people are seen as better. The mom who drives her kids to various after-school clubs five days a week and on the weekends, who makes her kid lunches every day and takes them on long hikes, is seen as a better mom than the one who makes her kid buy school dinners, cuddles up with them on the couch after school, and watches TV with them.
The wife who works a full day, comes home and takes care of the cooking and cleaning, and then takes care of her husband in the bedroom, is praised as the perfect wife. It’s easy to feel like a failure when you can’t conform to those ridiculous standards. If you’re the wife who doesn’t work, has a cleaner, and isn’t up for sex every night, it can feel like you offer your husband less value.
We deserve love and support
But those are all lies. As endometriosis sufferers, we’ve been dealt a bad hand, that’s for sure. But we still have value as people. As mothers, wives, girlfriends, workers. Our value isn’t tied to our productivity. We are loving, caring people who deserve to be loved and taken care of, regardless of how much housework we do or how often we’re available for sex. Endometriosis doesn’t devalue us and we should expect and demand to be loved and accepted the way we are.
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