One week ago, I elected to have my uterus removed.
It was not an easy decision to make. It was something I struggled with for a while and a choice I received a lot of pushback on. From friends, family, and multiple physicians, so many people continued to tell me that I would change my mind about not wanting to have children. Even society as a whole questions a woman who chooses not to procreate, which oftentimes seems to be all women are placed on this earth to do.
Sometimes the questioning made me question myself. I know I would have been a great mother. But I also know that my past trauma would have possibly led me to inflict my trauma onto an innocent child, creating a whole new generation of mother wounds.
When I was a child, I heard a lot of body talk. The women around me constantly discussed how displeased they were (and still are) with their bodies. My mother constantly disrespected herself by claiming she was too fat or how she had eaten too much or something that she considered “bad.” My sisters were constantly participating in diets trying to be a smaller version of themselves. My friends seemed to be effortlessly thin, and at a certain point, it became clear that a smaller frame equalled positive attention from everyone.
I heard the chatter around me but didn’t realize I specifically was living in a larger body until my tween years when a classmate so generously offered this information up to me in front of a school bus full of our peers. I was called a few choice names one afternoon close to my home bus stop and left feeling confused and embarrassed. To this day, close to 30 years later, I remember that moment as if it was yesterday.
I don’t recall telling my family what had happened to me that forever haunting afternoon until decades later when I chose to seek help for an eating disorder in my late 30s. Eating disorders are such shameful and secretive diseases, yet they come with such positive results. You starve yourself or binge and purge your food and suddenly you are an equal in size and attention with your peers. Sadly, the closest people around you even give praise to your quickly shrinking frame and (in my case) don’t even think twice about this sudden change in appearance or behaviors.
I wish the people surrounding me at the tender age of 13 questioned why and how my adolescent body shrunk from a size 10 to a size two over the course of one summer. I’m in dismay that my parents didn’t question a mouth full of cavities appearing in my 16-year-old mouth after not suffering from a single cavity up til that point. I had perfectly normal and acceptable oral hygiene. No one took the time to check in, and so I withdrew and continued a dangerous and secretive lifestyle for over 20 years, resulting in many health issues today, resentment toward the people around me, and severe body dysmorphia that thousands of dollars in therapy just can’t seem to break.
So, I had my uterus removed.
I can’t allow another human being to feel as badly about themselves as I do me. I can’t accidentally call myself a disparaging name that a young child will overhear and then call themselves as if it is normal behavior. I had health issues aside from a decades-long eating disorder leading up to the choice to have a total hysterectomy, which may actually be the result of said eating disorder, but at the end of the day I feel a sense of relief.
I not only had my uterus removed, but I feel I stopped a generational wound at the source. Will I regret not having a child of my own one day or even some days, maybe. But I wasn’t set up for success to love myself or someone else correctly. I will be an aunt to my nieces and nephews and to my friends’ children, always reminding them they are perfect as they are. I will not discuss body size with anyone ever again (aside from my eating disorder therapist) because there is so much more to me than my body and so much more to life than wanting and trying to be smaller. I will never regret learning to love myself even if it takes my whole life to get it right.