About two months ago I had a partial hysterectomy. It’s called a “partial” hysterectomy because the doctor took my uterus and fallopian tubes, but left my ovaries. Initially, I thought he should take the whole shebang, because the more pieces I cut out, the fewer places I will eventually get cancer (I’m nothing if not an optimist). If you get rid of your ovaries, though, you immediately go through menopause, and my doctor generously declared me too young to lose my egg factories.
Without my uterus, I don’t need my hormone-emitting IUD, because ain’t no oven to cook a baby in, which is the the most effective form of birth control. I’ve been on birth control a very long time, for a variety of complicated reasons, and as it turns out, those drugs were putting my emotional roller coaster on ice for years. I won’t pretend I’m never irritable, never cry for seemingly no reason, never laugh maniacally while gnawing on a block of cheese, but the wild swings of my youth have been muted for as long as I can remember. Now, though? Yikes.
There are feelings. Many feelings. Strong feelings. After surgery I felt okay for someone who had been sliced and diced, but after about a week I started to feel sad. Extremely sad. Like, don’t want to get out of bed unless it’s to hit the drive-thru for three egg McMuffin meals to be eaten under a blanket with the lights off. The more time passed, the worse I felt. It turns out, post-partum depression following a hysterectomy does occur, and why not? I’ve lost the organ that made me a woman — made me valuable to society. The kids I carried wrecked my organs as they flung themselves out of my uterus, and they still have the balls to tell me the dinner I made is “bisgusting.” It’s a dark time.
With a little more distance, I see a flood or hormones confusing my every thought and decision. For example, today I cried while composing a very long letter to a friend who does animation for Disney. I wrote (while sobbing) to tell him how much the movies he helped create mean to my kids and to me. It turns out, I have very strong feelings about Moana as a heroine, and I needed him to know he had single-handedly (along with probably a thousand other animators) brought me joy, strength, and introspection through Moana’s story. Yes, I am aware my friend doesn’t write the story or the music, and though I know he’s extremely talented and takes his work very seriously, I’m fairly sure he’d be surprised that someone who went to his high school was writing to tell him he’d greatly impacted her adult life with his cartoon.
I drank some coffee and pulled myself out of the sadness spiral long enough to realize I should definitely not send that email, but yikes, man. This shit is for real. I know it’s my hormones because I remember this feeling from high school and from all three pregnancies — one minute I’m being overly chatty with the checkout lady at Target, and the next I’m throwing away my shoes because I can’t abide clutter. What makes this bonkers behavior different than a mental health crisis? I can see it. Even just a half hour later, I can see I wasn’t behaving like myself and that I need to be aware of the simmering cauldron of craycray just beneath the surface lest I spill some of it on my kids or my husband.
Last night Hubs and I attended an information meeting for our oldest’s new school, and these little kids did a fashion show to showcase the uniform options available for everyday dress. And I cried. Audibly. Because…? Something about uniforms makes me immediately weepy now, and it’s uncontrollable. After the fashion show we were supposed to visit with the staff and learn about the kindergarten curriculum, but there was a table set up to sell the new uniforms so basically I had to leave. School starts July 29, so please pray for my family that day, since my kid will be going off to “the big school” and wearing a uniform.
This too shall pass. It won’t always be this way. Or, it will always be this way for a few days every month, even though Aunt Flo has lost my address.
Kinda wondering how bad menopause will be if this is preferable.
Oh, Kat, you make me laugh out loud even as I sympathize with you! Your writing skills are superb, as I am sure are your life skills. Just hang in there. Spoiler alert…wait till Mary needs the uniforms!
Thank you, Mary! Good to hear from you!
This makes me feel so guilty about my lack of crying when my daughter went off to Kindergarten. Love your post!
Your kid probably wasn’t pretending she didn’t know you at drop off…