I remember the first time I felt my son move. Despite the morning sickness, despite the stick confirming his presence, the flutters of life inside my womb sent a wave of peace over me that only a mother knows.

These children consumed my body, in every way, and my life. They used me as their vessel, abused me as their womb, and emerged into the world making me whole and leaving their mark inside this weary frame.

I remain in awe at what the female body can do, and what it endures. I still have no idea how I survived two very difficult pregnancies. It was hell, it was pain.

There are no ways to logically explain my femaleness. After two hellish pregnancies my body still aches for more. I long to feel that flutter. My breasts still swell when a baby cries. My maternal amnesia has pushed aside the bad, and wants desperately for that moment when a hand is placed on my swelling belly and I feel as if I have a higher purpose.

I have never felt more important than when pregnant. More useful. More fulfilled.

I’m not a content person. I always want more and I seek out change like it’s the air I breathe. But while pregnant I was calm. My purpose and path were clear and my mind at rest.

I miss that feeling. I ache for it.

And when each child arrived, the sense of accomplishment and love was so all-consuming and fulfilling I knew my place in the world.

In a few weeks, I will surrender any hope of that feeling again. I will relinquish what I feel is the very essence of me. The one thing that has grounded me. The one thing that has made me feel sane in my otherwise insane mind.

I have no choice but to give up what I feel is my womanhood. And become some sort of soulless body who calls herself female but knows the description is only half right.

I won’t speak in recent history, years from now, when my daughter gets her first menstrual cycle. I won’t ever wonder if the tenderness in my bosom could be new life in my womb.

I fear I will wander, I will want, I will search, I will ache. I will lose hope of contentment.

My comfort and key to mental survival lies in the good this body has already done. I have to focus on what my core has accomplished. And it really is my core.

My husband has been a rock since my first hospital stay. Ready to slay dragons at my whim and keeping me mentally strong. My children need me now, more than ever. And living for them is above and beyond living for what could have been. I have the most amazing family and love and light around me that expressing my fear and emotion over this seem like a slight to their being. It’s not.

For every pang of want there is the reality of the love that surrounds me. For every twinge of more there is the gratitude for the health of these two children and my steadfast partner in life, their father. There is also the hope that they understand their mother, and he understands that his wife, has always demanded more from life, too much from life, and this has brought chaos and joy into their worlds.

My babies

I am coming to terms with this infection that has ravaged my insides so that nothing remains. I am readying myself for another surgery where more of me is taken. It’s just…this time the surgeon won’t be taking simple organs and tissue. This time my soul, my heart, my core are being pulled from me. What I believe makes me…me. The woman. The mother.

I know my view on this will change over time. I know my emotions are raw and piercing, which is why I’m writing them down. I will be whole when this is over, and I will find a way to shift my heart and mind to wrap itself around what I thought was true. What I thought made up ‘me’ and what is important in this whole mess of medical drama we’ve been living through.

But in the meantime I will mourn.


  1. I am just finding this post and I have nothing to say except that your emotions escaped from the screen and landed in my heart. It’s dramatic, yes, but this stuff is big. I only now you from what you write here, but I am with you in spirit.
    .-= Jessica Ashley (Sassafrass)´s last blog ..Someone Elses Words Wednesday- Because sometimes lyrics are so true =-.

  2. Erin,

    I have come back to this post about 10 times before I could bring myself to read it. I have intentionally skimmed over your tweets about the upcoming surgery because they pain they wrenched from my soul was unbearable. I want so bad to wrap my arms around you and let you know that despite what you feel now, that the ache does recede. You do reach that moment when the mourning subsides. I know this for a fact. I had an emergency hysterectomy 13 years ago at age 32. After a year and half of illness and almost weekly visits to the ER, 3 exploratory surgeries, 5 admissions, more tests than I can even remember and several psychiatric consultations, they finally figured out that it was the part of me that defined me as a woman that was killing me. Literally. Once they had a diagnosis, the doctors were amazed that I had survived. I had a meager 12 hours from diagnosis to surgical table. So recently wed, on the verge of starting a new life with a new husband, the future we were planning together, the children we envisioned were gone. My only consolation being the 2 beautiful sons I already had.
    So Erin, as hard as this is to face, as hard as the time immediately after will be, please remember that in this, time actually does heal all wounds. There will be a time when looking at babies is again a joy and does not cause an ache. Just be sure to allow yourself time and permission to grieve, it is a loss that only others who have experienced it can understand. Something my doctor said after my surgery – I needed to grieve for the me I lost, but I also needed to celebrate the me that was to come, especially the pain-free me.
    If there is ever anything I can do, please just let me know. Sending you many prayers, much love and hugs of consolation. Take care…
    .-= Gloria Bell´s last blog ..Being a “not like all the others” parent… =-.

  3. Wow Gloria,
    You should be a grief counselor. Your tender words, thoughts and future perspective are so honest and heart felt. May many other women going thru this tragedy and mourning hear your voice.

  4. i feel like the breath has been taken out of me a little bit after reading that. my mom had an emergency hysterectomy after my birth, back in 1973, and has never talked about it with me, but i can only imagine what it must have meant to her. all i can do is send love to you and hope you can feel all the love coming at you from all over. thank you for writing so honestly (and beautifully) about it.

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